With so many big names and big events plastered across the shelves of your LCS, sometimes great comics get left behind – buried in long boxes until someone comes along to find these Hidden Gems.
Tomorrow a new volume of the classic Marvel anthology series will hit the comic shops, with Strange Tales #1 under the mature rated MAX imprint. This three-issue mini-series features a large group of independent comic book creators doing their take on Marvel’s wide array of characters. With that, it seems only natural to revisit a similar project – from the Distinctive Competition.
Published as a hardcover in 2005, Bizarro World was sort of a sequel to a 2001 anthology called Bizarro Comics. A long list of independent comic book writers and artists you won’t usually see working for the Big Two, was given an access to the DCU to do whatever they feel like, out of continuity.
Andy Merrill (Space Ghost Coast to Coast) and Roger Langridge The Muppet Show) did a What If…?-like story where baby Kal-El lands in Antarctica and gets adopted by elves. Batman gets his own twisted Christmas song by comedian Patton Oswalt and artist Bill Fingerman (TMNT). The legendary Harvey Pekar puts his hands on the character this book is named after, with former collaborator artist Dean Haspiel.
Like many projects consisting of various creators and stories, this book can’t be judged as one piece. Some stories you like, some you don’t. I loved the Deadman story by Paul Di Filippo (Doc Samson) and Derek Kirk Kim (Fables: 1001 Nights of Snowfall) that wraps the book, but disliked Kyle Baker’s (Plastic Man: On the Lam) story about Alfred Pennyworth. That’s just a risk publishers have to take when publishing anthologies, I guess.
While the takes on DC characters are indeed bizarre, some creators just base their stories on Golden Age and Silver Age weirdness and sometimes it doesn’t feel any different than reading a DC Showcase edition. Others really take this opportunity and use their unique non-mainstream style to put the characters in unprecedented situations.
In conclusion, despite my earlier statement of not judging this book as one creative work, I have to grade it; therefore, 4 out of 5 whistle heads. Besides, it’s way better than DC’s current weekly anthology project Wednesday Comics.
To contact Tomer Soiker: email@example.com