May. 14, 2008 at 1:50am
Wondermark: A web-comic now beginning to be collected on paper, Wondermark was probably written just for me. Creator Dave Malki takes Victorian-era public-domain images, adds some throughly modern snark and throws in a pinch of pure weirdness. I picked up all three of the books. The best of which The Annotated Wondermark: The First Anthology Collection of the Celebrated Comic Strip is well, exactly that: a collection of the first 100 webstrips. The other two, Treachery: An All-New Wondermark Adventure, and Dispatches from Wondermark Manor are shorter, more experimental pieces. Neither are as enjoyable as the collection, but all three are worth checking out.
Noble Causes Archives #1/Gemini #1: Jay Faerber has a real knack for finding the superhero stories that haven't been told. Dynamo 5, perhaps his most successful book, follows the five illegitimate children of the late Captain Dynamo, his Superman stand-in. Since I already own that, I was on the hunt for his newest (Gemini) and his first (Noble Causes). I picked up both and was lucky enough to have Jay sign them. The Noble Causes Archives is a rather massive book (600 + pages) collecting about half of the series. It's black and white instead of the original color, but that is a minor quibble considering the sheer bargain. The series has been plagued with multiple artist switches and there is never a set look, but the idea (normal girl marries into a dynastic superhero family) and execution is good enough that you won't notice. The Archives volume 2 comes out later this summer.
Gemini is another high-concept superhero. Ever since Clark Kent first slipped on his first pair of glasses, the "secret identity" has been a staple of the genre. Gemini takes it one farther. Dan Johnson has no idea he's secretly a superhero, being remotely controlled by a secretive government agency. It's only the first issue, but Faerber sets the mood well, and focuses less on the titular character - who is, by definition a bit of a cypher - and instead settles in on one of his handlers. The art is good, though it suffers from some mid-90's Image excesses at times.
The best part? Jay qualifies as a local, working (and blogging) just across the bridge in Gig Harbor.