The Days Missing hardcover that was released a couple of weeks ago by Archaia Publishing, collects the five issues of the same named mini series that came out last year and may very well be the most unjustifiably overlooked series of 2009. Actually, I am amongst those that originally overlooked Days Missing, because although I read the first issue when it came out and really enjoyed it, for whatever reason I didn't follow up on the other issues as they came out. A few days ago, Archaia sent Mel Caylo, their marketing manager, to the ComicsPro retailer trade show in Memphis (and I'll have a blog entry overview on that meeting within the next couple of days, but I just want to briefly say that the meeting was very productive and left me feeling more positive about the future of comic stores and the future of comic books in printed form) and he supplied all of the retailers that attended with their own copy of Days Missing (thanks Mel!).
So on the flight back from Memphis, I devoured the entirety of the Days Missing hardcover and was blown away with how excellent it is! All five stories contained in this collection can be thoroughly enjoyed unto themselves and anyone who has enjoyed Warren Ellis' Planetary (Ellis also provides the introduction) will love Days Missing. Each of the five stories in this collection take place during different times throughout our world's history and involve an immortal character called The Steward, who corrects / resets days so that great calamities won't happen. The Steward can't see into the future and can't be everywhere at once so he does have limitations and obviously our world still had other tremendous, often horrendous events happen that he wasn't there to prevent. There's a lot of very big ideas on display in each of the Days Missing stories and they all have a factual basis, making this a textbook example of how to think outside of the box without those big ideas getting lost as they often do when they are contained within actual textbooks.
The Days Missing concept was created by Eugene Roddenberry (the son of Gene Roddenberry, who created Star Trek, of course) and Trevor Roth. Phil Hester writes the first and last stories, with David Hine, Ian Edington, and Matz writing the other three stories. The excellent artists contributing are: Frazer Irving (who illustrates both of Phil Hester's stories), Chris Burnham, Lee Moder, and Hugo Petrus. After reading and marveling at the stories and art on display in this Days Missing collection, if you aren't already reading comics by them, I'm confident that you'll be looking for other comic book creations that they've done.
I think that a lot of comic books, even ones I find highly entertaining, are unnecessarily collected in the hardcover format when a softcover would suffice, but the hardcover format of Days Missing is definitely warranted as it is a beautiful production with lots of great extras, such as extensive liner notes, many pages of developmental art, and with 160 pages for a mere $19.95, upon finishing this book you'll feel like you've read a book twice in length because of the richness of concepts and big ideas these stories encompass. I hope this years Eisner judges don't overlook Days Missing (although as the dust jacket shows, this was very well received by those for whom Days Missing didn't get lost in the sea of releases that come out every week) as I and so many others did when it was published as single issues last year because this book deserves a much bigger audience.
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