Prelude to a Million Years (1933)

Prelude

Prelude to a Million Years begs summarization. Lynd Ward’s illustrations are in wood cut, Prelude is with dialogue. While Ward does do a number of little narrative things–the biggest being his protagonist seeing himself as a latter day Adam–there’s a conflict with the static woodcut images and the idea of forward progression. Especially since Ward will downplay his narrative for the more political, topic visual elements.

Ward deals with issues like the unemployment, civil unrest, urban anonymity, but he also pushes hard with the narrative. It’s easy to follow (after the Adam stuff). Prelude is a journey piece, even though it’s eventually circular, and Ward gets a lot of extra into the protagonist’a pit stops.

Prelude does not take long to read as a narrative; the woodcuts themselves invite further examination. It’s a successful piece, thanks to the art. Without it, Ward’s narrative would have been too trite.

CREDITS

Writer and artist, Lynd Ward; publisher, Equinox.

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Hawkeye 14 (January 2014)

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I think it was Ed Brubaker who described “Veronica Mars” as ‘“The Rockford Files” in high school.’ Well, with Kate front and center in L.A., Fraction has turned Hawkeye into ’“The Rockford Files” with a sort of superhero."

The Annie Wu art is a nice fit for Kate’s first case, trying to track down some orchids–Fraction maintains a sense of humor as well as danger. Whether it’s Clint or Kate, Hawkeye always feels like a dangerous book. They might get hurt. Or some cool supporting cast member will get killed.

Fraction manages to tie the odd case into some of the bigger plots going on, all while introducing another subplot for Kate. It’s a nice issue, even if it goes on a little long. There’s also character problem. Fraction writes Kate a lot better than he writes Clint.

Fraction should just give her the book at this point.

CREDITS

L.A. Woman; writer, Matt Fraction; artist, Annie Wu; colorist, Matt Hollingsworth; letterer, Chris Eliopoulos; editors, Sana Amanat, Devin Lewis and Stephen Wacker; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Batman 374 (August 1984)

Batman 374

This issue is particularly strong. There’s great art from Newton and Alcala on the Penguin, but there’s also a lot of good stuff from Moench.

After many issues of ignoring the supporting cast, he’s got great scenes for Vicki Vale, Alfred’s daughter and even Bullock. The Vicki Vale one is the best though–the Penguin comes in looking for her to take his picture as a promotion of his crime spree; she’s the best photographer in the city, it’s going to be art.

It also sounds a lot like the Tim Burton Batman movie with a character change.

Moench nearly brings Bruce Wayne in, something he’s not comfortable doing normally. It’s like Jason Todd was an addition to keep Bruce from having any actual stories. But here, there are a few hints Moench might change his approach.

Again, the art’s simply gorgeous. Newton and Alcala outdo themselves on this issue.

CREDITS

Pieces of Penguin!; writer, Doug Moench; penciller, Don Newton; inker, Alfredo Alcala; colorist, Adrienne Roy; letterer, John Costanza; editor, Len Wein; publisher, DC Comics.

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