I have fallen a bit out of consuming comics at a daily and ravenous pace. I never read the books as a kid, opting instead for television and video games. I (unfortunately) played Superman 64, religiously sat down too close to the set for Batman and Superman’s respective animated series and had a few to many Spider-Man briefs. But I never discovered where these characters originally punched a POW! shaped hole into our world until I befriended someone who basically force feed me the pages.
And I don’t think I’ll ever be able to thank him enough.
Mr. Wolfe started me off with a 10 course meal instead of an appetizer, pushing Neil Gaiman’s Sandman on me. It was an cellar-aged, cask wine sweeter than you could even comprehend. Sure, I might have missed the subtle notes of oak and vanilla as any new-comer is want to do but I knew I had discovered a new vice. Like an alcoholic crawling into the corner five-and-dime for a pint of whiskey, I returned to him asking for more.
So far, anything I have been given I have enjoyed thoroughly and repeatedly. I have the tendency to read something quickly (especially if the entire series is out and available in trade), then return later and go through again slowly and methodically. What I missed the first time, I hope to find the second or fourth time around.
As much as I love the medium, the Wolfe seems to live and breath the stuff. It was a joy watching Justice League: Unlimited with him, because if I didn’t know one of the varied characters seemingly thrown into the show because why not, I’d harness his encyclopedia-knowledge and find out; Wikipedia be damned.
“Hey, why is there a cowboy with a red bandana over his pie hole? He seems pretty out of place on a space station filled with aliens capable of punching holes through Fort Knox.” “That is Vigilante, he’s from the 1940’s, kind of like a mystery man, no superpowers, just super-good with guns and the like.” “Oh, still sounds kind of dumb…”
Seeing as he knows so much and has read books from every publisher and universe out there, its something else to see the guy excited about a new book.
I think he might have been flying into the room when he threw the door open and ran to the counter where I sat. Gingerly laying a single issue down in front of me, he hopped back and forth from foot to foot (he might have done a back flip too, my memory is a bit fuzzy).
“What are you doing?” he asked. “…homework, got to finish this script for class tomorrow,” I replied over my laptop screen. Said screen soon disappeared into a cloud of plastic and a few hours worth of a not-so-good script as it collided with the wall it was thrown at. “Nope, you’re reading this. Now,” he said a centimeter from my own face. I saw the crazy in his eyes, smelled it on his breath and in the way his beard rubbed against my nose; so I picked the book up and I read.
What I read was the first issue of The Strange Talent of Luther Strode.
Said tale, published by Image, written by Justin Jordan, drawn by Tradd Moore, and colored by Felipe Sobreiro is the tale of a high school nerd that gains extraordinary powers. Sound similar to Ultimate Spider-Man, a pumped up version of Kick-Ass mayhap you cry; well shut up I am not done!
Mr. Strode gets picked on, goes unnoticed, isn’t popular, etc. Also, he is puny. Said nerd sends off for a mail order book called The Hercules Method that promises to bulk him up, which he can use against the bullies at school. And oh my stars and garters does it work; image if you will those X-ray spectacles you could send off for, and when you got them you could totally see through walls. And, if you blinked really had you could pulverize said wall.
With Strode’s new great powers comes some responsibilities that he had no idea would included in the package. How do you harness a strength that you’ve never wielded, that you have no idea how it works? Add in some shadow organization and a cute girl, and you my friend have a great read.
Here comes the warning though. I never used to like horror films; the blood, the suspense, the terror, but mostly the blood. If it belongs in your body cavity, I like to see it stay there. Then I learned that all on-screen violence is fake. And now I can consume horror like a zombie would a room full of comatose patients. This book is bloody, in the visceral, biblical-oceans-of-blood type of way. It is brutal. If you don’t believe you can handle exploding heads, go watch Scanners. Did you like the scene where the guys head totally blew all the way up? No, then you probably should not read this book.
But by the gods, it is good.
So, if you can handle violence, and you love a good story I highly suggest this book. And guess what, the first trade paper back is out, which means you can read the first six issues. The series is ongoing, now onto the arc known as The Legend of Luther Strode. It is well worth your money and time. And, you don’t really want me to come over and throw your laptop against the wall, do you?
I thought not.