Over the weekend Galley Friend J.T. gushed about Matt Fraction’s Hawkeye. I was pretty skeptical–Fraction has never blown my skirt up and the Fear Itself miniseries was, by the even by the standards of Marvel Event Comics, pretty lackluster.
But my goodness, Hawkeye is something else. The first trade paper just came out and you can get it from Amazon for $10. Go read it. Right now.
I don’t even quite know how to sell the series to you. Tonally, it’s like a cross between Queen & Country and Alias, two of my favorite series in recent years. Only funnier. And the layout is brilliantly inventive. (See here.) Every single page is fresh and bustling with energy. I really can’t say enough about about this book. It’s fantastic.
In trying to find something to compare Hawkeye with, I started thinking about some of the comics I’ve really loved in recent years. And it struck me that while the last 10 years haven’t been a golden age, and there’s been a lot of dreck–there have been a lot of really, really high-quality books. Books that I’ll want to revisit. Just a partial list:
Queen & Country
Quesada’s Daredevil “Father”
This is just off the top of my head and doesn’t include stuff like The Walking Dead that other people love. You probably have your own list.
But here’s the thing: None of these books is groundbreaking in the way that Watchmen and Dark Knight Returns were. But I’d argue that this is a good thing–because it means that the medium has matured enough as a medium that books can make a mark purely in terms of storytelling without having to break molds and do double-duty as paradigm shifters.
They can just tell stories.
Now people have been doing serious story-telling in indie comics for decades. But these aren’t indie books. These are mass-market comics put out, for the most part, by the two dominant houses. That’s amazing progress.