On this week’s trip to the comic shop I picked up one comic and one hardcover:

  • StormWatch Post Human Division – 9
  • Jack Kirby’s “Silver Star”
  • There are a whole lot of nice hardcover collections around these days. I dig ’em more than trade paperbacks and am willing to pay the few extra dollars. I’ve never read “Silver Star” but Kirby’s “Captain Victory” is a favorite of mine. They were both published by Pacific Comics in the early eighties yet somehow “Silver Star” managed to slip through my fingers. Not anymore. I’ll let you know how it is. Meanwhile here are a couple of other things I’ve read lately.

  • “Silverfish” by David Lapham
  • Since I rarely know what comics are coming out from week to week this hardcover from Vertigo was a surprise to me. I’m a big fan of David Lapham’s crime comics such as “Stray Bullets” and “Murder Me Dead”. I haven’t payed much attention to his Marvel and DC work though. I checked out the first issue of Batman he wrote but it didn’t interest me, I looked at an issue of the Punisher that he did and still wasn’t interested, and I read a couple of issues of The Spectre that he wrote. They were better than the others but not my cup of tea. That’s why I was happy to see a crime graphic novel from him.

    All of Lapham’s crime stuff plays off a basic concept. An ordinary person, for whatever reason, takes a walk on the wild side and gets involved with criminals and shady characters. Before that person knows it everything goes wrong, the violence starts, and hell is coming to supper. The ordinary person is either redeemed or dragged down. Fun stuff.

    This particular book is about a teenage girl who has a new stepmother that she doesn’t like so one day this girl and her friends start digging into the stepmother’s past. Bad idea. Bad things are dug up and they leave destruction in their wake. The girl has to run for her life. I dig it.

    I liked the story. I liked Lapham’s return to the crime genre but I didn’t like some of the choices about the production of the book. First of all it’s small: 6.5 x 9 inches. That’s a little wider but much shorter than a regular comic. I like my comics bigger than that. Some comics are okay in a smaller size (Wimbledon Green) but I think Lapham’s art should be seen bigger than this. His oversized “Stray Bullets” hardcovers are terrific.

    This is also a black and white book. Not a problem for me. Lapham’s other work, that I like, is also in black and white. Except for this one they used a whole bunch of grey tones over the black and white art. Everything has a grey tone and texture. That muddies up the art for me. Flattens it all out. I’d really like to have seen this printed without the grey. I think it hurts the storytelling and is generally annoying. But not as to break the book’s back.

    One more quibble. This time it has to do with the story. Whenever you see a story which has a kid with an asthma inhaler (“Signs” anyone?) you just know there will be a scene at the end in which the kid will not be able to breathe and will not have his inhaler. Oh, the predictable drama. I warn you there is a kid with an inhaler in this book. Just once I want the kid with the inhaler to not need saving and instead save the others. Hmmm… I think in “The Simpsons” Bart used a kid’s inhaler as a snorkel and saved the day. That almost qualifies.

    A bigger physical size to the book and no grey tones would have made me happier. But you can’t always get what you want. Still, I like a good crime story and David Lapham’s are real good. I dig his “things spiraling out of control” take on life and I’m on board for his next one. Check this one out first.

  • “Supergirl – Power” Trade paperback which reprints Superman/Batman 19 and Supergirl 1-5
  • This is the latest version of Supergirl and I’m not even sure who all the other ones were. I’ve never read much Supergirl. This book started out slow with a whole bunch of “who am I and where do I fit in?” angst from Supergirl as she spent three issues in a row getting into “misunderstanding” fights with other super heroes. Oy! It almost broke me.

    I nearly gave up on it except I was impressed by the artwork by Ian Churchill and Norm Rapmund (the coloring varied in quality but was generally okay). I’ve seen some of Churchill’s work over the years but never found it very interesting. This stuff I liked though. He’s a guy from the post-Image era of lots of useless little lines but there is less of that here and more good drawing. He’s even managed to incorporate the early nineties random pinup shot into his storytelling. Churchill’s pinup shots actually make sense here instead of interrupting the storytelling. A really solid super hero job. And his cover homages were well done.

    The second have of the book is the payoff. Less whining and more good fight scenes that aren’t forced like they were in the first half. Battles in space, battles on the moon, and battles in Gotham city. The last few issues have lots of good fights and we get our questions answered about what Supergirl was whining about. Plus we get mad scientist wrapped in armor Lex Luthor back in action. I never found businessman Lex Luthor interesting at all. I’m glad he’s gone. The second half of this story saved it for me. Check it out if you’re in the mood for some Supergirl.