Wednesday, July 02, 2008

New Comics Day

A couple new books and a leftover.

Shazam
Hellcat
Final Crisis

Treat of the week goes to Billy Batson and the Magic of Shazam!, under the Johnny DC imprint. Which supposedly means it's for kids, but whatever. The book is written and drawn by Mike Kunkel, who if you reach back a bit you'll recall garnered attention for his full-hearted and lovingly illustrated Hero Bear and the Kid. Kunkel shines on Shazam with a fresh style rarely captured in other "animated" books. It's just a shame DC chose to go on the cheap, printing on the lowest quality paper possible. You can tell there's some great coloring going on, but it's all but washed out by the tawdry newsprint pulp. Some comics look great on that paper, but I think Kunkel's work deserved a little more attention. Tho it's a pretty good bet the book's initial run will be collected and hopefully printed on nicer fare. Definitely give the first issue a look, tho. But in a strange way DC seems to be shooting themselves in the foot. They want to market single issues to younger readers, but almost assuredly are counting on regular readers to beef up sales. And those readers (like me) will be turned off by the low quality stock and possibly (like me) would rather wait for the trade. Yet sales need to be good enough to warrant that trade in the first place, or at least they used to be... ugh, what a mess. Anyways it's a very, very cool looking book. I think it could have just as easily been marketed to kids as a thicker volume at a higher price with nicer paper, the floppy only features house ads so there's no ad revinue coming in there. And if I were a parent, I'd rather spend 10 bucks on 3 isuues worth of nice stuff than 3 bucks on a single floppy.

Hellcat is a nice debut from artist David Lafuente, with some great pages, a slick style, and primo colors by John Rauch. Unfortunately the story by Katherine Immonen is disjointed and hard to follow. Presumably Hellcat has this aloof, multiple personality thing going on, somewhat introduced in the Hellcat minis from Marvel Comics Presents earlier this year. I wonder if it's been taken too far for the debut issue, since it reads like Patsy Walker/Hellcat is having conversations in her head that we are not privy too by the way most of her dialog comes across. Really nice art but I did not get that first issue hook.

Apparently Final Crisis #2 shipped last week. I didn't even notice. Honest. But I picked it up this week and it is still weird and interesting, tho I'm kind of wondering when all the cool stuff is supposed to happen. So far Martian Manhunter and Orion are dead, Batman has been captured, and an Alpha Lantern has been compromised. Not at all what I would expect from an "event comic," least of all from Morrison.

BTW, Batman RIP, WTF??

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