Monday, July 13, 2009

Comics Review: DC's Wednesday Comics

Now, this is what I'm talking about!

DC Comics is always one to play with a theme or a marketing gimmick. But, this time, they've come up gold. Wednesday Comics is a 12-issue weekly comic title that, in this digital age, seeks to recreate the golden age. It's printed in a 20 x 28" tabloid, 16-page newspaper-type format. It’s gorgeous. And the feel of it in your hands (and the smell of it) will evoke days of childhood. The paper is folded twice, bringing the size down to basic comic book size. Carrying it around, it’s kind of like being a business man carrying around the Wall Street Journal except more fun.

Gimmick or not, the folks at DC still have to produce something worth reading. They haven’t skimped here, either. Clearly written in episodic format, the first issue gives readers a taste of what to expect. Here’s the breakdown.
  • Batman by Brian Azzarello and Risso - Yes, this is the same Azzarello that wrote 100 Bullets and last year's Joker (my review). An investment banker has been kidnapped by forces unknown. Gordon sends up the Bat-Signal but it's too late. The art is sepia-toned, evoking some of the scenes from Batman Begins.
  • Kamandi: The Last Boy on Earth - This one gives you a bit of background as to who Kamandi is. The original Jack Kirby art is hinted at as well as the lettering from the old Prince Valiant comic strip.
  • Superman - The artist, Lee Bermejo, is spectacular. You can tell that Supes is wearing boots and cloth in his costume, the detail is that good. You also get one of the funniest lines in this issue. As Kal-el is about to fight an alien, he ponders "I just wish somebody could tell me why every 'close encounter' has to end in a fight."
  • Deadman - A murder-mystery, nothing less for the Dearly Departed Detective. And we end by seeing the back of the killer's head!
  • Green Lantern - This one goes retro with the story taking place in the early 1960s as the Gemini project (NASA) is getting off the ground.
  • Metamorpho: The Element Man - None other than Neal Gaiman writes this one. Again, another wonderful retro look-and-feel to this one, especially in the art. You even get the head shot roll call like the JLA titles back in the day.
  • Teen Titans - The villain (or maybe he's not?) gives us a peek as to how he's going to destroy the Titans.
  • Strange Adventures - Adam Strange, the spaceman, returns! Here, the Rock-People of Ragathann invade his city. These ape-like, blue monsters look mean and ugly. What's Adam to do? Blast off into the sky, gun in hand.
  • Supergirl - The funniest entry of the issue. Best thing: Supergirl *looks* like a girl, not some tramped-up teenage object of lust. I knew about Krypto the Superdog. When did Streaky the Super Cat show up?
  • Metal Men - I never read this title back when I was younger. Just reading the one page and the humor involved, I think I'm going to have to find some old issues.
  • Wonder Woman - Okay, this one was trippy. It's almost an origin story. Diana is dreaming but, for almost the entire page, we (and she) don't know it. She's about to be sent to the Mortal Land (i.e., the rest of earth). Best thing here: she talks, in her dream, to two birds who hold a running commentary not unlike Pat Oliphant cartoons or the old Pogo comic strip. Trippy, but in a good way.
  • Sgt. Rock - Written by Adam Kubert and drawn by his dad (and co-creator), Joe Kubert. Yeah! Rock's captured by a SS Officer and is getting pummeled. Dunno why but you know Rock's got stones of, uh, steel.
  • The Flash - This one's a twofer. The top half of the page is Flash battling Gorilla Grodd. The bottom half is "Iris West." That's Flash's wife. This one has that soap opera look and feel (complete with the Warhol-esque dots for color) of comic strips like "Apartment 3-G." But what she sees makes her wonder...
  • The Demon and the Cat - Demon doesn't make an appearance here but the Cat is Catwoman. And I think she might trying to steal something. No, really!
  • Hawkman - Again, a peripheral character for me but there's a huge splash panel of a sky full of Hawkmen, flying upward to retake a hijacked plane. Oh yeah.
Basically, if you can't tell, these stories are intended to be FUN! And I had a blast reading them. Can't wait until Wednesday. Or the next one. Or the next one...


  1. Fun! How much does the thing cost? Times twelve? Getting back into reading comics at any level seems to be a real drain on the wallet?

  2. Somehow i missed the news about this title even though I try to stay informed on the comic biz. I'll run over to BooksAMillion and see if they have a copy. Sounds cool. It's interesting- as paper media is supposedly in decline, the amount of high quality comics being produced(superhero and other genres)is incredible.

  3. Richard - $3.99 but it's all part of the tactile experience. It'll probably be repackaged in some nice way but I like the old-school method of reading it.

    Matthew - I just returned from vacationing in Waco, TX. Called the only comics shop I could find in that city...Wednesday Comics is only special order there. Thus, I have to go get a copy here in Houston. Tomorrow.