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What COMIC BOOKS have you been reading?

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26 Mar 2013 15:03 #148653 by Shellhead
When I hear the term "graphic novel" now, I think of Henry Miller or Anaïs Nin.
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26 Mar 2013 20:24 #148674 by metalface13
It took me a while to mount the effort to finish Saga vol. 1, but I did it. I didn't revile it like you Barnes and dragonstout did, but it really didn't do anything for me. In particular I didn't like the robot dudes, the bounty hunters, Sextillion, the main characters, or pretty much anybody. It's a poor mix of sci-fi, fantasy and fairy tale. Just doesn't work.

I also read Sweet Tooth vol. 3 and vol. 1 of Lemire's Animal Man. Sweet Tooth is pulling together nicely. I really like Lemire's Animal Man, everything about it is more organic than Morrison's run, which I think is fitting considering Animal Man's bestial powers. Although it was kind of weird reading Lemire without his own artwork.

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26 Mar 2013 20:30 #148676 by schlupp
YES, a new Asterix is coming out! And Uderzo is not working on it! First time in 20 years that I am excited about an Asterix book again. Asterix and the Picts , btw. I'm also happy that Asterix is going to continue with new artists and writers, just like Spirou and Lucky Luke after Franquin and Morris respectively, and unlike Tintin. Last time I heard from Uderzo he wanted to end the series once he finished drawing. Great to hear it will not be the case. Chapeau!
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27 Mar 2013 00:06 - 27 Mar 2013 00:10 #148695 by dragonstout

schlupp wrote: YES, a new Asterix is coming out! And Uderzo is not working on it! First time in 20 years that I am excited about an Asterix book again. Asterix and the Picts , btw. I'm also happy that Asterix is going to continue with new artists and writers, just like Spirou and Lucky Luke after Franquin and Morris respectively, and unlike Tintin. Last time I heard from Uderzo he wanted to end the series once he finished drawing. Great to hear it will not be the case. Chapeau!

Oh AWESOME, nothing gets me more excited than when corporations continue decades-creatively-dead franchises against the explicit wishes of the creators! I'm sure they're making this out of the goodness of their corporate hearts, rather than because the Asterix brand is easy money regardless of quality! I'll have to shelve it next to my Spider-Man Clone Wars omnibus and Before Watchmen hardcovers.

I thought a bit about whether I was being too obnoxious, but then your bit about being happy that Uderzo's wishes were ignored made it fair game.
Last edit: 27 Mar 2013 00:10 by dragonstout.

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27 Mar 2013 11:14 - 27 Mar 2013 11:20 #148717 by schlupp
Haha, pretty obnoxious alright, but fair enough. Of course Uderzo is not dead and has apparently said yes to this project. And if you prefer the last Asterix to the new one, because it is an 'original Uderzo' that's great for you. Or not, because Asterix will not fight superheroes and aliens in his next book, which may be disappointing.

But what's your problem with continuing comics under a new creative team? Should Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman have ended after their creators retired/died? It's an honest question, I don't see the difference at all. Seems like double standards to me.
Last edit: 27 Mar 2013 11:20 by schlupp.

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27 Mar 2013 13:42 - 27 Mar 2013 13:46 #148728 by Columbob

schlupp wrote: I'm also happy that Asterix is going to continue with new artists and writers, just like Spirou and Lucky Luke after Franquin and Morris respectively,


BTW, Morris kept drawing Lucky Luke until his death, but he stopped writing scenarios decades earlier. His partnership with Goscinny spawned the best of the series. Once Goscinny passed away, writing quality dipped ever so much and was really uneven depending on who worked on it.

Some of the recent ones were ok. I didn't really like La Belle Province 'cause it was just a bunch of dumb stereotypes on Québec and they even fitted Céline Dion and rich casino-going husband in there.

Jean Van Hamme is one of my favourite Franco/Belgian authors right now. After Thorgal and XIII, I picked up from the library his Largo Winch series (financial/action thrillers) and Les Maîtres de l'orge (literally - Barley masters) which follows a Belgian brewing family through 150 years of evolution, trials, setbacks, takeovers, etc. Great stuff.

schlupp wrote: Haha, pretty obnoxious alright, but fair enough. Of course Uderzo is not dead and has apparently said yes to this project. And if you prefer the last Asterix to the new one, because it is an 'original Uderzo' that's great for you. Or not, because Asterix will not fight superheroes and aliens in his next book, which may be disappointing.


None of Uderzo's solo output has reached the heights of creative genius of his collaboration with the master Goscinny, some of his solo Astérix have been really disappointing. I haven't even read that last one with aliens and supermen, just sounded so dumb. I'd rather reread any other classic issue for the umpteenth time. Of course as a kid you don't really notice it though, and that's what they're counting on.
Last edit: 27 Mar 2013 13:46 by Columbob.

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27 Mar 2013 16:46 #148747 by Dogmatix

metalface13 wrote: It took me a while to mount the effort to finish Saga vol. 1, but I did it. I didn't revile it like you Barnes and dragonstout did, but it really didn't do anything for me. In particular I didn't like the robot dudes, the bounty hunters, Sextillion, the main characters, or pretty much anybody. It's a poor mix of sci-fi, fantasy and fairy tale. Just doesn't work.

I also read Sweet Tooth vol. 3 and vol. 1 of Lemire's Animal Man. Sweet Tooth is pulling together nicely. I really like Lemire's Animal Man, everything about it is more organic than Morrison's run, which I think is fitting considering Animal Man's bestial powers. Although it was kind of weird reading Lemire without his own artwork.



You hit on something here that I *did* really like about the Lemire Animal Man books--the sort of primal nature of the characters. It does a much better job of capturing the sort of elemental nature of Animal Man and the Red. I still hate the art a lot though.

One question for you DC readers: Does this whole The Rot thing cross all the New 52 titles? I just read the first 18 issues of Swamp Thing and Animal Man and, at this point, uh...everyone except a host of B-listers (and some characters that are just new to me, like the SHADE crew), Justice League Dark and a plant-based Green Lantern appear to be dead. Is it me or does DC feel the need to kill off its entire universe every 8 years or so?

Speaking of Justice League Dark: I haven't read that series yet, but John Constantine crops up in Animal Man and Swamp Thing (which makes some sense). When did John Constantine suddenly become a team player of the Justice League variety? I clearly have been away from Hellblazer longer than I really realized as I had no idea that he was playing any role in DC's "main universe." Just seems odd as I don't recall him going to, say, Gotham in the Vertigo run. New York, sure. But not Gotham City... This just the faulty memory of an old man at work here or was there a change?

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27 Mar 2013 17:14 #148750 by Shellhead
There was an issue of Swamp Thing where John Constantine was hanging out at Arkham Asylum. I think it was during the Veitch run.

I have read a little about the Rotworld crossover. I think that all those dead heroes are in an alternate reality that was overrun with this Rot badness.

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27 Mar 2013 17:20 #148751 by Shellhead
I think that I'm done with Scott Snyder for now. I recently read Severed, a horror mini-series by Snyder and published by Image. There are some decent ideas in there, and I appreciate the old time setting. But the whole story hangs on a few vast, improbable plot twists that totally destroy the otherwise realistic tone and setting. I also disliked the artwork. When telling a tale of suspense and horror, it's important to draw appropriate facial expressions. This artist Attila Futaki doesn't seem to relate well to humans, because his facial expressions often seemed random or even misleading. There were also moments where I failed to understand something that was happening because the artwork was too murky or just plain missed the point of the scene.

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27 Mar 2013 18:35 #148758 by metalface13

Dogmatix wrote: Speaking of Justice League Dark: I haven't read that series yet, but John Constantine crops up in Animal Man and Swamp Thing (which makes some sense). When did John Constantine suddenly become a team player of the Justice League variety? I clearly have been away from Hellblazer longer than I really realized as I had no idea that he was playing any role in DC's "main universe." Just seems odd as I don't recall him going to, say, Gotham in the Vertigo run. New York, sure. But not Gotham City... This just the faulty memory of an old man at work here or was there a change?


Back when Vertigo was first launched, some of those series like Sandman, Swamp Thing and Hellblazer were already in publication then got rebranded with Vertigo. There was still some DC bleedover for a little bit (didn't Superman make an appearance in Sandman?). Eventually they were shunted out of the DCU but recently DC decided to pull those characters who were once a part of DC back into the fold. Something like that.

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27 Mar 2013 19:32 #148769 by Shellhead

metalface13 wrote: Back when Vertigo was first launched, some of those series like Sandman, Swamp Thing and Hellblazer were already in publication then got rebranded with Vertigo. There was still some DC bleedover for a little bit (didn't Superman make an appearance in Sandman?). Eventually they were shunted out of the DCU but recently DC decided to pull those characters who were once a part of DC back into the fold. Something like that.


There was never a separate Vertigo universe. For one thing, Vertigo titles like Y the Last Man obviously couldn't fit in the same reality with other Vertigo titles. For another, some of the more popular Vertigo characters already had a history with the mainstream DCU.

The JLA appeared early in Moore's run on Swamp Thing, and both Batman and Superman made appearances later on. The Martian Manhunter appeared in an early issue of Sandman, and two former members of Infinity Inc played a key role towards the end of the Sandman run. During the Morrison run on JLA, the new Sandman (Daniel, not Morpheus) appeared in a couple of issues. Destiny (from Sandman) and his Book of Destiny played a key role in the modern Brave & the Bold comic run. And even Death (from Sandman) encountered Lex Luthor in a fun issue of Action Comics a few years back.

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27 Mar 2013 20:42 #148782 by metalface13

Shellhead wrote: There was never a separate Vertigo universe. For one thing, Vertigo titles like Y the Last Man obviously couldn't fit in the same reality with other Vertigo titles. For another, some of the more popular Vertigo characters already had a history with the mainstream DCU.


Correct. Sorry if I implied otherwise.

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28 Mar 2013 01:40 #148823 by Shellhead
Besides the expected volumes from DC, Marvel, Vertigo and modern Image, the local library carries some odd indie comics. I just finished Any Empire, by Nate Powell. It's stout hardcover volume, but not a really long read, because Nate is more of an artist than a writer. Entire pages go by without dialogue. And some of that dialogue is deliberately illegible or borderline to represent that it's distant or ignored by the main character in that scene. The artwork itself is mostly about on the level with what you would see in Dennis the Menace or Calvin and Hobbs. Which is okay, because the main characters are kids, at first anyway.

Despite all that, Powell is working with some interesting ideas. He is exploring the relationship between boys and violence. Violent play, and play at violent ideas. War. Pride. Courage. Roughhousing and... this was a bit hard for me to deal with... abuse of animals. Powell has that uncommon gift of actually remembering what it was like to be a kid, and the newspaper funnies level of art is ideal for this story. I got a bit of a southern vibe from the story, though not from any of the dialogue. Sure enough, it turns out that Powell is from Arkansas, though he now lives in Bloomington, Indiana.

I believe that Any Empire was a good read that I would recommend to anybody, but I was not the ideal reader. Despite my vast experience with reading comics, I'm more of a book reader, so I sometimes pay a little more attention to dialogue and narration than the artwork. That made this comic a bit difficult in places, because Powell is relying so heavily on the artwork to tell his story. Also, there were four different kids that sort of resembled each other, including twins. I need to re-read this before bringing it back to the library, because I possibly misunderstood some early scenes. And then the ending is so odd that there must be some level of metaphor that I mistook for literal action.

One sign of a classic is that you get different things from re-reading it over the years. Any Empire seems to have that classic quality, because it addresses big concepts in a nuanced way. And because so much of the story is visual, there is room for interpretation that could lead to lively discussion by different readers. Reading Any Empire doesn't deliver that sugary superhero comic book jolt of sensation, but it will make you think, and think some more. And there should be more comics that make us think.

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28 Mar 2013 16:53 #148891 by metalface13
I'll have to check for Any Empire at my local library, sounds interesting. As previously mentioned in this thread, I often enjoy the works of cartoonists who right and draw their own stories more so than writer/artist collaborations. Cartoonists aren't afraid to leave panels empty of dialogue and just let the reader breath a little and take things in at their own pace. For example Jeff Lemire isn't afraid of this, Essex County is full of panels of just a bird flying around and landing in the background, but it has an impact. Curious though when I read his Animal man I didn't see that as much, dialogue and word bubbles everywhere, could just be a DC editorial thing.

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29 Mar 2013 17:52 - 29 Mar 2013 18:03 #149050 by dragonstout

schlupp wrote: Haha, pretty obnoxious alright, but fair enough. Of course Uderzo is not dead and has apparently said yes to this project. And if you prefer the last Asterix to the new one, because it is an 'original Uderzo' that's great for you. Or not, because Asterix will not fight superheroes and aliens in his next book, which may be disappointing.

But what's your problem with continuing comics under a new creative team? Should Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman have ended after their creators retired/died? It's an honest question, I don't see the difference at all. Seems like double standards to me.

Naw, I've always heard that the solo-Uderzo Asterix sucked, so it's entirely plausible or even probable that the new creative team might be better, but when it's been nearly 40 years since a comic's been good, I tend not to hold out high hopes.

If Uderzo said yes that's cool; your post implied that he disapproved, and that was really what I was reacting to. I don't think the creators of Batman, Superman, or Wonder Woman disapproved of their characters continuing after they stopped with them (though I have *no* idea about Wonder Woman; definitely Bob Kane was pretty happy to have other people making Batman). It is a rarity, though, when the creators of a great comic are *ever* followed up with something else worthy with the same characters. Superman & Batman? I've never heard anyone argue for the quality of the Bob Kane Batman or the Siegel & Shuster Superman, so there was plenty of room for improvement.

Actually, this is a question for y'all: has there ever been a comic character with 1) at least two highly-regarded runs in which 2) one of those runs was the creator's starting run with the character? All I can think of are "highly-regarded runs" that shouldn't be regarded in the first place, like Byrne's Fantastic Four.

PS: A bunch of Chris Ware original art.
Last edit: 29 Mar 2013 18:03 by dragonstout.

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