Fies’ lovely generation-spanning yarn about our yearning for the promised science-fiction future that never happened and the real world of space, science and humanity is an all-ages treat. His script is poetic and fun, plus the multimedia treatment — including faux-vintage contemporaneous comics, replete with zipatone — makes this an exceptional and highly engaging experience.
• Wizzywig. Ed Piskor. Top Shelf. 288 pages. $19.95.
Piskor’s entertaining roman à clef about the life of a computer hacker is his first solo effort after collaborating with Harvey Pekar. Though it’s expertly crafted, it seems a bit overlong and might’ve worked better in smaller doses in individual comics, as it first appeared (in three volumes). But its social and political overtones resonate despite some heavy-handedness.
• Not The Israel My Parents Promised Me. Harvey Pekar, JT Waldman, Joyce Brabner. Hill & Wang. 176 pages. $24.95.
Another of the late, great auteur’s final works, this one explicating modern Israel’s history, his parents’ steadfast support and his abject disappointment with the country’s political path. The subject is tough, but Pekar’s self-effacing honesty and critical thinking are evident throughout. The art, by J.T. Waldman, is expert and evocative and the powerful afterword, scripted by widow Brabner, is a nice coda to the narrative and Pekar’s life.
• Before Watchmen. Various writers and artists. DC Comics. (Seven series) 32 pages each. 3.99 per issue.
Trying gamely to evaluate this as a series of freestanding stories without its considerable baggage is impossible. Despite the controversy, these books, commissioned by copyright holder DC Comics against the protestations of writer Alan Moore (with a capitulating “endorsement” by artist and co-creator Dave Gibbons), includes stories set before the groundbreaking original Watchmen. Foreshadowing predictably abounds! Though the artists, especially Amanda Conner, Darwin Cooke and J.G, Jones, are uniformly excellent (they’d better be) and the stories are clever and suitably grim and gritty-ish, none of these prequels thus far rises to the heights of the original, which begs the question: other than for the money, why bother? It’s hardly a Gordian Knot; more like a patently Sisyphean task.
Richard Pachter is a writer in Boca Raton.