Digitals for today: Spaceman, Mega Man, Comic Book Comics Man

Good morning readers! I made a small mistake in that I published this on Monday, but I've since rescinded it. Today is Wednesday, and this is a reminder that our giveaway is ongoing, and you can enter to win a copy of Grant Morrison and Dave McKean's Arkham Asylum from me today! Enter here.

After you do that, come back here and read about Spaceman, Comic Book Comics and Mega Man!

Spaceman #1
by Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso
(comiXology, $.99)

There's a lot of creative product between these two as a team, so when they take on a new title, you know it's going to work. I haven't had the privilege of reading 100 Bullets or the suchlike, but the $.99 price attracted me to Spaceman. My first reading was very jarring; the characters use this futuristic 1337-speak that you have to decipher, and this is not a comic book you can leave on cruise control.

On my second reading, I was pleasantly surprised with how much I understood it. When the dialogue makes sense, the story flows much more easily, and the story did that for me: Orson is a burly man, engineered by NASA to go up to Mars, but he's been living in the slums ever since his creation, and scavenging for parts to sell. He uses the money to keep up his lifestyle of soliciting e-prostitutes and getting high on drugs (of the futureeeee), pretending he's a Spaceman. On one of his scavenges, he runs into a few criminals who've kidnapped a celebrity, cue cliffhanger. The issue is an interesting piece of space noir, and I think it's awesome that comic books can support such an offbeat genre.

I'll be getting the second issue.

Comic Book Comics #'s 1-3
by Fred Van Lente and Ryan Dunlavey

It's insaaaaane how much value is in these comic books. Each issue has 30+ pages, and you can get them for $.99 each! Comic Book Comics is the history of comic books, told in comic book form. It's very charming how they spice up historical details, and the visual aids are very strong. This blog is "lightbox-view-enabled," so when you want to zoom in on a panel, simply right-click on it, and your screen will turn dark and maximize the picture for you. When you're done, click outside of the image, and you'll return to your original place!

The first issue of Comic Book Comics details the art forms that were proto-comic-books, such as collected newspaper strips and cartoons. It also talks about the birth of the idea of Superman, which was a conglomerate of several ideas like Zorro, pulp novels and the like. Siegel and Schuster were actually rejected for six years until Superman took off!

There's so much information in each issue, and I had a lot of difficulty picking out what to show you or not. The second issue covers the rise of WWII, which kickstarted the superhero genre, followed by comic book's jumps from genre to genre. I enjoyed this particular sequence about romance comics:

The third issue is a consequence of the second: due to the rise in horror comics, as well as Frederic Wertham's efforts, the public began to distrust comics. There's an interesting detail that the script mentions about Wertham:

I appreciate that Fred took the time to research Wertham's other achievements beyond his contribution to comics history. Comic Book Comics has a lot to offer, and I don't think it should be taken for granted. There are so many details, and in future issues they don't strictly follow a chronology. There are certain themes and trends they address, like the rise of MAD magazine and comix that pushed the envelope in sex and other lewd materiel. Each issue addresses different topics, but, taken as a whole, I also think that Comic Book Comics is an unofficial, professional biography for Jack Kirby.

Jack Kirby grew up in a poor neighborhood, and he was always in search of a job. It happened that those jobs all involved drawing. He first started working for Disney as an "in-betweener," and when he went to drawing school, he drew so fast that the other students didn't have any pencils to use!

He landed a job at Fox Features, but the owner managed it like a sweatshop, so Jacob Kurtzman took on the name Jack Kirby, and worked with Marvel's Joe Simon in secret. The two of them created Captain America.

When you read through Comic Book Comics you get a deeper appreciation for the medium and its history. At $.99, you can't afford not to.

I have a bit more scans up on my photobucket: check it out.

Mega Man #'s 1-4: "Let the Games Begin"
by Ian Flynn and Patrick Spaziante

So I bought these when they were $.99, as part of comiXology's "video game"-themed sale. The art style's captured Mega Man as he's marketed today, in a way that's both modern and classic, and the creative team plays around with Mega Man in a way that gives new meaning to the 8-bit characters. Mega Man, as he takes down the six Robot Masters of the first NES game, enters this existential struggle as to why bloodshed (oilshed?) is necessary for peace, and what the role of robots are in the human world.

I'd rather not go on about the philosophical ramifications of a children's character. Chris Sims has a superior review up on Comicsalliance. Mega Man is a comic book that moves the characters forward and tells new stories with an old franchise. I look forward to future issues.


For those of you have played the first Mega Man game, here is a page that gives a shout-out:

And, to show you that I'm not biased at all, here's my Halloween costume of 2010:

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