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

Views: 257

Comment by Luke Blanchard on September 16, 2009 at 10:37pm
Regarding Jesse Marsh's Tarzan, take another look at the "Ape-English Dictionary" pages. They're often quite beautifully drawn. Or check out the impressive panel here - no date given, unfortunately.

He reminds me of Alex Toth. I can appreciate the work but don't find it as exciting as I want to. I like Gaylord Du Bois's use of story elements from Burroughs's books.
Comment by Captain Comics on September 16, 2009 at 10:57pm
The way I counted my mini-reviews was to cut-and-paste them into Twitter and subtract the count (if it was positive) from 140. I didn't count anything -- I let Twitter do it. You're not counting the parts in bold, are you?
Comment by Randy Jackson on September 16, 2009 at 11:36pm
A few tweets of my own:

Can't go wrong with Courtney Crumrin. Can't.

Have a very religious friend who loved Preacher.

Gotham Central: For everyone who wonders what it's like to be a cop in a superhero universe. Well written, too, despite Rucka's indulgences.
Comment by PowerBook Pete, the Mad Mod on September 17, 2009 at 9:21am
I was counting the titles, yes.
Comment by Joan Carr on September 17, 2009 at 10:27am
Oh, yeah, PBP. I forgot about that, too.
Comment by Jeff of Earth-J on September 17, 2009 at 2:45pm
It strikes me that writing twitter reviews is an interesting exercise... like writing reviews in haiku form... but otherwise not very useful. Heh. Y'know, it's funny... I just recently ran afoul of this board's personal message limit (it's 1000 characters, BTW), but 140? Forget it!


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