On this week’s trip to the comic shop I picked up two comics:

  • StormWatch Post Human Division – 8
  • Strangers in Paradise – 90 (The last issue of the series!)
  • Plus hardcover madness continues with:

  • Scarlet Traces: The Great Game
  • I bought Scarlet Traces: The Great Game as a mini-series last year and liked it a lot. So I went and got the first hardcover “Scarlet Traces” book. Now I have the second series in hardcover to match. And it was only fifteen bucks minus my discount. Good show.

    Last week I bought a hardcover graphic novel called “Exit Wounds”. It’s author, Rutu Modan, is from Israel and that is where the story is set. The plot stars a taxi driver who is contacted by a woman. This woman tells him that among the dead in bombing is an unidentified man who may be his estranged father.

    That’s the plot but the book is really about our protagonist and his relationship to his father. It’s not a good relationship but he begins to see things a little more through others’ eyes as the book progresses. Others begin to see things though his eyes too.

    I liked this book. It didn’t start out that way. I found the initial, I dunno, forty pages (it’s a 172 page book) clumsy and awkward. I wasn’t fond of the storytelling or drawing and was having a hard time getting into it. But then it got better. Not in any dramatic way that you can notice just by flipping the pages but in a subtle way. The drawing and storytelling improved and I got absorbed into it. I think this is the author’s first long comic work and that could easily explain how she got better as she went along. If she didn’t do the pages in numerical order than I have no explanation for you.

    There is nothing typical in our protagonist’s relationship with his dad and his dad is never actually in the story. Just the wake his dad leaves in the world behind him. Our hero wanders through this wake trying to figure out is his father is dead or alive. He sees some things that confirm his opinion of his father and other things that don’t. His father’s character is still a bit of a mystery at the end of the book to both his son and us. This is a good thing. The story came to a satisfying emotional ending without any simplistic wrap up of our hero’s father woes.

    If you like real life stories check it out.

    I finally got around to reading “Conan: Hall of the Dead and Other Stories”. The fourth volume in the Dark Horse Conan series. No real life here as this book chronicles the adventures of Conan’s youth. Conan is about 18 and living as a theif in a city. He’s arrogant, brash and a lot of people don’t like him. I wouldn’t even call him a hero in these tales. But they’re good stories.

    I liked them because they’re fun, rollicking, and wide open. There is an enthusiasm to these stories that was missing in Conan’s final days at Marvel comics. The printing in this hardcover edition is absolutely great too.

    Now I’m going to take a few moments to sing the praises of the “color artist” on these stories: Dave Stewart. It’s his work that really pulls the book together and makes it work. There is no inker on the book so the colorist is finishing the pencils with his coloring. This is not easy to do because usually a penciler doesn’t think about his work as finished (normally that’s the inker’s job). Due to the sketchiness of some of the penciled pages in this book I know it wasn’t always easy to make them look “finished” but Dave Stewart’s coloring succeeds in doing just that nearly all of the time. He makes it not only look finished but look good. Kudos.

    So if you haven’t checked out any Conan in a while this is a really nice volume to pick up.