In addition to the Mazzucchelli and Marchetto I’ve been looking at, I’ve also been reading several other comics over the past couple of weeks. On the recommendation of a friend, I picked up the Iron Man collection, Demon in a Bottle. I had never really read any Iron Man comics before–that is, on its own and not as part of a larger crossover series such as Civil War or Secret Invasion–and I like it. Stark’s problems with alcohol obviously humanizes the guy, which is more than can be said for his behavior in the Civil War comics. Also, the art by Romita, Jr. and Infantino remind me of the comics I read growing up, which is vastly different from the art in much of the more recent Marvel series. There’s something about the more contemporary art that bugs me at times, and I definitely got this feeling reading through the Secret Invasion crossover comics. Sometimes the rougher, more unfinished, or “juvenile” style (not sure how to pin this one) seemed more slapdash than anything. I guess that growing up with the cleaner style of Romita makes me appreciate it more…and makes me more picky for the “good stuff.”
As always, I read every issue of Mome that comes out, and I just recently finished the latest volume, 21. Some of the stories that stood out in this issue were those by Sergio Ponchione, Steven Weismann, Tom Kaczynski, and Nicolas Mahler. And I especially liked the ongoing narratives by Kurt Wolfgang (when will he ever finish “Nothing Eve”?), Michael Jada & Derek Van Gieson, and The Partridge in the Pear Tree & Josh Simmons. The latter, in particular, is a favorite of mine, if for no other reason than because they bring together Rosie O’Donnell and Paul Lynde. How brilliant is that?
But of the comics I’ve been reading over the past week, by far the most engaging has been Scalped. This is no surprise, really, in that it’s my favorite ongoing series, and I’ve been keeping up with it almost from the very beginning. (I was first introduced to it by a friend, Meg Noori, at around issue #2.) I also have a particular investment in this series, having just last year published an essay largely based on the original narrative arcs, and I have plans to expand that work into a larger book project I’m working on. Last year Jason Aaron tied up much of the storylines surrounding the death of Gina Bad Horse and problems with the Hmongs, and in the most recent collection, Rez Blues, he continues on beyond the original ideas that established the series. But he hasn’t left Gina’s death behind. In fact, in the last few issues (and these come after those collected in Rez Blues), we finally see Catcher once again and learn that he has Officer Falls Down captive. I had wondered what had happened to those two, and I’m glad that Aaron hasn’t left those strands of his narrative hanging. This is one of those series I’m always chomping at the bit to devour, aggravated that I have to wait a month before my next fix. But such is the nature of serialized narrative.
The same goes for Mike Carey and Peter Gross’s Unwritten. It’s one of those series I keep up with avidly and eagerly await every month. Much like Fables and Jack of Fables, it concerns the power of storytelling and the intersections of narrative with our lives. I’m a big fan of Bill Willingham’s elaborate storyworld, but I have to say that my interest in Carey’s Unwritten has (for now, at least) surpassed that of Fables.