Like many people who enjoy reading, I usually have more than one book on the go. I recently finished three books more or less at the same time: Tales of the Dying Earth, by Jack Vance (which is actually four novels published under the one title); Batman: Hush, By Jeph Loeb and Jim Lee (which is actually issues 608 to 619 of "Batman" published under one trade paperback); and The Bhagavad Gita, traditionally ascribed to the sage Ved Vyasa (which is actually part of the epic Mahabharata).
Presumably you see my issue. "Hush" was published over a decade ago, Vance published the first "Dying Earth" novel over 60 years ago, and scholars figure the "Gita" has been around since at least 200 BC. Loeb and Lee were getting a lot of press as these were two major creators at the top of their respective games, Vance has been a major influence on science fiction and fantasy (not to mention gaming) throughout the latter half of the 20th century, and the Mahabharata is studied and beloved by Hindus the world over. Not exactly the same scope, I'll grant you, but that's not the point. My point is: what the heck am I going to review? What am I going to add to the mountains reviews, commentaries, and studies that these works have already engendered? If I say Hush was cool but his motivation was actually kind of stupid, or express an interest in how the Dying Earth stories became increasingly satirical as the novels went on, am I saying anything that hasn't been said a hundred times before by someone who said it better?
Probably not. But recently I decided that I should stop moping so much, and do what I do best (other than moping) which is : The patently ridiculous and ill-advised.
Next time on "Not a Book Review": I will attempt to compare the themes of these three completely different works in a deep and meaningful way. Should be entertaining, or at least embarrassing, which passes for entertainment in a pinch.
Post script: I can't help it; I gotta bitch about this one thing in "Hush". Jim, your work's great, your layouts are fun and dynamic, but you kept doing this thing where you have the panels go across both pages instead of one page at time as is usual. Now maybe this worked OK in the original comics run, maybe it happened on the "staple page" (although I doubt it because you seem have made it a running thing where it was the second page of each issue), but in the trade it just puts panels splat in the middle of the binding. In most cases, this wrecked the art and pacing, and sometimes made it hard to tell what's going on at all. Jim, please don't do this anymore.
|Batman and Catwoman kiss in a scene reminiscent of Walter Kovacs'|
childhood drawings in Batman: Hush