Solo

Various, Author, Various, Illustrator
Edited by Mark Chiarello. DC, $49.95 (608p) ISBN 978-1-4012-3889-6
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In the Eisner-winning Solo anthology series, 12 big-name contemporary comics artists got 48 pages each of free rein to tell the comics they wanted to. What results is this gorgeous, hefty book of short stories that star both DC’s biggest superhero characters (Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman) and their lesser-known heroes (Deadman, Mister Miracle, Slam Bradley), as well as original stories spanning genres from western to science fiction, autobiography to history, pinup to parody. Among the dozens of highlights are Scott Hampton’s “Batman: 1947” (a movie actor portraying the Dark Knight fights crime), and Michael Allred’s skillfully dark-humored blend of the 1960s Batman and Robin and the more modern grim and gritty morality tales in “Batman-A-Go-Go!” But the original comic stories most persuasively show the skill and range of the artists and the medium. The book is beautifully produced to do justice to the artwork, from the fine pastel painting of Teddy Kristiansen, the bold and splashy graffiti-influenced art of Damion Scott, and the detailed cartoons of Sergio Aragonés. This strong focus on creator over character is rare for genre artists and results in an attractive and inspiring exaltation of contemporary comics art. (June)
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