Thursday, September 24, 2009

Wednesday Comics: The Awards Show

I haven't written much about Wednesday Comics here on the blog, so I thought, in honor of the twelfth and final issue, I'd create my own series of awards to illustrate what I thought was best (and in one case worst) about this ambitious DC project. Please comment freely. I would love to hear everyone's opinions on my choices and on Wednesday Comics as a whole.

BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT (SUPERMAN) - The Superman strip by Arcudi and Bermejo has to be the biggest disappointment. While I don't believe it to be the worst strip in the collection (that dubious honor goes to Teen Titans), it is the one strip that fell seriously short of my expectations. The Superman strip in Wednesday Comics had no serious issues, it was just...dull. It felt like it took weeks for anything to actually happen and once it did happen, it was so anti-climactic that it felt entirely flat. The "Superman's Whiny Internal Monologue Is Interfering With Him Kicking Some Alien Ass" approach was just a little too (Winick) Smallville to ever grab my interest. I'm still shocked that this is the strip DC decided to syndicate nationally.

STRIP THAT SHOULD HAVE BEEN SYNDICATED NATIONALLY (GREEEN LANTERN) - People love stories that evoke the neon-lit, cocktail-fueled time period of the late-50s and early-60s. Just look at the success of Mad Men if you don't believe me. And what Kurt Busiek and Joe Quinones created in Green Lantern tapped directly into that American myth of rocket ships and square-jawed heroics. At a time when America is struggling with its identity, Green Lantern would have made a great escape for the readers of USA Today. A place they could go each week for a little space age fun that would hopefully remind them of a time when America was on the forefront of everything great in the world. Plus, with a Green Lantern movie coming down the pipeline, placing this strip in such a highly circulated publication as USA Today would have helped drum up interest in the character amongst the general public. As much as we all love him, sometimes Superman isn't the best man for the job.

BEST NEWCOMER - (JOE QUINONES) - For those of you who don't follow Dean Trippe's supehero costume re-design site Project Rooftop, this is probably the first time you've seen Joe Quinones. And boy howdy what a coming out party he had. Joe's artwork, similar to someone like Carmine Infantino, recalls the Silver Age as well as anyone currently working in the industry. But the thing that may be getting lost in the shuffle here is the artists's talent as a colorist. Every GL construct, every figure hugging mod dress, every neon sign pulses with energy and life. I predict very good things for Mr. Quinones in the future. Now if I could just get him to finish that interview I wrote for him.

BEST OLD DOG, OLD TRICKS (JOE KUBERT) - Wednesday Comics' other Joe has slightly more experience under his belt. Joe Kubert created (along with Robert Kanigher) Sergeant Rock in 1959 and in doing so gave America one of it's most enduring comic icons. Nobody has kicked more Nazi ass than Sgt. Rock. Not Hellboy, not Indiana Jones, not punk rockers in Minnesota circa 1983. So seeing Joe Kubert return to the character he helped make iconic was exciting. Seeing him do it with his son Adam, more so. Hats off, Joe, hats off.

BEST IMITATION KIRBY (KAMANDI) - By any standards, Dave Gibbons and Ryan Sook's Kamandi strip is excellent. A strong candidate for best in the series, Gibbons and Sook created a post-apocalyptic epic in just twelve short pages. While Dave Gibbons is best known for being the artist on the most famous graphic novel of all time (maybe you've heard of it?), he showed off his more than adequate writhing chops on Kamandi. The story is full of action, suspense, heartache, mystery, sacrifice and incredible, memorable characters, all of which are brought to life by Ryan Sook's beautiful pencils. Sook is one of my favorite artists working in comics today and his work on Kamandi does not disappoint. Striking, beautiful and at times terrifying, the art is the perfect compliment to the story. A truly wonderful marriage of word and image, Gibbons and Sook's Kamandi does its hallowed creator proud.

BIGGEST SURPRISE (HAWKMAN) - The reason Hawkman surprised me so much has nothing to do with Kyle Baker, whom I adore regardless of the charcter or the format (Plastic Man, ftw). Rather, it has to do with the fact that I really can't stand Hawkman. Sure, there are interpretations of the character, certain aspects I suppose, that I find appealing. But Hawkman as a whole just bores (or confuses) the hell out of me. Not so in Wednesday Comics. What Kyle Baker created with his Hawkman strip is just plain ol' fun. Lots of adventure, lots of jokes and even a couple weeks worth of Aquaman using the creatures of the sea to battle a Tyranosaurus Rex. Comics should always be this good. Hawkman also possesses the best line of dialogue from the entire series:

Superman: Sorry we're late, Batman. There was a black hole in hyperspace. Don't ask.

Batman: Save the Earth, and all is forgiven.


BEST GUEST STAR (AQUAMAN) - Whether he's helping Supergirl deal with the rampaging super pets or aiding Hawkman in his battle with the T.Rex lord of Dinosaur freakin' Island, Aquaman left his signature all over Wednesday Comics. Was this perhaps an audition by the Lord of the Oceans for inclusion in the next round, if and when there is one? Let's hope so!

BEST STRIP - I've gone back and forth on this the entire time, wondering which strip was ultimately better, The Flash or Strange Adventures. A sound argument could be made for either one, but when it comes right down to it, I give the nod to The Flash. Karl Kerschl and Brendan Fletcher did more than simply tell a great story with great art. They took the medium and did something truly special with it. Each page of The Flash is a singluar work of art, each layout a thing of beauty. And the story, a tale of the strong bond between Iris West and Barry Allen, takes the reader on a journey through time, alternate universes and, ultimately, through the medium and history of comics itself. The Flash is a masterpiece from start to finish and is my personal choice for the best strip in Wednesday Comics.

In case you're wondering, my Top 5 is as follows;

1. The Flash
2. Strange Adventures
3. Kamandi
4. Supergirl
5. Hawkman

Wednesday Comics was an ambitious and, in my opinion, largely successful project. While some strips were certainly more enjoyable than others, as a complete body of work Wednesday Comics is one of the most exciting things I've ever seen happen in the industry. If you liked it, please don't hesitate to speak out. If you haven't gotten into it, get down to your local comic shop and grab the back issues. We need more things like this in comics and the only way we're going to get them is if the fans show their support. Hope will out, Wednesday Comics will be successful enough that DC will feel compelled to do it again. If they do, could someone pass on to Mark Chiarello that I have a great idea for a Question story?

And don't forget...keep reading comics!


  1. nice roundup, Redbeard. where does Deadman fit in to your final standings? i just need some kind of summary of all those loud squeals where i thought you injured yourself, but i turned out you were just reading Wednesday Comics...

  2. As much as I hate to admit it, since I was such a staunch defender of Deadman, it falls shy of the Top 5. The art is fantastic and I loved what they did with layouts, but down the final stretch the pages were less design achievement and more simple comic pages writ large. That combined with a story that was fun but utlimately a bit of a letdown pushed it out of Top 5 status. I would rank it beneath Batman and probably alongside Green Lantern, meaning, ranking-wise, it ties for seventh.

    Man, that was a long answer.

  3. I'm so glad I picked up the first issue of Wednesday Comics this weekend. I found about 10 of them on a shelf at Books A Million. I wanted to take a photo of all the Twilight books for Dean that had overtaken the table in front of his once immaculately arranged comic/graphic novel section, but I figured he probably wouldn't give a damn any more. And I can't say I blame him, but I degress. Comic Wednesday may (very much a "may") turn me into a... a comic fan.