If you give an acclaimed writer/artist a pencil, a pen, a sheet of blank paper, a stable of beloved comic book characters to choose from amidst carte blanche direction, you’re bound to get something very, very special in return.
Comic book and sequential art fans are the true recipients of that extraordinary product, and, in 2004 through 2006, that’s exactly what happened. Thousands of story and art aficionados came together in love and wonderment over the DC Comics bi-monthly series called Solo.
If you were there the first time around, care for a return?
If you’re new to the idea of Solo, today, you’re in for a real treat!
Written by: Various
Illustrated by: Various
Published by: DC Comics
Under the stewardship of DC Comics Editorial Art Director, Mark Chiarello (who would go on to lead 2009’s acclaimed Wednesday Comics weekly anthology series in broadsheet format, meant to be read like an open newspaper), Solo celebrated the writer/artist creator, telling tales in double-sized issues with no boundaries and no advertisements. It was an artistic achievement that lasted 12 issues, winning three Eisner Awards in the process.
Twelve different creators were highlighted in the genre project – all fan favourites including some living legends! The diverse set included: Tim Sale, Paul Pope, Howard Chaykin, Darwyn Cooke, Mike Allred, Sergio Aragones and Brendan McCarthy.
Solo, in a way, is a twenty-first century answer to DC’s Showcase series from the 1980’s. Where Showcase highlighted up and coming talent, Solo gave talent room to breath with their art and their storytelling. It was a way for them to tell the kinds of stories they always wanted to tell about their favourite DC characters – without the constraints and burdens of history and editorial interference.
As mentioned, Solo went on to win three Eisner awards in 2006: Best Short Story for “Teenage Sidekick” by Paul Pope in Solo #3, Best Single Issue for Solo #5 by Darwyn Cooke (who went on to create the beloved New Frontier series for DC), and, of course, Best Anthology. Today sees the release of the beautiful deluxe hardcover edition of Solo – all 568 pages of the series.
Interestingly, other renowned artists that were to originally work on their own Solo tales included: Brian Bolland, Dave Gibbons, John Cassaday, Bill Sienkiewicz, Walt Simonson, Bruce Timm, George Pratt and Matt Wagner among others. It makes you think there might be a sequel in the offing one day…
Until then, make the run to your local comic book shop and pick up the deluxe edition hardcover of Solo. You won’t be alone in your absolute adoration of this book!
Every Wednesday, JP makes the after-work run to his local downtown comic book shop. Comics arrive on Wednesdays you see and JP, fearful that the latest issue will sell out, rushes out to purchase his copy. This regular, weekly column will highlight a particularly interesting release, written in short order, of course, because JP has to get his – before someone else does!