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The Judas Coin Hardcover – September 18, 2012

3.8 out of 5 stars 26 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

With 40 years in the comic book business, Simonson has a long, celebrated career building epic comic book mythology, including acclaimed runs on superhero comics' licensed pop culture franchises and his own creations and co-creations. This absorbing original graphic novel contains a rich tapestry of heroes—pirates, Vikings, western outlaws, space adventurers, and even Batman. This sweeping saga of DC's history begins after Judas betrays Jesus. One of Judas's 30 pieces of silver passes through the hands of DC characters—from the ancient Golden Gladiator and the Viking Prince to Batman and Two-Face in the present, and Simonson's own futuristic co-creation (with Archie Goodwin), Manhunter 2070. The cursed coin tempts heroes and villains with avarice, envy, and a thirst for murder. Simonson is in top form: each historical chapter spotlights a different character in a visually distinct style. His collaborators deftly complement his art and story: colorist Lovern Kindzierski gives each chapter a different, rich color palette, and longtime Simonson collaborator John Workman's lettering and speech balloons vary appropriately for each story. Especially intriguing is the black-and-white (and red) Batman/Two-Face tale, which resembles a newspaper comic strip. This is grand high adventure that will delight both fans familiar with the characters and those new to DC's universe. (Sept.)

About the Author

Walter Simonson is a legendary writer/artist who began his career at DC Comics over the years with the award-winning Manhunter feature that ran in DETECTIVE COMICS from 1973-1974. His best-known work may be a highly acclaimed run on THOR in the 1980s (Simonson made a cameo appearance in the 2011 THOR feature film). He also has written and illustrated runs of FANTASTIC FOUR, ORION, METAL MEN, ELRIC: THE MAKING OF A SORCERER, as well as original graphic novels like THE STARSLAMMERS and the official comics adaptations of ALIEN and CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND. His most recent comics work is writing the comics adaptation of WORLD OF WARCRAFT for DC.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 104 pages
  • Publisher: DC Comics; First Edition edition (September 18, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1401215416
  • ISBN-13: 978-1401215415
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 0.4 x 11.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #724,430 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Fernando H. Ramirez VINE VOICE on September 24, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Any Simonson work is great work, and there is all too little of it out there.

What can I say? I snatched this up from Amazon as soon as I could... it was a fantastic read. Roughly 90 pages of Simonson storytelling. The book is a series of short stories that all feature a legendary (and cursed) coin. The coin bridges the gaps, and it is there until the stellar (pun intended) ending.

Simonson is at the peak of his powers. A few of his sketches and pencils were reproduced at the end of the book... simply amazing artwork. Simonson displays storytelling at its finest... smart writing, energetic layouts, and awesome art. The lettering by longtime collaborator John Workman is beautiful. And the coloring by Lovern Kindzierski is also wonderful to behold.

Whoever art directed the book did a phenomenal job. Everything about it...the introductory pages... the beautiful embossed coin on the hardcover... the paper stock, the stock of the dustpapers... a work of art.

What can I say? I LOVED THIS BOOK. And I would buy newer ones by Simonson sight unseen.

Bravo DC, for putting this out. Now let's get Simonson to do some more!!!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have been reading comic books for a long time (about fifteen years) and the longer I have been at it, the more I find myself lamenting the fact that I have seen so much of everything before. At the same time, I have noticed that there are certain creators, who with each work always bring something uniquely new to the comic book medium. These master writers and artists are always a step above the run of the mill tropes that long time comic book readers see over and over again. It is these masters who refresh long time readers with their meticulous and artful works. Walter Simonson is such a master.

I am a little too young to know firsthand of the time that Simonson was at his heyday, but last year I was exposed to his mastery in the newly printed Thor Omnibus, which reprints his epic run on the character. After reading that I was hooked. It was his artwork that led me to start buying Bendis' Avengers series during the Avengers versus X-Men event. Unfortunately, Bendis writing brought down that arc. For some reason his modern blend of dialogue did not quite match Simonson's style. I find this a lot with Bendis. It must be that he tends to be overly wordy and does not always allow his artists the full freedom to really cut loose and tell the story with their art. Thankfully, the new work The Judas Coin is a return to form since it is written and drawn by Simonson.

The Judas Coin is a 96 page graphic novel that consists of six thematically linked short stories featuring characters from the DC Comics Universe. The stories follow the eponymous coin, one of the thirty pieces paid to betray Christ, as it travels chronologically through time leaving behind a trail of death, betrayal and misfortune.
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Format: Hardcover
I enjoyed this book; don't let four stars chase you away. If you like Walt's work, you'll like this book. I rate it four stars mostly because I prefer novels over short stories.

A few general comments about the book - it is beautiful; art, letters, colors, printing are all exceptional. The dialog is clear and appropriate for the time period allowing that we are still reading English.

However, the Judas Coin is an anthology book filled with short stories that are linked through a single object - one of the Judas' 30 pieces of silver as you might gather from the name. My experience with short stories is that they very difficult to write; the author doesn't have much space to create an engaging character and develop a plot. Walt does a good job of facing that difficulty without resorting to characters that are complete stereotypes as shorthand. However, he does rely on characters from DC's past who have their own backstories to help address that issue. That approach varies in effectiveness, if you know the characters, you get more from the story. Some of these characters have been seen rarely so he's taking a risk here.

The book consists of a Prologue explaining the basics of the Judas story followed by six stories set in various era's of DC history:
1) 73 AD - The Golden Gladiator (The Brave and the Bold #1) set in the early part of the Roman empire follows Marcus as he ventures with the disguised Titus Flavius Vespasianus across the Rhine on a mission to secure Rome's border. The story ends with coin in the forest.
2) 1000 AD - The Viking Prince (The Brave and the Bold #1) engages in a raid into Europe to secure a treasure that includes the ill fated coin. It's a straight-forward adventure set in an ancient forest featuring an evil associated with the coin.
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Format: Hardcover
Any time Walter Simonson writes and draws a new story, it's cause for rejoicing. While I would rejoice more if he were working on his own creations, either his Star Slammers series or something else, I really enjoyed this new graphic novel. By focusing on one of Judas' thirty pieces of silver, and how it affected different people throughout history, Simonson almost gives us a multi-genre collection of short stories, rather than one big story. He also shows us the variety of stories that DC comics used to tell, before sales shifted to almost exclusively superheroes, since each story focuses on a DC character.

We see the ancient Roman Empire through the character of the Golden Gladiator, before moving on to the days of Joe Kubert's Viking Prince. Then it's a pirate adventure with Captain Fear (who was also, I believe, the first DC character Simonson drew) and a western tale with charming gambler Bat Lash. We get a nice Batman story (told elegantly in black and white) before moving on to a manga-inspired future, where we learn the end of the story along with Manhunter 2070.

With each story, Simonson adopts his art and storytelling approach. To see a veteran craftsman continue to experiment, rather than resting on a comfortable, familiar style is heartening and refreshing. For example, his layouts on the Viking Prince segment were a bit wilder and varied than, say, the Bat Lash pages, echoing the storytelling creativity of Viking Prince creator Joe Kubert without aping his style. And while Simonson is no stranger to drawing Batman, here he changes up the page layouts, going for a horizontal orientation in black and white, continuing to innovate, even on a familiar character.

While I felt some segments were more successful than others, taken as a whole, this book continues to show a comics master working at the top of his game. Highly recommended.
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