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Last night I went to four different comic shops to get the two new Paul Grist books that shipped this week: Jack Staff vol 3 and Kane vol 6. Cosmic on 23rd had sold out of Jack Staff and never got Kane, but they did have All-Star Superman #6. I went down to St Marks Comics, which had Kane, but they’d also sold out of Jack Staff. Then I remembered that I’d walked right past Forbidden Planet on 13th without checking it, so I walked back, and they’d sold out too. World, I’m happy that Jack Staff is selling well, but could y’all hold back a bit till I get my copy? I walked back down to the NYU Starbucks to rest my feet and read Kane, and then walked up to Jim Hanley’s on 33rd, and they had Jack Staff. Yay! Total distance walked: about four miles.

Today I just walked from the WTC PATH station to Pearl Paint (to pick up a half-pan of Winsor Newton rose doré), and back (3/4 mile each way). And to and forth from home to the Grove St station, which (Google Earth tells me) is almost half a mile each way, so that means I walked five miles yesterday, and 2.5 today, which is why my feet hurt.

And I’ve somehow lost nine pounds since November.

Anyway, Volume 6 is probably my least favorite Kane volume of the series so far. What started out as a straight cop drama (which occasional comic relief) is being invaded by superhero tropes — a military super-solider suit, a blind assassin, etc. And a lot of the issue is given over to repeating Kane’s past history as revealed in other volumes. We get a couple of scenes of Oscar Darke interacting with other crime bosses, but one of them is tangled up with the stupid implausible super-suit plot.

The Jack Staff book is much better. As a superhero book, it’s unabashedly full of goofy and melodramatic superhero elements, and they’re fun as hell. How can you not love a criminal genius named Brain Head? Not to mention the WW2 German supervillain Kapitan Krieg. And all the other usual Jack Staff supporting cast — Tom Tom the Robot Man; the Q Division; the Freedom Fighters; Becky Burdock, Vampire Reporter; Detective Inspector Maveryk; the Claw; and best of all, an appearance by Morlan the Mystic (who is clearly based on Alan Moore). As with the earlier Jack Staff books, the various storylines are presented in little pieces, three or four pages at a time, making it a bit of work to keep up with, but also giving the reader very much the feel of reading a whole line of books from a small comic publisher, with little crossovers and meta-plots.

And both books are full of Grist’s top-notch page layouts.

April 2017

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