Don’t read through Sensation Comics: Featuring Wonder Woman #38 too quickly. Released this coming Thursday, the book reads like the great Italian Neorealism and Japanese New Wave cinema of the 1950s and ‘60s. Like de Sica or Oshima, every moment in Sensation #38 is laced with a perfect stillness, perfect repose. Then again, even read it at speed, you’ll lose none of the power and the presence that writer Matthew Manning and artists Georges Jeanty, Karl Story and Dexter Vine bring to this issue.
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Like some mad alchemist, frenetically creating mystery elixirs and potions in search of forming something out of nothing, Chris Claremont singlehandedly forged the modern day X-Men universe from almost nothing at all during his initial 16 year run as writer on Uncanny X-Men. He took a comic book that had been cancelled for five years, made it a monthly series, and then turned it into the highest selling comic book on the market. During this run, which lasted from 1975-1991, Claremont took what was originally considered a second-rate Fantastic Four knock-off and turned it into the gold standard to which all other series were measured against.
The floor of Emerald City Comic-Con was filled with wanna be comic writers and artists. Many proudly displayed their first works, preciously printed, and for sale. The writers and artists sat near displays of their books, looking down at pads and sketching, or talking among themselves. They rarely looked up, and unless initiated by an attendee, didn’t engage in conversation beyond whispers to a friend at the table.
Except, at least in my experience, Hannah McGill. So I’m writing about her book, Rawr!
Maybe the best part of Watchmen, and reading it for the first time there were too many good parts to keep a hold of in a single thought, was how the quotes at the end of most of the chapters shaped your experience and understanding of reading those chapters. Could Bob Dylan have written “All Along the Watchtower” specifically for that near-to-last Ozymandias chapter? “Outside in the distance a wild cat did growl, two riders were approaching, the wind began to howl” reads the Dylan quote at the end of “Two Riders were Approaching…”. And exactly that happens within the story. Bubastis the GM lynx growls at the sight of Rorschach and Nite Owl drawing closer to Ozymandias’s Antarctic fortress on their tiny hovercraft Segways.
To begin with, a very personal vignette. One that doesn’t sync very easily with comics as the pulp tradition. But one that does tie in with the other side of comics—how the medium time and again allows for personal recesses and meditation. Comics is the dawn of the post-paparazzi age, the opposite of Sartre’s “Hell is other people”, a way to be in private, even when we live in public. And this vignette is about that emotional connection we as readers of comics all make with the stories told in this medium.