Column: Tweeting 19 Reviews! Don't Ask, Just Read!

By Andrew A. Smith
Scripps Howard News Service

Sept. 15, 2009 -- As practice for Twitter – which apparently is going to take over the world – I’m going to pretend I’m tweeting and do all of my reviews this week in 140 characters or less. While that necessarily means shallow content, it does have the benefit of blazing through a tremendous amount of review material at one whack.

Can I do it? Is this a stupid idea not worth doing? Let’s find out!

* Wednesday Comics Nos. 9-12 (of 12, DC Comics, $3.99 each): The Sunday funnies as they never were, but should have been. Don’t question weird format, support this experiment w/your dollars! (97 characters)

* Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Tarzan: The Jesse Marsh Years, Vol. 3 (Dark Horse, $49.95): Los Hernandez Bros (“Love and Rockets”) keep bragging in Forewords on artist Marsh from the ‘50s, but so far he’s boring. Maybe Vol. 4? (135)

* Batman: Mad Love and Other Stories (DC Comics, $19.99): Award-winning stories & creators (Dini & Timm from Batman animated series). Origin of Harley Quinn. Gorgeous, funny, sad. Buy it. (129)

* 100% (Vertigo, $39.99): Pros love writer/artist Paul Pope. I find his art ugly; stories pretentious. This SF story about 5 folks intersecting in 2038 no exception. (139)

* Marvel Masterworks: Golden Age Young Allies Vol. 1 (Marvel Publishing, $59.99): First 4 issues of '40s Nazi-fighting kid gang with 2 super-sidekicks (Bucky, Toro). Kinda boring, really. Black character Whitewash painful. (140)

* The Sandman (DC Comics, $39.99): Complete Joe Simon/Jack Kirby stories of costumed adventurer & sidekick from 1940s "Adventure." Buy for Kirby art; stories are generic. (136)

* Is it cheating 2 do 2nd tweet on “Wednesday Comics”? 2 bad. Wide variety of material, top-flight creators, nostalgic format. Pls support! (137)

* Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea: The Complete Series, Volume One (Hermes Press, $49.99): First 6 issues of Dell adaptation of 1960s TV series. Bland but charming Silver Age silliness. Vol 2 will complete series. (123)

* Secret Six: Unhinged (DC Comics, $14.99): "Secret Six" 1-7. Supervillains on road trip are funny, violent, evil, sexy, human. Writer Simone has us rooting for sociopaths. Brilliant! (139)

* Arlene’s Heart (NBM, $24.95): Gorgeous art. Pretentious story about mastectomy as metaphor for alienation. Unreadable. Juvenile self-absorption. Wife also disliked it. (138)

* Gotham Central Book Two: Jokers and Madmen (DC Comics, $29.99): Life on Gotham City PD. Aren’t U curious? “Law & Order” meets The Joker. Series canceled too soon, so see what you missed w/these reprints. (139)

* Air: Letters from Lost Countries (Vertigo, $9.99): Imaginative, “magical realism” story mesmerizing; Arabian Nights meets Pan Am. But stiff, scratchy art is big hurdle to understanding. (134)

* Sleeper Season One (WildStorm, $24.99): Backdrop: Spy v. Spy with superpowers. Hero: Moral guy doing immoral acts as double agent with scary bad guys. Where's the line? Riveting. (138)

* Tom Strong: The Deluxe Edition, Vol. 1 (WildStorm, $39.99):
Alan Moore homage to pulp heroes. Doc Savage-type hero fights crime with science, family, robot, talking ape. Beautiful art, pure fun. (134)

* North 40 Nos. 1-2 (Vertigo, $2.99 each): New horror series. Small Texas town sent to, basically, Twilight Zone. People mutate. Evil magic works. Good guys scared. Great premise, ready for more. (133)

* Preacher Book One (Vertigo, $39.99): Reprinting series about preacher (and vampire) in search of God to answer for human suffering. V profane. If that’s no prob, you’ll enjoy.(138)

* Red Prophet: Tales of Alvin Maker Volume One (Marvel Publishing, $19.99): Alternative history by master Orson Scott Card. “Mohicans” setting where magic works. Art plain but competent. Bad guy is Wm Henry Harrison! (140)

* Courtney Crumrin and the Prince of Nowhere (Oni Press, $5.95): Vampires, warlocks, ghost children and a sad little girl who hides pain behind sarcasm. "Crumrin" has genuine heart. Sad in good way. (133)

* The Nobody (Vertigo, $19.99): Have reviewed before. New release? Still good story; “Invisible Man” meets small-town Wisconsin. Believable teen protagonist. Sad, achy. (136)

* Classics Illustrated Deluxe: Tales from the Brothers Grimm (Papercutz, $13.95): Classic fables (like “Hansel & Gretel”) adapted to comics by top-flight Euro artists. Beautiful and rewarding for kids and adults. (130)

* Must praise "Wednesday Comics” again. Supergirl story is funny misadventure about pet-sitting Krypto, Streaky. I want more, so buy lots. (137)

Whew! I’m exhausted. But feel free to retweet any of these mini-reviews – after all, isn’t that what Twitter is for?

Contact Andrew A. Smith of the Memphis Commercial Appeal at capncomics@aol.com.

Views: 176

Comment by Joan Carr on September 16, 2009 at 3:16pm
Ha, ha! Twitter rules! It really makes you succinct!

I love Supergirl in "Wednesday Comics!" Of course, how can you go wrong with a story about a super dog and cat? The storytelling and art are fantastic, especially the issue where Supergirl meets Aquaman to ask him for his help with the wayward Superpets. So funny!

I like the Batman story, too...it's very noirish.

I can't say enough about how I hated "Arlene's Heart." Just awful! I knew it was going to be artsy, but I thought it might explore the idea of breast cancer as a metaphor for heartbreak or something. Believe me, it didn't even make that much sense. Don't know how it ever got published.

Fun Twitter reviews!
Comment by Mark Sullivan (Vertiginous Mod) on September 16, 2009 at 3:21pm
I liked Air a lot, and didn't have any problem with the art. It's certainly stylized, but wasn't confusing for me. Paul Pope is an acquired taste I guess, but I've acquired it, and 100% is my favorite project of his (although there's lots of THB I haven't seen--waiting for the long-promised collected edition). So if you don't like that one... North 40 sounds interesting, but it's Wildstorm, not Vertigo.
Comment by Travis Herrick (Modular Mod) on September 16, 2009 at 4:34pm
I agree with Mark about Air, I had no problem with the art.
Totally agree with Cap about Paul Pope though. I simply can't stand his art...
Comment by Doc Beechler (mod-MD) on September 16, 2009 at 4:39pm
I really enjoy Paul Pope's art...it looks just like him.
Comment by Mark Sullivan (Vertiginous Mod) on September 16, 2009 at 4:50pm
Paul Pope's art really does look like him, literally. His male protagonists tend to look a lot like self-portraits.
Comment by Captain Comics on September 16, 2009 at 5:27pm
I always thought Pope's male characters all looked like Mick Jagger. Maybe he does, too!
Comment by Figserello on September 16, 2009 at 7:32pm
Paul Pope's art really does look like him, literally. His male protagonists tend to look a lot like self-portraits.

A lot of artists look very like their artwork. For one thing a lot of comics artists keep a mirror handy for drawing certain facial expressions.

And their fallback body-type tends to be similar to their own.

Jack Kirby's characters tend to look like short and compact little scrappin' dynamos, just like him. The guys who put Orion in the cartoon with Superman initially wanted to have him the way Jack drew him, but he would have looked about 2 foot shorter than Superman.

And Cap, I'm picking up vibes somehow that you might like Wednesday Comics and don't particularly like Paul Pope's work. So what do you think of his Adam Strange? I'm enjoying it. for me the style is a nice departure from the others , but I'm getting mixed up between his insane despotic monkeys and Kamandi's insane despotic monkeys. The old archeologist/young hero was a good twist too. Perhaps a jibe at aging fandom?
Comment by Figserello on September 16, 2009 at 7:33pm
And I have no idea how twitter works. Does it have something to do with your mobile phone?

This fan is certainly aging rapidly!
Comment by Travis Herrick (Modular Mod) on September 16, 2009 at 8:31pm
A lot of artists look very like their artwork.

That is certainly true. When Skottie Young was doing the Human Torch I thought he looked exactly like Skottie Young
Comment by PowerBook Pete, the Mad Mod on September 16, 2009 at 8:36pm
But feel free to retweet any of these mini-reviews – after all, isn’t that what Twitter is for?

I started to, but your character counts are off. You have to count spaces, too, on Twitter.

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