First a quick PSA: Commenters on the last W&P column harangued me into buying and watching the movie Dredd, so if anyone wants to know what I thought of it, I’ve obediently done a very brief review of it in that comments thread. Such is the awesome power of the SF Signal commentariat.
On to today’s business. I’m a pretty hard sell when it comes to superhero comics. Much as the idea and the underlying tropes of them still appeal in theory, the actual material rarely grabs me as it once did. Not because it’s deteriorated — in significant ways, most superhero comics nowadays are better than the ones I enthusiastically devoured as a youth — but because what I value and enjoy in comics has changed as I’ve aged (boy, have I aged), and the price of comics these days makes me waaaay more impatient with anything that doesn’t provide what I’m after.
There are exceptions, though: bright little corners of the superhero universes that deliver the sort of craft, coherence and entertainment that I seek. Those qualities, when they’re present, more or less invariably arise from an uncomplicated source: talented writers and artists given enough freedom to produce tonally and narratively consistent stories that project their distinctive creative voices.
In evidence of which I offer two series, which just so happen to be written by a couple of guys I reckon to be amongst the best current writers of mainstream superhero comics, despite being wildly different in style and voice…