Monday, October 03, 2005

Cry For Help

Last Saturday I made my usual monthly jaunt to the comic shop to pick up my swag.

Among the stack of goodies were some truly excellent comics, like Action Philosophers and Manhattan Guardian. Shaolin Cowboy is a lot of fun. (SC #2 was brilliant: Kung Fu Monk versus Angry Talking Crab. HOO-HAH! #3 was a setup issue, so not as brilliant.)

It also contained a frightening number of turds. I love The Flash, but the end of Geoff Johns' run was both confusing and over-wrought, and the first post-Johns issue was, to be blunt, craptacular. So very, very bad. And yeah, All-Star Batman #2 was so dreadful my eyes watered as I read it.

A round of cuts is headed for my "pull list." Fantastic Four? Gone. I don't like Strazinski's take on it. Amazing Spider-Man? Gone. Again, not a Strazinski fan, plus it's about to head into a Big-Assed Crossover. I don't want to buy a couple of issues that tie into a crossover that I'm not going to follow. (I'm still hacked off at the Avengers Dissassembled crossovers that hosed up Captain America and the Falcon.)

Thinking about my amendations, I believe the only regular Marvel or DC books I'll be getting will be Captain America and All-Star Superman. Over the last year I've dropped all of the Spider-Man books, Daredevil, the Ultimates, Legends of the Dark Knight, Fantastic Four, JSA, Hawkman, and Black Panther. (There may be others, but you get the idea.)

Dammit, there have to be good books out there! So here's my call: what should I be reading?

Just a few notes:

--I'm allergic to X-Men and I've never been fond of the Legion of Super-Heroes.

--Bendis and I are done. I have long runs of his Daredevil and Ultimate Spider-Man, and I'm surprised I hung in as long as I did. Going through my longboxes and reading them in bulk, I'm underwhelmed. Mamet-lite Superheroing? Pass.

--I dropped The Ultimates out of boredom. I likes my stories compressed, thank ye very much. Seven Soldiers has been hit or miss (Shining Knight was a dull mess), I grant you, but at least stuff happens.

--Street Angel was okay, not great. Scott Pilgrim didn't do a thing for me. Neither Ex Machina and Y the Last Man spoke to me. I'm virtually impervious to the appeal of manga.

So what should I add to my pull list? What's extra-spiffy?

Help out an aging fanboy.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Those Annoying Post Brothers
Savage Henry


10/03/2005 11:44:00 AM  
Blogger T. said...

It's a shame your immune to manga, since I think the Shonen Jump line of books are everything that used to make superhero comics great.

One Piece, Rurounin Kenshin and Naruto are basically great superhero books in disguise.

10/03/2005 11:46:00 AM  
Blogger Harvey Jerkwater said...

I picked up a copy of Shonen Jump about six months ago and gave it a read. I also picked up the first collection of Lone Wolf and Cub. Someday I'll pin down why I didn't like them, but I can't quite explain it.

It seems there are themes and styles used in Japanese popular culture that don't click with me. A lot of what I like in comics are the things that manga (that I've read) doesn't do.

I can't put my finger on it. Gimme time and I'll work out a post explaining it.

10/03/2005 11:57:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nothing. Go cold turkey for a couple months or a year if you're burnt out.

10/03/2005 12:12:00 PM  
Blogger Harvey Jerkwater said...

I'm not burned out, really. The problem is that I don't like Big Fat Crossovers and I don't like comics that take themselves too seriously. Right now the Big Two are mired in Big Fat Crossovers and wayyyy too self-satisfied.

Though yeah, I might walk away. I ditched comics in 1995 and picked them up again after a few years. Might be time to do that again. Hm.

10/03/2005 01:14:00 PM  
Blogger Marionette said...

Polly and the Pirates. First issue is just out and it's a 6 issue mini series. What's not to like?

Or how about Showcase Presents? A monthly Essentials size dollop of Silver Age goodness for $10.

Or alternatively, how about saving the cash and getting a trade paperback or two a month? A complete story (usually) in a book shaped container that fits nicely on a bookshelf.

Or really alternatively, why not try something from long ago? The back issue market is flat as a pancake right now, which means that you can pick up classic silver age comics for the same price as new ones. There are decades worth of incredibly good (mixed in with many, many crap) comics out there just waiting for you that have never been reprinted!

10/03/2005 01:28:00 PM  
Anonymous said...

I think Dark Horse is publishing some awesome stuff these days. Check out The Goon, Conan, B.P.R.D., and/or Usagi Yojimbo.

I was also about to suggest Action Philospohers, but then I re-read your post. Man, that's a cool comic!

10/03/2005 02:04:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Osamu Tezuka's "Buddha" is probably one of the best series I've ever read.

Ever seen "Gemma Bovary" by Posey Simmons? Criminally neglected, nearly perfect.

And you should be reading my comic,
"66 Thousand Miles Per Hour"

10/03/2005 02:09:00 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

Son of Vulcan -- Seriously, why aren't more people reading this?
Noble Causes -- I've been picking up the trades, which are great fun; concentrated doses of super-heroic soap opera.
Godland -- Kirby-inspired action-packed goodness.
Doc Frankenstein (when and if it ever returns to the stands)

10/03/2005 02:40:00 PM  
Anonymous Viking Bastard said...

I'm gonna assume you're read all the Asterix and Lucky Luke you've gotten your hands on.

If not, do so.

10/03/2005 03:13:00 PM  
Blogger Overheard in Pittsburgh said...

Try "amendments."

10/03/2005 03:44:00 PM  
Anonymous Dizzy said...

If you have had all the Asterix and Lucky Luke you can get your hands on, try Donjon or Spirou.

edit: forgot word identification.. elufrpxk.. sounds like a 5D Imp.

10/03/2005 03:54:00 PM  
Blogger Spencer Carnage said...

Uh.....Gotham Central? And Daredevil when Bru and Lark get their hands on it.

But yes, I think everyone is feeling the fatigue. I just cut my pull list to like 4 books. It was hard, but I think it'll work out.

10/03/2005 03:55:00 PM  
Blogger kelvingreen said...

Jack Staff
The Walking Dead
Usagi Yojimbo

FLCL. Two volumes. Cheap. Good.

2000ad, if you can find it cheap where you are.

Anonymous is right, Posy Simmond's Gemma Bovary is a superb true-to-life, non-pretentious comic/graphic novel.

I really like Marvel's current New Warriors, but I'm probably the only one. :)

All-Star Batman and Robin, the Boy Wonder

Okay, not that last one... ;)

10/03/2005 04:05:00 PM  
Anonymous Ryan Dunlavey said...

Man o man - thanks for all the Action Philosophers plugs!

Runaways, New Warriors and Plastic Man are the cure. Pick them up in trades - the singles are a bit light, especially Plastic Man. Invincible ain't too shabby either - again, go for the trades. Uzumaki and Black and White might change your opinion on manga, at least give 'em a look-through. DEMO is coming out in trade soon - that's some good shit. And there's always the past greats like DR & Quinch, Black Heart Billy, Tank Girl, Morrison's Doom Patrol, Elektra Assassin - but you've already read all of those, right? RIGHT?!

Sorry to hear you don't dig Ultimates or Scott Pilgrim - those are 2 of my current faves. I think Street Angel started out so strong but finished weak. Seven Soldiers has been disapointing and All-Star Batman is a steaming pile of shit. I liked Black Panther and Wolverine for a while but dropped them after Romita Jr left. The rest of the books you mentioned I've never even looked at. You actually bought JSA?! Yikes.

It aint comics but FLCL the anime is 1000 times better and probably the greatest tv series ever made. Rent it, and be sure to watch episode 4 before dismissing it. Amazing stuff. The manga version is confusing to say the least - avoid.

If none of that stuff grabs you then you probably should take a break from comix - except for Action Philosophers of course!

10/03/2005 07:20:00 PM  
Anonymous Harpo said...

The Goon
Walking Dead
Jack Staff
and Fear Agent looks like it's going to be enjoyable

10/03/2005 07:49:00 PM  
Blogger Michael said...

I was gonna pimp Runaways, like I allus do, but you said you didn't care for Ex Machina or Y, so you probably won't groove on Vaughan's other book.

Have you been reading New Thunderbolts? You don't care for the compressed, and it's about as decompressed as it gets. Slott's She-Hulk also flies in the face of the current Marv-ogue, and neither is too caught up in this morass of crossovers.

Stepping outside the big two, Conan's pretty good, and sounds like it might be up your alley.

I'd also suggest delving into some old stuff in reprint or trade that you've always meant to read, but never got around to. Like, I dunno, Elfquest or something. Or whatever floats your boat. Or branch the hell out and try something you'd never thought you'd consider. Hell, buy a bunch of Barks duck reprints. Reading those always cheers me up.

I think what you're really saying is that the stuff that's most readily available isn't doing it for you. In that case, I suggest you dig a bit deeper and find something that does.

10/03/2005 08:25:00 PM  
Blogger Harvey Jerkwater said...

That was my thinkin'. Thus, this post.

You wanna hear some heresy?

I bought the Morrison Doom Patrols back when they came out. They blew my punk ass away.

I reread them a few years ago...

And didn't like 'em. Though I didn't get deep into the run. I bet The Painting That Ate Paris would hold up nicely.

Asterix and I are old drinking buddies, not to worry. I had to read 'em for French class back in Ye Olden Times, and deezam, they were great.

And in case anybody is wondering, the Showcase Presents: Superman volume is a goddamn riot. Ho-lee crap. Mutated giant chimps with kryptonite vision, robot versions of Jonathan and Martha Kent with super-hypnosis powers, and more marriage-minded Lois Lanes than you could shake a stick at. Ten bucks for five hundred pages of Silver Age insanity? SWEET!!!

Thanks for the suggestions, folks. I'll try a bunch of these and see what sticks.

Read Nat Turner, people. Kyle Baker, he is the King.

10/03/2005 09:06:00 PM  
Blogger kelvingreen said...

FLCL (the manga) confusing? This from the guy who does a (very good indeed) comic about philosophers? Pshaw!

10/03/2005 09:15:00 PM  
Blogger T. said...

I tried the first Doom Patrol trade a few months ago. Found it overwritten and pretentious, personally.

10/03/2005 09:39:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thieves & Kings

10/03/2005 10:08:00 PM  
Blogger T. said...

I have a suggestion about what you should read, "Emo Vegan Superman," the newest post at my blog:

Okay, that was actually just a shameless plug.

10/04/2005 12:55:00 AM  
Anonymous Iron Lungfish said...

I'll second "Polly and the Pirates," which Marionette inspired me to pick up. "Godland" and "The Goon" are both tons of fun. On top of that I'll recommend "Mister O," "Astronauts of the Future," and most of Lewis Trondheim's stuff. Tony Millionaire's "Sock Monkey" collections are wonderful. And "Monkey in a Wagon vs. Lemur on a Big Wheel" is just the best thing ever.

10/04/2005 03:15:00 AM  
Blogger joncormier said...

I second, third or fourth (I lost count) Godland. I like it although I'm pissed about not being able to get #3 ANYWHERE!

Give Young Avengers a try. I'm glad I did. I was skeptical at first but it's fun.

You can take a page out of my book and just concentrate on trades for a while. Get a meaty helping of something you enjoy and get back to monthlies when you want to. I'm thinking of getting me some Howard the Duck or something.

10/04/2005 10:04:00 AM  
Blogger Paul said...

Pretty much anything by Dan Slott is a good time... his recent GLA 4-issue series for Marvel was hilarious and brilliant, and there's a GLX-Mas special due out in December. His She-Hulk series is coming back soon and he also has a Thing series coming up.

Godland is a lot of fun. New Warriors is super-deluxe funny and I'm guessing the upcoming FF/Iron Man - Big in Japan will also be, since it's written by the same guy and has art by Seth Fisher.

Legends of the Dark Knight is in the midst of a 5-issue storyline with art by Seth Fisher that is very enjoyable. Good stuff, and totally out of continuity.

All Star Superman will be loveliness incarnate, I'm guessing.

Fables, yes. But get the trade paperbacks and start from the beginning...

Death Jr. is a three issue series that just concluded that was super fun, with art by Ted Naifeh (Courtney Crumrin artist and writer). For that matter, Courtney Crumrin, if you haven't already been picking it up.

Solo #7 will be an all Allred extravaganza!!!

All of the above is very fun and does not feature the rapes or murders of silver age characters! Enjoy!!!

10/04/2005 10:26:00 AM  
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