Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Wednesday Comics

I realize that it’s unusual to post about a single issue of a comic book series, but when the series stands as clearly apart as this one does, I think it merits the attention. DC Comics has a love affair with experimental formats and with bridging the past with the present. Some of their experiments have worked wondrously (most notably the Morrison/Rucka/Waid/Johns/Giffen weekly comics joint 52), some have failed miserably (the 52 follow-up Countdown to Final Crisis), and some have died of attrition and neglect (the seldom-remembered Action Comics Weekly, published WAY back in the 80s).

Fortunately, the powers that be at DC still hope to reignite the passion and wonder that kids and former kids used to have when seeing their favorite comics characters in print. It is that spirit of yesteryear that fuels the publication of Wednesday Comics, and the series looks to be a phenomenal success.

A throwback to simpler times in every way, DC’s Wednesday Comics is published on full-sized, 14”x20” newsprint and features weekly installments of 15 famous (and not so famous) DC characters. Each character has his/her own creative team in charge of producing one full page of story per week for the full 12 week run of the series. While this limits the amount of story that can be told each week, it broadens the horizons for the artists, who are free to create large, flashy splash pages using a variety of layout techniques. The art, in spite of the low quality paper, is spectacular and will immediately remind older readers of mornings spent poring over the exploits of such characters as Prince Valiant and Dick Tracy in the Sunday funnies.

Since this is only the first issue, it remains to be seen which of the 15 serialized stories will rise above the others, but early favorites include Neil Gaiman and Mike Allred’s Metamorpho: The Element Man strip, Paul Pope’s Strange Adventures featuring pulp hero Adam Strange, and artist extraordinaire Kyle Baker’s Hawkman.

As is fitting for any DC publication, Superman and Batman each have a dedicated page (the latter nearly stealing the show with its noir-inspired artwork courtesy of Eduardo Risso), and well-known characters such as Wonder Woman, Supergirl, the Flash, the Teen Titans and Green Lantern also have their own features.

For readers who already love comics, this series is a must-read. For those who have limited exposure to comic books, Wednesday Comics’ short-burst storytelling style is the perfect way to introduce the DC pantheon of characters. DC’s Wednesday Comics pushes comics forwards by looking backwards.

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Jesse said...

Just picked up a copy today (Wednesday, natch). It's gorgeous.

SkinnerBox said...

Agreed. Strange to think of this as potentially the future of comics - but if they can keep up this level of quality, I'm all for it.