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What COMIC BOOKS have you been reading?

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14 Dec 2012 22:42 #139643 by dragonstout

Michael Barnes wrote: Has anyone (well, Andy) read the Basil Wolverton Spacehawk stuff? I really want to take a look at the new Fantagraphics collection.

Yup! The appeal is the art, expect *nothing* from the stories. To be more specific, the appeal is the weird aliens. I haven't seen the new book, and I'll have to take a peek to decide whether it's a buy for me, but I'm temporarily leaning toward "no". I'm SURE you can find some Spacehawk stories online to get a little sampler.
ixians.blogspot.com/2011/02/sunday-space-funnies.html

The Wolverton book I'm definitely buying is coming out sometime next year, "The Creeping Death from Neptune", which includes his miscellaneous horror & sci-fi comics, which I think are way, way cooler, more unrestrained. Check out this webpage with tons of random Wolverton horror/sci-fi stuff:

dork-40.blogspot.com/2011/10/wertham-was...rrifying-art-of.html

Here's the book I'm talking about:
www.amazon.com/Creeping-Death-From-Neptu...verton/dp/1606995057

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15 Dec 2012 05:06 #139660 by metalface13
I am completely unfamiliar with Wolverton. His artwork and stories are totally amazing and bizarre. I love it. I'm going to have to check him out if I can. On a side note, I was toying around with suggestion Basil for the name of our son, but we went with Lincoln instead.

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15 Dec 2012 05:53 #139661 by Space Ghost

dragonstout wrote:

Space Ghost wrote: For being an educated person, I cannot search for anything on this damn site. I am so fucking incompetent sometimes.

I saw that the publishers of the Carl Barks' library also did one for Mickey Mouse -- are those as good?

I've never thoroughly read the Mickey Mouse stuff; whether it's "worth buying" or not, I can't tell, but from the one Mouse story I read it's not in the same league, no. For one, it's from comic strips, not from comic books, which has a few effects: first of all, that means it's not split into distinct stories. Second of all, it was meant to be read a third of a page per day as opposed to one story all at once, so the pacing is weird. The art of course also doesn't have room for splash pages or any variety in panel shape, basically. But those are all issues you have with any old comic strip: the reason I didn't buy it was because I found the art a real turn-off, REALLY cramped and busy. My dad had tons of Barks comics for me to read as a kid, but none of the Gottfredson Mickeys, because he had read them as a kid and thought they were really boring. But some people really REALLY love it; Seth, for example, has never like Barks but loves Gottfredson's Mickey, go figure. And who isn't curious to see the famous sequence where Mickey attempts suicide a bunch of times? In any case, they're VERY different comics.

My response to your call for classic all-ages comics was in a fat post near the bottom of the comments for:
fortressat.com/reviews-toc/3589-barnesto...avengers-battle-born

I'd just copy and paste what I wrote, but there were some links in there that didn't work when I copy-pasted.


I'm learning a ton about comics from you fools -- thanks (I think).

Looks like the LuLu series might be my next foray, or the Creeping Death from Neptune - that looks awesome.

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16 Dec 2012 05:11 - 18 Dec 2012 17:46 #139703 by dragonstout
BTW, this demonstrates what Building Stories looks like:

g-ec2.images-amazon.com/images/G/01/Rand.../3L._V390906357_.gif

Nearing the end (I've got five books left, and I've read the three lengthiest ones), and nothing has affected me quite as much as the big book on death. I think I'd recommend reading that one last (though it has made many things in the other books more poignant)!

EDIT: Changed my mind, DEFINITELY read the "Disconnect" one last. It is clearly meant to be a conclusion. And definitely read The Daily Bee before Branford: Best Bee in the World. I've got one more book left now.
Last edit: 18 Dec 2012 17:46 by dragonstout.

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17 Dec 2012 18:03 #139752 by metalface13

dragonstout wrote: BTW, this demonstrates what Building Stories looks like:

g-ec2.images-amazon.com/images/G/01/Rand.../3L._V390906357_.gif

Nearing the end (I've got five books left, and I've read the three lengthiest ones), and nothing has affected me quite as much as the big book on death. I think I'd recommend reading that one last (though it has made many things in the other books more poignant)!


That looks like a cool experience.

This weekend I read iZombie Vol. 4 and Metabarons: Path of the Warrior.

In the end, iZombie suffers from Roberson trying to cram too much stuff into his story and mythology. Roberson knew the series was going to get canceled at some point, but just didn't know when exactly. He obviously had a checklist of stuff he wanted to get into the series, and by golly he was going to get it in there. Personally, I would have rather seen some of that stuff shifted to the side and give the series more closure as far as the main characters go. There were also a couple filler artists that were used, which just threw the rhythm off for me. Part of the big appeal to me was Allred's style, so watching it switch out was a let down. I'm all for guest artists, but they're best in used for one-offs or short arcs that don't pertain to the main storyline. Fables does this really well.

Also, Roberson couldn't help but take some potshots at DC with some snide remarks and referencing the series-ending apocalypse finale as "coming sooner than predicted." I'm all for artistic expression, but I just found it a little unprofessional.

Metabarons is awesome, awesome stuff. It felt like Robert E. Howard mixed with Heavy Metal (obviously) and I really enjoyed it. Also, giant space shark spaceships are awesome. Unfortunately, this is the only Jodorowsky material in the Austin library system. I wonder if the university has anything ...

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18 Dec 2012 15:07 #139798 by Shellhead
At the recent big annual holiday sale at the local comic/game shop, I picked up volume #2 of BPRD and Black Mirror. BPRD was a big disappointment. It's the Hellboy spinoff featuring the other nonhuman agents of BPRD, and fans of the two movies will recognize 3 of the 4 main characters. Unfortunately none of the art and only some of the writing is done by Mike Mignola, so the quality of the main series just isn't there. It did help me appreciate the brilliant minimalism of Mignola's artwork, as well as his deft touch with horror, folklore and grim fairy tales.

Black Mirror was a very good year of Batman stories from Detective Comics, featuring Dick Grayson (the original Robin) as Batman. This storyline takes place roughly around the start of Batman, Inc. The artwork is the best that I've seen from Jock, and the colors are lit up by newcomer Francesco Francavilla, who seems to be a fan of both Mike Mignola and Dario Argento. In other words, stark, simple yet lurid color schemes.

The stories all woven together, in arcs that connect in one greater arc. The writing by Scott Snyder is really strong, with nuanced dialogue, novel villains, plus plenty of tension puncutated by explosive action. There is a bit of a sick edge to some of the ideas, which helps make up for the lack of rich, weird creativity going on in Morrison's work of the same time span. There is also a greater focus on Commissioner Gordon and his daughter, Barbara. If not for Grant Morrison's terrific run on Batman, Black Mirror might easily be hailed as the best Batman run of the decade. I've heard that Snyder's current Batman run is not quite as good as his Detective Comics work, but if Black Mirror is any indication, it's still worth checking out. Although I was not quite as impressed by his Vertigo series American Vampire, I am now thinking about trying his current Swamp Thing run.
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19 Dec 2012 17:47 #139876 by dragonstout
Building Stories

I'm not even sure where to start with summing up. Is this the best graphic novel ever? Yes, probably. I haven't lived with it as long as I've lived with and reread Jimmy Corrigan, or Watchmen, but it is now the comic I'm looking forward most to reading over and over again over the next couple decades. As usual when reading a complex book, I just had to take one approach to the book this time, even as I could feel the approaches I could take in the future. I don't focus my attention on the formal tricks this time around; in fact, I was even annoyed by his page layouts for a while, annoyed by how I kept reading in the wrong direction and bumping into things I shouldn't, before realizing that was exactly what was intended. Two of the books in here affected me emotionally more than just about anything I've ever read. It's already informing my life.

This is actually literally why I quit my literature major: I found myself incapable of writing substantially about Chris Ware, just fawning and gushing; and if I could write about my favorite author, then what was the point?

Just read it in an order of your choosing; I regret being influenced by Jog's order.

It's very long, don't expect to finish it in a day; it took me more than 12 hours, but I'm a slow comics reader (and I believe that is appropriate for reading Ware).

Once I'm ready for a palate-cleanser I think I'll read the new Prison Pit.
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19 Dec 2012 17:58 #139877 by stormseeker75
I'm reading the Kevin Smith Daredevil arc from the Marvel Knights line. BRILLIANT.

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19 Dec 2012 18:07 - 19 Dec 2012 18:24 #139879 by dragonstout

Shellhead wrote: Black Mirror was a very good year of Batman stories from Detective Comics, featuring Dick Grayson (the original Robin) as Batman. This storyline takes place roughly around the start of Batman, Inc. The artwork is the best that I've seen from Jock, and the colors are lit up by newcomer Francesco Francavilla, who seems to be a fan of both Mike Mignola and Dario Argento. In other words, stark, simple yet lurid color schemes.

The stories all woven together, in arcs that connect in one greater arc. The writing by Scott Snyder is really strong, with nuanced dialogue, novel villains, plus plenty of tension puncutated by explosive action. There is a bit of a sick edge to some of the ideas, which helps make up for the lack of rich, weird creativity going on in Morrison's work of the same time span. There is also a greater focus on Commissioner Gordon and his daughter, Barbara. If not for Grant Morrison's terrific run on Batman, Black Mirror might easily be hailed as the best Batman run of the decade. I've heard that Snyder's current Batman run is not quite as good as his Detective Comics work, but if Black Mirror is any indication, it's still worth checking out. Although I was not quite as impressed by his Vertigo series American Vampire, I am now thinking about trying his current Swamp Thing run.

There's a nice interview with Scott Snyder over at the Comics Reporter, for those out there who're digging his Batman:
www.comicsreporter.com/index.php/cr_holi...iew_20_scott_snyder/

stormseeker75 wrote: I'm reading the Kevin Smith Daredevil arc from the Marvel Knights line. BRILLIANT.

I'm curious what you'll think after the big villain reveal. Or, well, some other things that kind of felt like a hit-and-run.
Last edit: 19 Dec 2012 18:24 by dragonstout.

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19 Dec 2012 18:10 - 19 Dec 2012 18:12 #139880 by OldHippy
I'm about half way through Building Stories now and I have to agree with what dragonstout is saying, it's an amazing, progressive work that defies all categorization. It is not a graphic novel really.. even though it's closest ancestor might be Will Eisner's stuff. It's tempting (but unfair) to compare it to his Contract with God and other Tenement Stories simply because of the idea of the building itself.

Visually there is no doubt, he does more with the medium then I've ever seen in one work. As an example there is one scene where a woman is wondering about the plumbing in her apartment, she hears someone yelling and thinks it's the guy downstairs yelling at his wife. When she hears it the word balloon for that yelling is half in her panel and half in the panel below so you read that bit of yelling twice. Once from her perspective and in the panel below you're reading about the guy who actually did the yelling and eventually read that line again in his bit of story.

Little touches like that are all over the place as Ware constantly finds new ways to make you read and understand what comics can do. The ingenuity is unlike anything I've ever read and at this late stage in the comic books life that is an amazing accomplishment.

This cannot be a tablet comic nor could it be anything other than what it is... a box of books. It fights the very idea that a solid artistic work can be moved from one medium to the other by stubbornly refusing to be anything other than what it is. But it is not for everybody. It's morose and depressing at times, you start to wonder if Ware has any fun in his life at all. It feels isolationist and sad on a continual basis. There are funny parts but it is not a funny box of books in general.

His prose has improved but not to the point that I would call this the best graphic novel ever if it weren't for the panel layout and drawings.. they add a lot to the story. The panels are frequently too small as are the words and I could see people being irritated by that. Doesn't bother me as I have great eye sight but I know people will be bothered by it.

The meticulousness is out of this world. You start to think you know Ware as a man obsessed and stuck in his room working 24/7 with a magnifying glass.

It's hard for me to say anything rivals Cerebus 2-4 (the phone books not individual issues) but this is one I'd accept an argument for. He probably does as much as Sim did in his day to move the medium forward, maybe more. People frequently forget how unprecedented Sim's work was for his time. Especially because he went crazy and even critics seem to avoid mentioning him now.. like some kind of white washing of comics history. I've seen the same thing happen in Literature with Knut Hamson.

Even if you don't like his writing you'd be doing yourself an incredible disservice if you didn't check out this collection and at least try to get through it. No comics fan should be without.
Last edit: 19 Dec 2012 18:12 by OldHippy.

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19 Dec 2012 18:42 - 19 Dec 2012 18:43 #139883 by dragonstout

JonJacob wrote: It's morose and depressing at times, you start to wonder if Ware has any fun in his life at all. It feels isolationist and sad on a continual basis. There are funny parts but it is not a funny box of books in general.

Just wanted to say that this is *significantly* less true than it was in Jimmy Corrigan, which is way more relentlessly bleak (despite some beautiful moments). In the middle of the hardcover book that largely deals with the protagonist's first boyfriend and their abortion, I was starting to get bleakness fatigue, but everything post-marriage and particularly post-child is posing incredibly tough questions but pushing, I think, for positive answers to those questions.

Re: Cerebus books 2-4: Dave Sim is the most underrated cartoonist in the history of comics.
Last edit: 19 Dec 2012 18:43 by dragonstout.

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19 Dec 2012 18:56 #139888 by Shellhead
I think it would be possible for someone to do a comparable project to Building Stories for an electronic format. For example, that word balloon that is showing up in two stories could be set up on tablet format so that you can click on the word balloon and move over to the other story and back again. Maybe have a panel where you can sort of see something going on outside a window, and you can zoom on the window and then open it to gain access to that background activity as a separate concurrent story.

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19 Dec 2012 19:02 #139889 by OldHippy

Shellhead wrote: I think it would be possible for someone to do a comparable project to Building Stories for an electronic format. For example, that word balloon that is showing up in two stories could be set up on tablet format so that you can click on the word balloon and move over to the other story and back again. Maybe have a panel where you can sort of see something going on outside a window, and you can zoom on the window and then open it to gain access to that background activity as a separate concurrent story.


I agree that someone could do a comparable story using a tablet. Just not this particular one. But if someone wrote for that medium specifically, I think very cool things could come out of that. I'd be interested in seeing people work that way rather than trying to move it from one world to another.

Surprisingly the video game Gravity Rush for PS Vita had an interesting take on how to do comics on a touch screen with gyroscopic ability. Good game too.

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19 Dec 2012 19:53 #139893 by dragonstout

Shellhead wrote: I think it would be possible for someone to do a comparable project to Building Stories for an electronic format. For example, that word balloon that is showing up in two stories could be set up on tablet format so that you can click on the word balloon and move over to the other story and back again. Maybe have a panel where you can sort of see something going on outside a window, and you can zoom on the window and then open it to gain access to that background activity as a separate concurrent story.

The word balloon trick and other small formal tricks like that aren't what prevent the digital format, but the "14 different-sized, different-formatted books". One of the "books" is a 2 inch wide strip of paper folded into quarters, another of the books is large enough to have a life-sized drawing of a newborn, and another is on a folded board like a board game. Interestingly, one of the stories in here actually *was* originally created for iPad: the one with the sci-fi part with people doing archaeology (and sending "u wnt fk me?" texts).

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19 Dec 2012 20:44 #139901 by Columbob

dragonstout wrote:

Shellhead wrote: I think it would be possible for someone to do a comparable project to Building Stories for an electronic format. For example, that word balloon that is showing up in two stories could be set up on tablet format so that you can click on the word balloon and move over to the other story and back again. Maybe have a panel where you can sort of see something going on outside a window, and you can zoom on the window and then open it to gain access to that background activity as a separate concurrent story.

The word balloon trick and other small formal tricks like that aren't what prevent the digital format, but the "14 different-sized, different-formatted books". One of the "books" is a 2 inch wide strip of paper folded into quarters, another of the books is large enough to have a life-sized drawing of a newborn, and another is on a folded board like a board game. Interestingly, one of the stories in here actually *was* originally created for iPad: the one with the sci-fi part with people doing archaeology (and sending "u wnt fk me?" texts).


They could have an animation if you click on the 2 inch wide strip to see it unfold. Anything's possible.

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