snurri: (Default)
Books 1-10.
Books 11-20.
21. The Tombs of Atuan by Ursula K. Le Guin.
22. Rebellion at Christiana by Margaret Hope Bacon.
23. American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang.
24. This Sweet Sickness by Patricia Highsmith.
25. Sandstorm: A Forgotten Realms Novel by Christopher Rowe.
26. The St. Paul Stories of F. Scott Fitzgerald, edited by Patricia Hampl and Dave Page.

27. Thor: The Mighty Avenger Volume 2 by Roger Langridge, Chris Samnee, and Matt Wilson. For some reason in reading this I twigged to something that I hadn't quite realized in reading Volume One; this is a romance comic. I mean, yeah, it has superheroes, and robots, and Namor--well, Namor isn't really inconsistent with the romance thing, is he? But at heart, this comic is--or, tragically, WAS--about Thor and Jane Foster getting all googly-eyed over each other. And in case you're wondering, that is AWESOME. Seriously, I get all swept away myself, and when the story is abruptly cut off after issue 8, I feel sad, like realizing that maybe that girl you went on that great date with doesn't actually want to see you again. It hurts a bit, until you learn to focus on how great the date itself was, and at least you can relive it. In this, this comic is very like the late great Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane, which I also highly recommend for readers young and old.
snurri: (Default)
Books 1-10.
Books 11-20.
21. The Tombs of Atuan by Ursula K. Le Guin.
22. Rebellion at Christiana by Margaret Hope Bacon.

23. American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang. A graphic novel about cultural identity, very much in the vein of The Woman Warrior except brighter and male-centered and aimed at young adults. I liked the art and I liked how Yang wove the three different storylines together; it's a bit tidy, but it works.
snurri: (Default)
1. Girl Power: The Nineties Revolution In Music by Marisa Meltzer.
2. The Patriot Witch (Book One of the Traitor to the Crown trilogy) by C.C. Finlay.

3. Power Girl: A New Beginning and Power Girl: Aliens and Apes by Justin Gray, Jimmy Palmiotti, and Amanda Conner. I got a Barnes & Noble gift card for Christmas, and this is what I spent it on. The reason for that is Amanda Conner, pure and simple. Her art is dynamic and expressive, with elements of pinup art, but Frank Cho she's not; the emphasis is on expression more than poses, and at times the words don't need to be there at all to bring across what the characters are thinking and saying. One of the artists Conner reminds me of most is Kevin Maguire, which is appropriate, since he put his own stamp on Power Girl during the Giffen/DeMatteis run on the Justice League titles. PG herself (I like the nickname Peej, myself) strikes me as one of DC's most challenging characters; she's a female analog of Superman who's best known to many comics readers (and non-comics readers) for the size of her chest. Conner embraces that part of the character without exploiting it (much), and the team takes every opportunity to ding the male characters who can't keep their eyes on her face. Personally, I don't think the problem is that Peej has big boobs; it's that sometimes it seems like every woman in comics has big boobs, even those who were originally written explicitly to be less endowed (Jubilee springs to mind--during the New Warriors reboot her chest inexplicably ballooned). Conner herself talks about trying to show the variety of female body types in this interview. Anyway, enough about boobs. Conner's art is really the highlight of this run; the story is enjoyable enough, but it's crowded and scattered, and Peej's secret identity subplot doesn't really go anywhere--mostly it leaves me wondering why she has a secret identity at all. I guess the Ultra-Humanite doesn't do much for me as a villain, either. On the whole, though, this is light, fun stuff, and presents a very likable and believable (if that word applies, here) version of a character that's still a bit undefined after 35 years.
snurri: (Default)
Books 1-10.
Books 11-20.
Books 21-30.
Books 31-40.
Books 41-50.
Books 51-60.
Books 61-70.
Books 71-80.
Books 81-90.
Books 91-100.
101. Old Fort Snelling: 1819-1858 by Marcus L. Hansen.

102. Thor: The Mighty Avenger, Volume 1 by Roger Landgridge, Chris Samnee, and Matthew Wilson. I don't keep up very well on comics these days, largely because of budgetary issues; I'd love to be able to get an iPad or something and read them online, as I understand that this is a thing that is done nowadays, but, well, budgetary issues. But I follow a lot of comics blogs and creators and folks on Twitter, and when this series was canceled a few weeks ago, there was such an outcry that I thought I should look into it. And it is pretty wonderful--it flies directly in the face of the sort of thing that has become far too commonplace in comics, which is dark, dark, dark: tragedy, over-the-top violence, heroes being pushed to the brink (or beyond it) of villainy, etc. Sometimes those stories are well done, but of late (by which one could easily say, for the past twenty years or more) it's felt like a thing that is done because once or twice it's been really compelling. I am very much in favor of books that take the screwball creativity of the Silver Age and combine it with a humane sensibility and dialogue that doesn't sound like it was written by a twelve-year-old. The best example of this from my own recent reading is (perhaps unsurprisingly), Morrison and Quitely's All-Star Superman. This book doesn't quite reach those sublime heights, but it is gorgeous and funny and FUN; Jane Foster actually has a personality here, and Thor is noble and clueless and sweet and heroic. This is a comic you could put in front of your kids without any misgivings, and that is something that can be said of ridiculously few comics being put out nowadays. Go ahead and pick this up as a last-minute gift to yourself or someone else; maybe if we buy enough copies, Marvel will reconsider the cancellation.
snurri: (Default)
Books 1-10.
Books 11-20.
Books 21-30.
Books 31-40.
Books 41-50.
Books 51-60.
Books 61-70.
71. Scott Pilgrim's Finest Hour by Bryan Lee O'Malley.
72. Defenders: Indefensible by Keith Giffen, J.M. DeMatteis, and Kevin Maguire.
73. A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens.
74. Fear of the Dark by Walter Mosley.

75. Criminal Volume 4: Bad Night by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips. I love Brubaker's work, and when it comes to contemporary noir comics, Criminal and Azzarello/Risso's 100 Bullets are about all that needs be said. Having said it, though, I feel a small rant coming on, one that has more to do with noir tradition in general than it does Brubaker and Phillips. Here's my problem: I love noir, but I don't get the femme fatale. It's something that has never made sense to me. It's always, first and foremost, transparently a device, one with little realism attached; beyond that, the concept is insulting to men and women alike. (Undoubtedly this is related to my difficulties with infidelity narratives, but that's another rant.) When the story has other things going on I can usually get past the femme fatale's omnipresence, and some of my favorite authors use some version of it regularly--Chandler and Mosley, certainly, although Mosley's "irresistible" ladies almost always have something more going on. When the story hinges on a femme fatale, though, I get thrown out. I stop believing, and worse, I stop caring. So although this story has some interesting stuff going on, notably with the cartoonist's detective character/alter ego, I didn't enjoy it all that much. The art is gorgeous and the tale is twisty; it just hit one of my bad buttons and wouldn't let it go.
snurri: (Default)
Books 1-10.
Books 11-20.
Books 21-30.
Books 31-40.
Books 41-50.
Books 51-60.
Books 61-70.
71. Scott Pilgrim's Finest Hour by Bryan Lee O'Malley.

72. Defenders: Indefensible by Keith Giffen, J.M. DeMatteis, and Kevin Maguire. The Defenders were one of my first fandoms (after "Sesame Street," "Gilligan's Island," and "The Monkees"), and the Giffen/DeMatteis/Maguire team was responsible for my favorite JLA run--so why hadn't I read this before? 'Cause it came out when comics and I were taking a break, that's why. And honestly . . . this one is skippable. It's not dreadful, but it's got the irreverence of the JLA run amped up by about a third, and the jokes, sadly, just aren't that funny. In the JLA run, at least Batman and J'onn J'onzz were allowed some (if only occasional) gravitas: here Dr. Strange and Namor are just pompous swelled heads, and the Silver Surfer is a space case. Possibly literally. I'm not sure that applies. Anyway, it's too bad.
snurri: (Default)
Books 1-10.
Books 11-20.
Books 21-30.
Books 31-40.
Books 41-50.
Books 51-60.
Books 61-70.

71. Scott Pilgrim's Finest Hour by Bryan Lee O'Malley. I had to read this before I saw the movie. (I still haven't seen the movie.) What's to say, really, except that it works; the resolution feels organic and not obligatory, and there's just the right aftertaste of uncertainty to the ending. My take on the series from the beginning has been that it's not really about the characters--it's about O'Malley's skewed take on romance and youth and existence at large; basically, if you're down with the video game metaphors and the somewhat antagonistic, borderline incestuous web of friendships-by-default, you're going to love it. It's not about Scott. Scott, to my mind, is a clueless douchebag who coasts on his boyish charm (and homicide). And I think O'Malley has always been aware of that, and acknowledged it, and here he finally addresses it in a way that satisfies without violating the rules of his world. Plus, there are cool fights.
snurri: (Default)
Books 1-10.
Books 11-20.
Books 21-30.
Books 31-40.
Books 41-50.
Books 51-60.
61. Life Sucks by Jessica Abel, Gabriel Soria, and Warren Pleece.
62. JLA: Classifed: New Maps of Hell by Warren Ellis and Jackson Guice.
63. The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms (Book One of The Inheritance Trilogy) by N. K. Jemisin.
64. Fear Itself by Walter Mosley.
65. Tongues of Serpents: A Novel of Temeraire by Naomi Novik.

66. Showcase Presents: Legion of Super-Heroes Volume 2 by Edmond Hamilton, Jim Shooter, et al. This second volume shows the Legion stories in a time of transition, from the staid wackiness of the Silver Age towards a more "hip" attitude and the expansion of stories into more two-parters and extended arcs. As such it's pretty clunky and unfocused. Wunderkind Jim Shooter, who started writing for the Legion when he was fourteen--yes, FOURTEEN YEARS OLD--demonstrates a knack for the dramatic, but doesn't yet have a handle on telling a streamlined story. Overall, a bit of a letdown from the first volume.
snurri: (Default)
Books 1-10.
Books 11-20.
Books 21-30.
Books 31-40.
Books 41-50.
Books 51-60.
61. Life Sucks by Jessica Abel, Gabriel Soria, and Warren Pleece.

62. JLA: Classifed: New Maps of Hell by Warren Ellis and Jackson Guice. Seen at the library; I'll read anything by Ellis. That said . . .

I have this problem with Justice League stories. See, I loved the Giffen/DeMatteis/Maguire JLA/JLI, and I have a certain head-shaking affection for the Silver Age beginnings of the title. Nowadays, though, most of the Justice League stuff I read is all Rather Serious, and there's not much peril, and it's all about how these folks are the Best In the World and they Can't Be Beat because they're Smarter Than You and just the fact that you're even trying proves that you're from Somewhere Else. It's like reading a comic about the New York Yankees. And I don't mean to pick on Ellis, because I don't think he's one of the more egregious offenders, and I think that he's doing what he does very consciously; he's saying there's no point pretending that anyone but the most badass of badasses has a chance of even rocking these folks back on their heels--they've fought gods and the god-like and they know what they're doing. I get that, I agree with it, and yet I can't make myself care. It's essentially the same beef I have with 99% of Superman stories; he can't be beat unless the writer changes the rules, and even then it's going to be temporary. Anyway; rant over.

This story--published as six issues, but it flows as one continuous episode--has some nice character moments. I enjoyed the inclusion of Oracle, and Ellis writes the Martian Manhunter really well. (Kyle Rayner talked a bit like Warren Ellis, but then Warren Ellis always cracks me up, so.) I also like the way Ellis writes Clark and Lois. Guice's art is better than I remembered, although I get the feeling he's been taking a page from Alex Ross's book.

Still will read anything by Ellis.
snurri: (Default)
Books 1-10.
Books 11-20.
Books 21-30.
Books 31-40.
Books 41-50.
Books 51-60.

61. Life Sucks by Jessica Abel, Gabriel Soria, and Warren Pleece. I'm tempted to shorthand this as Clerks meets Fright Night or something, with a black humor edge reminiscent of Lair of the White Worm; but that feels unfair and reductive. It's a quirky graphic novel about a wage slave vampire working the night shift at a convenience store. It's funny but it's not a comedy, it's got some horrific stuff but it's not horror; in fact one of the things that I like best about it is its near-complete disregard of genre expectations. What works least well about it is its slacker protagonist, who is difficult to engage with or care about much. Partly that's the point, of course, to challenge him to change, but I found myself more interested in the minor characters and the world-building than in the main character, and I think that's a problem.
snurri: (Default)
Books 1-10.
Books 11-20.
Books 21-30.
Books 31-40.
Books 41-50.
51. Kitty Pryde: Shadow & Flame by Akira Yoshida and Paul Smith.
52. Best Short Novels 2006, Edited by Jonathan Strahan.
53. All Star Superman Volumes One and Two by Grant Morrison, Frank Quitely and Jamie Grant.
54. Fearless Jones by Walter Mosley.
55. Two or Three Things I Know for Sure by Dorothy Allison.
56. Who Fears Death by Nnedi Okorafor.
57. Rocannon's World by Ursula K. Le Guin.
58. Showcase Presents: Challengers of the Unknown Volume 1 by Jack Kirby, David Wood, Ed Herron, Arnold Drake, Bob Brown, etc.

59. The Good Neighbors, Book Two: Kith by Holly Black and Ted Naifeh. At this point I kind of wish I'd just read these all at once; I don't think they stand alone all that well. At about the point I'm really starting to groove on the story, the volume ends and I have to try to find the next one. To be clear, I'm grousing about the way this is packaged, and not the contents; Holly's story is still very intriguing (at times this volume felt a little uncomfortably close to part of what I'm doing in my novel-in-progress), and I like Naifeh's art even though at times it's a bit static. So, um, not a rave, I guess? But really I won't have a global assessment until I read the rest of the series.
snurri: (Default)
Books 1-10.
Books 11-20.
Books 21-30.
Books 31-40.
Books 41-50.
51. Kitty Pryde: Shadow & Flame by Akira Yoshida and Paul Smith.
52. Best Short Novels 2006, Edited by Jonathan Strahan.
53. All Star Superman Volumes One and Two by Grant Morrison, Frank Quitely and Jamie Grant.
54. Fearless Jones by Walter Mosley.
55. Two or Three Things I Know for Sure by Dorothy Allison.
56. Who Fears Death by Nnedi Okorafor.
57. Rocannon's World by Ursula K. Le Guin.

58. Showcase Presents: Challengers of the Unknown Volume 1 by Jack Kirby, David Wood, Ed Herron, Arnold Drake, Bob Brown, etc. There was a time when comics were more adventure stories than superhero stories; the Challengers come from that period. They're "daredevils"--an ace pilot (named Ace, even), a mountain climber, a master skin diver, and an Olympic wrestling champ. Aside from their honorary member June Robbins (or Walker, sometimes--her confusing bio is discussed here), who serves as their all-purpose scientific liaison (she's introduced as the number one robotics expert in the world, but seems to spend most of her time on archaeological digs), this is just about the most ridiculously macho comic I've ever read. It's a pretty fun ride despite that, although after a while the story elements become somewhat predictable--aliens loose on Earth creating havoc/kidnapping people with strange rays, or powerful artifacts split into three or four pieces and scattered across the globe. The Silver Age never met a story template that wasn't worth repeating, it seems.
snurri: (Default)
Books 1-10.
Books 11-20.
Books 21-30.
Books 31-40.
Books 41-50.
51. Kitty Pryde: Shadow & Flame by Akira Yoshida and Paul Smith.
52. Best Short Novels 2006, Edited by Jonathan Strahan.

53. All Star Superman Volumes One and Two by Grant Morrison, Frank Quitely and Jamie Grant. As I've probably said more than enough times by now, I'm a Superman skeptic, but after reading the first Legion of Super-Heroes Showcase volume, I remembered a bit of the affection I used to have for Silver Age Supes. Since everyone and their tapeworm has been raving about this series for the past several years, and I'm a big Morrison fan, and the covers are pretty, I thought I'd pick it up. It's clear that Morrison has more than a bit of affection for the Silver Age Superman stories; he draws on a ton of that stuff here, even if just for background detail. I have a lot of respect for anyone who, rather than try to refute the wackiness that was the Silver Age--in favor of, say, the gritty "realism" of the Foil Age or the straightforward nihilism that Mark Millar represents--embraces the weirdness, giving it a modern voice and context. That's essentially what Morrison has done here, and he's done it quite well. It's also a surprisingly gentle story, especially for Morrison, and considering that it involves monsters and renegade suns and time-traveling musclehead thieves. The supporting cast gets a nice workout, and did I mention that the art is pretty? Seriously, Quitely's lines are reliably nice, but Grant's colors just leap off the page. Anyway, this is one Superman story I can definitely recommend.
snurri: (Default)
Books 1-10.
Books 11-20.
Books 21-30.
Books 31-40.
Books 41-50.

51. Kitty Pryde: Shadow & Flame by Akira Yoshida and Paul Smith. One of the nice things about getting comics at the library is that I can take a chance on things I might not read otherwise. Which isn't to say that I'm not an X-Men fan, or a Kitty Pryde fan; but one of the least convincing things in Kitty's backstory was the miniseries Kitty Pryde and Wolverine, wherein she went to Japan with Wolverine for a few months and became a martial arts master. This miniseries is more or less a sequel to that one. It's satisfying that it's just Kitty now--well, Kitty and Lockheed--and no Wolvie around to rescue her if things get bad. But the whole thing feels rushed, the story feels forced, and the dialogue, particularly near the end, is awful.
snurri: (Default)
Books 1-10.
Books 11-20.
Books 21-30.
Books 31-40.
41. When Baghdad Ruled the Muslim World: The Rise and Fall of Islam's Greatest Dynasty by Hugh Kennedy.
42. The Suffrage of Elvira by V.S. Naipaul.
43. The Magicians by Lev Grossman.
44. The Teammates: A Portrait of a Friendship by David Halberstam.
45. Showcase Presents: The Elongated Man by Gardner Fox, John Broome, Carmine Infantino, Sid Greene, et al.
46. Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned by Wells Tower.
47. Showcase Presents: Legion of Super-Heroes: Volume 1 by Curt Swan, Jerry Siegel, et al.

48. The Good Neighbors, Book One: Kin by Holly Black and Ted Naifeh. I'm not certain whether this story/series is part of the same universe as Holly's Tithe, Valiant, and Ironside, but it's cut from similar cloth--the human and faerie worlds collide, with unfortunate consequences for the humans. This is book one of four, so it's difficult to say too much about the story as a whole. But I like Naifeh's art, and I like everything Holly does, so I'll be looking for the rest of this.
snurri: (Default)
Books 1-10.
Books 11-20.
Books 21-30.
Books 31-40.
41. When Baghdad Ruled the Muslim World: The Rise and Fall of Islam's Greatest Dynasty by Hugh Kennedy.
42. The Suffrage of Elvira by V.S. Naipaul.
43. The Magicians by Lev Grossman.
44. The Teammates: A Portrait of a Friendship by David Halberstam.
45. Showcase Presents: The Elongated Man by Gardner Fox, John Broome, Carmine Infantino, Sid Greene, et al.
46. Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned by Wells Tower.

47. Showcase Presents: Legion of Super-Heroes: Volume 1 by Curt Swan, Jerry Siegel, et al. The Legion is one of those things that certain comic book fans talk about with reverence and glee, but it's not an easy fandom to jump in on, given the long and wacky history (future), which of course has been rebooted more than once (yay Crises!). This is a pretty good place to start, though. Wacky Silver Age plots mostly fall into one or more of three categories:

1. Mysterious new member has mysterious (and plot-crucial) power, can you guess what it is?
2. Trusted Legionnaire appears to be a traitor! What's going on?
3. Crazy new "SCIENCE" may be key to bringing Lightning Lad back to life/making it possible for Mon-El to survive outside the Phantom Zone.

Really, that only gives a taste of the wackiness. The Legion of Substitute Heroes may be my fave, because seriously--they have STONE BOY, whose power is TURNING HIMSELF INTO A STATUE. Which cannot move. Or speak. Or do anything but be stone.

Many of the early stories in this volume are Superboy/Superman/Supergirl stories, and given that I rather dislike Superfamily stuff, I was surprised at how much I liked them. One reason is that, damn, Curt Swan has really damn pretty lines. In the Showcase/Essential black-and-white format, there are more than a few artists whose pencils don't do that well; their lines are sloppy, or their backgrounds are blanks left for the colorist to do something with. Swan's style is so clean that one might take it for granted, as I think I had before reading this.

The other reason I liked Superman (mostly Superboy) OK in this volume is that, well, this is Silver Age stuff, and it doesn't take itself very seriously. Smallville may be small, but it appears to have daily bank robberies, dam bursts, and superheroes and -villains stopping by from the future on a near-daily basis. It's difficult to get irritated with that sort of over-the-top kitchen sink approach. There are two more volumes of this out, and another on the way. I'm hoping to get caught up on all the weirdness.
snurri: (Default)
Books 1-10.
Books 11-20.
Books 21-30.
Books 31-40.
41. When Baghdad Ruled the Muslim World: The Rise and Fall of Islam's Greatest Dynasty by Hugh Kennedy.
42. The Suffrage of Elvira by V.S. Naipaul.
43. The Magicians by Lev Grossman.
44. The Teammates: A Portrait of a Friendship by David Halberstam.

45. Showcase Presents: The Elongated Man by Gardner Fox, John Broome, Carmine Infantino, Sid Greene, et al. I used to read these shorts in the back of the old issues of Detective Comics that my uncles had left behind at my grandparents' house; at the time I had no appreciation for the richness of Infantino's lines, or the subtlety of the eight-page mystery format as opposed to, say, the whacked-out JLA stories that Fox was also writing at the time. Ralph and Sue Dibny were the Nick and Nora Charles of superhero comics, globe-trotting, wealthy hobbyist detectives, yet still always likable. And let's face it, Ralph's powers are really freakin' weird; sometimes the shapes he contorts himself into are creepily inhuman. What was best about the Dibnys was that they had a successful, loving marriage, and while it doesn't read precisely as a partnership through a modern-day lens, it was wildly progressive for the time. Sadly, happy marriages are something that the current editors-in-chief at DC and Marvel seem to abhor (see also: Peter Parker and Mary Jane), since it wasn't enough to kill off Sue and Ralph in the pages of Identity Crisis and 52, it had to be done in such a way that it uglified their relationship retroactively. Stay classy, Dan Didio; you're the reason we can't have nice things. Me, I'll be hanging onto the Dibnys of these stories (seriously, this volume is worth it for Infantino's art alone) and the Justice League Europe years.
snurri: (Default)
Books 1-10.
Books 11-20.
Books 21-30.
31. Blonde Faith by Walter Mosley.
32. The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros.
33. Justice League of America, Volume 2 by Gardner Fox, Mike Sekowsky, et al.
34. Killer Princesses by Gail Simone and Lea Hernandez.
35. Michael Chabon Presents: The Amazing Adventures of the Escapist, Volume 1 by Michael Chabon, Kevin McCarthy, Glen David Gold, Howard Chaykin, Bill Sienkewicz, etc.
36. Gate of Ivory, Gate of Horn by Robert Holdstock.
37. Becoming Charlemagne: Europe, Baghdad, and the Empires of A.D. 800 by Jeff Sypeck.

38. Justice League of America, Volume 3 by Gardner Fox, Mike Sekowsky, Carmine Infantino, et al. Really, the story here is JLA #37, where Johnny Thunder's Thunderbolt from Earth-2 is taken over by the Johnny Thunder from Earth-1, a petty crook who first erases the JLA from existence by sending the Thunderbolt back in time to prevent their origin stories from taking place, then slips members of his gang into their places to gain their super-powers. Note that in at least some cases--Superman, Batman, the Martian Manhunter--this makes absolutely no sense; standing in the spot where lightning struck Barry Allen's lab to get the Flash's power, sure, but how exactly does replacing an alien with a human give him that alien's powers? And Batman . . . I don't even know where to start. And yet. This issue was in a box of comics that my uncles had left in my grandparents' house, and I used to read it over and over again, and it's so ridiculous that it's awesome. What's more, it was part one of a two-part story, and until I read this volume I never knew how the Justice Society (from Earth-2) managed to save the JLA. If I needed to explain, though, why I like superheroes and comic books, that issue would be part of the answer, because it has alternate earths, team-ups, ridiculous humor, and a replacement Batman with enough stubble to scour every pan in an aircraft carrier mess hall.
snurri: (Default)
Books 1-10.
Books 11-20.
Books 21-30.
31. Blonde Faith by Walter Mosley.
32. The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros.
33. Justice League of America, Volume 2 by Gardner Fox, Mike Sekowsky, et al.
34. Killer Princesses by Gail Simone and Lea Hernandez.

35. Michael Chabon Presents: The Amazing Adventures of the Escapist, Volume 1 by Michael Chabon, Kevin McCarthy, Glen David Gold, Howard Chaykin, Bill Sienkewicz, etc., etc. I have this massive tension with Chabon's work, which is that I often feel that the meta gets in the way of everything. At his best, he's a wickedly smart synthesist; at worst, his stuff is little better than pastiche. This volume of stories based on the Kavalier and Clay-created hero, is much more the latter, although only a small part of that is Chabon's fault, since he pens only the first story here; the others are by comics professionals (or legends). The collection has moments--and some great art--but mostly it feels derivative and uninspired, weighed down with nostalgia and self-referentiality.

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