Tuesday, August 18, 2009

CandidGamera vs. Wednesday Comics

So, DC's latest weekly experiment is Wednesday Comics. For $3.99, you get a newspaper-sized issue containing a number of single-page serial entries. The format has some disadvantages - the cheaper newsprint is pretty difficult to keep in good shape. The size makes the book a little unwieldy. Still, there's no denying that it's pretty.

Let's look at the features, one by one.

Batman, by Azzarello and Risso - It's not bad, as far as the writing goes. Not as sure about the art - Risso's Bruce Wayne looks a bit off-model. Sort of a slower-paced mystery serial.

Kamandi, by Gibbons and Sook - This one's a winner, all around. The spiritual cousin of Prince Valiant, with an action beat in every installment. Nice to see one of DC's more obscure characters getting some screentime.

Superman, by Arcudi and Bermejo - It's pretty. But Superman being introspective about his isolation as an alien on Earth got old twenty years ago.

Deadman, by Heuck and Stewart - One of my favorites, but I have no idea what the hell is going on. It's not boring, though!

Green Lantern, by Busiek and Quinones - It's one of the lower-key installments, with action sequences being pretty sparse so far, but again, it isn't boring, and things look ready to kick into high gear for the latter half.

Metamorpho, by Gaiman and Allred - This is my favorite of the bunch. It has a wacky, Silver-Age sensibility that works very well for Metamorpho. I'd love to see this team do a Metamorpho miniseries.

Teen Titans, by Berganza and Galloway - The art style is kind of interesting. I haven't really made up my mind on this strip yet, but the reveal of Trident's identity in #6 does intrigue me.

Strange Adventures, by Pope and Villarrubia - It's not the Rann I know, but it's fun. This is the strange hybrid of Prince Valiant and something out of Heavy Metal. Definitely one of the better inclusions.

Supergirl, by Palmiotti and Connor - My other favorite, in addition to Metamorpho. Supergirl's comically escalating frustration with Streaky and Krypto is hilarious. And the depiction of Aquaman in #6 definitely got a chuckle out of me, and not at Arthur's expense.

Metal Men, by Didio and Garcia-Lopez - For me, this is fourth behind Supergirl and Metamorpho and Flash in terms of enjoyability. I've long been a fan of Garcia-Lopez's art. And the personalities of the Metal Men really shine through - no pun intended.

Wonder Woman, by Caldwell - I've begun skipping the Wonder Woman strip. The layout and crowded text make it too troublesome to read, and the first few strips didn't really hook me with anything. The art's not bad, if you can get past the mosiac of tiny panels.

Sgt. Rock and Easy Co., by Kubert and Kubert - Well, hell, this one's a no-brainer. Just look at the names. Plus, I have a soft spot for Rock and Easy Company. It's one of the strips that makes me wonder at the experiment's purpose, though..

Flash Comics, by Kerschl, Fletcher, Leigh, and McCaig - Karl Kerschl is the perfect artist for the Flash, and it's nice to see some of Barry's Silver Age adventures. It's got time travel, multiple Flashes, and Gorilla Grodd. What more do you need?

The Demon and Catwoman, by Simonson and Stelfreeze - Not bad - it's an interesting pairing of characters, The art's dark, evocative, and occasionally Kirbyesque. Solid B-plus stuff.

Hawkman, by Kyle Baker - Hawkman, doing traditional superheroics, without relying on his pathetic Rogues' Gallery, or his convoluted reincarnation and backstory? Sold. That it's set in the Bronze Age, Satellite Justice-League era is a solid bonus.

So, that's a brief overview of my thoughts. My confusion about Wednesday Comics is that I'm not sure who the target audience is. Is DC trying to expose lesser-known characters to existing comics fans? There are a lot of headline characters taking up space in the book. Are they trying to pull in new readers? The price point is too high for the product to be much of a draw, and there are elements that make it not appropriate for all ages - minor curses, some gruesome violence - it's not something you hand to a kid, I'd think. I'm left to wonder what the book's purpose is.

Still, it's a pleasant enough diversion and I'll follow it through to the end.


  1. I agree with the majority of your comments about Wednesday Comics, especially regarding who it's supposed to be appealing to. I would rate the Flash as the best strip, with Hawkman, Kamandi, Metamorpho and Catwoman as my next favourites. I am really not enjoying the tripe they're stuffing into Superman.

    Oh and my God. Wonder Woman? I have no idea why it's being written or drawn the way that it is, but I rarely find a comic a pain to follow, and this comic is a damn pain.


  2. The only thing that keeps me from rating Hawkman more highly is that the art isn't aligned with my personal tastes. It's not bad, it just doesn't strike a chord with me.