Yesterday was a very stressful day, indeed. Not a very interesting one, so I wont' go into why it was so stressful (grants, work, budgets, &c.). At the end of the day I thought I'd go see Unleashed, with Jet Li, because that was the only movie that I wanted to see but that I knew Katya had no interest in. Well, it turns out that no one else did, either--Unleashed is no longer in theatres.

But that's not the point. The point is that I went to the Comic Shop and bought Neil Gaiman's 1602. I remember reading about it on his blog back in 2003, and he said, "I've posted more details at this link so that if you don't want spoilers you can avoid it". I avoided it so thouroughly that I had no idea, until yesterday, what the comic was about at all. Not the slightest clue.

The actual set-up isn't really hurt by spoilers, it turns out, but there are a number of really wonderful plot points that I didn't catch until they happened, which I love.

The idea here is that the Marvel Universe (The Fantastic Four, Daredevil, the X-Men, &c. &c.) started in the year 1602 instead of 1965. Queen Elizabeth's Spymaster is Sir Nicholas Fury, and her court physician is Dr. Stephen Strange. And so on. The story is wonderful, I love the art, and it's written by Neil Gaiman. This is especially obvious in Thor's dialogue. No one else should ever write Thor. The whole is is incredibly great if, like me, you have a passing familiarity with the Marvel world (I've seem the movies, read some X-Men, that's about it) but probably really amazing for a true geek. If you've never heard of Magneto or Otto Von Doom, for example, you might miss a few things, but it's still a great book.

Possibly my favorite bit it how he handle Peter Parquah--a running joke had him almost getting bitten by spiders, and suggests that his powers of intellect are almost as important to him as a hero as his Spider Powers.