22 September 2008

Comicsin' It Up Volume 1

I consider myself a comics fan. Hardly an expert, though. There are a million things I haven't read. I've never gotten into the habit of actually buying comic books, either, mostly relying on what I find at the library, mostly trade paperback versions. There are several reasons for that. For one thing, English language comics aren't exactly available at every corner where I live, the selection of comics that get translated is fairly limited and I've never been that keen on translations anyway. But mostly I've never really had that much excess cash.

Strangely enough, I've only become a comics fan in my adult years. Of course I enjoyed comics as a kid, mostly reading humorous adventure stuff like Lucky Luke, Asterix and Tintin. Then in my late teens I discovered the world of Japanese comics. But it took me a long time to discover the more interesting, "grown-up" comics of the western market. Sandman was the one that first got me hooked. I'm a huge Neil Gaiman fan, so I decided I had to read it sooner or later, and was impressed. Then followed Hellblazer and Alan Moore's take on Swamp Thing...

Anyways, back to the real subject. Recently I raided local libraries for interesting comics that I hadn't read before. Some by authors or about characters I was familiar with, some entirely random picks.

The Goddess by Moebius was quite interesting. I enjoyed his drawing style as well. I can't believe I've never read anything by Moebius before. I'll have to keep an eye out for his works in the future.

The City, written by James Herbert, was amusing enough. Not the most original story of all time, but a suitably gruesome vision of a post-apocalyptic world.

Civil War from Marvel, written by Mark Millar, was quite cool. I'm not sure the story in itself was so amazing, but the idea of bringing together pretty much every big hero from the Marvel universe was simply insane. The art is quite good... but I'm not really sure I like the glossy, modern look. And the lettering is typeset. That's all wrong. Even though at first glance the font may look handwritten, it's just too even and clinical. It lacks soul. People don't appreciate quality lettering these days, which is a real pity.

Nightwing: Ties That Bind collects the first issues of Nightwing from DC, written by Alan Grant and Dennis O'Neil. I didn't know that Dick Grayson begun a career as Nightwing after leaving Batman. Shows just how little I know of even the most famous comics series. Artistically this collection, compared to Civil War, is very old school, even though it's from the mid 90s. And I almost like it better than many more modern comic books. It has real lettering, to boot. The story itself is pretty ordinary superhero stuff, nothing original, but entertaining enough.

I'm also getting acquainted with the works of domestic artist Petri Hiltunen, of whose comics I must shamefully admit I've read very little, despite having met him on a few occasions. Kuolleen jumalan palvelija, which draws influence from pulp fantasy, wasn't half bad. I also read the first Lordi comic, with which Hiltunen was also involved. That's likely to be of interest mostly to Lordi fans, though. Although it's largely the fact that the band members have cool fictional backgrounds that made me a fan...

This'll do for now. But I've still got a big pile of comics waiting, so it won't end here.

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