The Weekend Read: Comics From My Stack

Any comic book will tell you that Wednesday is New Comic Book Day, and with that comes the flurry of the week’s new releases. Between work, and time with friends, it seems like I have less and less time to really enjoy the books I buy each Wednesday.

But Sunday? Sunday is not only a day of rest, but also a good opportunity to catch up on the ever-growing stack of books I have been meaning to read. It is also a good day to pop into your local comic book shop and find something on the shelf you may not see while you are hurrying to grab comics on your lunch break. I'm lucky in that the kind folks at both Meltdown Comics and Golden Apple Comics in Hollywood always manage to point me towards something new or interesting while I'm perusing the shelves. Here's a quick look at some of the books I was enjoying last weekend.

MeanwhileFirst up is MEANWHILE, an interactive comic book by Jason Shiga.  The most obvious comparison is to a comic book version of a Choose Your Own Adventure book, but Shiga does so much more with the form. The book opens with a simple choice; chocolate or vanilla?  From there, you’ll make multiple choices on each new page, following a system of “tubes” that weave in and out of panels throughout the book, escalating to decisions involving a mind-reading helmet, a doomsday device, and a time machine. Flipping to any random page in the book will only give you a headache as there are panels from various parts of your possible quests on each page. Eventually, if you make the right moves, your choices will lead you to a happy ending. But beware, most end in doom, destruction, or a tummy ache. The front cover purports to contain 3,856 story possibilities within the book’s 80 pages, making Meanwhile incredibly rereadable. This is the kind of storytelling that is especially suite to comic books, but there is a part of me that would love to see what this would look like on an iPad, with the ability to “replay” your version of the story from start to finish.

80 Pages | $15.95 | Amulet Books


The Man With The Getaway FaceFar and away on of the best reading experiences I had last year was with Darwyn Cooke’s adaptation of Richard Stark’s Parker: The Hunter, so when it was revealed that IDW would be putting out an oversized prelude to the next adaptation, I was more than excited.  Thanks to our own Ron Richards for grabbing a copy for me at WonderCon, THE MAN WITH THE GETAWAY FACE is the perfect tease to whet my appetite as I wait patiently for October’s release of Parker: The Outfit. Clocking in at 24 pages, this prelude picks up shortly after we last saw Parker speeding away at the end of The Hunter as he looked forward to “a new face and the old routine.” The general idea of this story is that Parker needs to get some business in order before going after the Outfit, and since it's Parker we're talking about, of course a heist is involved. While the heist's plot is not particularly groundbreaking, Cooke builds an amazing amount of tension in a short span of time, particularly through the half dozen wordless pages comprising the heist itself. Again and again, Cooke proves himself a master visual storyteller, and this is no exception. As seen on the cover, the color pallete has shifted to sepia tones from the turquoise blue seen in The Hunter. If you are not going to be at a convention anytime soon, I believe comic shops will be getting this prelude in stores in June, so make sure to grab it, it really is a pretty book.

24 Pages | $2 | IDW


Superman/Batman: Saga of the Super SonsSUPERMAN/BATMAN: SAGA OF THE SUPER SONS is a concept that sounds completely ridiculous when you see it on the cover of a book, yet it totally works in that insane, trippy, DC-in-the-70s kind of way. This book is a collection of tales starring Superman Jr. and Batman Jr., the sons of (you guessed it) Superman and Batman and their unrevealed wives. Published on and off in World's FInest beginning in issue #215, the majority of the stories were written by Teen Titans creator Bob Haney and drawn by Dick Dillin. Reading through the dozen or so stories contained in this trade paperback, I can't help but think it feels like sort of an answer to the kind of culturally-aware, youth-motivated stories that Dennis O'Neil and Neal Adams were doing in Green Lantern/Green Arrow a few years earlier, albeit to a less serious degree (it's worth noting that Dennis O'Neil actually wrote the final story of the Super Sons in World's Finest #263). The fashion and slang might be a bit date, but the concept plays well. In the right hands, this could be a really fun ongoing today exisisting on one of the Earths of the new Multiverse (Grant Morrison, I'm sure your plate is full, but think about it!). There's something about teenaged versions of Superman and Batman travelling the world and fighting crime that just feels right, and makes for great reading on a Sunday afternoon in warm LA weather.

256 Pages | $19.99 | DC Comics


Hopefully at least one of these books piques your interest, and stay tuned, as there is still plenty more weekend reading ahead thanks to my neverending stack.

Benjamin Simpson lives and works in Los Angeles, is more than willing to lend his name to commercial products and tries to cultivate a cult of personality through his little-read newsletters, fan club, and so on. Feel free to send him an email or follow him on Twitter.


  1. I think Batman’s kid is more furious at having to wear those ridiculous pants thant having to carry on the legacy

  2. I got MEANWHILE for my birthday a couple of weeks ago, and it is a joy. I thought I might review it one day, but first I wanted to finish it, and I am slowly coming to the conclusion that doing that is quite impossible. Anyone who ever said, "Four bucks for forty pages?" needs to get handed a copy of this one.

  3. MEANWHILE sounds awesome. Love interactive story telling like Choose Your Own Adventure. In fact I wrote and produced a play that did the same thing. Look it up to find all the mediocre to decent reviews of it online.

  4. I can’t wait to get my hands on that new Parker OGN.  I loved The Hunter.

  5. Batman Jr. is SHAKING HIS FIST! 😀