Wednesday Comics, a weekly series in a new format from DC, is a visual feast that has a little bit of something for all tastes.
DC has experimented with weekly-released titles (as opposed to monthly) several times in the past few years, with varied degrees of success. Of their three titles, 52, Countdown to Final Crisis, and Trinity, only 52 is viewed favorably overall. But despite the debacle that Countdown was, and the tepid response to Trinity, DC still seems to have a fondness for the idea of a weekly fix. The result of their newest endeavor is called Wednesday Comics.
WC breaks from the traditional comic “floppy” format in several ways. Each issue is printed not on traditional glossy comic book paper, but on newspaper stock, albeit a slightly heavier one than typically used. This immediately evokes a kind of cool nostalgia, as it is similar to the paper used in most series up until the 1990’s. Beyond that, the paper is also folded in quarters and opens up to a large 14″ by 20″ – a size closer to The NY Times than to, say, Superman.
Each of its15 pages is devoted to one part of an ongoing story, told over 12 issues in as many weeks, by some of the industry’s top writers and artists. The stories feature a variety of styles, and star a great mixture of DC characters from the famous to the obscure:
- Batman – story by Brian Azzarello, art by Eduardo Risso – gracing the cover each week is a murder mystery in Gotham, putting the skills of DC’s greatest detective to the test.
- Kamandi – story by Dave Gibbons, art by Ryan Sook – created by the great Jack Kirby, Kamandi is the story of a young boy who survived a great apocalypse and fights to survive in a world populated by strange mutated animal/human hybrids. This tale evokes old Prince Valiant strips as it’s told purely through the pictures and bordered text, sans word balloons.
- Superman – story by John Arcuri, art by Lee Bermejo – what seems to be a run-of-the-mill attack by a big nasty alien creates an existential crisis for the Man of Steel.
- Deadman – story by Dave Bullock and Vinton Heuck, art by Bullock – the spirit of murdered circus performer Boston Brand wanders the Earth temporarily possessing bodies of the living to right wrongs and balance the karmic scales of a life lived selfishly.
- Green Lantern – story by Kurt Busiek, art by Joe Quinones – a retro ’50s tale of pilot Hal Jordan, (aka Green Lantern), and an astronaut friend who might have brought something unhealthy back from his last mission.
- Metamorpho, the Element Man – story by Neil Gaiman, art by Mike Allred – a fun romp as Metamorpho and friends hunt for a mysterious diamond in a tropical oasis in the Antarctic.
- The Teen Titans – story by Eddie Berganza, art by Sean Galloway – a new version of the villain Trident tries to take down the Titans, described here as “sidekicks of the world’s greatest heroes”, though not all of them are.
- Adam Strange – story and art by Paul Pope – a sci-fi feature starring another old DC character, Strange is a human living on the distant planet Rann. Think Buck Rogers. Here, he fights off an attack from a race of sentient blue baboon warriors.
- Supergirl – story by Jimmy Palmiotti, art by Amanda Conner – Kal-El’s cousin Kara stars in a light-hearted tale, chasing her wildly precocious and destructive super-pets around Metropolis.
- Metal Men – story by DC Editor-in-Chief Dan Didio, art by Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez and Kevin Nowlan – the secretive group of cyborgs built by Dr. Will Magnus attempt to blend among humans by taking a field trip to a bank, and shenanigans ensue.
- Wonder Woman – story and art by Ben Caldwell – not a typical Wonder Woman tale, this atmospheric and dense flashback tells of a series of dreams the young amazonian Diana Prince has shortly after arriving in “the world of men”.
- Sgt. Rock and Easy Company – story by Adam Kubert, art by Joe Kubert – the WWII character is separated from his fellow soldiers, and is being tortured by the Nazis for information.
- The Flash – story by Karl Kerschl and Brenden Fletcher, art by Kerschl – parallel strips focusing on the speedster and wife Iris tell the same time travel story from two perspectives.
- The Demon and Catwoman – story by Walt Simonson, art by Brian Stelfreeze – in the only team-up of the bunch, Selina Kyle (Catwoman) and Jason Blood (the Demon) share a romantic dinner before the Cat attempts to burgle Blood’s estate. During the break-in, something triggers Blood’s transformation and traps Catwoman in another dimension.
- Hawkman – story and art by Kyle Baker – Hawkman and a flock of friends attempt to foil an airplane hijacking, in flight of course.
The issues are $3.99 each, which might sound like a lot for what is ostensibly a newspaper, but it is well worth it. The large format allows for the art to absolutely leap from the pages, and the variety of styles and creators makes for a dense package of comic goodness that satisfies more than the short helpings would suggest. Another plus is that all these stories are completely independent of DC continuity, so anyone can read and enjoy them with no previous knowledge. Issues one and two are out now at your local comic store, with the follow-ups released, of course, every Wednesday.