I’m back from the comic shop this week and I got one new comic plus a hard cover collection:

  • Usagi Yojimbo -137
  • “The Rocketeer: The Complete Adventures Deluxe Editon”
  • And now for a review of something I’ve read recently.

    “Harbinger: Children of the Eighth Day” by Jim Shooter and David Lapham

    For a brief shinning moment in the early 1990’s there was Valiant Comics. Maybe it was for a handful of years rather than a moment but for a while they put out a line of comics that sold a whole lot of copies. Five times as many copies compared to what the top selling comic sells today. I’m not sure what happened but I remember hearing that things got screwed up at the top with their investors. Someone should write a book about it.

    Oddly enough I only read a handful of Valiant Comics at the time or since. I don’t think I read many super hero comics at the time and since their whole line was super heroes I never checked it out despite their reputation as good comics. I was even up at their offices a few times since a friend of mine worked there briefly. It’s one of the great “What If’s…” of the comic industry. What if Valiant Comics had survived?

    This “Harbinger” volume reprints the first four issues of the comic of the same name. The book is from 1992 and at that time the original issues were going for a hundred dollars on the back issue market. That’s how in demand early issues of Valiant Comics were. The story is about a group of teenagers who have super powers and are on the run from some corporation named Harbinger. The corporation is supposed to be evil but after reading just these four issues I can’t really tell if that’s true.

    The story begins with the lead character “Sting”, who is a telekinetic, on the run with his girlfriend from Harbinger Corp. They definitely don’t like him and think he’s a danger but we only have Sting’s point of view that Harbinger is evil. They certainly don’t act heroic though. Sting gathers up other super powered teenagers who are strangers to him and they form a sort-of team and run into trouble from unexpected quarters as they try to take on Harbinger Corp.

    I can see why everybody liked these books. Even now there is a freshness to them. They aren’t like normal super hero comics. The teenage superhero characters are all a bit messed up and in a Jim Shooter way have to deal with normal day to day problems. Nowadays “Realism” in comics is defined by the militarization of superheroes but Shooter’s “Realism” is more about individuals trying to get by in life. I find it interesting but people looking for the military adventures of today’s super heroes might not like it.

    I’m a huge fan of David Lapham’s “Stray Bullets” and other comic work. I even own a piece of original are from his “Silver Fish” graphic novel. But it wasn’t until maybe five years ago that I even knew that he got his start with Valiant Comics. That’s how little I knew about the comics. He does a solid job here but it’s hardly as spectacular as his later work. I don’t think anyone flipping through the book is going to be overly impressed with the drawing as it’s only okay but even back then Lapham was a very good story teller.

    I’m glad I picked this book up. It was well done, a nice change of pace, and it, in a small way, filled in the Valiant Comics gap in my reading. Give it a try.