Wednesday's New Things: Seconds

1. Because of the just ended World Cup, I've been thinking a lot about the summer I spent in Washington D.C. four years ago. In some ways it was much like this one, a summer in a new place, with new friends, still trying to figure out what exactly I was doing, while the world's biggest sporting event was going on in the background. I was working at the National Archives, in the building they call Archives I, which is on the National Mall, near the Smithsonian Museum of Art. In the afternoons, after leaving the consistent 60 degree chill of the Archives, I used to like to go to sculpture garden across the street, take my shoes off, stick my feet in the fountain, and read. It was a good summer. 

Because I was an intern, I could stretch my lunch break a little bit longer than an actual employee, and I used to walk the few blocks up to the Chinatown metro stop to take the train over to the Fantom Comics stall at Union Station, which I recall being a good store for its small space and sort of weird location. That was the summer of Marvel's Heroic Age event, and I was doing a lot of buying, energized by a bunch of new #1s and a storyline that seemed at the time like it represented a real change in the status quo. (oops.) It was also the summer of the excellent and underrated Scott Pilgrim movie, which was preceded by the release of the also excellent sixth volume of Bryan Lee O'Malley's Scott Pilgrim comic, Scott Pilgrim's Finest Hour. Because it was put out by a regular book publisher, that book was released on a Tuesday; I was so excited about it that I made two trips to the comic book store that week. 

Almost exactly four years later, we're seeing Seconds, O'Malley's first major project since then. In some ways, the heady mantle of well-crafted teen angst comic has been passed to Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie, who have had O'Malley draw variant covers for the first issues of two separate series in the last 18 or so months. But the solicitation for Seconds sounds like a Scott Pilgrim-like premise applied to a character who is an actual adult, rather than a fake one. There are advantages to this approach and there are disadvantages to it; one of the things that I love is the idea that there's more than one way to do a thing, particularly when you've done that thing well in the past. Others, I'm sure, feel differently. Anyway, given that O'Malley is both a name creator and a real talent and that Ballantine is putting the book out (it, too, officially came out yesterday), this is one of the major comics releases of the year. 

2. Speaking of Gillen and McKelvie, there's new Wic+Div this week. It's a good 'un, and I'm crazy about this Chip Zdarsky cover. This pair is in the top tier of mainstream comics creators in part because they have a sense of humor about their work. 

3. There are a lot of things that are amazing about the Fantagraphics reissues of Floyd Gottfredson's Mickey Mouse comics, not least of which is the fact that there was a time when Mickey Mouse was primarily an actual character in the cultural imagination, rather than an iconic logo representing a major multinational corporations. Seeing that there are releases like this is important for me; I've been writing about comics for a half-decade and reading them consistently for a whole one, and I'm only now starting to really open up to the breadth and history of the medium.

4. Finally, this one, from Ryan Burton and John Bivens, looks like a fun one. I think we might be living in a golden age of floppy-formated comics. 

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