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comic n00b just read The Watchmen. Now what?

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10 Jan 2013 19:57 #141260 by Shellhead

metalface13 wrote: Well said.

I've seen a big swing in what myself and comic fans appreciate since the time I was 12 and reading comics and today. In the early 1990s it was all about who the artist was and they got all the attention. Rob Liefield (I know right?), Jim Lee, Tod McFarland, Erik Larson, etc. We didn't care who was writing. Granted, I was 12 and my brother and his friends were aspiring to be comic artists, so that's probably the majority of my experience. I do realize Moore, Miller, Morrison and Claremont were all active at the time.

Now everybody talks about who's writing, with not a lot of people talking about the art. But it is a 50/50 medium. What's great is when you get somebody who can write and draw. Then you get something great (usually). Mignola's writing is not as good as his art, but he really knows how to tell a story through his art.


I still remember a Hellboy story where an important plot point was communicated strictly through sound effect word balloons. There was a character who was using a small pistol that went bap-bap-bap every time that character fired off some shots. And there was another character firing a huge pistol that went BLAM-BLAM. Eventually, they encountered each other off-panel, but readers could guess what happened simply because of adjacent sound effect balloons going "bap-bap-bap" and "BLAM-BLAM." A little later, readers got to see the outcome of that shootout.

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10 Jan 2013 20:09 - 10 Jan 2013 20:14 #141268 by OldHippy

Shellhead wrote: I don't think that J.H. Williams III is over-rated, though. He might not have an obvious style, but he has the range and flexibility to do whatever is right for the story at hand. Look at the Promethea covers and you can see a variety of obvious styles and influences, including art deco, impressionism (van Gogh), pop art (Warhol), and psychedelic art (Bill Graham's Fillmore posters).


He's great no doubt, but he's no Mignola or Miller. I bought Holy Terror, shitty writing aside, because I knew that a book Frank drew and paneled on his own would be worth my time regardless of his shitty writing. Few people can do that for me. Williams is a great fit for Promethea (Moore is especially capable of writing to an artists strengths as well) but if Frank Miller's Holy Terror was penciled by Williams.... I would have avoided it.

edit: actually... thinking about it now, it's such a shitty idea I might get intrigued to at least read it in the store.
Last edit: 10 Jan 2013 20:14 by OldHippy.

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10 Jan 2013 20:23 - 10 Jan 2013 21:51 #141271 by dragonstout

JonJacob wrote: when you're in a situation where hyper-realists like J.H. Williams seem to get all the kudos from comic fans I have to emphasize it even more. J.H. Williams really has very little to define himself apart from the herd, his style is not (excessive baroque ornateness aside) that distinguishable.

I agree with you wholeheartedly on the whole "art is 50% of comics" thing, but WTF you don't think JH Williams has a distinguishable style? JH Williams's layouts are SO distinguishable that if you had a 5-year-old "ink" with crayons over his layouts you'd still be able to tell who it was. He is also incredibly good at mimickry (see the Batman Year One Mazzuchelli style used in Batwoman's origin, the Blueberry Moebius style used in parts of Seven Soldiers, or any of a million parts of Promethea). His "realistic style" is the last thing I'd think of mentioning in an appreciation of JH Williams.

Just saw your latest response; sure, he's no Mignola or Miller in terms of wildly distinctive or personal art styles. He's more of a Will Eisner.

BTW, Hellboy, not overrated. The first paperback sucks, though, thanks to NOT being written by Mignola.

Metalhead wrote: What's great is when you get somebody who can write and draw. Then you get something great (usually). Mignola's writing is not as good as his art, but he really knows how to tell a story through his art.

And that's why alternative comics, which are all universally written and drawn by the same person, have been infinitely more fertile than mainstream comics and its assembly-line style. Mainstream comics didn't even used to be that way; you look in the 40s and 50s, it's same person drawing as writing, a lot of the time. And it's part of why Miller's Daredevil run and Simonson's Thor run are so good. But hey, some people suck at one or the other, so you can't force it or you'll miss out on Moore, Morrison, Pekar, and Ennis.
Last edit: 10 Jan 2013 21:51 by dragonstout.

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10 Jan 2013 20:29 #141275 by metalface13
Sorry for the complete thread hijack, but another artist/writer I enjoy is Paul Pope.

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10 Jan 2013 21:19 #141282 by MattFantastic
Top 10 is the goofy version of Moore messing around in the "what would the world look like with actual superheroes" universe as opposed to the bleak seriousness of Watchmen. I absolutely love it. The Smax mini-series is especially enjoyable. And I'll second the under appreciated Tom Strong as also being just a super fun superhero book.

I've enjoyed the first 2 (of three) League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Century stories. The first League run is itself a lot of fun too.

Moore is best known as this super serious writer of dark, philosophical work, which he does indeed do better than anyone and is his most "important" stuff, but he's also great with the fun stuff too but people rarely talk about it since it's not as groundbreaking or whatever.

Nord & Busiek's run on Conan from the early 2000s is amazing and if you have any interest in the character, you absolutely need to check it out.
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10 Jan 2013 23:03 #141295 by trif
20th Century Boys by Naoki Urusawa.

That is if you're cool with reading right to left and picking up over 20 volumes. NOT a superhero book but has a similar epic sweep to Watchmen with some absolutely chilling scenes.

However the Urusawa to start with is Pluto - it's a famous Astroboy story (written in collaboration with Tezuka's son) that turns it into a gritty futuristic procedural told from the point of view of a minor character in the original story. At 7 volumes it's less of a commitment.

Seriously, comic book fans, pick up Urusawa - he's one of the best writer/artists in comics at the moment. And I can't wait for the translation of Billy Bat - basically Mickey Mouse as the lynchpin of a centuries old occult conspiracy.
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11 Jan 2013 02:22 #141305 by iguanaDitty
Pluto is fabulous but I haven't been able to get into 20th Century Boys for some reason. The story's start is really opaque.
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30 Nov 2015 23:35 - 30 Nov 2015 23:39 #216226 by Cranberries

Almalik wrote: Planetary - another meta book.

All Star Superman or New Frontier for more upbeat heroic comics - both are awesome stories and I'm not even a Superman/DC fan.


So I did a search for "omnibus" at my local library and picked up this fifteen-pound copy of Planetary, then came back to this thread and saw your recommendation! I'm going to work through this stuff, or some of the low-hanging fruit like Swamp Thing. Part of the problem was I left the country for two years and there were no comics to be had, and no time to read them if I did find something.

I have two local libraries in two different cities, and one of them has the Animal Man omnibus, so I guess I will read that during Christmas vacation. Cool.
Last edit: 30 Nov 2015 23:39 by Cranberries.

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