Wednesday, August 3, 2016

You Should Read This 1: COPRA

Three years ago, I first posted my thoughts on Michel Fiffe's excellent COPRA series. Since that time, trade paperbacks became available easily through Diamond Distribution and digital copies have went on sale from Comixology. I've continued to buy the book in trade in the years since, and it remains one of the best reads on the market today. Here's my original thoughts on the title.

For nearly a year now it seemed like no matter what comic site I frequented, I heard nothing but how great Michel Fiffe’s COPRA is. It has been reviewed several times over and its basic premise was enough to make me instantly interested. Fiffe set out to flesh out his love for the classic Ostrander/Yale/McDonnell Suicide Squad. He did so by creating his own team with basic analogues of the classic team: Amanda Waller, Duchess, Deadshot, Bronze Tiger, Vixen and even Shade the Changing Man. But he goes beyond that with homages. One of the leads is a teenage boy that clearly looks like Michael Fleischer and Vince Giarrano’s Haywire. In an early issue they go see a man with an uncanny resemblance to Doctor Strange.

In other words, it’s all great fun inspired by a comic I really, really liked already.

It took me awhile to take the plunge on this book. I don’t buy that many print comics today. Fiffe told me on Twitter months ago that a digital edition was not in the works in any way. So when he started to produce COPRA Compendium collections of the issues with Bergen Street Productions, I was finally convinced to take the plunge.

He's not Deadshot, but he's better written than the actual modern Deadshot.
And I couldn’t be more pleased. Each book is 72 packed pages of glorious full color art and compelling layouts. The story expands from the beginning of the first issue in the first book to its conclusion in the sixth issue that closes book two. And in the middle, the story goes from a simple “team on the run” story to a compelling tale of a dozen men and women, most of them just looking for a place in a very strange world. It reminds me a lot of Casey and Scioli’s Gødland, albeit slightly more grounded. Considering Gødland is one of my favorite comics of the last decade that is far from faint praise.

I would read a Rebirth Haywire comic, but
this is the closest I will ever come.
More impressively, Michel Fiffe literally does everything in this book. He pencils, inks, colors and letters the entire thing. He hasn’t covered his process in high detail, but it appears all that work is impressively done by hand. Only Erik Larsen has ever tried to do anything close and his lettering was not strong. Fiffe proves to be an impressive talent just by his range of skills on display here.

Single issues of COPRA go for five bucks plus shipping and the two Compendium editions go for 12 each, so these are not cheap comics. I dropped thirty dollars with shipping for these two copies, but I will say with little doubt that I will keep buying Fiffe’s work after this. He’s the kind of guy that is worth supporting in his endeavors.

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