Mark Waid is one of my top three favorite comic book writers alongside Marv Wolfman and Gail Simone (an all-star trio that is delightfully notorious for treating their comic book characters as people first and superheroes second). This is the man who reinvented Wally West, made a him a better Flash and, more importantly, a better man who would eventually become my all-time favorite character of the DC Universe when I got around to discovering his existence. Waid blew all our minds with Kingdom Come (alongside the staggeringly beautiful art of Alex Ross), then went on to write several other acclaimed runs for titles like Fantastic Four, Daredevil, JLA, Impulse, Legion of Superheroes, Spiderman, 52, and his own Irredeemable and Incorruptible. The man is as brilliant as he is prolific, and I think you’d be hard pressed to find a title that wasn’t vastly improved by his presence on the writing team.
My frenzied fangirling aside, I’m not fucking kidding when I say that everyone needs to download and read Insufferable, his most recent endeavor, like, yesterday. I’m about eight weeks late on this party train, but whatever, better now than never. The writing is, of course, sensational. This is Mark Waid we’re talking about, so it’s not like there was ever any doubt. But it’s the construction of the comic that’s truly breathtaking, the experimentation with comics and new media that has me really foaming at the mouth.
Insufferable is a superhero comic book/webcomic hybrid. And I know that there are tons of those floating around out there, but this is the first I’ve seen that truly takes advantage of such a new and unique medium. Take, for example, this sequence:
I’m reading Issue #1, flipping pages with my right arrow key as you generally do when reading comics on your computer, when suddenly instead of a full page, I’m greeted with just a single panel:
Odd, I thought. Interesting use of white space, I guess, but I feel kind of like I’m missing part of the page. Well, turns out I was, because the next time I hit my right arrow key, this is what I got:
I’m not sure it’ll look like much all in a vertical row like that, but think about seeing it happen horizontally. Sequentially. Bam, bam, bam, bam, one right after the other. I felt like I was physically being moved through the action of this scene. This is technically six separate pages of comic but, in webcomic form, felt as though they were carefully woven together to make one.
Talk about mind-blowing.
And that’s it! I’m in. I’m committed to this story and this medium and, well, let’s be honest here. I was always committed to Mark Waid. And you should be too. He’s pushing the evolution of comic books as a storytelling medium, and I look forward to seeing where this goes, as well as what other fun and engaging stunts Waid will pull in the pursuit of telling the best story he can in the best way he knows how.
So check dat shit out, because you’re not gonna want to be left behind.