Saturday, May 8, 2010

Comic Reading

Earlier in the week, I finally got around to reading a bunch of the comic singles that have been sitting on my shelf for a while. Of course, I had the freebies I had snagged at Free Comic Day sitting there waiting for me, so I read through those ones first. Not a lot to blog home about there, aside from The 6th Gun, which was an instant standout.

This one is set in the American west, post civil war era. The first issue is filled with mystery and intrigue. Six guns that each have different powers, have been created; the hows and whys are unknown to the reader at this point, but we do know that most of them are in the hands of some bad-ass sketchy looking fuckers. The first issue provides a couple glimpses into powers of two of the guns, and introduces some interesting characters. After reading the first issue, I instantly wanted to know more about the characters, and everything that is going on. Great stuff.

I'll be completely honest, I'm reading American Vampire because Stephen King writes it. Like many people, I am sick of all the vampires, and zombies, and shit that is all over books and movies these days, but I figured that if anyone can make vampires cool again, it would be King. Well, so far, it is pretty good. I read the first two issues this past week, and they are solid.

The comic is essentially split up into two parts. The first part is written by Scott Snyder. His story arc takes place in the 1920's, and follows Pearl, a struggling young actress in Hollywood. While trying to make it big, Pearl attends a show-biz party, intent on rubbing elbows and getting some face time with the Hollywood big-wigs, but those big-wigs turn out to be vampires, and you can guess what happens.

The second part of the issues is written by King, and takes place in the Colorado, 1880's wild west style. His character is Skinner Sweet, who is on his way to be hung for a series of terrible crimes. Thanks to some buddies, a train derailing, and a vicious shootout, Skinner too gets bitten by a vampire, yet is taken for dead, buried and then submerged, as his graveyard becomes a lake bottom thanks to some dam-building. However, as a reader, you already know he survives because he keeps popping up in Pearl's story which takes place nearly half a century later.

In classic King writing style, Skinner is a guy you love to hate...or hate to love. Of the two writers, King's parts feel more like a full story, and the characters are better fleshed out, while Snyder's characterizations are weaker, he has a better knack for writing in the comic medium. I get the feeling that at some point the two story arcs will converge and the characters of Pearl and Skinner will move forward from there, but I enjoy the dual story format, it is unique and interesting, and the switch never feels awkward. I'm not in love with this series, but I'm interested enough to stick it out a bit longer.

I've saved the best for last.

Early last month I reviewed the first Trade volume of The Unwritten and was not a fan. I thought for sure I was done with this series, but I got a tip that the 12th issue is one of the best single issues of any comic written so far this year, and yeah, it is pretty damn good.

The issue starts out like a fairy tale for children, but the images and the word bubbles don't quite follow the cutesy narration. The star of the issue is Mr. Bun, a severely disgruntled, potty mouthed rabbit who is sick of living in Willowbank Wood. After a failed attempt at escape, he builds a crossbow, shoots the stuffing out of some of the forest inhabitants, and sets out for Rose Tree Cottage, in search of Miss Liza, a Christopher Robin-esque girl: friend of all the little forest creatures, and fictional, little-girl-version of the author. Basically, Miss Liza runs that shit, and she is an evil little slag. She captures Mr. Bun and delivers him to a fate far worse than being the only sane creature in Willowbank Wood.

This issue was really amazing. It is hilarious, and Mr. Bun is a great anti-hero. It is also a spot-on parody of many childhood fairy tale woods stories. I loved it. If people read only one comic this entire year, you can't go wrong with the 12th issue of The Unwritten. I highly recommend this.

No comments: