Friday, April 24, 2009
I am usually reading one book, and one comic book at the same time. About 4 years ago, I stopped buying single issue comic books due to cost and now only buy a collection of comic books in a larger format every now and again. People call these "Graphic Novels" now, but they are just a series of collected comic books that tell one continuous story so the adult does not say that he reads 'silly comic books'. I've always felt that comic books are a lot more mainstream than people give them credit for since all they are is a different medium to tell a story. As Hollywood has proven with Spider-Man and Batman and even Hellboy over the last few years, comic books are quite popular with the masses even though not many people read them on a regular basis. They seem interested enough to go to the movies all the time. But I digress....
I am currently reading a book called Starman which I did buy issue #0 of back in 1994 (or so) when I was a hard-core collector of comic books, but due to cost and trying not to get into every book on the market, I did not continue on with the series. Unfortunate for me since it is simply one of the best written books and am happy to know they are now collecting them at a much cheaper cost (thanks mostly to amazon.com) than one could find. It follows the story of the son of an old Hero (Starman) who has taken up the mantle after his brother was killed in action as the newest incarnation of Starman. This newest Starman Jack Knight does not want to be a hero at all, and does not wear a costume in the traditional sense and really just wants to own and operate an antique store, but keeps getting forced into situations that make him fight evil for one reason or another.
That is the main story, but this is really a story of the characters and the rich history and confusion of the name Starman in comic books. It is also the story of a fictitious city called Opal City and the people that live there. It is quite epic in tone and the writing is great. Here is a brief sample that I think anyone can agree that even taken out of any context, this is just good writing:
(The following is a journal entry from an immortal) "...I have not killed an animal in a century. When I was mortal I hated them, but something about me now, how I have changed from the pious, simple soul of my mortality to the creature I am today, has had an inverse effect on my feelings for those who go upon four legs. There are faiths in the East that claim all beasts are lower than man because they turn their backs on God. Having met God once already, I would dispute that.
Furthermore, the animal I once hated most, I now love more than any other. Dogs. I believe...truly believe...that dogs are God's way of telling us that he...she...it...does indeed exist.
For althought something as flawed as evolution could create something equally flawed as manking, only a higher power could conceive something as pure and perfect as a dog.
There is a myth of old that when man and beast were first upon this world they were as against him. A line was drawn, and all the animals of the world stood on one side, with man on the other.
'You are different from us and can never be with us' the king of the animals said. 'You can never be as we are. And no animal will side with you, for if it does, it will be forever cast from the other beasts and its lot shall be the lot of man. He must stay with man and be man's friend and never truly be ally to his fellow animals again.'
There was silence among the beasts as the weight of this decree came to rest upon them. A fate such as this would be fearful, not one that any beast would dare bring upon itself. The silence continued for a moment more; then one animal stepped forward and crossed the line to stand with man - and has, since that day, been at man's side.
It was a dog; and no one who has ever known a dog's love will tell you that the myth did not happen once long ago.
I would have a dog myself, but they live so short a time, and my existence is eternal. The thought of having that purity of friendship for such a whisper of time is too dark even for me. Even for me. Kipling once wrote something along the lines that to have a dog is to know that one day you will cry. One day your friend will be gone and you will be left with a void. I couldn't bear such a void.'
Good writing is good writing and this series of comic books is just that. I have just finished issue 29, and I know I am less than halfway finished. I cannot wait for the rest of the series comes out so I can continue the stories of these great characters, great art and obviously great writing.