Just back from the local comic shop for the week and I picked up two new comics.

  • Supernatural Origins 3
  • City of Others 3
  • Plus I picked up a hardcover.

  • “Silverfish” by David Lapham. I’m a fan of his “Stray Bullets” and “Murder Me Dead” so I grabbed this new one. I’ll let you know how it is.
  • Meanwhile here are a few things I’ve been reading.

  • “Girls” 3&4 by the Luna Brothers
  • Last week I picked up two trade paperback collections (numbers 3 and 4) of
    “Girls” by the Luna brothers. Since I already have TPBs number 1 and 2 then I obviously like the story. How are trades 3 and 4? Just as good.

    “Girls” is a “survival horror” story. I don’t know who coined that term but I first read it in conjunction with video games. Now it applies to books and movies too. It basically means that the story is simple. People trying to survive a bad situation. The bad situation in “Girls” is this: in a small town in the USA a hot naked girl suddenly appears out of the woods. She finds a sympathetic young man to take her home and seduces him. Then she lays some eggs that hatch into more hot naked girls. The girls proceed to go around and try kill the women in town and seduce the men. The townspeople figure out what’s happening and try to escape only to find their entire town has been encapsulated in a giant impenetrable energy bubble. Now the townspeople just want to survive this horror. Hence the name of the genre.

    The book I would compare this to the most is “The Walking Dead”. Where “The Walking Dead” has zombies “Girls” has girls. The people in “Girls” seem a lot more mean and prone to panic than in “The Walking Dead”. Plus the gender divide of the girls killing only women makes for an interesting dynamic. It’s bloody violent too. The story is simple so it’s really about who lives and who dies.

    I must warn you that I’m not really a fan of the art in “Girls”. The “no line weight” style plus the coloring remind me of a badly rotoscoped cartoon. I generally find it ugly. But the storytelling was good and the story interesting and that was enough for me to overlook my distaste for the art style. Don’t be afraid of how it looks if you’re an old school guy like me. I also recommend starting with book one because there are no real recaps as the story goes along. Book four is the conclusion of the story so you can read the whole thing from end to end right now. Give it a go.

  • Frank Miller’s “Ronin” issues 1-6
  • Here is another comic that has been sitting on my shelf since 1983. I remember re-reading it a couple of years after it came out but that still puts it at twenty years since I’ve looked at this comic. I must say that the paper it was printed on is great. It looks as crisp and white as the day it was printed. No old yellowing newsprint here.

    I always think of “Ronin” as the forgotten Frank Miller work. Sure it has had a recent reprinting in a trade from DC comics to glom off of the advertising for the movie of Frank Miller’s “300” but I never hear anyone mention “Ronin”. It never comes up in conversation with my comic loving friends or any of the web sites or magazines about comics that I read. “Ronin” was published after Frank Miller’s star making run on Daredevil but before his much lauded “Batman: The Dark Knight Returns”. I decided to give it a read.

    “Ronin” is the story of a samurai who’s master was killed by a demon so said samurai (now a masterless samurai a “ronin”) goes after and kills the demon. But not before the demon curses them and ronin and demon are trapped in a magic sword. Flash forward to the 21st century (which was the future when this book was written) in a dystopian, sci-fi, depressed NYC where the demon and the ronin are let loose again. Now you’ve got it.

    In re-reading the series I can kinda see why “Ronin” has been forgotten. The first three issues or so of the series are quite ordinary. Everything is straight forward and all of the characters are one dimensional and act exactly like you think they will. There is not much here. But the story is designed that way. I think that part of the story is supposed to be transparent because it sets up the last three issues.

    It’s the second half of the story that things get interesting. Expectations are turned on their heads and characters expand and start to do unexpected things. The story takes some twists and goes to places not evident in the first three issues. This is good stuff.

    The problem is that each issue is 48 pages and that is 100-150 pages before things get interesting. I almost stopped reading with the second issue but I was enjoying the hammock I was lying in so I kept going. I imagine many a person has started reading “Ronin” only to put it down because they were bored. This can really make a work forgotten.

    Overall there is plenty of nice Frank Miller work in “Ronin”. It’s an interesting story eventually and is worth checking out as long as you know that the second half is much better than the first.

  • The Ministry of Space issues 1-3
  • Another series I pulled off of my shelf to give a second read to. The first two issues came out in 2001 but it took until 2004 to get the third issue out. It’s written by Warren Ellis with art by Chris Weston and colors by Laura DePuy.

    You gotta love those English and their love/hate relationship with their government and empire. Ministry of Space is an alternate history tale in which a World War 2 visionary S.O.B. English air corps officer uses betrayal and deceit to capture all of the German rocket scientists at the end of the war. With these scientists and a secret black budget he creates the British space program that far outstrips any other space program. Is that good or bad is the question that hangs in the air throughout this series.

    That is about the extent of the plot but this comic is about much more than plot. It’s about the glory of the British Empire and the price paid for that glory. It’s about borderline madmen who push the empire forward despite the costs. It’s about showing in a step by step way how individuals effect history (the “Great Man” hypothesis). And it’s about the rich visuals that Weston brings to illustrate all those cool spaceships and their evolution. Hell, even the guys standing around in uniforms and suits look cool.

    Everybody brings their best work to “Ministry of Space” and I like it a lot. I’m a big fan of history so this is right up my alley. It is just a lot of fun. Recommended.