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It's a new universe being designed by Brian Azzarello. It's called "First Wave", and a miniseries will be coming out in 2010 by Azzarello and Rags Morales (the sketches in the back were by him). From there, two ongoing series will be launched - one for the Spirit and one for Doc Savage. The Spirit will be written by Mark Schultz (of Cadillacs and Dinosaurs fame). The rest of the creative teams haven't been revealed yet.

I'm not sure if you even care about all of this, I'm just rambling because I'm looking forward to this very much. If Azzarello gets full rein of this universe, then I expect it to be pretty good comic books.

However, I did find this issue to be somewhat formulaic. I agree with Graeme McMillan's review on Savage Critics. Still, I'm pretty optimistic.

They couldn't get the Shadow, so they used 1939 gun-totin' Batman instead. Plus, well, Batman = Sales.

Hey, Nina's spent enough time in comics circles that she learned the term "one-shot"! Ha ha, we'll make a nerd out of her yet!

Never mind that, she's throwin' around "space-time continuum." She's either a comics geek or she's Stephen Hawking.

They couldn't get the Shadow? Boo-urns.

Of course, they're probably still pissed about the whole Helfer / Baker thing.

Pissed about the greatest thing ever?

Well, yeah - it was awesome, but so far off-model they were traumatized.

I wonder if they'd ever publish something like the Helfer Shadow now. Looking back on some of that period of comics-80's DC-I think that might be my favorite period of Big Two stuff. Wasteland, Justice Inc, Thriller, 5YL Legion, Shadow...Swamp Thing? Piranha stuff was somewhere around there too. Except for 5YL and Swamp Thing, I didn't read any of that stuff until very recently, so it may just be the sense of newness that it all has. But god, some of those comics are just insanely ambitious, and so many read like hot-blooded artists throwing out the best shit they could come up with.

Oooh, Wasteland, I really liked that.

Thriller was a little earlier- 1983. This is a distinction I make not to nitpick, but because the difference between '83 and '87 is pretty big in terms of what happened between them. The letter columns talk about Thriller in the context of Ronin. The other comics (along with V For Vendetta being printed by DC) coincide more with all the British stuff that would form Vertigo. A really interesting time. It also coincides with Chaykin as a big name.

(I just sort of recently heard about a comic called The Nazz from 1990 Bryan Talbot drew)

Of course, the weird stuff happened parallel to things that are well-remembered for different reasons that seem pretty well-crafted. Ostrander was doing Wasteland at the same time as he was doing Suicide Squad, I think. This was around the time of Gerard Jones and Mike Parobeck doing El Diablo. It's easy to go down this tunnel of nostalgia and give to much praise to a journeyman like Gerard Jones, whose Mosaic could be viewed as the tail-end of this period of interest, but who wrote far more dull stuff that doesn't give the impression of care.

Like, uh, DC's attempt to get The Shadow back on-model after Kyle Baker, The Shadow Strikes! (Which I haven't actually read, I'm just assuming it's dull.)

Part of what makes all this stuff read so well to modern eyes is how much slower it is to read than modern comics- Those Giffen Legion comics are in a post-Watchmen nine-panel grid. (Giffen is also notable as a superstar of the day, what with the Justice League comics, which- again, are easy to overpraise, and are well-remembered, but are pretty fun.) In addition to creators going for broke, it feels like the vocabulary to make good comics was just THERE in a way it wasn't a few years before, and wouldn't be after the Image dudes muddied the waters.

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