Gorillas Riding Dinosaurs
My last column for 2009 was about both volumes of Mouse Guard, but I spent more time on the more recent one, Winter 1152.
I had a hard time deciding what I wanted to talk about this week. Not that anyone’s called me on it yet, but I usually talk here about stuff that I enjoy and I know that that can give the impression that I like everything, which simply isn’t true. In fact, I just read a book that I didn’t like so much and contemplated talking about it instead, if only for variety’s sake. But is criticizing a mediocre, small-press book really how we want to end the year? As Tim O’Shea reminded me when I expressed my indecision on the subject, there’s a lot of bad material out there. Why spend a whole column focused on that when there’s good stuff that can use a larger audience? Mouse Guard may not exactly be an underground comic, but until it hits #1 on every Best Sellers list in the world, I’m considering it under-read.Read the rest here.
The first thing you’re struck with by Mouse Guard is how beautiful it is. I was reading Winter 1152 in public the other day and a woman stopped and asked me what it was. As much as I try not to make assumptions about people from their appearances, I’m guessing that this immaculately-dressed businesswoman doesn’t have a large comics collection at home. But she saw David Petersen’s highly realistic, stunningly detailed, and lushly colored artwork and was attracted by it enough to want to know more.
But Mouse Guard is about more than the pictures and the seasons in the title dictate more than just Petersen’s color palettes. There’s a deep, compelling story at work with human characters – mice though they may be – and powerful themes that reflect the time of year they’re set in.
Incidentally, Mouse Guard: Winter 1152 topped by my list of favorite comics for the year. You can read the whole list (as well as those of Robot 6's other contributors) here, but I should admit that mine is flawed. I'm embarrassed that I didn't even consider webcomics when I made it, so - as I said in the comments - I'm ticked at myself for not including at least The Abominable Charles Christopher. It's as good as anything else on the list.
The 30 Most Important Comics of the Decade
This was a huge group effort by all the Robot 6ers. I wrote the entries for 30 Days of Night and Flight, Volume 1 in Part One (#s 30-16). I didn't contribute to Part Two (#s 15-1), but you should read that too. A lot of interesting stuff to think about in both sections.