I gotta admit, I've been really cranky about contemporary comics.
So much so that - thanks to a Twitter post by a fellow comics blogger, not necessarily directed at me - I feel as if the only comics-related content I've posted is basically insulting Mike Sterling for his tastes. But that's changing - part of it is, despite being a cheater pants, Mike is a pretty decent guy. Much of it is that I'm feeling better despite some personal setbacks, including a nasty upper respiratory thing, and losing out on a job opportunity thanks to misdirection by a human resources person.
But part of it is, thanks to my local library, I've come across trades of two stories I missed the first time around that have, well, warmed my heart. I absolutely love these stories, and want to let the world know that my heart is finally thawing, and that I'm happier about comics than I have been in awhile.
The first is the collected Common Grounds, a series which has a great premise, combing an Astro City-esque vibe with a more intimate tone, almost James Robinson-esque tone. The premise is simple - a chain of donut shops where superheroes, supervillians, and regular people can get together to talk. A series of short stories - such as a reporter talking to a speedster; a super-hero team reuniting; and a hero and villian having a long conversation - Common Grounds is the kind of book that gives a great humanity to typical superhero cliches. It's well worth tracking down.
The other, more overtly fun, book, is the first Buzzboy compilation, Trouble in Paradise.
God, this book was fun. So much fun, I can't believe that I missed out on this series first time round.
Yes, the plot is simple - a heroic sidekick returns, and there's a hero gone bad...but the sharp writing, the consistent pop culture references, and the art (a mix of Bruce Timm, Dan DeCarlo, and Mike Parobeck) make this a really cool book. I mean...any book that features a super-villain who retires because he finds baking much more of a challenge? It's that kind of take - the usual fannish take that takes on a life of its own - that makes Buzzboy and Common Grounds a cut above typical fare....and which have me getting excited (again) about comics
These are two books that provide a fresh perspective on superheroes....and are a lot of fun to boot. Both of these books have me falling back in love with comics.
As well as apologetic to Mr. Sterling - who'da thunk it?