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Comic Book / Wednesday Comics

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Kicking it old school. Really old school.

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Wednesday Comics is a weekly anthology comic published by DC Comics in 2009. Following other weekly series such as 52, Countdown to Final Crisis, and Trinity, DC decided to take a new approach to a weekly series. Or, rather, an old approach.

This series is a deliberate homage to old style Silver Age stories done in a 14-by-20-inch broadsheet format, like Sunday newspaper comics. Each page is different, with a continuing story, some showing the superheroes as their classic selves, others completely reimagining them.

The stories were:

Tropes include:

  • Alien Invasion: Several of the strips revolve around this.
  • Anachronism Stew: Not within any of the strips, but in overall effect: most of the strips are homages to the Silver Age, and some are explicitly set in past decades (Green Lantern, 1950s; Metamorpho, 1960s), but we also have Pa Kent considering the potential of biodiesel and Selina Kyle telling how she "Googled" Jason Blood.
  • Anthology Comic
  • Art Shift: When reality fractures during the Flash storyline, the art style keeps switching to that of other newspaper comics — Peanuts, Modesty Blaise, Blondie (1930), and Dick Tracy — before returning to its own style as reality settles down.
  • Artistic License – Chemistry: One of the Metamorpho strips is a two-page spread where he and Element Woman go through a periodic table-patterned puzzle, but they go through the actinids series when landing on the lanthanids squares and vice-versa. Also, the dialogue does some clever highlighting of each element's symbol, but there are two errors in it: when Metamorpho goes through neon, he says "Not me, babe" (No being the symbol for nobelium; neon is Ne) and Simon Stagg says "Utmost importance" over the block that is supposed to be thulium (whose symbol is Tm, so Neil Gaiman highlighted the wrong part of the word) - even though, as mentioned, the lanthanids' row is switched with the actinids'.
  • Badass in Distress: In Kamandi, Tuftan, the tiger prince who fights alongside Kamandi, is captured by the apes and must be rescued by the heroes.
  • Batman Cold Open: Batman's strip is actually the first one, but the trope is used for Metamorpho.
  • Big Bad: Most, if not all of the stories have their own main antagonist:
    • Luna Glass in Batman, who masterminded the plot to kill Franklin Glass.
    • The unnamed alien leader in Green Lantern who leads his army in an attempt to invade Earth.
    • Grushenko in Plastic Man, who kills his colleague and steals an ancient life serum in an attempt to start his own empire.
    • Dr. Pretorious in Metal Men, who attempts to destroy the city in the name of getting revenge on Dr. Magnus.
    • Baaku, leader of the evil ape army in Kamandi.
    • Gorilla Grodd, who takes advantage of The Flash's powers for his own ends.
    • The unnamed alien race in Supergirl, which is causing radioactive solar flares that are affecting Krypto and Streaky. It turns out that the aliens were simply dumping their radioactive waste into the Sun because they didn't realize it would affect anyone.
  • Bittersweet Ending:
    • The Kamandi story ends with Kamandi and his allies successfully defeating the ape army and rescuing Tuftan and Caesar. However, Orora, the human girl who Kamandi had recently met and fallen in love with, was killed in battle, once again leaving Kamandi as the last human on Earth, to his knowledge.
    • The Metal Men strip ends with all the Metal Men except Mercury being killed in the explosion of Chemo, sacrificing themselves to prevent the blast from killing anyone else.
  • Dastardly Whiplash: Grushenko, the villain of the Plastic Man comic. He's a little different visually - he's an overweight Evil Redhead Mad Scientist with a bushy beard in addition to the long mustache. But personality-wise, he's as cartoonishly villainous as they come. He says "Drat!" unironically, claims the devil is smiling on him, and really hams it up as he plots to start his own evil dynasty. This is fitting because the Plastic Man comic is more wacky and cartoonish than the others.
  • Denser and Wackier: The Plastic Man strip has a much more comedic and wacky tone than the rest, complete with the most cartoonish supervillain in the series, and an art style reminiscent of 90's cartoons.
  • Dude in Distress: In Kamandi, Caesar, king of the tigers, has been captured by the apes, who are planning to publicly execute him. Tuftan, Caesar's son, recruits Kamandi for a rescue mission, but Tuftan himself is eventually captured and planned for execution as well. However, the heroes save Tuftan and Caesar before they can be executed.
  • Evil All Along: Luna in the Batman story plays up the image of a tragic victim of circumstance following Franklin Glass' death. In reality, she's the one behind the whole plot.
  • Femme Fatale: Luna Glass in the Batman story. She's a very attractive woman who gets close to Bruce Wayne after the death of her husband, the rich old man Franklin Glass, but is keeping secrets from him. She turns out to be the real mastermind behind Franklin's murder.
  • The Hecate Sisters: They make an appearance in the Wonder Woman strip.
  • I Believe I Can Fly: Diana can't fly like a bird, but can swim through the air.
  • Genre Throwback: Several of the strips (Green Lantern and Metamorpho especially) hearken back to The Silver Age of Comic Books. Kamandi plays off of adventure strips like Prince Valiant. Strange Adventures is a throwback to pulp sci-fi like Buck Rogers and John Carter of Mars.
  • In the Style of: As mentioned above, Kamandi is in the style of Prince Valiant. The Flash is (before things start getting really meta) divided into two strips, with Iris West presented as a career-woman romance strip like Apartment 3-G.
  • Intelligent Gerbil: In the Supergirl story, the aliens wear body-obscuring space suits. Two of them take off their helmets at the end, revealing that they are an anthropomorphic dog and cat. Humorously, they consider humans primitive creatures who are pets to animals, rather than the other way around.
  • Jet Pack: Adam Strange always has one on hand.
  • Killer Gorilla:
    • Gorilla Grodd is the Big Bad of the Flash story. He uses the Flash's powers to transport himself to an alternate dimension inhabited by other gorillas so he can be their supreme leader.
    • The antagonists of the Kamandi story are a race of gorillas, though referred to as "apes."
  • Lighter and Softer: The Supergirl story is more humorous, heartwarming, and less intense than the others. The story follows Supergirl as she tries to figure out why Krypto and Streaky are going berserk. The Super Pets' antics cause a lot of destruction, but it's played for laughs, and nobody gets seriously hurt or killed. Also, as it turns out, the story's "villains" have totally benign intentions, and Supergirl is ultimately able to communicate with them and resolve the conflict peacefully.
  • Luckily, My Powers Will Protect Me: A distinct lack of, considering all the homages to the Silver Age, but Gaiman still manages to sneak in exposition about Metamorpho's power.
  • Mythology Gag: The Strange Adventures strip includes a scene where Adam Strange has a conversation with Doctor Fate about his psychological block on finding the Zeta Beam. Dr Fate tries to help but points out that, like Strange, he's a doctor of archeology, and psychology isn't his forte. In The DCU, the then-current Doctor Fate, grand-nephew of the archeologist, was a psychoanalyst.
  • Not Evil, Just Misunderstood: In Supergirl, Dr. Mid-Nite discovers that a race of aliens are causing radioactive solar flares. Supergirl tries to communicate with the aliens, but fails and accidentally starts a fight with them. However, Krypto and Streaky are able to communicate with the aliens, who then figure out how to communicate with Supergirl and explain themselves. It turns out that the aliens had just peacefully ended a war between themselves, and they were dumping their weapons into the sun as a symbol of peace. However, they didn't realize that the sun was near an inhabited planet. Once they realize their mistake, they agree to dump their waste at another star far away from any inhabited planets.
  • Or Was It a Dream?: The Wonder Woman reimagining starts like this.
  • Planetary Romance: Strange Adventures reinvents Rann as a Planetary Romance setting.
  • Rival Turned Evil: The astronaut in Green Lantern. Not entirely his fault, and he was a lot nicer than Hal back in the day.
  • Rogues Gallery: Averted. Surprisingly, even though the series features a lot of iconic DC heroes, almost none of their iconic villains are present. Most stories have original, one-shot villains. One notable exception is Gorilla Grodd as the villain of The Flash.
  • Sir Cameos-a-Lot: Aquaman shows up in one scene of both the Hawkman and Supergirl stories to assist the titular heroes, and is mentioned by Batman in the Superman story, but he does not get his own story in this collection.
  • Speaks Fluent Animal: We don't get to see Diana's lasso or bracelets (until later in the story), but we do see her lesser-known ability to talk to animals (pigeons, in this case).
  • Sunday Strip: Basically, a Sunday Strip FOR COMIC BOOKS!
  • Wall of Text: The Wonder Woman strips are very verbose, perhaps too much for the format.