Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Graphic Novel Extravaganza – Superman: Red Son and Skull Kickers

I’ve been trying to read graphic novels intermittently over the last year to broaden my horizons. It is pretty well documented on my blog what I’ve been reading, but each one I’ve been reading has gotten a little easier. It took me two reads to really understand Watchmen, and I probably need to reread Justice vols. 1-3 to really understand them.

The most recent graphic novels I have read are quite different. The first is Superman: Red Son (Mark Millar, Dave Johnson, Kilian Plunkett, Andrew Robinson, Walden Wong), which was recommended to me at the local comic book store. The premise is that Superman landed as a boy in the Soviet Union instead of the United States of America. He then becomes a champion of communism and converts pretty much the whole world to communism except the USA. Lex Luthor is kind of the protagonist, who spends his whole life trying to come up with a way to defeat Superman for the United States. The whole thing is like a bizarre twist on the superman franchise, but it is extremely well done and makes an interesting read. My limited knowledge of the DC universe was helpful, but it is far from exhaustive, so I think anyone could read it.

The second comic (in a row) that I have read is Skull Kickers, which was created by Jim Zubkavich aka Jim Zub. It is the story of two unnamed adventurers in a Dungeons and Dragons type universe. They take a contract to find a corpse of a noble, and run into a few problems along the way. The best part of the story is the interplay of the two main characters, one guy who is huge and carries a gun, and the other who is a dwarf and carries an axe. The artwork and coloring is top notch, and I don’t know how they do it, but there is a cool iridescent effect that looks like it shouldn’t be possible on regular paper.

I’m going to be out of commission for a while since I am re-reading Neal Stephenson’s Quicksilver, a 900 page semi-historical fiction novel that is part of a 3 volume group of novels called the Baroque Cycle. I’m pretty excited for the re-read.