And Then I Read: GREEN LANTERN LOST ARMY 1

GLLA1Image © DC Comics.

A new GL title, but not really all that new, as it continues the stories of several familiar characters: John Stewart, Arisia, Kilowog, and Guy Gardner, as well as two newer Lanterns, Xrill-Vrek and Two-Six, and a wild card in the person of Krona, who has been both a Guardian in the deep past, and a villain more recently, I think. We are thrown into a new story, or at least it’s new to me, perhaps it continues from a series I haven’t read. There are intriguing elements and mysteries galore. Writer Cullen Bunn handles the characters well, artist Jesus Saiz handles them equally well visually, and I enjoyed reading this issue. At least we’re not in a massive cosmic battle for once, a good thing in my book. Earth is far away, as the title suggests, the characters are lost. That can work in the sense that any kind of story is possible. I’ll keep reading this one to see how it goes.

Recommended.

And Then I Read: SUPERMAN 41

Sup41Image © DC Comics.

Gene Luen Yang takes over for Geoff Johns as writer this issue, and as I was enjoying Johns’ run, I thought I’d give it a try. I liked it.

Superman is still trying to figure out his new power, which is a burst of nova-like energy he has a hard time controlling, and that leaves his powers drained for a while. Clark Kent, meanwhile, is receiving texts from a mystery person who seems to know far too much about him. How Clark attempts to deal with that is a large part of this issue, along with the news story that he, Jimmy and Lois are all working on about high-tech weapons in the wrong hands, and how they got there.

The writing seems fine, I’m intrigued to see where the story goes, and I’m still enjoying John Romita Jr. and Klaus Janson’s art.

Recommended.

Family Visits

RussBoysEllenCMPSPBlogOn Thursday afternoon my brother Russ and his sons Nathan and Jayden arrived at our house with my mom for an overnight visit. They live in California, and we don’t see them often, so it was great having them. Thursday afternoon we had a fine time at the beach, and Friday morning we went to the Cape May Point State Park where we walked on one of the trails… Continue reading

And Then I Read: MISTER MAX, THE BOOK OF LOST THINGS by Cynthia Voigt

MisterMaxLostThingsCover art by Iacopo Bruno

Max Starling is the son of William and Mary Starling, owners of the Starling Theater where their popular theater company performs in the Old City part of Queensbridge. One day an extraordinary offer appears by mail, accompanied by lavish gifts. The offer is to perform exclusively, and at excellent pay, in a distant country. The Starlings have a fine life, but William and Mary find the adventure tempting, and agree. Max is told he will go with them, but on the day they are to leave by steamship, Max arrives at the harbor to find his parents have disappeared, leaving only a cryptic note. Max’s only remaining family is his grandmother, who fortunately lives in the house next to his, and Max concocts a plan to continue living at home in secret. The theater is closed, and all Max’s friends believe he’s gone with his parents, except for Max’s art teacher.

Meanwhile, Max and his grandmother begin investigating the disappearance of Max’s parents, and Max finds other opportunities coming his way to be a sort of private detective. He discovers he’s pretty good at it (except for the case of his parents), and with the help of a few new friends, Max becomes what he calls a “solutioneer,” a solver of problems and finder of lost things. This gives him enough income to survive, and the hope that he will eventually be able to find out what happened to his parents.

This book is charming and well written, the characters are believable and entertaining. The setting is sort of English Victorian, but kept vague, and the town of Queensbridge is nicely mapped so we can follow Max’s exploits from one end of it to the other, and beyond. Max’s new “assistant” Pia is a very talkative girl who can be quite annoying, but also resourceful and helpful. Max’s cases run from small ones like a lost dog to large ones like an extremely valuable silver serving spoon carved by a master silversmith. Hovering over Max at all times is the danger of being discovered as a parentless child living alone in his home, not going to school, and not under the care of anyone official. That makes the many disguises Max has borrowed from his parents’ theater props all the more important.

Great fun, and the first of a trilogy. I’ve already read the second book, and am looking forward to the third, which is out this fall. Cynthia Voigt has had a long career as a writer of children’s novels, and a Newbery award for her book “Dicey’s Song.” This series is lighter than some of her other books, but even more to my liking.

Recommended.

And Then I Read: COMIC BOOK PEOPLE 2 by Jackie Estrada

CBP2Image © Jackie Estrada.

I supported this handsome 9 by 12 inch hardcover on Kickstarter, and was able to pick up my advance copy at the San Diego Con from Jackie. It’s just as terrific as her first book covering the 1970s and 1980s. I’ve been in comics for a long time and met tons of the people in it, but there are plenty of folks in both books I’ve never met or seen in person. Jackie was lucky enough to be at the right place and time, and with good camera equipment and skills, and she was also savvy enough to believe pictures of the creators and other comics industry individuals would be a valuable resource. These books prove her right. I can tell you from my own comics history research how difficult it can be to find good pictures of people in our field and related businesses, especially ones from before 2000 when the internet was not such a ready resource. Just recently I sent someone who needed a photo of a golden age comics editor but couldn’t find one to Jackie, and she had just what he needed. Most of the photos are in black and white, but there’s a nice color section too. And hey, even I’m in here, so what’s not to like?

Highly recommended.