What I'm reading: <i>Her Majesty's Spymaster</i>, <i>Batman</i> by Neal Adams

Hey, it's a brand new year! What are we reading to while away the cold winter days? Or, you know, in my case, the 70-degree winter days!

Okay, so I'm a history nut. A NUT!!!!! And I often write that I love a particular era in history, to the extent that you might think I'm a bit strange, because there's no way I can like so many eras in history, is there? Well, screw you and the horse you rode in on, I can love any era of history I want!!!!! However, Elizabethan England is a particular favorite of mine, and Sir Francis Walsingham, the Principal Secretary for a good deal of Elizabeth's reign and one of the men who is considered the father of modern espionage, is a favorite within that particular era. Stephen Budiansky's book, Her Majesty's Spymaster, isn't the greatest history book I've ever read, but it's a nice, readable tome that gives us a decent idea of who Walsingham was and why he felt it necessary to create a vast spy system. Walsingham's system was fairly sophisticated for its day, and Budiansky does a pretty good job showing how convoluted it was. Walsingham triumphed against the two biggest threats to the queen - Mary Queen of Scots, whom he ensnared in a web and got executed, and Philip II of Spain, whose Armada sailed only after Walsingham's agents had gathered plenty of intelligence about it. Budiansky downplays William Cecil, Lord Burghley's own intelligence-gathering ring, which makes sense as he's focusing on Walsingham but also means he makes Walsingham a bit more central to the creation of "modern espionage." It's still a fascinating book.

I just got volume 2 of the Neal Adams Batman issues, and while I've only read the introductions and not any actual comics, they look tremendous, obviously. I don't have volume 1 yet, but the issues in this volume go from October 1969 to May 1971. I didn't know he did any Batman work prior to that, so I'm keen to track down volume 1. These are tremendous stories, at least the ones I've read in the past (how can you not love "The Secret of the Waiting Graves" or "Ghost of the Killer Skies"?), and I look forward to diving into this.

So, now that the holidays are over, what are you delving into? Don't be shy about your reading choices!

Marvel Will Introduce a New Daredevil in August

More in Comics