Friday, December 19, 2008

Baggage Check - Silverfish, City of Crime

It's just starting to snow here in NYC, and they're calling for 3-6 inches today, followed by some sleet and ice tonight, so while I'm sequestered inside, why not do a little more comics blogging.

* Still no idea when Sequart will be back, but the word is that it's not good. I know Julian Darius, the site's creator and technical mastermind, is working hard on it, and it will be back eventually, but unfortunately I don't have any estimate on how long it'll be.

* Looking for some holiday gifts? I have some cheap comics auctions up on Ebay, including a complete set of Warren Ellis's Fell, Lethem's Omega the Unknown, etc. Check back because I hope to list several more sets over the holidays. ***UPDATE***: Auctions ended, but more should be up just after the new year, so please check back.

* I stayed up late last night reading Silverfish by David Lapham, which was just released in paperback this week, although the hardcover came out late in 07. This is accurately described on the back cover as a movie on paper, and if you're even the most casual fan of Lapham's work, this is definitely worth checking out. The story feels like something straight out of Stray Bullets, actually, a noirish suburban crime thriller with what I think is Lapham's best artwork to date. The story unfolds nicely, building tension with each page, and, as with all Lapham's stories, leaves you with no happy endings. I won't spoil it, but I highly recommend it.

* Incidentally, I'm also going back and finally reading Lapham's 12-part Batman epic, "City of Crime," which was serialized in Detective Comics in 2005 and may or may not be available in trade (though it should be). I'm only about halfway through the story, but what's noteworthy is Ramon Bachs incredible artwork, which in my opinion, is better than any Batman artist in recent memory, save perhaps J.H. Williams story with Grant Morrison. I'll post more coherent thoughts on this story once I finish it, but I'm really digging it right now. ***UPDATE***: What is it about superhero comics that no matter how intriguing the beginning is, they always disappoint in the ending? Is it the fact that no matter where they start, they always have to end in status quo? Or is it that the ultimate destination is always just some big alpha-male slugfest with the title hero's triumph a foregone conclusion? I'm not saying I'm surprised that I was disappointed by the ending, because of course, what else did I expect? But it is frustrating to invest twelve issues worth of time and money for nothing. Admittedly, I bought these several years ago, and since then, I have essentially stopped buying superhero comics (with the exception of Ed Brubaker's Daredevil - which honestly is not up to his usual standards, and Ex Machina - which is just a habit at this point because the series is mediocre at best). Anyway, Lapham's "City of Crime" held my interest through the first 9 parts or so, before it slipped into convoluted cliches and excessively wordy, barely coherent exposition. The artwork also felt more rushed in the final chapters, and much of the detail and precision that made it so enjoyable in the first place was lost. Overall, it was just another in a long, long list of forgettable Batman stories destined for the Ebay pile.

* I'm going to try to catch up on a lot of reading in the next couple weeks, so I expect I'll do a fair bit of blogging, and will also post my annual Best-Of list probably the first week of January. I've heard all the arguments against these kinds of list - no one can read everything, how can you compare one artwork to another, etc. - but at the end of the day, I look at it like this: it's fun, it's interesting, and all I'm trying to do is bring a little attention to a few books I liked.

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