I can't stress enough to my fellow comic book collectors how much an asset your local library is.
Let's say you're interested in a recent run or limited series starring your favorite hero or written by someone getting critically favorable reviews. There's a good chance your library has a trade paperback in its collection or can get it through an interlibrary loan. The Huron and Sandusky libraries are part of the CLEVNET Library Consortium. That means you can borrow books from 31 Northern Ohio libraries if you have a card from just one of them.
The most beautiful part is no money has to change hands as long as you pay attention to the due date.
The young adult collection at the Norwalk Public Library (sadly, not part of CLEVNET) is gaining an impressive amount of trade paperbacks. The Huron Public Library doesn't have as many, but Sandusky has two piles of individual comics (mostly DC, Marvel and some Archie) in the children's section near the videos.
And before you start thinking Norwalk's Martin Haffey paid me under the table to write this column, think again; I've been a big advocate of libraries for as long as I can remember.
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I had seen "Daredevil: The Devil, Inside and Out Vol. 2" (collecting "Daredevil" [vol. 2] Nos. 88-93) on the shelves during one of my recent trips to the Norwalk Public Library. Having read a lot of praise for writer Ed Brubaker, I decided to check it out in both senses.
Besides, I wanted to read something from the man who "dared" kill off Daredevil's/Matt Murdock's best friend, attorney Foggy Nelson and imprison Murdock.
I admit to being skeptical about Brubaker; many times I find creative teams and their runs don't live up to the press they get. After all, I got hooked on ol' DD back when writer/artist Frank Miller and inker/artist Klaus Janson were a killer one-two punch.
It took only three pages of "The Devil" for me to gratefully discover Foggy isn't dead at all. The FBI has him under the witness protection program in case Matt's estranged wife is the target of the bad guys.
(Wait! Matt's married? I knew I hadn't been reading "Daredevil" for a while, but really ...)
While Foggy bristles at becoming accountant Everett Williams, DD is in Europe trying to track down the lawyer connected to his best friend's supposed murder. Along the way, Daredevil discovers a mysterious woman who reminds him of his former lover, Karen Page, and takes on Spider-Man's foe Tombstone.
I was prepared not to enjoy the "swashbuckling noir adventure," but Brubaker does a nice job tying up the loose ends without making any of the explanations feel forced. What helped is "The Devil" reminds me of the Miller-Janson run.
Matt's reunion with Foggy is two of the best pages in recent comics history, thanks to spot-on facial expressions and body language. Just as delightful is the pair's rapport with new law partner Betty Blake, who got Matt cleared of federal charges of being none other than Daredevil. Now that's some lawyer-ing, there!
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REUNITED WITH ROBIN: Last month, writer Chuck Dixon posted a two-word message on his official blog (dixonverse.net) simply stating: "It's true." The next day he posted an equally simple message with another phrase: "January '08," accompanied by the "Robin" series logo.
DC Comics cleared it all up at the Baltimore Comic-Con by announcing Dixon once again will handle "Robin" writing duties after this month's "The Resurrection of Ra's al Ghul" crossover storyline.