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Sunday, October 09, 2005

Classroom Comics Selection and a New Syndrome

Yeah, I've been away, for a while; AGAIN. What can I say? Life is what it is, and what it is is b-u-s-y. Well, to kick things off, I'm going to make a prediction.

Just this evening, I saw the story of the three (four?) New Orleans cops who were suspended and arrested for the beating of a drunk man in his 60's. It was an ugly scene, and seemed unnecessary. To top it off, however, one of them assaulted a tv news producer, which was just flat out stupid. Here's my prediciton: look for one or more of the cops' lawyers to claim some kind of "Post-Katrina Stress Syndrome" as a defense. After weeks of dealing with the initial disaster, and then clean up, and all that entails, it just seems a natural when you consider the times in which we live, with new "disorders" popping up every year. It'll happen.

Also, I've got a new Classroom Comics Selection. I don't know if the middle ages are still studied in public schools these days, but the following might be an ideal tool for a teacher trying to get her kids interested in the exciting age of knights and kings....
Mortal combat in the ancient Roman arenas! The brave exploits of the Knights of the Round Table! Exciting tales of Richard the Lion Heart's Crusades! All this and more can be found in the Valor hardback reprint editions, published by Russ Cochran. If I sound like a pitch man, you'll just have to forgive me. It's rare, however, to read an anthology comic that is as entertaining as Valor. And we're talking about work done 50 years ago, to boot. See my 2002 review of Impact comics for a little background on E.C.

These later E.C. stories, published after the magazine had taken it's much-touted "New Direction," never cease to amaze me with their characters, rendering, and general entertainment value. Where professional-level comic work is concerned, they are not, as is implied by some E.C. fans, inferior to the company's earlier work, in my opinion. With comic legends such as artists Bernard Krigstein, Wally Wood, Al Williamson, and more, they are as visually pleasing as they are from a literary standpoint. Williamson and Wood in particular had ultra-realistic styles which were well-served their particular genres. In many cases, the black and white format somehow seems to add something to the amazingly detailed artwork. Combine this with the original letters pages, and some in-depth interviews with creators, and you have a veritable comics gem. One that could introduce new or young readers to the bold, rich history of comics.

Honestly, something like this makes me wish there was a law that required every comics fan to read a quota of classic Golden Age work. But, lacking that, I'll just continue to produce these occasional "throw back" reviews, as I discover this material, myself.

Valor is recommended for all lovers of comics, action heroes, history, drama, or the grand, sweeping epic, as it contains all of these elements, and more. Find it at comic shops, bookstores, online auctions or comic conventions. Prices may vary.