Daily Archives: April 8, 2008

Team Prayers

One of DC’s mid-level super-hero titles has been the focus of a fair bit of discussion online as of late. Plummeting sales figures have prompted industry pundits to ponder the problem with The Brave and the Bold. It’s been a critical darling of many reviewers, and it was launched to a bit of fanfare, especially given the involvement of two of comics’ stalwart talents: writer Mark Waid and artist George Perez. The series had a lot going for it. Seemingly separate from current DC continuity, it’s an accessible read, embracing a more traditional approach to super-hero storytelling. Comics readers tiring from endless events and crossovers could find relief in Waid’s words and Perez’s pencils. Those who thought the super-hero genre had grown too dark — especially DC’s take on the heroes, in light of its Identity Crisis series, with its incorporation of rape, betrayal and ethical breaches into the plot — were offered a kinder vision of the publisher’s iconic characters.

With the latest sales numbers coming in at only a little more than 39,000 copies (down from almost 100,000 for the first issue), it seems a given that The Brave and the Bold might be destined for the same fate as Marvel’s recent attempt to relaunch a team-up title: cancellation. There’s no sign of it from DC yet, though. The fourteenth issue is solicited for June release, with popular artist Scott Kolins stepping in to take over for Perez’s replacement, Jerry Ordway. The series trudges on despite speculation about its sustainability.

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Maine Attraction

Salt Water Taffy Vol. 1 original graphic novel
“The Legend of Old Salty”
Writer/Artist/Cover artist: Matthew Loux
Letters: Douglas E. Sherwood
Editor: Randal C. Jarrell
Publisher: Oni Press
Price: $5.95 US

I’m a dude in his late 30s. While I’m engaged, I have no kids. I am far from the target audience for this book, which is aimed at younger readers. Nevertheless, creator Matthew Loux has crafted a charming story full of small-town magic, celebrating a simpler existence and the innocence of youth. I was quite taken with the characters, the premise and the relationships that serve as a strong foundation for the story. Loux brings the fantasy and personality of Jeff Smith’s Bone and mixes it with a light, all-American coming-of-age story. There’s an odd mix of cute and surreal elements in the story that’s heartening and surprisingly involving. Loux manages to offer a thoroughly sweet, wholesome and playful story of adventure, mystery and weirdness without crossing the line into sickeningly sweet, overly saccharine territory. Loux’s angular yet fluid style seems pretty urban in tone, but it conveys the rural, peaceful backdrop with seeming ease. This is an adorable little book, and it actually lives up to the label “all ages,” normally associated with comics that are really just for kids alone.

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