Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Superman Strength #1 McCloud, Amancio and Austin

Scott McCloud does Jack Kirby. That about sums it up. Fun writing and great layouts, both by McCloud. The finished art doesn't thrill me as much. Aluir Amancio is doing a passable Kirby, but it's got something else over the top of it. I see some McCloud in there, which makes sense since he did the layouts, but there's something else that doesn't quite fit and it makes everything feel off to me. Terry Austin's inks are tight, but everything looks a little shiny, especially Superman. He looks like he's made of steel of something. Not too obvious, huh?

The best thing the book has going for it is McCloud's new villain. A Kirby bad guy if ever there was one and the best kind of nemesis for Superman. The kind that uses his brain to outwit the Man of Steel. And he does, is a very Kirbyesque manner. It's fun. Goofy, but fun. I'm going to stick with it. If you like big, goofy, bombastic superhero comics give it a look.

Doctor Solar Man of the Atom Volume 1

When I was 8 or 9 years old, my best friend showed me an old comic he had. It was old to us anyway. It was an early issue of Doctor Solar. I don't know what issue it was, but it blew my socks off. I'd never seen anything like it. The cover was the first thing that grabbed my feverish kid brain. I'd never seen a painted cover before. And the insides. Whoa. This was not what I was used to reading in Marvel comics. It wasn't John Romita and it definitely wasn't Jack Kirby.

It was years before I saw another issue of Solar. I'd looked as a kid but never been able to find any. Now I hold in my hot little hands the first volume of Dark Horse Archives' Doctor Solar Man of the Atom and I couldn't be more pleased. It's better that I remember.

The covers are amazing, especially the first 2 by Richard Powers. Powers was a mainstay of the SF paperback market for years and his first two covers for Solar set the tone for the entire series. Likewise Bob Fujitani's interior work for the first 5 issues. Just plain great comics. George Wilson took over the covers and Frank Bolle did the insides and both did a great job in maintaining the quality established by their predecessors.

The real hero though, was Paul S. Newmanm, the writer. Newman was the most prolific comic writer in comics, having over 4100 stories published in the course of his career. He brought all of that talent and professionalism to bear on Solar. These stories are just plain cool. Especially the early issues before Solar got his costume. Those are pure science fiction adventure stories. When I was a kid I liked the costume. As an adult I prefer the early stuff. Both are fun to read. Highly recommended.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Comics 1/05/2005, 1/12/2005 and 1/19/2005

It's a brand new year and I'm already way behind. Here are are the books from the past three weeks in no particular order.

The Ultimates 2 #2
The Pulse #7
The Incredible Hulk #77
Soulsearchers and Company #69
Simon Spector Issue 1
Angel Stomp Future Issue 1
Strangers in Paradise #70
Powers #8
Trigger #2
Wolverine #24
Ultimate Spider-Man #71
B.P.R.D. The Dead #3
Fables #33
The New Avengers #2
Superman Strength #1
Green Lantern Rebirth #3
Doctor Solam Man of the Atom Volume One

Reviews to follow.