I’m always shocked to the point of anger whenever I read any list of the greatest comics ever written and find Alan Moore’s jaw droppingly beautiful 44 issue run on Saga of the Swamp Thing sitting anywhere but comfortably near the top. Now, I know what you’re thinking. Swamp Thing? Really? That cheesy green monster? Are you &*%$ing kidding me? The answer is no, and not only do those that haven’t read it have absolutely no idea what they’ve been missing out on, I’m truly envious of that experience of reading it for the first time which is just sitting out there on store shelves, waiting for anyone willing to give it a shot.
Taking the reigns with #20, an issue that to my knowledge has never been included in a collection (thus definitely making it worth the effort to seek out), Moore immediately ties up loose ends left by the previous creative team and sets himself up to write what is arguably one of the most influential single issues ever written. “The Anatomy Lesson” is a story that signals not only a completely unashamed and triumphant return to an EC horror comic style (albeit, with a far more sophisticated approach) but also features a truly shocking re-interpretation of the the character that is impossible to forget.
I can’t lie. It’s actually a little difficult to write about Swamp Thing as I can’t bring myself to give too much away. It’s an experience that is truly something to be cherished. This is the first mainstream title to toss aside the comics code. This is the book that gave birth to the Vertigo imprint (paving the way for titles like Sandman, Preacher, and Fables). This is the comic that introduced the world to John Constantine, and for those willing to give it a shot, you will be treated to an impossibly epic tale that will take you to haunted houses, introduce you to were-women and aquatic vampires, pull you deep into the Earth itself, drag you through Hell and back, and then shoot you through the stars and across an entire universe.
Yet, the simple truth is that for all of it’s monsters, death and demons, this is a book about love and loyalty, pure and simple.
Yes, comic books can give you nightmares. Yes, comic books can make you cry. Yes, comic books can achieve a certain type of profound beauty that is simply impossible for any other medium to duplicate. Alan Moore’s Saga of the Swamp Thing achieves all of those things easily.
Director Christopher Nolan’s vision of everyone’s favorite caped crusader not only made The Dark Knight the biggest film of the summer of 2008, but also launched it into a top spot on the list of all time domestic box office receipts. It even went on to snag a posthumous supporting acting Oscar for Heath Ledger’s already iconic portrayal of the Joker as well as become the gold standard for comic to film adaptations. Continue Reading →
Today was another in a long line of regular reminders of why I love working at a used bookstore. Aside from being surrounded by co-workers that I’m constantly learning from and having fun with, there’s that glaringly obvious perk of being in a position to nab first dibs on cool stuff that comes through each day. Now I yap on and on about comics over at my other blog all the time (and video games based on them have been a staple of the industry forever), so when I come across a book that’s filled with strips based on a bunch of Nintendo characters, yeah…it nerds me out pretty hard.
I got really excited about Carlos Ruiz Zafón’s young-adult fiction because he is just the sort of writer I would have loved to read when I was growing up. I craved dark, mysterious tales of the unexplained, which of course exist in abundance — but I wanted them to take place in this one particular antique era, in this one particular faraway land. I had to wait until I was in my 20s to discover Zafón, chronicler of the imaginary happenings of wartime Spain (and official conquerer, after the fact, of my adventure-craving adolescent heart).
On October 18th, raise your “long, barbed steel goblets” and whet your harpoons, for Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick is another year older.Live the literature: have a whale steak, embark upon some sort of fiery hunt after a beast with an inscrutable malice sinewing it, philosophize in the crow’s nest, pilot your ship downward to Davy Jones, etc. Or just do some quality quaffing. “Death to Moby Dick! God hunt us all, if we do not hunt Moby Dick to his death!”
This week for Books In Motion we bring you an episode of the old time radio show The Shadow: The Man Who Murdered Time. The Shadow was a serialized radio drama starting in 1930 and continuing on into the 40s. Since then, The Shadow has been featured in a wide variety of media, including comic books, comic strips, T.V. and film. These stories, written by Walter B. Gibson under the pen-name Maxwell Grant, were originally published in Detective Story Magazine during the time of the serialization. Gibson wrote 282 of the 325 stories over twenty years, including two novel length stories a month. With an occasional guest writer like Lester Dent, author of the Doc Savage series, and fantastic radio personalities like Orson Wells as a narrator, The Shadow quickly became one of the most popular pulp heroes of the 20th century.