DC’s Wednesday Comics came out this week, on Wednesday! (which is new comics day for US residents).I think fans have put undue pressure on the series, whereas DC are just playing it as an experiment. It’s a grand idea from art director Mark Chiarello, but it’s not the saviour of the comics industry as some would like to believe. However, featuring the first Superman tale in USA Today, with future Supes installments on the USA Today website holds great cross-over potential. The new weekly series is in old newspaper, or tabloid format, at 14″ x 20″ and holds 15 one page stories, by different creative teams. To give you a sense of scale, here’s a bunch of photos of people reading it. There’s some great stories inside, and a flavour for everyone. Most stories are fine for non-fans too, whether it be Teen Titans by Eddie Berganza and Sean Galloway or Green Lantern by Kurt Busiek and Joe Quinones. There’s no continuity tie-downs, but on the flipside there’s not a lot of info about all these characters either. Since they’re being sold in comic shops where nerds dwell, the ideal situation would be for fans to buy a copy for their young relative who may be hooked by the spectacle, or the old relative who may remember the large Sunday funnies of their youth. After they buy a copy for themselves of course.
Speaking of nostalgia, I dusted off another large comic I haven’t looked at in years. It’s not as large as WedCom however, but in the spirit of big comics, I thought I’d share a few pages of 1978′s Superman vs Muhammad Ali, in all it’s faded paper glory. The cover boasts the story as, “the fight to save earth from star-warriors” and is deliciously drawn by Neal Adams, which makes the pages seem even bigger. Inside is a de-powered Supes fighting Ali for the right to save earth from aliens. It’s written by Denny O’Neill and has ’70s attitudes written all over it.
Right off the bat I must say that Noology is a cool name and it’s a real word! It’s also a pretty cool abstract comic by Aussie artist Tim Gaze. Gaze is apparently quite well known in the world of such comics. It’s also a world I’ve only recently been made aware of, thanks to Fantagraphics’ excellent Abstract Comics: The Anthology, of which Gaze is a contributor. You can see some of his recent work on the diverse Abstract Comics blog here. There’s also a very impressive definition, and look at the history, of this artform from Gaze here.
In Gaze’s own words, he creates “experimental poetry,” and has been doing so for a few years. Noology is available now as a free download or as a paperback for less than $9, for 130 black and white pages. Noology is described as glitch poetry, asemic writing and visual noise. Don’t worry, I have no idea what they mean either, but that’s the beauty of abstract comics – you don’t have to really. Visual noise is definitely the best description for this book (of which some of the pages have been seen in previous publications). As I flicked through the pages I kept being reminded of static, or snow, on a TV screen thanks to faulty reception. There was a mystifying, almost trance inducing quality to these pages. It can be enjoyed quickly, as there’s no text, or narrative.
It actually took me at least 4 reads of the whole book to appreciate it. At first glance, with its frantic lines on every page, there doesn’t seem to be huge differences between each of the first few pieces, but as I looked more closely I could see the evidence of the work put in. A true artist has a reason for every line and even though the entire contents are black and white it resonates with diversity. Some look like paintings from a gallery, some look like tapeworm under a microscope and some look like the readings on old school radio equipment. This is yet another great example of what comics can do that no other medium can.
You can find more of Gaze’s unique work here.
October’s Strange Tales #2, has 2 nifty covers by indie star Peter Bagge showcasing the green, and red Hulk. Incredible Hercules #136 also arrives in October and underneath the great Rafael Alberquerque cover is a story of the new Thor vs the new Hercules. Check them out.