Another post for Guy’s Weekend. This should be part #3. I stayed up way too late last night reading this to the end.
This year I treated myself to something very special with my bonus from work. I finally bought the hardcover edition of J. Michael Staczynski’s Rising Stars. Back in 1999 when this series began I was still working at Saint Anselm College and collecting comics all the time. I had the trade paperback of the first 6 issues and I lent to to one of my students. He never gave it back and now he is a writer on Heroes. Many people who have read this book can easily draw parallels to that show and this comic book. You can also do the same with the show The 4400. Coincidence, I think not. I loved that first story arc because it was something so complete and so different, I really missed that book when that student left college.
The basic story is that in the 1960s a fireball strikes Pederson, IL. That grants 113 children who were in utero ‘special’ abilities. The story has a beginning a middle and an end. That is rare in the world of comic books when many series have been running for well over 50 years and the stories just keep coming. With Rising Stars this was different, a grand sweeping story was set up, carried out and finished with amazing writing and some decent comic art.
The story is of these 113 kids and how they grow up, how they touched the world and how they changed it, and everything that happens in between. I do not want to say much more because the story is so good I don’t want to spoil a thing for anyone who is interested in reading this. This book reads like an amazing novel and because it is a comic book it is also like a movie to feast upon. I am sad that I am finally finished with the whole series.
Searching for the hardcover on Amazon proved fruitless as there were very few of these produced. But I see that there is a Rising Stars Compendium that is coming out in December. It includes all 24 issues as well as the 3 spin off miniseries. I didn’t know there was a spinoff miniseries. I wonder if it is worth the read because Rising Stars itself was so excellent. But it is more rising stars to read so I am excited!
Here is a blurb on each of the spinoffs –
Rising Stars: Bright is a three-issue spin-off series written by Fiona Avery and illustrated by Dan Jurgens. It tells the story of Matthew Bright’s time living as a normal person and working as a police officer. Rising Stars: Bright has been collected into a trade paperback.
Rising Stars: Voices of the Dead is a six-issue Rising Stars spin-off miniseries written by Fiona Avery with pencils by Stanz Johnson and inks by Wayne Faucher. This story features Lionel Zerb, the Special who can commune with the recently deceased. He serves as a Ghost Interpreter to help those still living, and explores the spiritual world beyond death.
Fiona Avery’s second-announced, but last-to-be-published Rising Stars spin-off series is titled Rising Stars: Untouchable. This series focuses on Laurel Darkhaven’s years as a CIA-sanctioned assassin. The five-issue series has finally reached publication.
I am going to either have to buy the compendium, which will be totally worth the $60 for all those stories in one book or go and get the trade paperbacks. I have to hit the comic book store today anyway as it is Free Comic book Day. I want to grab the Transformers Animated free comic and there is a free Iron Man Heroclix that I want to get for my desk at work.
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