Wednesday Comics #1(of 12) - Various
I'm not quite sure of how to approach this review, as I normally focus on Story first, and then Art, but with Wednesday Comics, my normal 'style' doesn't really fit, there is no real story to speak of, each story, only a page, is all set-up, and while they could each lead somewhere interesting, it's hard to say after just reading one page of each, can you imagine judging anything based on the first page? But as a mood, as a feeling, as something that evokes all that is good about comics, Wednesday Comics cannot be beaten. And the art, man, the art is amazing.
Wednesday Comics is an experiment and an exercise in nostalgia. Hearkening back to the days of Sunday Funnies (where the comic book originated, unless you want to be pretentious and go back to the Bayeux Tapestry or Cave Paintings), each week we get 1 page of 15 continuing stories, each by some of the biggest names in comics, there are stories focusing on DC's big guns, such as Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman alongside lesser-known characters like Kamandi or Metamorpho. I really like the choice of characters here, DC have a huge stable of great characters, and often they go unused. Another good aspect of this is that it isn't just superhero stories, there is a War story, Sergeant Rock and Easy Company, and Kamandi and Strange Adventures are science-fiction, this variety adds to the old-school Sunday Funnies feel, where you'd have Prince Valiant next to Buck Rogers next to Pogo, while this isn't quite as varied, it's more than most DC books!
The array of talent DC has assembled here is top-notch and is the main reason to get this. Brian Azzarello, Neil Gaiman, Lee Bermejo, Paul Pope, Kurt Busiek, Dave Gibbons, Joe Kubert, and many more. This is like the All-Star DCU, each story stands alone and is set in a nostalgic world, or at least to me it seemed that way, perhaps it was just the format, but each story seemed steeped in Silver Age fun. Each story brought a smile to my face.
I do have my favourites, despite finding it hard to judge such a small snippet, John Arcudi and Lee Bermejo's Superman story looked beautiful, Dave Bullock and Vinton Heuck's take on Deadman was noir-ish and perhaps the most immediately gripping. Paul Pope's Strange Adventures was crazy insane fun, Neil Gaiman and Mike Allred on Metamorpho is a perfect fit, and I liked how it went for humour, a collaboration between Joe Kubert and his son Adam on Sergeant Rock was also a highlight. Even the generally reviled Dan Didio proved himself by penning a fun take on the Metal Men. Yes, some of the stories were less immediately satisfying than others, Wonder Woman was kind of confusing and Hawkman was about Hawkman, but each was beautifully drawn, and after only 1 page, I'm not ready to dismiss anything, Kyle Baker, Amanda Conner, Bryan Stelfreeze and Karl Kerschl are all fantastic artists, and even if the story isn't so strong, it's worth it to see their work on the big page.
Reading Wednesday Comics was a genuine experience, and I don't begrudge the fact that the stories ended abruptly, this is a weekly comic, they want you coming back for more each week and in many cases I really do want to see where they are going. It's sort of like 2000 AD really, I imagine US readers may have more of a problem with the weekly serial, but in the UK, we grow up with it, Zarjaz!
This book transports you back to an age when comics were for everyone, where there was variety, I've mentioned the War and Sci-Fi books, but it goes beyond even that, they even have a story focusing on the Flash's Girlfriend! You can tell there is love behind every page, and this contains more invention, ideas and sheer joy in it than any of DC's depressing events of the last few years. Mark Chiarello is probably the best editor at DC today, and it is a damn shame that his Solo book was not a success, but Wednesday Comics is it's spiritual follow-up, and I hope that it sells well enough to become a yearly, or at least re-occuring presence for DC, God knows we could do with more comics like this. It's not perfect, if you like to read for story primarily and are interested in continuity, this may not be for you, at least not until it is collected (and I am very intrigued as to how they will collect this). But if you appreciate the art just as much as story, and just want to read some great creators given free reign on classic characters, doing something new in the stagnant Big 2 world I highly recommend this. Wednesday Comics is a paper time machine to DC's history, yet it's also very much looking forward to the future.
Best Line - 'I'm afraid not my darling daughter. This journey is much too dangerous for a girl' from Gaiman and Allred's Metamorpho story, it represents the old-school feel of the project perfectly in my eyes.
Last edited by Punchy
on Tue Jul 14, 2009 7:15 am, edited 4 times in total.