Heroes & Villains Finds Fun Stuff In Fairlady, Webs Up Peter David’s Symbiote Spider-Man

The weather has finally decided to start acting spring-like in my little corner of Nowhere, Michigan. So, of course, that means I’ve been battling a hell-virus for the last eight days and there’s snow in the forecast for later this week. Will I have to fire up my trusty snowmobile to get to the theatre for Avengers: Endgame? Watch this space for details. 

This week is kind of on the light side for new stuff, but what it lacks in quantity it more than makes up for in quantity. 

Fairlady #1
Brian Schirmer (W)
Claudia Balboni (A)
Image Comics

I’m sure I’ve gone into it before, but I’m not much of fantasy person as far as genres go. There was a window somewhere between grade school and junior high when I hitched my wagon to the sci-fi train and never looked back. I found Lord of the Rings impenetrable and D&D seemed to be the upper echelon of nerdery that was eternally out of my reach. 

Books like Fairlady are changing that for me. For starters, it was a lot of fun to read and I didn’t feel like I had to memorize The Silmarillion or suffer through Tom Bombadil’s song to fully appreciate it. There’s two brief paragraphs of text that give you all the information you need to know when diving into the book and you’re on your way. Sheer elegance in its brevity.

The “A” cover of the book is very inviting as  (Balboni & Louise: I see what you did there and I appreciate it) and it’s emblazoned with a stamp every new reader wants to see: “Contains A Complete Fairlady Mystery!” The promise of solitary story! No “part 3 of 7” or something else indicating that the comic is coming with a bunch of strings attached. Buying new books can be daunting for first time readers, not to mention seasoned comic book fans, and it’s always nice to grab something that’s unencumbered with 80+ years of continuity.

Speaking of continuity, the world of Fairlady is about as fully-formed as they come and the way in which it’s presented both in the script and in the art made me want to know more about it. The city of The Feld feels like it has at least a 12 issue maxi-series attached to it. I’m not going to delve into spoiler territory at all, but you’ll know what I’m talking about when you see it.

So what’s it all about? Well, Schirmer’s pitch in the backmatter of the book describes it as “a gender-swapped Magnum, P.I. in a post-War-of-the Ring world.” If that’s not enough to sell you on this book then I don’t know what is. I mean…Magnum! There’s also a ton of bonus stuff in this book. Sketches, a letter column, some prose…all great stuff AND it’s only $3.99! 

If you’re a fantasy novice like me or you’re looking for a new book to get into you definitely have to give Fairlady a go. 

Symbiote Spider-ManSymbiote Spider-Man #1
Peter David (W)
Iban Coello, Greg Land (A)
Marvel Comics

Hey! Would you look at that…a Marvel book! As readers of this column well know, I tend to stick to new stuff from publishers outside of Marvel and DC. They don’t really need my help, do they? But every so often, something comes along that I just have to talk about because I am not immune to the charms of my favorite comic book characters doing cool stuff. 

Yes, the bulk of my comic book reading outside of this column still consists of super hero books and I think I’ve found a good balance between cool “indie” books and the super heroics I know and love. 

My go-to Marvel hero (like many of you, I’m sure) has always been Spider-Man. Admittedly, I’m not keeping up with Peter Parker’s monthly adventures like I once did, but I know I can snag one of his monthly books and that I’ll be guaranteed a good time. I mean, I had (HAD, not have) Spider-Man Underoos as a kid so it’s safe to say I’m pretty well indoctrinated. 

That brings me to Symbiote Spider-Man #1, which is hitting stands today. As I type this Im anxiously awaiting delivery of my copy and it’s going to be first on my list of books to read tonight. Why? Peter David, that’s why. 

David is not just one of my all-time favourite Spidey writers, but he’s one of my all-time favourite comic book writers. I have a very vivd memory of picking up the first issue of his and Larry Stroman’s X-Factor from a corner store on the way home from school. I had always loved comics, but up until that point I had no idea they could be a fun as David made them.

From that point I began taking more notice of the creative teams that were assigned to the books I was reading. I came to find out that David had written a fair few of the books I had in my collection AND he had scores of Star Trek novels to his name (Trek being my other great love at the time)! A prized possession of mine is my autographed copy of the Star Trek New Frontier omnibus he signed for me at Motor City Comic Con years and years ago. I long for CBS All Access to commission a New Frontier TV show.

But I digress. David has had excellent runs on Spider-Man 2099 (as he should, being the co-creator and all), Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man,  and most recently Scarlet Spider, the latter of which I feel ended a bit prematurely, but what an ending! So, I’m comfortable in saying that if you see a Spidey book with his name attached to it’s mandatory you check it out.

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