THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD Vol 1: THE LORDS OF LUCK (Dec 2007)
I borrowed a copy of this hardcover book, so I thought I'd mention some things about it.
First of all, unlike the cheap newsprint pages that was treated on older trade paperbacks such as the Wonder Woman or New Teen Titans reprints, THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD: THE LORD OF LUCK got semi-glossy pages... which basically means that for the $24.99 price tag, you're getting your money's worth. It also means more vibrant colors from Tom Smith.
New material includes a foreword and a five-page "Mark's Remarks" by Mark Waid. The Remarks are basically selective annotates and footnotes throughout the book. It seems like Waid's remarks are random, from page 99 then skipped to 115. Sometime he will go into details on background images, for instance, did you know the Sun Devils appeared on page 135? As far as I know, the Sun Devils aren't really part of the DC Universe.
My biggest pet peeves are when DC or Marvel only collects 4 issues, as it seems like a waste of collection and usually the cost (average $14.95) outweighs buying the individual issues. Plus they look smaller on the bookshelf. So, this book, being only two extra issues, the book spine looks small, despite an extra few millimeters thanks to the hardbound. Personally, I would've liked to have seen Brave and the Bold #1-12 collected in one volume. It just doesn't feel like this very quick read (152 pages) should cost as much as twenty-five dollars. For the same amount of money, you can get yourself the Crisis trade paperback, which feels heftier collecting all 12 issues (not to mention two of which are double-sized issues). I know what you're going to say: Crisis will sell well, so its cost can be lower and still expect a profit.
There are some things about this book that I wish DC would've gotten right. I mean, as a reader, I would've liked to see both covers to The Brave and the Bold #1. Also, I would've liked to have seen some more extras, like advertisements for the series or perhaps rough sketches, unused artwork, promo posters. I know that sounds like a lot of work, but wouldn't you think DC would have all this stuff lying around?
I guess, my complaints still to revolve around the price, if money isn't a problem for you, this is a pretty nice hardcover book. I'm gutted that I won't be buying this book, even for a brand new George Perez cover artwork.
Below is the introduction by Mark Waid:
NINE HUNDRED AND SEVENTY-THREE PANELS.
Yes, I counted. I was curious. I put maybe five, six hundred panels total in my script and I get back 973. This is a continual source of amazement for me. I've been writing comics for twenty years, and I'm constantly wrangling with artists who, as goes human nature, are looking for ways to work less hard. Not my pal George Perez. George lives to give the readers more for their money. He's the only artist I've ever worked with that I can say this to without having to duck:
"Okay, on page eighteen, we see an enormous, splashy shot of Green Lantern and Adam Strange being attacked by an army of Hawkmen. Not just three or four Hawkmen either - dozens of winged warriors weapons brandished, all tearing and clawing and snarling in a midair assault above the skies of Ranagar.
"Then, in panel two..."
I'm not bringing this up to argue that more panels automatically equals better comics, I can pretty much at random, point to any of ten thousand soul-deadening comics from the 1990s that would make a mockery of that statement. Noise is not always music. But I will absolutely declare that more George Perez artwork automatically equals better comics, particularly when every single illustration so beautifully captures a moment or expression or moves the story along in an exciting unexpected way.
I couldn't ask for a better partner in this project than an artist hungry to draw everyone and everything in the DC Universe. When I first pitched a BRAVE AND THE BOLD monthly - a revival of a long-running team-up from my childhood - I proposed that we forgo the traditional of having Batman co-star in every issue and instead marquee a different pair of heroes in each installment. I like Batman as much as the next guy, but I also love Green Lantern and Supergirl and this new Blue Beetle kid and Adam Strange and so forth and so on. There's no single DC character I read as a boy who I can't now wax poetic about for a half hour. The DC heroes are just so amazing to me that I cannot wait to show you how cool each of them is, so the more, the merrier.
Likewise, George is equally obsessively compelled to draw every single comics character ever. Ever. It's true. He longs for this. Even now, after already long ago having permanently retired the record, if some other DC writer or artist thousands of miles away from George at three in the morning comes up with a new hero or villain, George's drawing hand starts to twitch in his sleep. He was particularly delighted at the prospect of drawing the new Blue Beetle simply because he hadn't before. When I confessed to George that issue six would not, in fact, co-star the planet-hopping Space Cabby and the Sun Devils, swashbucklers of the 22nd century, because I couldn't figure out a way to shoehorn them in, I thought his giant heart would break. Instead, naturally, George figured out a way to get them there anyway.
The story we finally pu together using all these ingredients - aided by superbly by inkers Bob wiacek and Scott Koblish, colorist Tom Smith and letterer Rob Leigh, spans the breadth and depth of the DC universe, taking you through space and time to meet (or, depending on your age, be reintroduced to) a veritable army of DC's most exciting superheroes and supervillains. It's a murder myster, a space adventure, a comedy and a tragedy, and it's a book that tells everything that ever was, is, or will be.
Because George won't rest until he draws that, too.
MARK WAID - SEPTEMBER 2007