Old school. Well, old school for some. Older school for others. For still others, it might be “Hey, cool sci-fi genre comix, man!”
Let’s take a quick trip down memory lane, shall we? It’s, like, 1984 or maybe 1985 and my grade five school buddy hands me an issue of Jim Starlin’s Dreadstar, published by Epic Comics. I can’t make heads or tails of the story. It’s issue number “mid-teen” and there are crazy space-faring characters with names like “Vanth” wielding blasters and powerful swords, mixing it up with sorcerers names Syzygy, all under the oppression of a galactic religion called The Church of the Instrumentality.
It was absolute insanity – and it was captivating. I didn’t know it then, but here was an early instance of long-form graphic novel storytelling that would set the stage for the future of the comic book art form.
That merging of genres: science fiction and fantasy, religion and politics, is back today. Old school wonder is new school excitement with the release of Black Science #1.
Today, this column is going to be something of an editorial. Don’t worry. I won’t be too overbearing in my rambling. I’ll still speak to a “must read” comic of the week, something you need to make a “Wednesday Run” for.
There are times that I wish I was reading coming books during the age when I first started reading them: the no-internet age. During that naïve time, I’d visit my local comic book shop, pick up my favourite books off the wooden rack of new issues, and happily bring them home, unaware of the politics, business decision-making, miscommunication and broken promises behind the art form I so happily read.
In this Internet age, we learn about the behind-the-curtain relationships of comic book creators: writers, artists, editors and publishers, all too easily. There are websites dedicated to that kind of gossip. Once in a while, those relationships turn sour, affecting everyone involved, including us, as readers. Batwoman #25, out today, is, unfortunately, the product of one of those relationships gone sour.
Come, take a walk down the trail of pontification.
A phoenix from the ashes. That’s what we’re talking about when we talk about publisher Valiant Entertainment.
Founded in the late 1980’s as Valiant Comics by Marvel Comics legends, Jim Shooter and Bob Layton, sold to video game maker Acclaim in the mid 1990’s and shuttered in the mid 2000’s, Valiant Entertainment (as it’s now called) was resurrected in 2005 but really rose to prominence in the comic book scene only last year.
But it’s today that the publishing company of superhero comics comes into its’ own. Today sees the release of Valliant’s first superhero team-up book with Unity #1 – history in the making!
You know, there have been a lot of heavy comics in this column of late: The Witching Hour, Coffin Hill, and The Spectral Engine. I suppose it’s because last month was the month of October. And I suppose it’s because last month, this site was celebrating something we like to call 31 Days of Horror. We love Halloween ‘round these parts and publishers saved their best horror comics for the scariest of the autumn months!
But we’re talking comic books here! Won’t someone think of the children?!?
Well, DC Comics has. And roh boy, it’s a bit of a blast from the past!
“You woke up.” That’s how the story ended in The Sandman, issue #72.
The fan favourite and critically acclaimed series would continue for three more, single-chapter issues outside the scope of the main storyline, of course, famously concluding with the William Shakespeare inspired story, The Tempest in issue #75.
But it’s how The Sandman began that is of interest today.
“Wake up,” are the first words you read when you open the pages to The Sandman #1.
But what happened before that? Well, today, begins that overture.
Ah, the cold war of the 1970’s.
It’s fertile ground for stories, isn’t it? A time when truth is probably stranger than fiction. Spies. Secret agents. Enigmatic politics. Clandestine agendas. Shadowy organizations exerting influence over an unsuspecting populace.
Our world doesn’t currently have enough comic books set during the cold war!
Truth be told, our world doesn’t currently have enough comic books being written by Ed Brubaker.
Both of those issues get rectified with today’s release of Velvet #1.
Come and celebrate with me after the jump.
Ah! You’re here.
Tickets, please. The train leaves shortly. And your destination is a perfect one for this time of year.
All this month, Biff Bam Pop! has been presenting you with various horror-themed pieces. Even this column has gotten in on the act, here and here. Of course, to recommend a horror-themed comic book each Wednesday in October, an interesting one needs to be released. And today is a bit of a cheat.
To ride this train, you could punch your ticket today, like most will. But the real clever readers of graphic fiction – graphic horror fiction – got theirs yesterday.
Yesterday, today. Either way, The Spectral Engine is waiting for you! All aboard!
Is it still Wednesday somewhere on this planet? No? Damn.
You know, there are those weeks where you’ve forgotten to pick up some new, hot comic book on your weekly Wednesday run. It happens once in a while.
Sometimes you forget to buy an item, sometimes the shop forgets to stock the shelves with a particular item, sometimes they even forget to order it entirely and you’re left running to another local shop to pick it up.
This past Wednesday, it was the former.
This past Wednesday, the long-awaited Avengers: Endless Wartime was released. And if you didn’t pick it up, well, today will have to do!