Recommended Reads

Recommended Reads

Doctor Strange: The Oath
Writer: Brian K. Vaughan
Artist: Marcos Martin
Colorist: Javier Rodriguez

$13.99 (TPB)

“Doctor Strange: The Oath” is a 5 issue limited series that mixes several genres to great effect. The essence of the story involves Dr. Strange’s assistant Wong being faced with a life-threatening ailment. Strange goes on the hunt for a cure, but in the process, his past catches up with him and he ultimately ends up fighting for both Wong’s and his own lives.

While I’ve mostly avoided comic titles featuring Dr. Strange in the past because of their all-too-often detached magical bent, I gave this title a chance based on the fact that Brian K. Vaughan (BKV) was writing it. No surprise here; BKV does a terrific job of combining the mystical aspects that are an intrinsic part of the character, with very grounded storytelling elements to present a story that really showcases the potential of the character. BKV is also a master of misdirection, so just when you think you know what’s going on, think again.

Marcos Martin’s art is not flashy by any means, but he’s a great storyteller, and when you are reading a BKV script, a solid sequential artist is all you need. In fact, Martin’s lack of flare suits the story especially well. I much prefer Martin’s “simple” (yet expressive and effective) linework on this book, as opposed to that of a Jim Lee or Frank Cho, both of whom are terrific artists in their own right. No uber-detailed linework, no flash (or expansive bosoms, in Cho’s case) to distract from the most important element in this story, which is in fact, the story itself! Martin’s work is very comparable to Darwyn Cooke’s in that regard.

Great story, solid art and more than a few surprises along the way make this a Recommended Read.

Report card: A-

Now playing: Frank Black - The Man Who Was Too Loud
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RIP, Ringo

I'm not usually more than mildly affected when I hear of the death of a celebrity, artist etc (someone I only know from various media, as opposed to an actual physical or interactive relationship).

This is the rare exception. I have been saddened the past two days after reading of the death of comic book artist, Mike Wieringo. I must say, I wasn't a particularly big fan of Mike's art, though I enjoyed it. I didn't even know that much about his personal life, other than he was regarded as an amiable guy. But when I read the headline that he had died at the age of 44 on Sunday, I was immediately taken aback with a feeling of sadness.

Mike was, by all accounts, a very healthy man. He was a vegetarian, exercised regularly, owned pets, didn't smoke. Did all the right things. Yet he died from a massive heart attack.

Besides the fact that Mike was one of the most humble, forthcoming and talented artists in the comic book business, it was deeply unsettling for me to think that this healthy 44 year old man was robbed of his life so quickly and without warning.

Just now, when my wife and I have bought a new house, want to start a family, and are just generally the most contented we've ever been, the thought has been put into my head- "What if these are the last days of my life and I don't know it?" If Mike had known his fate, how would he have spent the last week or so? Or would he prefer not to have known?

I realize I'm thinking somewhat fatalistically, but I admit, I think of it often. I don't dwell on it, but when something like this happens to someone like Mike, it makes me think harder on it.

Mike, you will be missed.

Edit: I had colored this Ringo-pencilled Spider-Man piece in remembrance of him a few days after his passing (click for larger view):

Now playing: Ralph Stanley & Alison Krause - Heaven's Bright Shore
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New House!

So, it's a long story (which I won't go into now), but suffice it to say that our buying a new house was a whirlwind experience. The best part was, not only did we get an awesome house, but with the first time buyer's grant that we received, we actually received a check on the day of our closing! Doesn't get any better than that!

Above is our cat, Sophie enjoying the bedroom in our new place.

Below is our dog, Pumba enjoying the spacious living room floor!

We couldn't be happier here...well...a visit from the stork might make me rescind that comment!