Good evening, boils and ghouls, and welcome to the weekly haul. It’s been a busy week here at the swamp mansion, I’ve been re-wiring the lab here with this 17th century equipment I picked up in that castle estate sale in Switzerland, and on top of that I am sick as a dog. I’ve got the rockin’ pneumonia, I need a shot of rhythm n’ blues. Some days I’m well enough to putter around the lab, others, I can’t get out of bed. But being bed-ridden, I’ve had a lot more time to read, so let’s take a look at the stash this week, shall we?
As you can see Mr. Kittycat Jackson is relaxing inside his cardboard fortess with last week’s haul. We swung by the old trading post in the northern swamps where we picked up JLA vol. 2 by Grant Morrison and Howard Porter, and Spook House #3 from Eric Powell. JLA is is an excellent series from the mid 90’s that I’ve been reading intermittently this past year, it was Grant Morrison’s run that reunited the original 1960 Justice League line up of Superman, Wonder Woman, Batman, Flash, Green Lantern, Aquaman, and Martian Manhunter. What I love about this series is what Morrison does best, which is big, cool, comic-booky ideas, with great little character moments. He is a master of painting enormous mysterious pictures in your head with small two-to-three word combinations like “The Anti-Sun”. He sends these silver age characters on dimension-spanning odysseys elevating them to a mythological status (a trick he shamelessly cribs from Jack Kirby), and has just as much fun with smaller details like the Martian Manhunter using his shape-shifting ability to re-shape his brain like the Joker’s in order to think like him, or Lex Luthor trying to dismantle the Justice League with the tactics of a corporate takeover, or the idea that the Atom, when meeting the personification of death, “Like a good scientist, asks a question.”
Spookhouse continues to be a great horror anthology series, even for an all-ages book. Issue 3 here sports a very Return of the Living Dead cover for a very Sometimes They Come Back cover story written and drawn by Eric Powell. Most importantly, the third chapter in this issue is a great little story called Psychobilly Bat from Outer Space, written by Eric Powell, and drawn by my old fiend and goon-companion Ally Cat! Imagine my excitement to find a story by one of the greatest creators in comics today drawn by the woman I used to steal hubcaps with back in my drag racing days. She even makes a cameo appearance on page 3 up there! She used to sell me comics back when she worked in a shop I frequented years ago and now I’m buying stuff with her work in it, I cannot get over how cool that is. If you’re interested in more of her art you can see her portfolio here, and you can buy some of her excellent pins and prints at http://pompadorable.storenvy.com. I don’t normally do shameless plugs, but I do when my friends make good!
As I mentioned earlier, I’m more than a little under the weather this week, and as such, haven’t been able to go out and get new books. But our old friend Mr. Jackson (pictured above) stepped up like a true pal and trekked across the swamp to the nearest library to bring me a pile of trade paperbacks to keep me busy. Justice League vol. 2 The Villains Journey by Geoff Johns and Jim Lee was a fast, fun read for free. Essential Iron Fist vol. 1 I didn’t get too far in, but it’s got great 70’s Marvel stories by Roy Thomas, Len Wein, and Chris Claremont, with excellent art by Gil Kane. It may not be quite the same book as Ed Brubaker and Matt Fraction’s The Immortal Iron Fist (which is essential reading), but like I said, this is the sweet spot for weird wonderful 70’s Marvel stories. If you wanna see white guys write Shaw Brothers movies as superhero comics, you can can do no better.
Crisis on Infinite Earths by Marv Wolfman and George Pérez is oddly as interesting as it is kind of a slog to read through, if that’s not too much of a contradiction. This is the seminal DC mega-crossover event series, the kind of thing I normally despise in comics, and yet, it’s a fun and interesting story tying together all the loose ends in a sprawling and convoluted continuity. George Pérez is a lauded artist who I am mostly neutral on, but this strikes me as some of his better work. The issue for me is that this book is so dense, every page has an average of 12 panels and there’s so much text. It’s not as over written as Chris Claremont, but holy hell this thing takes it’s time. And lastly we have Grant Morrison’s Doom Patrol. This is one of the sacred texts I’ve never read before. It’s a really fun read full of big ideas that draw more from art, surrealism, alchemy, and occult inspirations than it does super hero comics. It is full of a lot of 90’s Goth-y angst, I get the feeling this book would have blown my mind if I read it in middle school, but it’s also not so cynical that it forgets to be fun. So far Doom Patrol is the most fun to read out of the whole bunch. Kudos to my fuzzy cat friend for carrying these heavy books through the swamp for me when I needed the distraction.
And that’s all for this week, Boo believers, I have to rest up and get back to re-assembling this ancient electrical equipment. Read some comics, make some mischief, and stay out of the sewers. See you next haul.