The Rebirth of Cool

*tap* *Tap* *TAP* Is this website on? Oh! Hello there… It’s a been a while, hasn’t it?

No, I haven’t stopped reading comicbooks. In fact, maybe quite the opposite. A few years ago when I started this website–and we were still dong the podcast–I think I was probably reading less than I am now.

Wednesdays are a special kind of day, a nice way to break up the week. Getting to go to the comic shop after work to hangout for thirty minutes or an hour and shoot the shit, pick up some new issues to read, and if it’s a particularly light week in terms of new books I’ll dig through the back issues to fill in my collection a bit. All of that is especially cathartic for me because it reminds me of when I was younger, and honestly I think that’s why most adults are into comicbooks these days.

So, during my Wednesday outings to the comic shop over this past year or so, I’ve noticed an interesting trend has emerged… Well, first let me say that I’ve tried to get my nieces and nephews into comics, not being too pushy (but they know I’m a comic nerd), yet the hobby hasn’t really taken root for them like it did with me. I’m sure publishers see the same types of trends, while there are definitely some new and younger kids getting into comics I don’t think there are nearly enough new readers to really sustain the industry in the same way the 60s through the 90s saw growth in readership and the growth of the direct market… Although if comic readers come in waves every thirty years or so, we could be experiencing another uptick. Anyway! There have been a bunch of new books that have come out that have a retro style to them; new stories for old readers. I missed out on the beginning of X-Men: Legends, but I am in on issue #1 with Silver Surfer: Rebirth, and now Batman/Superman: World’s Finest. I highly recommend checking them out.

Silver Surfer: Rebirth

Silver Surfer: Rebirth Issue #1 Cover

The return of Ron Lim and Ron Marz! This is a bit of a hallmark for these books (as you’ll see for Batman/Superman as well). Marvel and DC are actively recruiting the old creative teams to come back and do more of what made the books popular in the 90s (or potentially even earlier). Rebirth is two issues in right now, but if you happened to miss the first issue there should be a second printing available at most shops. Without a current GotG ongoing run, Marvel Cosmic is lacking a bit (IMHO), but this book picks up the slack. While I would say that it helps to understand the backstory from where it left off in the late 90s, it actually isn’t necessary. I remember more about the feel of those older issues than I do the story line, but that’s where Rebirth really shines. Which is also where X-Men: Legends also succeeded, both books nail the look and free of those old 90s issues but also brings something new and fresh, and it’s printed on new paper so you don’t feel guilty about reading it.

Interior Panels from Rebirth showing Silver Surfer save a spaceship.

Batman/Superman: World’s Finest

Batman/Superman: World's Finest Issue #1

Returning at the helm for this classic Saturday morning cartoon throwback is Mark Waid. DC has really been picking up the pieces I feel like. This past year or so I’ve bought way more DC books than I ever have in my past. I’ve always been more of a Marvel and Image guy… Maybe my tastes are changing, maybe I just need more of what I didn’t get when I was younger? I think DC are feeling the pressure in a market that they’re floundering in, and this is cause for them to go back to the basics. Russ wasn’t as big on Titans United as I was, but it seems more like a return to form: bright colors, heavy action, non-stop thrills, high stakes that you know the heroes will survive. World’s Finest has all of that and then some, and really has everything you would expect from a classic over-the-top book from the 70s or early 80s.

I was quite happy to hear this one made the iFanboy Pick of the Week. Until listening to them, I thought I was really the only one that was digging these books; Batman in his grey and blue costume, Superman drawn like Christopher Reeves, and a quick succession of the rogues gallery of villains, a cameo appearance by the Doom Patrol, even ridiculous henchmen! Hired dumb-dumbs that would be right at home on the set with Adam We (no, that’s not a typo, but rather a Family Guy reference). An absolute definition of comfort food and nostalgia wrapped into one.

Superman, Batman, and Robin being cordial with one another.