19 October 2010

Comicsin' It Up Volume 7

After a longish break, I once again ventured into the local library and ended up lugging a pile of comics back home. There was a lot of Alan Moore material there, plus a few random DC and Marvel titles.

I'm not going to go through all the books I've read here, just a few highlights. Though I think I'll start with a 'lowlight'. Marvel Platinum: The Greatest Foes of Wolverine must be one of the worst planned comic book collections I've seen. It's not that the comics included are bad in themselves, but the selection makes no sense at all. Individual issues have been removed entirely from context. Readers are thrown right into the middle of a storyline, and more often than not stories end with an unresolved cliffhanger, jumping on to a completely separate storyline years forward. Reading the book made me so annoyed I couldn't even finish it.

I can't really pinpoint a reason for it, but DC's universe and characters have always seemed to appeal to me more than Marvel's. I read a Green Lantern book (I forget the title now, and I've already returned that one to the library), which was fun, and a couple of Batman collections (classic 80's material in A Death in the Family, and newer post-Bruce Wayne story Battle for the Cowl), which were also fun. Green Lantern is one of those classic characters I'm sadly not all too familiar with. I hope I'll run into more collections, but I fear he may be a little less well represented in the local libraries than certain other characters.

Alan Moore, however, was the real meat of this comic book binge. DC Universe: The Stories of Alan Moore was sheer brilliance, of course, multiplied by the coolness factor of some of DC's greatest characters. But the work that stood out head over shoulders from all the rest was Promethea. Adventure, comedy, art, philosophy all rolled into one in one of the most unique comic book series I've ever read.

Promethea is probably not a work for everybody, as it is strongly rooted in Moore's personal philosophy and beliefs, dealing with such topics as occultism, magic and qabalah. Some segments seem like almost textbook-like introductions to these topics, and could conceivably seem a little monotonous, although even these are beautifully and artistically illustrated, with clever and creative features that really take advantage of the medium. As it happens, Moore's philosophy is not too far removed from my own, so this did not disturb me in the least, quite the contrary. Knowledge of qabalah and the writings of Aleister Crowley, for example, will surely make the experience even richer. Actually, for someone interested both in genre fiction and hermetic magic and qabalah, Promethea is almost a must read.

Waiting for me last, but not least, of my current loans is a re-read of Watchmen. (Has it really been a year and a half already?)

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