Jeff Lemire and Other 'Mazing Books: Single Minded for June 8th, 2022

A few short reviews from Rob and James, who both really loved Mazebook from Jeff Lemire:

Mazebook HC by Jeff Lemire with Steve Wands, published by Dark Horse

Jeff Lemire is an incredibly talented writer and creates wonderful comics with other artists (like Primordial and Gideon Falls with Andrea Sorrentino, and the many talented artists involved in the Black Hammer universe), but my favorite works of his remain the ones where he is both writer and artist. I think that's because feel like the most intimate, personal, soul-baring comics of his. 

Mazebook is a perfect example of those soul-baring comics, and one of my very favorite comics in years written and drawn by Lemire. Mazebook tells the story of Will, a Toronto city planner who's a broken shell of a man. His daughter Wendy died years ago (which led to the breakup of his marriage), and since then he has been living a Spartan existence, going to and from work and barely doing anything else (including eating, or talking to other people). But then Will gets pulled into a mystery where he begins to suspect that Wendy may actually still be alive. Along the way, he finds all sorts of weird clues, but also befriends his neighbor. Is Will delusional? Is anything of what he is experiencing real? I'm not sure, and I'm not sure that it matters. It's meaningful to him, and ultimately a very powerful story about overcoming grief and loss and trying o find rom in your heart for love, after something as soul-shattering as the loss of a child happens.

Lemire's artwork is better than ever in Mazebook. It feels like he's really trying to evolve his style here, and trying new things visually that he hasn't done before. There are a lot of really creative motifs and designs in this story relating to mazes, and I really feel Lemire's emotion and thoughtfulness on every page. For someone lookin for thoughtful, sometimes heartbreaking but ultimately life-affirming stories, Mazebook is a must-read.  (James)

Mazebook HC by Jeff Lemire with Steve Wands, published by Dark Horse
A city planner with a love of puzzles finds himself wondering if he can use his knowledge of mazes and the city itself to reconnect with his dead daughter in this stunning comic by one of the best independent creators of his generation. There's just so much to dig into with Mazebook, which is both a story about being driven mad with grief and also the magic of possibilities. How much of what happens to Will is real? It's hard to know, and that's part of what makes the story great. What turns it into an all-time great however, is the visuals. Lemire's use of color, patterns, and themes here is a tour de force of all that a comic can bring to the table not just to tell any story, but this particular story. From the recurring string that's often the only color to the pages where the panel gutters make up a maze, directing the reader's eye from image to image, Lemire outdoes himself here. Everything you see fits into the overall premise of the maze and the desperation Will feels. It's just so damned good. It's the kind of story you give to someone and say, "This is what a comic can do" --and know that you're not trying to be pretentious. It's simply the truth. Mazebook is just that good. If you missed it before, this is your chance. I rarely say this, but I guarantee you will like this comic no matter what other types of comics you typically read. (Rob)

Captain Action Hardcover by Gil Kane, Wally Wood, Jim Shooter, Joe Letterese, and BenOda, published by IDW (originally DC)
When GI Joe is beating you at the department store and Batmania is at its height, what do you do? Create a generic set of action heroes and villains based on old mythological god powers, dressed like people who were extras in a Roger Corman film, and convince DC comics to do a tie-in, of course! Now normally I wouldn't care about this at all, but here's a small, self-contained series with Gil Kane and Wally Wood, with a splash of Shooter for good measure. Now you've got my attention--and perhaps yours as well. A bit of an orphan at DC, once the fad faded and sales numbers were in, DC dumped the book and promptly forgot all about it. Thanks to IDW, we now get the chance to watch Kane go absolutely nuts with the concept, aided and abetted by Wood. Despite it being a dumb premise, Kane (who takes over writing duties with issue 3) goes big and bold, with some far-out cosmic stuff and his usual distinctive visuals. Being honest, issue 1, where it's Shooter and Wood doing standard good guy/bad guy/cash-grab cameo stuff, isn't that great. But Kane injects this with life, treating it almost like his own work instead of a tie-in. It's a cool piece of comics history and I'm glad IDW was able to help this see the light of day again. (Rob)