Monday, July 13, 2009
WHY YOU SHOULD BE READING WEDNESDAY COMICS
by comic strip fanatic and general know-it-all Andy Mansell
My favorite memories from my childhood were the Saturday nights when my father would take me to the drug-store and we would buy the Sunday editions of all four major Chicago Newspapers. I had four, 12-page full color comic sections. It was heaven. This may be inconceivable for most of you under the age of thirty; but with the rise in classic comic strip reprints, the fondness for this great lost art is growing.
The strips were great--some adventure, some humor, some soap opera, but there were no superhero strips except perhaps the Phantom. Around the same time, I purchased a Batman 80 Page Giant for a precious quarter and lo and behold there was a reprint of a Dick Sprang style Batman Sunday page from the 40s!
My mind reeled—I sat down and drew my own fantasy Sunday Section with a full page Hourman, a full page Doctor Fate—in the style of Prince Valiant—an Aquaman vs. Sub-Mariner battle strip and a full page Fantastic Four. This was my childhood fantasy—my first “collectors” dream.
With the Sunday strips dying a slow painful death—even though we strip fanatics hold onto them for dear life—DC has decided made a bold step forward to bring my dream project to life! (They must have found the letter that I wrote to Julius Schwartz back in 1970!)
Thus Wednesday Comics was born—and you must read it for several reasons:
1. You will get to experience the joy our parents and grandparents felt every Sunday morning. In the Charlotte Observer, there are no less than 8 (8!!!) comics on a single page. DC gives you a single strip per page like the way it was back in the 30s and 40s. Nirvana!
2. The creators take full advantage of their format. Some explore the size with challenging results. Some stick to the traditional grid.
3. And the Flash Comics duo of half page features uses every old strip convention to create something refreshing and new!!—you have to read it to believe it!
4. Although they are all ‘hero’ strips, the results are wide and varied.
5. If you are a fan of current comics, the list of writers and artists reads like a veritable all-star roster: Azzarello, Busiek, Gibbons, Palmiotti, Kubert(s), Didio and Gaiman-just to name a few!
6. If you are more intrigued by a contemporary or “Indy” slant, you have Paul Pope tackling Adam Strange and Kyle Baker taking Hawkman to new heights (sorry--I had to)
7. The Gibbon/Sook Kamandi strip is told in the format of Prince Valiant. For me, this page alone is worth the price of admission! (Yes, it blows my Dr. Fate clear out of the water!)
8. Unless I am mistaken, we will finally find out who would win the epic battle: Krypto or Streaky
9. Best of all, you will finish the book (paper?—PAPER!!) and you will anxiously await next week’s edition. That was the sole job of the newspaper cartoonists back in the day.
10. Finally--It is only $4.00
Try it! Buy it!! Don’t wait for a couple of issues to come out. Don’t wait for a trade collection. These comics are meant to be read once a week in one sitting. So select your breakfast cereal of choice—I’ll take Fruity Pebbles —and enjoy!