Wednesday Comments – Wildstorm R.I.P.

So by now everyone knows that DC has decided to shutter it’s Wildstorm imprint. Most of the response that I’ve heard from fans registers right around “it’s about time” and “they finally put it out of it’s misery.” And while it’s just the internet fans talking, I’m apt to agree.

I don’t know if anyone who’s still invested in Wildstorm as an imprint. The closest thing they had to a high profile book was the recently wrapped up Ex Machina. Wildstorm had been on a steady decline for years with only a handful of books taking place in the Wildstorm U proper, with other projects being either licensed properties or creator owned material.

That said, I’m sorry to see Wildstorm shuttered. There was a spell of a few years in the middle of the decade when Wildstorm had an impressive run of original material. Since the end is nigh I figured I’d share my thoughts on some of my favorite Wildstorm material.

Sleeper – I can remember when 411Comics was in full swing everyone was raving abut Sleeper. Now before you think me an idiot for not jumping on the bandwagon then allow me to put it in perspective; those same people were also declaring Crossgen the most amazing company out.

I did finally get involved in Sleeper, thought it was just this year. And despite the years of hype, Sleeper did indeed impress. Brubaker and Phillips created a world where crime, superheroes and spies all existed together in perfect harmony. It was innovative and thrilling to read. The lasting pairing of Brubaker and Phillips will certainly be one of the things that Wildstorm will be remembered for.

Planetary – Wow, this is beginning to feel like a rehash of last week’s column, what can I say Planetary is awesome. Sure the schedule was sporatic, but every issue was worth the wait.

Planetary broke so many conventions of the comic genre. There wasn’t a logo for the title. It was the “one and done” format, but with a vast overarching mythology. It also was frequently a meta read. But what’s possibly most impressive about Planetary (and Sleeper) is that they both existed within the Wildstorm U proper.

Wildcats 3.0 – Along with Sleeper, Wildcats 3.0 was part of the “Eye of the Storm” line where Wildstorm moved in the direction of telling more mature stories involved superheroes. Written by Joe Casey with Dustin Nguyen handling the majority of the art, Wildcats 3.0 is practically a cult favorite comic.

Over in the forums Wildcats 3.0 is a favorite title, and since I trust those guys I sought it out. I was impressed with the maturity of story and it’s nonconventional action and motives. Wildcats 3.0 is one of those books that, even if it were published today, would still be ahead of it’s time.

(On a side note, the first year of Wildcats 3.0 is actually at your LCS today in a brand new trade. I highly recommend you pick it up.)

Global Frequency – Once again Warren Ellis hits it out of the park with a mysterious group of characters assigned to save the world, with every issue being a stand alone story. But with Global Frequency it was set in a world without superheroes where the person next to you could be on the Global Frequency.

Each issue featured a different artist telling a unique story with a different character dealing with a variety of threats. Some lived, some died. I picked it up because I’d always been intrigued by it and it was one of those books that made me a fan of Warren Ellis. It’s also one of those few non-superhero books that’s gotten enough attention to get a pilot made.

Desolation Jones – Yet another Warren Ellis offering, Desolation Jones is a former spy. Imagine the show Burn Notice, but on LSD and much much darker, that’s what Desolation Jones is like. It’s weird and freaky, yet it’s also informative and entertaining.

I really only picked up Desolation Jones because I’d decided that J.H. Williams III was one of my favorite artists and I wanted to read whatever he was doing. But the story was so sick and twisted, yet had that hint of reparability. I was hooked and disappointed that the story of Michael Jones was never wrapped up. And with Wildstorm folding, it looks like it never will be.

So, those are the five books that I’ll remember Wildstorm for. They were personal favorites and they’re the reason why I’ll miss the imprint. There were other offerings that I’ll also miss, Welcome to Tranquility, The Programme, Wildstorm seemed to take more chances than DC proper would. I guess I’ll miss the risk taking and the innovation that Wildstorm brought to the table.

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