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Magazines, novels, articles, poetry, interviews or other textual (and sometimes illustrated) media that's currently caught the mind of Adam Creighton ...

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Marvel Team-Up

I just read Marvel Team-Up #7 (Spider-Man and Moon Knight) and Ultimate Marvel Team-Up #10 (Spider-Man and Man-Thing), which came with my recent Marvel Legends eBay acquisitions of the Moon Knight variant and Man-Thing.

Marvel Team-Up #7 is written by Robert Kirkman, who I really like.

His writing is fun, solid, complex but not convoluted, and he has some fun with Ringmaster, and Spider-Man getting chatty with Moon Knight. I'm not crazy about some of MK's dialogue, but that's probably just me.

It's illustrated by Scott Kolins, with whom I (honestly) go back and forth. I don't know why. Maybe it's just a matter of his style applied to some content that seems not-good disjoint with me. Here, it's fine. I like his Moon Knight, Spider-Man, and Ringmaster; I'm a bit blase on his Mary Jane and Peter Parker. And there are lot of panels with just figures -- no background. Not sure if that's stylistic or lazy (says the guy who can't draw).

My peeve about this issue is it's just about getting to #11 for the "real team-up".

Ultimate Marvel Team-Up #10 is way less interesting to me. Writer Brian Michael Bendis is a superstar, but why recreate a core character (the trademark of the non-continuity "Ultimate" universe) -- in this case, the Lizard -- that's counter to the original character? What, for the sake of recreating them? That's more Glen Murakami than Bruce Timm.

And there's no real team-up between Spider-Man and Man-Thing. Just an incongruent, unimportant same-place meeting that's probably there to further a plot device outside of the issue.


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Friday, April 20, 2007

The Contract with God Trilogy: Life on Dropsie Avenue (Will Eisner)

I've been wanting to read Will Eisner's seminal works (A Contract With God, A Life Force, and Dropsie Avenue) for some time.

So I was excited to stumble across the The Contract with God Trilogy: Life on Dropsie Avenue hardcover, which collects all three.

This is raw, heady, sentimental, and sobering stuff.

Collecting a series of stories set almost exclusively in a single Bronx tenement (and largely during the Depression era), the book is nearly 500 pages of brilliantly interwoven slice-of-life.

Themes and topics are diverse and gutsy, from race relations, the rise of unions, infidelity, the Stock Market crash, Prohibition-era runners, classicism, and the like.

Eisner's own summary of three books puts A Contract With God as an exploration of the relationship between God and man; A Life Force as an exploration of aging and the ephemeral nature of life; and "Dropsie Avenue is a story of life, death, and resurrection."

All three works are a stunning mix of history, biography, and autobiography (actual and creatively licensed).

A Contract With God was published in 1978, based on a lifetime of work and living. All stories are written in graphical format, and Eisner is arguably the father of the modern graphic novel. And because of the heady content and importance of his work, I've tagged this post as "literature", in addition to "comic books" -- if for no other reason than connotation. And this is adult fair -- not family-bound "funny pages".

For me, this was a solid, important read, and well worth the investment.

As an aside, Montilla Pictures's documentary film, "Will Eisner, The Spirit of an Artistic Pioneer," was accepted into this year's Tribeca Film Festival.

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Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Joss Whedon

I've been reading Joss Whedon (Buffy, Firefly; Serenity) over in Astonishing X-Men, and now that he's picked up Runaways (starting with ish #25) at Marvel and is doing the "Official" Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8" over at Darkhorse, I am a happy, happy fanboy.

I really wasn't expecting much out of Buffy. Dunno why, since Fray rocks, but I didn't see how a TV series season 8 could come to fruition in a monthly.

How wrong I was.

This is Whedon, for crying out loud -- so he gets dialog, he gets the characters, he gets the characterization he and the actors brought to the series.

Signature cool, quirky, subversive, action-packed, horrific stuff.

For me, the jury's still out on Runaways. I mean, it's good, solid stuff, and great Joss dialog, but for me it's the weakest of his current comic series. Admittedly, this may be because I'm not lifetime-familiar with the characters like I am X-Men and Buffy. Still good stuff, the dialog moves quickly, and the cliffhanger splash page makes me think this run is going to go well.

And, all in all, each series is well worthwhile.

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