DESTRUCTION WAS MY BEATRICE: Dada and the Unmaking of the 20th Century by Jed Rasula would probably have worked better if I was stone-cold ignorant about Dada, but as I know the highlights and the details Rasula offers aren’t that interesting, I can’t say it worked for me. And even allowing for that, Matthew Gale’s Dada and Surrealism was more informative and better illustrated (seriously, this is astonishingly weak on the visuals).
That lack prompted me to crack open THE ART OF THE SURREALISTS by Edmund Swinglehurst in addition to the SURREALISTS book I read a while back and enjoy the work of various artists Rasula lists including Schwitters, Duchamps, Picabia and Ernst. Much more enjoyable.
THE LIFE AND TIMES OF SCROOGE MCDUCK Vol.2 by Don Rosa takes Scrooge from striking it rich in the Yukon to his return to his Scottish family, then off to his new estate in Duckburg and his eventful first meeting with Donald Duck and Huey, Dewey and Louie. This lives up to its billing as a delightfully fun adventure, though it gets downbeat near the end to fit in with the grumpy, depressed Scrooge of his original debut story. Rosa’s text pages explain how he based these stories on references in various comics by legendary Duck-scribe Carl Barks, the toughest one being a story where Scrooge ruthlessly loots an African village in contrast to his usual code of making money “square”—Rosa rationalized this as the turning point that led to the bitter, dour Scrooge McDuck we’re originally introduced to. Very good (cover by Don Rosa, all rights to image with current holder).
BALTIMORE: The Apostle and the Witch of Harju by Mike Mignola, Christopher Golden and Ben Stenbeck, has vampire/demon-hunting Lord Baltimore battling first a malevolent dead-raising witch (“Fear not the root of her magic—fear that which feeds the root.”), then a Catholic Inquisitor turned werewolf. Very much old-school horror in style, but it works well, like the sequence where the inquisition hunts the werewolf into a dark, spooky castle—hmm, how do you suppose that works out?
AvsX: It’s Coming: isn’t really a graphic-novel prequel to the Avengers vs. X-Men big event as much as a sampler of various TPBs that apparently tie in to the story. I can’t say I felt the urge to pick up any of the related books (though I will if they’re at the library, I imagine) so I don’t think it did its job—mostly it reminded me why the endless struggles of the various mutant factions began boring me back in the 1990s