In this week’s Heroes and Villains we have a flying woman and some amateur detective work on my part. Read on and all will be revealed.
From the publisher, “In Chicago, an unknown woman appears flying at speeds of 120 miles per hour and at heights reaching 2,000 feet. Then she suddenly dies in a fiery explosion mid-air. No one knows who she was, how she flew, or why. Luna, a disturbed 15-year-old girl becomes obsessed with learning everything about her while rumors and conspiracy theories roil.”
I was admittedly intrigued by the above description of this book (not to mention the praise from industry heavies that were attached to the advance copy) and I breathed a sigh of relief when I discovered the hype was real.
The description provides an adequate 2,000 foot view of the story but when I was able to get up close to it I found something much more than just a flying woman. What I got was a very raw portrayal of the horrors of adolescence and under diagnosed mental illness.
The art, described by Preacher’s Garth Ennis as “very tasty,” was what I would call visceral…in the best possible way. Luna has what could be described as day dreams but they are more accurately waking nightmares about her family, teachers, and self. All of them pushing her towards the edge.
It’s not all cactus eating, however. The book presents other (not yet connected) characters in tiny, quiet moments. There’s such a familiar normalcy in these interactions that they feel almost out of place in a book about a flying woman. These moments provide a wonderful counterbalance to the otherwise fantastical element of the story and really won me over.
Invisible 100-Page Giant
After last week’s column and my difficulty in finding the new DC/Walmart (I just discovered they dropped they hyphen some time ago) exclusive 100-Page Giant books, I decided to expand my search to additional stores.
While I found that the product placement for these issues was the same at all the stores, what I’m about to write next will shock you… They were all sold out. Every store I went to had zero copies left.
I was amazed, aghast, caught flat-footed. I was fully ready to admit I was wrong, that these books had found their intended audience, and that comics were once more for the kids.
But then I got to thinking.
It’s not often that I’m wrong and when I am wrong it’s usually catastrophic (“There’s no way he’ll win the election!” springs to mind). So after some silent contemplation and an animated discussion with my pal who works at a comic shop, a one word explanation was agreed upon.
Yes, the bane of the collecting community since the 1990’s. Speculators are comic book collectors that descend upon comic shops en masse to snatch up multiple copies of the same book in hopes that they will one day be able to flip the books for thousands or millions of dollars. The only problem with that is the bottom effectively fell out of the collecting market over two decades ago and the multiple copies of Jim Lee’s X-Men #1 you bought aren’t worth the paper they were printed on.
But that doesn’t stop them from hoping they’ll snag a copy of the next book that will set the industry on fire and become the next multimedia sensation (like The Walking Dead #1). Even if they had a crystal ball the NEXT BIG THING would still be impossible to predict.
Anyways, it was with a heavy heart that I then went to eBay and searched on “100-Page Giant” and found exactly what I did not want to find. Pages upon pages of the books I bought last week with asking prices of double or triple the cover. There was even some a-hole selling the cardboard stand (which should still be at the store for next month’s books) for $55. Unbelievable.
This is exactly why we can’t have nice things, comic book fans. I’m incredibly dejected by all of this. Yes, comics are for everybody but I can’t help but feel that these books never reached their intended audience of potential new readers AT ALL. I can only hope that Walmart will reorder these books in such numbers to take the speculators and their self-created secondary market out at the knees.