Walking Dead Forever

Without permission from undeadwalking.com.

This time last year, I opened up issue 192 of The Walking Dead and did my usual first-pass read — the kind of breath-held-whaat’s-happeniiing-neeeext first-pass read — and partway through I sat back, stunned. I remember turning to the Lovely Wife and telling her what I’d just read. (Not a comic reader herself, she made a sympathetic noise and returned to her house renovations.)

The end of TWD came a month later with issue 193 and, miracles of miracles — though to be honest, there really are no miracles in the creation of art — it ended the series perfectly. And just like with every issue preceding it, I leant back after the more careful second-pass read and marvelled at the craft and love of TWD creator and writer Robert Kirkman, aided and abetted by artists Tony Moore and Charlie Adlard.

Without permission from comic-watch.com

TWD was a series that published regularly, each issue never failed to leave me figuratively gasping How the fuck are they going to resolve that?, mind reeling from cliffhangers and resolutions that were equally unexpected and inevitable, and counting the days until the next issue.

I’m sad that it’s finished but glad that it ended the way and when it did. I don’t know when I’ll be able to revisit the series at my leisure but it won’t be far away, in the Essential Section of the library.


2016 in Points

Temptation beckons from the Piggery Books store in Whangarei.

I’ve been putting off this post because… it’s been another pathetic year on the page-turning front: 29 titles. This makes 2015 look so much better (but it’s still not good enough as a Writer).

Stand-out reads:

  • My Name Was Judas by C K Stead
  • The Private Eye by Brian K Vaughan, Marcos Martin and Mutsa Vicente
  • The Walking Dead 150–161 by Robert Kirkman and various artists
  • Mississipi Grind (3 March 2014 draft) by Anna Boden & Ryan Fleck
  • Lost Dogs by Jeff Lemire

I know.

I know.

Must. Make. Time.


Comics Splurge

James Henry‘s ruminations on Saturday morning entertainment got me thinking. (ABC Warriors and Nemesis the Warlock would be so coool. And Strontium Dog. And M.A.C.H. One.) (Okay, maybe not M.A.C.H. One.)

Late last year, I finally discovered where they hid the comics at the local library. Giddy with the find, I was adventurous with my choices: X-Men/Phoenix – Endsong, X-Men/Black Panther – Wild Kingdom, Invincible: Perfect Strangers, Batman and the Monster Men, and Hicksville.

Once at home, I tore through them. It was – to those of you who know their comics – a mixed bag.

Even back in The Day, X-Men never really turned my dial. Its exclamation-mark-laden dialogue, descriptions-for-dummies, and the artists’ renditions of breasts that defied gravity and biological reality were quickly tiresome. Almost two decades on,… the dialogue’s more realistic, the minimal description borders on curt – but the breasts, ohhh the breasts. Large juicy breasts encased in spandex, mysteriously free of nipples but full of teen wish-fulfilment. Nope, still not my thing.1

Robert Kirkman and Cory Walker‘s Invincible is a variation on a Superman-like alien protecting the Earth – and proof there’s still life (and fun to be had) in tights and superpowers yet2.

Batman and the Monster Men was a disappointing pulpy homage by writer/artist Matt Wagner. Wagner’s critically acclaimed creations, Grendel, which never made much sense to me, and Mage, of which I’ve had but one unforgettable taste, may be his most well-known but it was his brilliant jumpstart of Sandman Mystery Theatre that inspired me most.

And Dylan HorrocksHicksville. This title really made me reevaluate my attitude to New Zealand comics. An instant favourite – one I’ll have to buy and add to my collection. Fired by the positive experience, I tried Maui: Legends of the Outcast; my comics cultural cringe has blinded me to homegrown comics for too long. I’m collecting Horrocks’ Atlas now, and am following DMC‘s New Ground with interest.

As The Goddess never tires of saying: thank gosh for libraries.

Just between you and me? I thank The Goddess.

1 – I was always more a DC man than a Marvel boy. But I quite enjoyed Ultimate Spider-Man: Silver Sable – due largely to Brian Michael Bendis‘ writing (Bendis being half the creative duo behind the magnificent Powers series, another recent and belated ‘discovery’). Confirmation that when I follow a writer I’ve enjoyed from one title to another, I’m unlikely to be disappointed.

2 – Update: Mark Waid‘s Superman: Birthright was an unexpected gem for 2007. (Why, I might even try Superman Returns now….)<p