Holy Days of the New Religion

The Pull List:

Batman Earth One - DC
Batman #11 - DC
The Walking Dead #100 - Image

Well, there was no post last week. The 4th of July holiday kind of got in the way. Not that comics weren't delivered, but I was spending the holiday in St. George with my girlfriend and didn't get around to my comics until Thursday. And to be blunt about it, getting my comics on a different day really threw me off. I was surprised by how much it threw me off.  The title of this blog, Comic Book Sabbath, is a play on a joke I had with one of my ENGL 2010 classes. A student was worried that they wouldn't have enough time to get their homework done over the weekend because of "The Sabbath". My response, well I come into work every day on my sabbath. And a joke about my holy day started. This joke has gotten a bit out of control, I have even built up a Wednesday ritual involving when I go to the shop, where I go to eat afterwards, the people I see are even usually the same people week to week. My dedication to this joke even led to me declaring this last Wednesday a major religious holiday.

Not only was Wednesday my regular sabbath, it was also "End of the July Pilgrimage" as it was the beginning of San Diego Comic Con. But really, even Comic Con couldn't move out of the shadow that The Walking Dead #100 came out this week. It has been a while since I have seen this much attention and excitement heaped on a single issue. It is actually refreshing to see. Most of the attention is heaped on the big two. Headlines tend to skew towards things like: Superman/Wonder Woman has a new costume, Captain America hate's the Tea Party, the new Spiderman is black, and it is all Michelle Obama's fault (Seriously, these are all Fox News headlines, which would mean something if Fox was actually a news agency). There is a definite excitement around this issue, with good cause. The Walking Dead is an independent comic that has been published for a solid 8 years, no delays, no late issues, he same writer and only one artist change after issue 6. That is an incredible feat by any standard. True the popular AMC television adaptation has brought a lot of attention to the series, but the book really does stand on its own. Quick aside: As I've said before, I know a lot of people that are trade waiting the series, so I don't want to spoil anything, if you are looking for that, just search around the internet a bit. One of the few complaints I've heard about this series, is that Kirkman is predictable, that readers know what is going to happen. I've talked to people with this opinion and it still doesn't make sense as an argument.

"Kirkman is just going to kill off so-and-so"
"Just watch, they'll be safe for a bit, and then someone is going to die"

Sorry to be harsh, but DUHHHHH. This is the zombie apocalypse. Of course so-and-so is going to die. I open every issue with fear that some character I have come to love deeply is going to be dead by the end. This isn't predictable, this is a writer with consistency and the knowledge that he has created a world where life is tenuous and the world is just no longer safe. Kirkman, thank you for respecting your readers enough to keep writing that way. I've talked about these long term relationships I've had with comic series, and this is one of those relationships. I have been getting more and more excited as issue 100's release has drawn near. This is the type of book you buy, and as soon as it is in your hands, you are looking for a place to sit down and open it up.

Enough about the lead up, what about the issue. I devoured each page, slowly, methodically. I will be straight with you, I cried. There are moments and images in this issue that just won't leave me. I replay them in my head and feel those same emotions boiling in my gut. I need the next issue now. If you are a reader of the series, don't wait for the trade, just grab the issues and get caught up. It is absolutely worth it. And if you aren't reading the series, start today. You can probably read all 100 issues by Monday. You don't need to do anything but read this. Just explain it to people, they'll understand.

After a bit of a break, I read my two Batman books of the week. Batman #11 is the conclusion to the large Court of Owls story line. If you haven't been reading Snyder's Batman, the first collected volume is out and it is some solid Batman. If you are looking to wait for a new story line, Snyder is bringing The Joker back in a major way with this September's issue #13. The Joker has been gone for all but one issue of the New 52, so this should be an exciting comeback. However, back to issue 11 and something that seemed strange to me. I definitely understand the concept of cross promotion, and the fact that Warner Brothers owns DC Comics, but look at that banner across the top of the issue. In all reality, are you going to have someone come into the comic shop, specifically looking for the new issue of Batman, see that banner and say "There's a new Batman movie coming out? Really? And it's next week? Wow, good to know." I mean, if you were in a coma for a while, I can understand that. But I just think it's getting a bit redundant there.

The big Batman news though, and I hate to say this with how much I love what Scott Snyder is doing, but last week was the release of the long waited original graphic novel Batman Earth One, by Geoff Johns. So, the easy sale here: Alfred, a former military man, blasts a person with a shot gun! Are you ordering it right now? Here is the Amazon link to make it easier. Still not convinced? Fine. Let me be clear, I love my big, messy Marvel and DC universes. I like that my head is full of years of stories and character information, buckets and buckets of continuity. But sometimes, I love when I get those stories that are built from scratch. The thing about Batman, is that there are fundamental, Jungian archetypes shape him. He has been around for so long he is like the old greek mythology books I use to read. Some far flung future generation will probably talk about him in the same way, Batman, the god of vengeance and the night. So with those fundamentals in place, people like Geoff Johns can use the basics and create something new and interesting. Nolan did it with his Batman films and Johns is doing it here. The story is well balanced, if you are a new comer to the world of Batman, there is no easier place to jump on. If you are well versed in this mythology, there are some great surprises. I grinned when I was introduced to the thin, handsom hollywood detective Bullock, and Mayor Cobblepot. The names are familiar, but who they are is so new.

It was a good sabbath, great scripture, a bit of honest testimony, and a new, enlightening way to see a member of the holy trinity. I also had a tasty sacrement at the local coffee shop, The Grind, afterwards.


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