Thee Comic Column #127: The Art of the Letters Column

ScanAh, the letters column. Sometimes I wonder if it had more of an impact on the comic book world – or maybe just comic book readers – back before the advent of the Internet and email, when fans of a book wrote their questions, comments and musings out by hand, sent them to the address specified on the last page of their favorite books and waited to see if theirs would be one of the dispatches picked for publication/response. Or perhaps sending an email is just as time consuming, personally revealing and weighted with anticipation. Either way, letters columns are a beloved industry standard, but one that I myself had gotten away from reading quite some time ago. Why? I’m not really sure. However, this has slowly been changing and yesterday, during an illness-inspired confinement to bed, I read my way through the new issues of several comics that all have very impressive letters pages and you know what? Something was reignited in me. I’ll place the responsibility for this final realization squarely in the hands of Greg Rucka and Michael Lark’s Lazarus, which probably has the best letters page ever. But there are more books than that which, on a monthly basis, have been slowly eroding whatever prejudice I long ago developed for something I used to love. That’s right true believers, I don’t think I’ll be trying for a No-Prize anytime soon, but I am whole-heartedly back on the “Must Read the Letters Column” wagon from here on out.

Thee Comic Column #108: Karen Traviss’ G.I.Joe

FallofGIJOEIf you read this column at all regularly you’ve probably heard me talk about Larry Hama’s seminal run on the original GIJOE for Marvel Comics during the 1980’s. You’ll also know that I LOVED Mike Costa’s Cobra/Cobra Files series in all its iterations since IDW picked up the license to coincide with the first Joe movie in 2009. However, with the IDW books, COBRA was where I stopped. There was a regular monthly Joe book as well, one that followed the actual GIJOE team, and there was a Snake Eyes book – love the character but this seemed a bit excessive and in danger of watering down ol’ Snakes – and maybe another book or two at different times. IDW has launched and re-launched a lot of Joe books since 2009 and through it all I breathed deeply and repeated my mantra, “Follow the writer. Follow the writer.” That, along with the fact that they were smart enough to never jettison the carefully plotted continuity they had established over the course of five years, kept me interested.

Thee Comic Column #82: Larry Hama’s Wolverine

image courtesy of Marvel.wikia.com

It hardly ever rains in Southern California. It’s one of the more irritating things I’ve had to acclimate to in the nine years since I moved from my Midwestern birthplace, where every spring and every fall thunderstorms would roll in and punched out the sky, replacing ho-hum reality with a charged and ethereal atmosphere that perfectly complimented the many late night comic book reading sessions of my early adolescence. One of the most vivid memories I have of an example of this was reading two very specific issues of Larry Hama, Marc Silvestri and Dan Green’s run on the original, on-going Wolverine solo book.

Thee Comic Column #66 – Fare Thee Well, Cobra Files

image courtesy of comixology.com

Last month with very little fanfare one of my top three books a month finished its brilliant almost six year run – GIJOE: The Cobra Files. Despite it’s tie-in with a major toy/movie/long-running character base the book, at the hands of constant writer Mike Costa, operated more like a sophisticated espionage thriller a la John Le Carre’s Tinker Tailer Soldier Spy or David Simon’s The Wire. The finale was sublime, magnificent and pulse-pounding. The series never really had a change.

Thee Comic Column #31: GIJOE Retaliation

image courtesy of mycomicshop.com

Okay, at first glance you might think, “Hey, why are you reviewing a movie in a comic book column?” Valid point, however this isn’t so much a film review as it is a commentary on how the just-released GIJOE movie sequel drew heavily on the Marvel comic GIJOE series from the 80’s, written by the all-powerful Larry Hama. I wanted it to be more of an exploration, however to really do that I’d have to sling out a bunch of spoilers and honestly, if you are reading this you’re probably somebody on the fence of seeing this flick and despite some fairly heavy problems I think those spoilers – and the aha moments they created in me as a fan of that comic – are worth the price of admission.

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