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So Much Paper — Scarlet #1 and The Man With the Getaway Face

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Image via IDW Publishing

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Hello,

I’m Bryan. I write from time to time. I also read comics when I get the chance. I am going to combine these two activities into one for Handshake magazine. The resulting blog/column will be called, “So Much Paper.” I don’t actually know if I have permission to name this anything other than “Handshake on Comics,” but I don’t really give a shit. My title is more street.

I’m also not sure what form this will eventually take on, so for now we’re going to play it by ear. I have faith that it’ll all come together over the next few weeks. This week, we’ll talk about my trip to the comic store and what I got.

I get my comics at Midtown Comics near Times Square. This week was like any other. I got there to find nerds of all varieties scouring the rack of new releases for something new to sate their sequential art fix. It’s a rather sorry sight, but one I obviously don’t mind as I subject myself to it on the reg.

The biggest problem with comics these days is the cost. $3.99 has become the standard, which is less than a bargain when one takes into account that the average comic features 22 pages of content. Not to get all old, but when I started reading them, they’d just crossed the dollar threshold. Sure more and more titles are featuring back up stories, but an extra six to eight pages is hardly enough to justify the cost, especially when they, by and large, are more inconsequential than what preceded them.

But did I let that stop me from spending money? Of course not, and here’s what I spent my cash on:

scarlet#1Scarlet #1
Icon Comics, $3.95

I picked this up because the creative team—writer, Brian Michael Bendis, and artist, Alex Maleev, produced one of the best mainstream comics I’ve ever read with their run on Daredevil nearly a decade ago. A lot has changed since then though, as this is garbage. The main character is a shitty stereotype of a street wise teenager and is next to impossible to care about. Daredevil was enthralling, this is just off-putting. But the real crime is the art. Maleev’s work has always looked a little too photo referenced and Photoshopped for my tastes, but this is just gross. It’s so garish that it distracts from what thin story there is, which, I guess, might be a good thing, except that it’s not. It just makes the experience more painful. I guess the breaking of the fourth wall was kind of nice, but then it just went on and on.

Verdict: Shit Sandwich

the man with the getaway face

The Man with the Getaway Face
IDW, $2.00

This is an adaptation of the Richard Parker novel of the same name, by the always entertaining Darwyn Cooke. As he lays out in the introduction, this is a book that he didn’t think could sustain itself for an entire graphic novel, so instead he turned it into a 20 page short. Though I haven’t read the original, I can see why Cooke was a little concerned. The story here is predictable and feels entirely forgettable. It sure is nice to look at though. Critic Dan Nadel tore Cooke apart for his art on last year’s Parker adaptation, The Hunter, which hasn’t change much since last year. I like it despite it’s “inauthenticity.” Hey, sometimes you just want to look at something slick. Plus, Cooke’s years as an animator and storyboard artist have turned him into quite the story teller. In addition the slightly larger than normal format and thick paper stock are awesome, though I’m puzzled as to why the inside pages are thicker than the cover. Plus, it was totally the cheapest comic out there.

Verdict: Alright (as a whole)/Pretty Good (as an art object)

***

Though not the best of hauls, my visit to Midtown wasn’t a waste. I also picked up a copy of Brian Chippendale’s sorta incomprehensible but immensely awesome Maggots. I already own a copy, but as it’s hidden somewhere in my parents house back in California, and as it was on sale for $6 (as opposed to the normal $25 cover price) I figured why not. It’s challenging, but its the sort of book you can spend hours with, constantly finding new things. Now I know that sounds mighty cliché, but rarely is it more apt than with this comic.

P.S. Chippendale’s seldom updated comics’ blog is totally worth checking out.

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