7.29.2009

More On Comics

Okay, this is kind of a follow up on the last post, kind of a reply to the comments. I haven't really talked much of anything about comics in quite a long time, which is surprising because of how much I absolutely love comics. Maybe I haven't really talked about them because I don't want to sound stupid trying. But fuck it. If I sound stupid or like I don't have a clue about what I'm talking about, so be it.

I've been an avid reader and collector since I was about ten years old. I remember when I first started buying comics, it was at the Stewart's shop a couple blocks up from my house. I was immediately attracted to DC books. Marvel books looked pretty dumb to me. DC had all the famous characters like Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman. I was hooked from the first book I bought.

Here it is thirty-three years later and my fascination and adoration of the medium hasn't waned, it hasn't changed and it may be stronger than ever.

Yesterday I updated the list of books I'm reading (or planning on reading) and I just want to say a couple of words about them.


Action Comics, Superman, Superman: World Of New Krypton- I've been an on again/off again reader of the Superman books over the years. I started reading Superman again when Brian Azzarello & Jim Lee took over, if only to see what the hype was about. While I didn't really care for the story, I realized that I missed reading Superman, so I stuck with it. The book wasn't really all that great, but it wasn't bad either. I was enjoying it. Not too long ago, Geoff Johns stepped in and started writing some awesome stories. He had a vision for the Superman books and started his work on revamping them. I've got to tell you, I've never loved Superman before like I love him now. Geoff has left to do other things (including the upcoming Superman: Secret Origin), but he's left the books in very capable hands. James Robinson is another of my favorite writers and he's turning in some pretty cool stuff. Taking Superman out of the Superman books was pretty ballsy, but it's working. While I'm more interested in the Mon-El stuff than the Nightwing & Flamebird stuff, it's all keeping my attention. I dropped Supergirl a while back because it was awful. Just awful. But it looks like they've finally figured out the character and made her likable. I'm thinking of following that series in trades.

Batman, Batman And Robin, Batman: Streets Of Gotham, Detective Comics, Gotham City Sirens, Red Robin, All-Star Batman and Robin, The Boy Wonder, Batgirl - I'm reading almost all of the Batman books, as you can tell (with plans to pick up the new Batgirl series.) Like with Superman, Batman and I have had an on again, off again relationship over the years. I've been following the main Batman books for a good long time now, without reading too many of the peripheral books. With the relaunch of the entire Batman line, I thought it was a good jumping on point for all the books. I've only read one of most, two of some, but I'm enjoying them so far. Batman And Robin is my favorite so far. Grant Morrison's work is either brilliant or shit with no middle ground. Final Crisis was pure, unadulterated shit. Batman And Robin is brilliant fun. The main Batman book has been okay so far. Judd Winick is a lot like Grant Morrison in the fact that he's either hit or miss. Green Arrow - hit. Titans - miss. I didn't mind Judd's last run on Batman, so I'm looking forward to seeing what he's got up his sleeve. Gotham City Sirens looks to be nothing but pure fun. Red Robin I'm still not sure about. I never read Robin and I'm not that attached to Tim Drake, but we'll see. I'm just one issue into the Batwoman stuff, so it's hard to say anything about it, but I really enjoyed the first issue. All Star Batman gets a lot of grief, but for some reason I'm really digging it. Maybe because it's so bad that it's good? I don't know.

Superman / Batman - This isn't really a Superman family book, nor a Batman family book. It's kind of out there on it's own. It's been a solid book, but it's not anything like it should be. This should be a flagship title for the DC Universe and it's more like an after thought.

Dark Avengers, Mighty Avengers, New Avengers - I've always had a soft spot in my heart for the Avengers. Hell, I've always had a soft spot in my heart for most team books. But this is Marvel's JLA, their premiere super group. What's not to love? Well..... I think Bendis is an incredibly overrated writer. People seem to think he's the second coming. I'm not one of them. I think he's a decent enough writer, but here's my problem with him. He'll take an idea for a simple, single issue (or even two-part) story and he'll stretch that bitch out to fill anywhere from six to twelve issues. That drives me crazy. He'll take one five minute fight scene and fill an entire issue with it. I read these books monthly, but I really should reconsider doing the trades. I think this would be less annoying in that format. Mighty Avengers he's given up writing and it's been pretty enjoyable, but I'm still on the fence with it. I'm not sure what exactly about it bothers me, but something does. I've tried reading the Avengers: Initiative book and I hated it. With a passion.

Flash: Rebirth - Two words. Geoff. Johns.

Green Lantern, Green Lantern Corps, Blackest Night & Crossovers - Again, it's Geoff Johns (among others.) I'll admit that I started picking this up from the beginning of the new run because of Johns, but I found the book boring. My least favorite Geoff Johns thing ever. For the first year or so. And then something happened. It's like he found his groove and everything changed. Green Lantern went from being one of my least favorite books to one of my absolute favorites. This summer Blackest Night promises to bring me the thrills I was hoping to find in Final Crisis. I've only read the first issue so far and I was blown away. Geoff Johns knows what I like and he delivers.

Teen Titans, Titans - These two books are sentimental favorites of mine and they've been absolute garbage. But I have a connection with the Titans and I can't not buy the books. New creative teams are coming and I hope that helps. I certainly can't hurt.

Justice League of America, Justice League: Cry For Justice - I haven't had a chance to start the Cry For Justice book yet, but I hope it's good. The regular Justice League book hasn't been good in a long time. This latest relaunch was more like a botch job than anything else. This book should be one of the crown jewels of DC's line and it's not. It's far from it. But like with the Titans books, I can't not follow it. James Robinson is the new regular writer shortly. I'm hoping editorial will let him write the stories he wants to tell.

Uncanny X-Men, Astonishing X-Men - For the first time in a very, very long time, Uncanny X-Men is a must read book. Matt Fraction is fucking great. He's making sense out of the X-Men. He keeps me coming back for more. He's brought Dazzler back! As for Astonishing, Warren Ellis is normally a writer I enjoy. This storyline he's been feeding us is awful. Just awful. I was about to drop the book when I saw Phil Jimenez is coming on board and now I can't. I hope the next arc improves vastly on this current one or the book is gone. I wonder how much it would take to lure Joss Whedon back?

Brave & The Bold - A book I love the idea of, hate the execution of.

JSA Vs Kobra, Justice Society of America - JSA was one of my favorite books, period. You know why. But there's a new creative team coming on and I'm scared.

Doctor Who, Doctor Who Classics - I'm a sucker for anything Doctor Who. I never read the stories being reprinted in the Classics book before, so I've been picking them up. I wish I could say that most of the stories were memorable, but they just aren't. As for the ongoing, it just started and I'm only one issue in. I wasn't all the fond of the first issue, but I'm willing to give it a chance.

Jonah Hex - This is one of the best books on the market right now. It's a book I look forward to every month and it's a book I'm always fearful is going to be canceled. One of the best things about the book is most issues tell an entire story in one part. No need to pad out a one or two issue story into six issues to fill a trade paperback. That's my biggest problem with the comics industry today, but this isn't the place to get into it. Anyway, if you aren't reading this book, go out and pick up a trade today.

Wonder Woman - Another botched relaunch that took DC a couple of years to fix. Gail Simone is a great writer and she's slowly, but surely, bringing this book back to the level it should be at. Gail's an incredible storyteller and she's got some good shit happening. I'm fascinated by the whole Manazon storyline.

Power Girl - This book I was looking forward to more than just about any other book out there now and I'm kind of underwhelmed by it. DC is kind of going a little light on the book and I'm not sure that's the tone they should be taking. What they need to do is go read...

Ms. Marvel - This book is what Power Girl over at DC should be. Brian Reed has been building and building this world around Ms. Marvel and giving her the tlc she needs and deserves. This may be my favorite Marvel book right now.

Warlord - Just plain fun. I was a big fan of the original series and couldn't pass up the new one with Mike Grell writing. I'm looking forward to the Showcase book that's coming out soon.

Secret Six - Gail Simone. Conflicted villains. Lots of fun.

Outsiders - I'm on the fence with this book. Just when I'm about to drop it, something changes and I stick with it a little longer. But probably for not too much longer.

Perhapanauts - One of the few independents I'm currently reading. It's fun.

REBELS - I'm still undecided on this title.

Solomon Grundy - Seven part mini series. I'm having a lot of fun reading this. I want to sit down and reread the whole run once it's finished in a single sitting.

Showcase Presents: (Most Volumes In The Series) - As I stated before, I'm a big DC fan from way back. This series has been a gift to me. It's a chance to read dozens of old books at a very affordable price. I've talked to people and some say they have a difficult time getting passed the black and white format. I'm not having that problem. Sure, some books don't work as well in black and white (Metal Men, I'm talking to you), but where else can you get 500 pages of Silver Age goodness for pennies? Everyday at lunch I read from one of these books. Currently I'm working my way through the third Aquaman volume. This is where that book hit it's stride. I do read some of the Marvel Essential volumes, but not to the extent that I do the DC version.

The rest of my list are books that either haven't started yet or books that have, but I haven't had a chance to read. They are Adventure Comics, Doom Patrol, Reborn, Spider-Woman, and Wednesday Comics.

What books are you enjoying right now?

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