Way, way back when I was just a wee, sleekit, cowrin, tim’rous fanboy, I used to anticipate Sunday mornings with unreserved glee. And not because of church. (My mother gave up on getting me to go to church early on.) No, to me, Sundays meant the large format Sunday comics in the newspaper. I would spread the pages out on the floor, then study each and every panel between mouths full of whatever sugary, cartoon- or movie-inspired cereal I happened to be obsessed with at the time. It was a weekly ritual I grew up with. But as I got older, the comics section got smaller, less diverse and ultimately lost my attention all together.
So, there was definitely something deeply satisfying about spreading out the Wednesday Comics miniseries last summer and discovering something new and yet uniquely nostalgic. Printed and released on newsprint over the course of 12 weeks, Wednesday Comics featured Sunday comics editions of some of our favorite superheroes, from the famous to the obscure, in glorious color and at a size we haven’t seen in decades. I snapped them all up, but secretly hoped we’d eventually get a collection of some kind. And now we have! DC Comics just released the hardbound collection of all 12 weeks of Wednesday Comics, and it’s a beauty!
Newsprint, for all its nostalgia-inducing charm, is a terrible choice for a collector’s item, since it begins yellowing and decaying almost immediately. So, I’m very happy to have all of these pages on glossy, white paper. Each of the adventures is printed together, as a whole, which is probably for the best, although it loses the serialized effect of the original miniseries releases.
All of the art and writing on display here are worth a look, but that doesn’t mean they’re all winners. Though inspired by the large format comics pages of yesteryear, Wednesday Comics is something of an experiment and doesn’t always succeed. For example, the creators of both the Wonder Woman and Teen Titans entries don’t have the same grasp of the concept or the command of the space as some of the other creators in the collection. Titans reads more like a cartoon storyboard, missing a lot of information between panels. And Wonder Woman is chaotic and hard to follow. Luckily, most all of the other stories succeed and take full advantage of the medium. Kamandi, Superman, Deadman, Adam Strange, Metal Men and The Flash are stand-outs. However, the best series in the collection is undoubtedly Metamorpho by Neil Gaiman and Michael Allred. Part retro and part satire, the adventures of Element Man and his friends and foes not only has the sharpest writing in the book, but also uses the space to its fullest potential. Seeing Element Man and Element Girl traipsing across the periodic table of elements, cracking jokes along the way, as it spreads triumphantly across two full pages is a joy to behold and worth the $49.99 price tag alone.
My only other complaint about the book is the cover and binding. It’s a little cheap for such an expensive book. I really expected a cloth or leather-bound edition, with some embossing or special jacket of some kind. Instead, it’s simple cardboard laminate. A lackluster cover for the treasure inside. I’m hoping a more deluxe edition will follow, if this one does well. As a tribute to another era and another method of storytelling, Wednesday Comics delivers. And anything that can make me feel like a kid again and have me reaching for the Frosted Chocolate Sugar Bombs gets my full endorsement!
While the cover price is $49.99, Amazon and some other online retailers have Wednesday Comics for as low as $31.49. Shop around and get the best price! And be sure to check with your local comics monger to see what price they’re offering!