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The Strange Case of THE WINTER MEN

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Both Jog and Greg Burgas are moved to write long essays on one of the strangest — yet best — comic books of the decade: THE WINTER MEN. This miniseries written by the enigmatic but talented Brett Lewis and drawn by John Paul Leon started at Vertigo, ended at Wildstorm, started at 8 issues, ended at 6 and took three years to come out — counting development time, it was at least seven years.

Considering the book’s long, puzzling journey, it is still a singularly excellent comic, according to both Jog and Burgas, who both write posts of a length and depth befitting the series. Jog:

But at least the new comic is here. And 40 pages long! With no ads! A real ending, just as promised! It’s a rare thing for a seemingly dead series to even get such a chance, and rarer yet that it’s not only VERY GOOD, and a very logical, satisfying part of a whole, but oddly contemporary too, as if it somehow had to show up in 2009, even as it bears the marks of earlier times.


Burgas even sees life through the lens of WINTER MEN’s shipping schedule:

And so the world turns. Your younger daughter, who was fourteen months old when the first issue came out, turns three. Your older daughter, who was about to turn three when the first issue came out, turns six. A Mr. Bendis chronicles the sinister infiltration of our world by shape-shifting aliens. Your favorite baseball team wins the championship after a wait of 28 years, and you rejoice. All seems well in a Winter Men-less universe. Like a wound that heals, leaves a scar, and occasionally bothers you in the night, the lack of a conclusion troubles you occasionally. You daydream about a day, years hence, when you will sit on your porch and regale the youngsters about tales of the lost masterpiece, which becomes better and better each year, until the youngsters beg you to change the subject and complain about how the younger generation is a bunch of punks or something, just please stop talking about the incomplete Winter Men, old man!

Kevin Melrose also has a WINTER MEN tribute at Robot 6,

What’s left? The big question — one The Beat is highly vested in since we have no idea where issue #4 is — is will Wildstorm print a WINTER MEN trade? Please say yes, please say yes, so that this strange, never-to-be-repeated comic can live on, instead of vanishing under the cold snows of Siberia.

  1. By the way, I almost missed this issue altogether. My local didn’t order any and I missed any notice it was coming myself. I happened to be in another shop when the clerks were discussing giving the only copy they got to a particular customer, thinking he might like it. I immediately spoke out and said, ‘Me! Sell it to me!’

  2. I got back into comics most recently right around the time issue 1 of Winter Men came out. I remember a demanding e-mail from Warren Ellis’ Bad Signal list saying we all needed to buy it, and I did. Talk about an introduction to the potential of comics in the mid-aughts…I’m so happy to see this one wrap up, and I hope a trade is in the offing; I will gladly double-dip and buy it, maybe giving away the single issues to a friend who will hopefully enjoy it too.

  3. Good God i hope a trade comes out. A beautiful, glorious trade. I will simply go mad if it doesn’t happen, and i’m lucky enough to have gotten all the issues.

    “i’ll buy a wintermen trade if it comes out” —-i’ll buy two. Maybe even three!

    Dec.

  4. Yay for pre-ordering, and yay for this book! I’m glad it’s getting a bit of spotlight not that it’s wrapped up. I’d definitely buy twice and get the trade.

  5. “And as I sat there brooding on the old, unknown world, I thought of Gatsby’s wonder when he first picked out the green light at the end of Daisy’s dock. He had come a long way to this blue lawn, and his dream must have seemed so close that he could hardly fail to grasp it. He did not know that it was already behind him, somewhere back in that vast obscurity beyond the city, where the dark fields of the republic rolled on under the night.”

  6. You should reread the story it’s totally great. It’s like an iceberg of a story where we can just see the tip, and the rest is left for us to figure out. It’s smart writing, very very smart.

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