odds and ends

With 2011 coming to a close, I’m working on the final installments of two long-running series of novels I’ve enjoyed over the past few years.

The Night Eternal is the third and final book in The Strain trilogy by Chuck Hogan and Guillermo Del Toro. An apocalyptic vampire story by way of CSI, I enjoyed the first book of the series quite a bit. Although Hogan and Del Toro aren’t doing much new here, at the very least the authors are cognicent of this fact and they pay homage to their influences in a fairly obvious, enjoyable way. The human protagonist’s characterization is a little thin, but they service the plot and The Strain series are page-turners.

I must confess, I had a slight problem with The Night Eternal’s scope and pacing. While the first two novels have rather successfully focused solely on Manhattan and its’ place in this vampiric outbreak, The Night Eternal broadens out from New York City in a way I felt was uneven. Considering this vampire plague was a worldwide threat, it felt strange to spend so much time in the first two thirds of this story in New York and then have the solution to mankind’s problems be located elsewhere. Please note that “problem” is not the same thing as a “complaint” and the finale works regardless of my quibble.

I’m also staring Out of Oz, the presumably the last book in Gregory Maguire’s Wicked series.. but more on that one when I finish it.


Here’s something interesting: In the past week, folks on the Internet have been getting all riled up/excited about the swirling rumors that DC Comics is going to be producing a sequel to Watchmen, the seminal 1980’s revisionist superhero opus written by Alan Moore and drawn by Dave Gibbons.

For over two decades, DC has resisted the urge to sequelize Watchmen, instead remaining satisfied by keeping the book in print and allowing it to stand as one of the best examples of graphic storytelling both the medium and the genre have to offer. I am sure this impulse was aided in the knowledge that Moore, one of the books architects, decided to cut ties with DC after some ugly disagreements with the company.

I don’t normally care to read this kind of stuff, but must confess: I have been loving the vitriol pouring from fans about “Watchmen 2” or whatever DC might call this potential project.

On the one hand, I completely get it. Watchmen is one of the few superhero projects that stands alone in a smart way. The story is self-contained and the characters (although inspired by the Charlton stable of superheroes) are original creations who do not appear in any comics beyond the original 12 issue Watchmen series. Moore is inarguably one of the finest writers the medium of comic books has ever had. Presenting new mini-series or whatever DC might be planning with new creators is tantamount to sacrilege to many fans.

On the other hand, I understand DC’s argument. They own the characters. It’s not as though Moore will EVER work for DC again; that bridge is burned beyond recognition. Holding back production on new Watchmen material is never going to endear DC to Moore or vice versa.

Further, despite fan outcry… guess what? I firmly believe, despite any bitching and moaning from superhero comic fans, new Watchmen comics would sell well. Many copies would be sold to the same people who dislike the existence of the project in the first place. DC Comics is a business; if it makes financial sense to produce new comics, why wouldn’t they?

I can say with confidence that I will not be buying any new Watchmen material. I loved Watchmen when I was in high school, but over the years, it’s lost a bit of esteem with me. It’s still a high watermark for the superhero comic genre, but a lot of bad habits were the progeny of Watchmen. While that doesn’t taint the original series in my eyes, it does make my appreciation for it a little less overwhelming.

I also think that DC’s perhaps making a mistake, leveraging the consistent and admirable trade sales of Watchmen against a smaller amount of money new Watchmen comics might bring them. I don’t know anything about the comic book business, so I could be wrong about that, but I do know that diluting a brand doesn’t often make the originator of that brand a stronger product.

One Response to “odds and ends”

  1. […] but I find most of the books I’ve sampled have been not my cuppa. Combine that with some of the problems I have with DC’s stupid Before Watchmen publishing initiative and it’s pretty easy for me to take a pass on the companies’ books. Like this:LikeBe […]

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