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!
Before Harry Potter There Was Timothy Hunter And The Books Of Magic On The Wednesday Run – January 30, 2013
A bespeckled and awkward twelve year-old boy (with parental issues no less) discovers that he’s possibly the world’s most powerful practitioner of magic. Oh! And he has an owl for a pet.
Sound remotely familiar?
For all intensive purposes, it shouldn’t. You see, it’s January 1990 – seven years before the publication of the first Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone – and the first issue of the four-issue mini series, The Books of Magic, is being published by Vertigo Comics. And its black-haired, skateboarding, main protagonist, the kid that would be eclipsed the world over by the fictional lightning-shaped scarred forehead of Harry, is named Timothy Hunter.
It’s not like this is revisionist history. No, The Books of Magic was an absolutely beautiful series – and proved to be an enormous missed opportunity for Vertigo/DC Comics and their parent company, Warner Brothers.
I tell ‘ya, there’s always something interesting to pick up at your local comic book shop on a Wednesday.
Action. Adventure. Mystery. Horror. Drama: super-powered heroes with masks, capes and spandex tights; regular sorts of people making their way in the world, falling in love and then out of it; espionage and the political machinations between government states; speculative, futurist fiction that educates us on today’s prevalent issues; gun-toting schemers and the people charged in bringing them to justice.
Yep. The local comic book shop has them all on a Wednesday.
For some people, that might mean picking up The Boys #72, Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson’s final issue of their treatise on superheroes, celebrity and debauchery!
For others, that could mean hurriedly picking up Batman #14 and finding out what writer Scott Snyder, artist Greg Capullo – and the insanely evil Joker – have really done to Alfred!
For me, Wednesday, November 14 means racing to the local shop and grabbing the critically acclaimed 1999 crime series, Scene of the Crime.
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!
One of the most interesting comic book series from the early part of the past decade was Warren Ellis and John Cassaday’s creator-owned series, Planetary, published by Wildstorm, a company subsequently bought by DC Comics. Interestingly, the series began in 1999 but went on extended hiatus a few years later due to illness and other obligations by the creators. During Planetary’s multi-year disappearance from comic book store shelves, the series gained strong and resilient cult notoriety. Fans clamoured for the “last” issue that would wrap up the genre crossing, conspiratorial, long-form science fiction storyline.
I really got into the series during this period: a comic book whose single most important theme was that of the multiverse.
Main superhuman “planetary” investigators Elijah Snow, Jakita Wagner and The Drummer would jump from universe to universe in various adventures wherein each reality was slightly askew from the last in an effort to battle against an unseen enemy that threatened the existence of all permutations of existence.
And that’s how a creator-owned series tied into everyone’s favourite Dark Knight.
Originally published as a standalone one-shot in 2003, Planetary/Batman: Night On Earth gets the deluxe hardcover treatment today. The story sees the main characters travel through various renditions of Gotham City, encountering a Batman that matches his original 1939 persona (created by the legendary Bob Kane), a 1960’s pop-culture version (a la Adam West) and a 1980’s grim and gritty interpretation (courtesy of Frank Miller).
If you’re keen on getting schooled in the various artistic turns that Batman has had though the ages, a lesson hidden inside an action-packed, sci-fi genre tale, make the run to your local comic shop and pick this book up.
Oh! And then pick up copies of the Planetary trade paperbacks or Absolute hardcover editions that collect the regular series. Ellis and Cassaday finished the series, you see. Issue #27 finally came out to adoring masses in late 2009.
That last issue didn’t disappoint either. Not in any universe.