Monday, August 19, 2013

Colleen Doran's "A Distant Soil" is another one of those books I've been meaning to read for years!

This was inevitable.  Last night I bought the digital version of the new remastered A Distant Soil.  I may buy a printed copy, too.  In fact, I will.  Apparently, it's inescapable.

I've followed Colleen Doran's career through interviews and magazine articles for about as long as I can remember, but I'd never actually read a comic she worked on before this year.  I've always admired her artwork-- it's gorgeous-- and respected the way she broke herself into comics at the age I was still just reading them and vaguely dreaming of drawing Uncanny X-Men "when I [grew] up," and how she fought through a lot of crap that would have beaten a weaker person. 

A couple of months ago, I saw through a friend's feed she was on Facebook, thought what she had to say was interesting, started following her.  She's one of those pros who actually engages her followers.  She'll "like" your comment if it's a good one, respond if it moves her to and dispute you if she thinks you're wrong.  There are probably a lot of pros who do the same thing (I wouldn't know, since I'm pretty shy about friending the ones who have personal but not fan pages and I'm too Facebook-averse in the first place to spend a lot of time searching for "official" pages to follow), but I consider this kind of engagement above and beyond, especially from someone writing and drawing a ongoing series. 

Then I bought the Shade the Changing Man issues she penciled.  While I really dig Peter Milligan's work on X-Force/X-Statix (I consider this run flawless in every way), the story itself is mediocre by the standards of some of the other contemporaneous Vertigo titles and that supposedly edgy inking job doesn't do Doran's pencils any favors.  Then I bought the latest two issues of A Distant Soil.  Beautiful books, not sure what's happening in them because I've missed so much already, the Comixology guided view format isn't the best way to experience the story due to the way Doran designs pages.  That's no complaint about the book, because obviously you're meant to hold the actual paper thing in your hands and read it that way.

Taking all this together, with the release of this "definitive" edition of the first part of A Distant Soil it seems now is the time to crank things all the way back to the beginning and finally read something I believe I should have been reading all along.  This is the kind of thing that pleases me.  Something buzzing in the back of my mind, some recurring encounter with material and finally, when everything aligns, a chance to get into it in a major way right from the beginning.  Love and Rockets, Xenozoic Tales, Jack Kirby's Fourth World books, Creepy and Eerie magazines, Lone Wolf and Cub and now A Distant Soil.

So that's another one we'll be talking about here before much longer.  I'd have started with a little more today but I've only read a few pages.  Hey, I also bought the first year of The Amazing Spider-Man plus some later issues and I didn't even get to open them.  Something about jetlag and just not having enough time to do everything I'd like to do in a day!

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