Jul 19, 2016

The 40 Years of Comics Project - Day 511: The Seduction of Mike, 1997

http://www.comics.org/issue/413625/

The nice thing about the mass market nature of the comics medium is that we've got a relatively complete archive of the kinds of comics that have been published since their inception back in the mid-thirties. The relatively large publication numbers combined with the voraciousness of the collector's market means that we have a fairly comprehensive idea of the array of comics. And R. Sikoryak is someone who knows that history well. Not only this, but he's also really, really good at mimicking the style of just about every era of comics we've known. With such a knowledge comes, one assumes from the tenor of his comics, healthy doses of both affection and ironic detachment from the genres and titles that he satirizes. Which is the way it ought to be, really. An affection for, even a love for, a particular genre or medium does not mean that one need view the object of affection with rose-tinted glasses (though the colouring of the comics story in the middle of this book is tinted in just that way). Loving something means seeing, accepting, and having an opinion of not only the good, but also the bad. Sikoryak's comics (well, I've read this and Masterpiece Comics) treat each with equal measure, and demonstrate quite plainly his love for the comics medium.

The Mike of the title is a cipher for every comics reader out there, or perhaps for the perfect comics reader that reader response theories suppose. He's also a cipher for the movement of a particular generation of reader, as the introduction attests, that reader who grew up with comics, from inception to psychedelia to Grim 'n' Gritty (TM). Though the reader who managed to make it through all of those eras is a long-lived comics reader indeed. Sikoryak's covers are amazing in this book, capturing both style and feel of each satirized series. The story in the middle is at once Golden Age children's comic and contemporary indie comics critique. And the introduction sets up the premise of the story in an entertaining and useful way. This is just a lovely piece of comics, and if you have any affection for the medium and its history, you'll enjoy it.

Onward.

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