134) DC: The New Frontier by Darwyn Cooke, finished December 17*
* maybe a couple weeks but I didn't finish the extra material before I lost my Kindle and library took the ebook back so this is really just the date I decided oh well
This has the breadth and complexity of a fine epic novel. But by relying on myth and image, it manages to build that in fewer pages. I'm not sure what to compare to. Watchmen maybe or Kingdom Come. But it's neither of those. Like any great work, it is its own thing, and not just the sum of its influences and intertextuality.
Cooke's art style is, as always, wonderful to look at. I've always been skeptical it will work with serious subject matter, but it always does.
If you care at all about DC's stable of heroes, this might be their finest hour.
133) Stewart the Rat by Steve Gerber & Gene Colan & Tom Palmer, finished November 21
I can't say how similar Howard is to Stewart.
Stewart is a parahuman (of the half-rat variety) who finds his human mind and takes up bodyguarding for a woman targeted by a homicidal Scientology-like cult leader.
It's a fine enough book. It feels like it was intended to go on from where it ended but, alas, it does not.
I shan't weep.
(Luckily, as I probably won't ever read volume one again either. The old perfect-bound comics. The glue cracks and the pages fall out. Not really archive quality, these things.)
132) The Ephraim Chronicles by Lee Nelson, finished November 18
Storm Testament or Louis L'Amour. Somehow the Storm Testament books seemed to grownup to ever attract me, and I've gone all these years without ever reading a Lee Nelson book. (Even though he's kind of a big deal in Mormon letters,couple weeks
at least in terms of actually making money. Props, Lee.)
My Mom lent me this book because there's a statue of Old Ephraim in my hometown and me and the fam got our picture taken in front of it when we were there three Februaries ago for my grandmother's funeral.
The jacket copy claims this novel is "based on actual history," but my bet is that the only actual history is that there was a really big bear called Ephraim and someone was hunting him.* Neither of these characters is the protagonist. The hunter, although getting first billing in the jacket copy, doesn't even merit consideration as A Main Character.
Really, this is the story of a Mormon boy who survives a winter car crash, survives by nesting up with a hibernating mama bear and drinking her milk, becoming her son and her son's brother, living ten years in the mountains, then returning to Logan to attend high school and speak for the bears and discover first atheism then religion.
It's not well written and the copyediting ain't great, but I think I can forgive it its many flaws. There aren't many people I can recommend it to, but hey---these are my mountains. And this is their bear.
131) (In a Sense) Lost & Found by Roman Muradov, finished November 18
It's also ... I want to say surreal, but that's not right. It's like ... the comics equivalent of Prufrock or a Kafka novel. The colors and the garbled language and the sense of loss and loneliness---this feels like a comic that would have been published a hundred years ago if comics cultured had developed to its 2017 state a hundred years ago.
Did I like it?
I don't know. Anyone who has a strong opinion about Prufrock after a single read should probably be doubted as well. I'm glad it exists. I'll say that much.
Previously in 2017