Friday, July 17, 2009

Wednesday Comics #2 (of 12)

Two issues in, I still think this is a worthy experiment and I'm still enjoying it - but some strips are definitely working better than others.

I should clarify that statement. All the strips show off the talent of their respective creative teams, but some of the strips work well in this "one page a week" format, and some aren't as effective.

The traditional comic strip is different from a comic book because it follows a basic formula: each strip (whether daily or Sunday) must give a basic recap of the previous strip, advance the story a bit, and then offer an ending that makes the reader want to return the next time to see what happens.

Granted, Wednesday Comics is not a traditional "funnies" page, and there's a lot of room for experimentation, but let's see how they're doing so far. What the heck, let's check out all the strips:

- Batman finds himself in a murder mystery. The page recaps (sorta) what has happened so far, but despite good art, there's not much story to hang onto here yet.

- Kamandi is my favorite so far, and is the most traditional offering, with terrific art and classic, "no word balloons allowed" storytelling. We get a recap, story advancement and a cliffhanger of sorts.

- Superman, after a great start last week, grinds to a halt here for a cameo by Batman and some whining by the Man of Steel. Nice art, though a bit muddy in the printing. There's a recap, story doesn't go anywhere, no real ending.

- Deadman is one of the more interesting strips, with a murder mystery unfolding. A recap, the story moves forward, and a cliffhanger. Strong art.

- Green Lantern has nice art, but the story has barely moved forward a jot. No recap needed, because nothing really happened last time around. After an uninspired battle, the real menace seems to appear. Cliffhanger.

- Metamorpho is another favorite, with the story moving slightly forward with a clever (almost) full page splash. I love the "ad" at the bottom of the page. Great art, good recap, the story moves forward, a teensy hook for the next adventure.

- Teen Titans
makes a bit more sense this time around, although the printing doesn't help the art much here. A fight scene that is basically more of the same from last time. Recap, smidge of story, cliffhanger.

- Strange Adventures offers Adam Strange by way of Barsoom and Edgar Rice Burroughs, with Alanna being replaced by Dejah Thoris. Fun but a bit silly (not that there's anything wrong with that). No recap, story moves along, cliffhanger.

- Supergirl is probably the most appealing strip, and it's a light-hearted romp as she chases two out-of-control super-pets. Recap, a pinch of story, hook at the end (and a good laugh).

- Metal Men is another traditional strip, with terrific art and a light touch on the adventure. Recap, movement, hook at the end. Good stuff.

- Wonder Woman is the strip that just doesn't work for me. The art and lettering are hard to make out because of the paper and the printing, and the whole thing feels like a misguided take on Nemo. If there's a recap or story here, I'm missing it. No hook, either.

- Sgt. Rock and Easy Co. features great art, but the story doesn't advance beyond the first strip. It reads like the second page of a 12-page comic story. No recap, minimal story movement, no hook.

- The Flash is a fun idea, with the story split between our hero's adventures and the more down-to-Earth trials of his wife, Iris West. Good art, and an interesting time travel twist going on here. No recap, so it would be confusing for someone who didn't read #1. Story advances, and there's a hook at the end.

- The Demon and Cat Woman also reads like the second page of a comic. Nice art and an interesting story building up. Minimal recap, minimal story advance, hook at the end.

- Hawkman is surprisingly violent, though not gory. It's also quite improbable, with birds and our hero catching and invading a highjacked jet. Great art, very professional. Recap, story moves forward, cliffhanger.

So while it's a mix, it's also a strong product and well worth reading.

- Grade: B+

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