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Comic books and Manga Thread

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I'mkind of blasé towards Starlin. I don't think his cosmic stuff is bad by any means, just that I prefer my druggy scifi comics with more baroque visual spectacle like Lone Sloane or Dope Rider. I realize that within the realm of monthly comics deadlines and especially at 1970s Marvel that just wasn't going to happen. That said, I really liked the handful of Master of Kung Fu issues that feature his art. Are there any more examples of Starlin drawing this kind of physical street level action?

14 hours ago, ohtani's jacket said:

Graham! Haven't seen you around here in ages. You're not wrong about BWS. I am up to issue 8 and the art is phenomenal. My mind will explode if I start getting into Argentinian comics right now. I can barely keep up with all of the stuff I'm reading at the moment. 

A big reason I haven't been posting much in the last few years is how hard it is to balance watching wrestling vs reading comics when I have some free time. Comics win out most of the time.

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3 hours ago, WingedEagle said:

Let's say I haven't read a comic in 25 years and I dug Batman, X-Men and the odd Image/Valiant back then.  Any trade paperbacks worth grabbing now?

Are you opposed to digital because there's a lot of New Year's sales right now. Here's my list of suggestions of more current stuff:

X-O Manowar Vol 1: By The Sword - just $10, if you like it grab the next one.

East of West

Invincible

Irredeemable - this is Boom Studios and written by Mark Waid.

Batman Vol 1: Court of Owls

Captain America by Ed Brubaker

X-Men: The Hidden Years

Annihilation

Planet Hulk

Mutant X - Alex Summers gets drug into an alternate reality.

A lot of people will recommend The Boys. I enjoyed it and it is good but it's a little too try hard for my tastes and relentless bleak. I would say try the first volume for yourself.

Fables

Y, The Last Man

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I'll second X-O Manowar, East of West, Court of Owls and Cap by Ed Brubaker.  I have yet to read any of the rest but completely agree on what I have.

 

In fact, anything by Ed Brubaker (especially with Sean Phillips) is well worth your time.  Great noir books.

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Immortal Iron Fist by Ed Brubaker is also excellent and short. His Cap run is what I point people to when they say Captain America is boring, I wouldn't even really call the Brubaker Cap book a superhero comic as much as an espionage comic.

I forgot another one. The Brian Azzarello run on Wonder Woman. Really different approach to WW but probably the best writing she's had since Perez was on the book.

Sinestro Corp War and Blackest Night are great Green Lantern events. Blackest Night is a little hit and miss and more of a standard crossover but Sinestro Corp War is fucking amazing.

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One more. This is not superhero and I don't remember if I have mentioned it in this thread. But Blacksad is a must read French comic. Don't let the anthropomorphic animals scare you away.

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On 12/31/2020 at 3:57 AM, Beast said:

Right now I'm reading both the Giffen/DeMatteis/Maguire JLI as well as Ostrander's Suicide Squad. I've read the first 20 or so JLI issues before and all of Squad, but not for a decade or so. Post-Crisis DC has some real gems, and the way these two books also play with the supergroup genre as well as reflect upon the time they were written is fascinating. Again, these are books that feel well-planned and almost like high quality modern cable shows. At around the same time, Moore, Gaiman and Morrison were (or had) revamped Swamp Thing, Sandman, and Doom Patrol and Animal Man, but these more mainstream books are just as innovative with their takes on DC characters and mythology, just more "comic booky" maybe...

It's funny that the zeitgeist here has been so thoroughly in the 70s. I was wondering why people weren't reading either the big 80s Marvel runs (Simonson on Thor, Byrne on FF, Gruenwald on Cap, Stern on Avengers/Dr. Strange). Or some of the big Post-Crisis DC runs (Ostrander on Suicide Squad, Giffen/Dematteis/Maguire JLI, Grant on Shadow of the Bat, Byrne/Stern on Superman, etc.). The 70s runs are good but there's just so much more to hang on to with the 80s runs.

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When it comes to superheroes, especially Marvel superheroes, I prefer the 80s. Feels like a time period where art, writing, and the editorial end were more consistently on the same page. 70s Marvel is very messy which can lead to some surprising and great stuff but it's bad for staying consistent.

I probably prefer DC in the 70s but it's a bad era for their superheroes. The best DC comics of the 70s other than Kirby's series are Niño on Captain Fear, Death of a Bountyhunter from the Jonah Hex Spectacular, some of the pulp hero revival stuff drawn by Kaluta and Robbins, random Toth and Heath appearances in the war titles, and the emergence of the Filipino artists in the horror titles.

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I read all of the 60s in publishing order and blogged a lot of it like a decade ago. People that try to minimize Stan Lee's effect on the comics really should do that. He really unifies all of it with a singular voice. 

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1 hour ago, ohtani's jacket said:

Well, I can't speak for anyone else, but I've read most of the 80s stuff but very little from the 60s and 70s. 

Same here, which is why the pandemic pushed me into reading lots of 60s, 70s, and post 2000s Marvel. I'd read and collected a ton of 80s and 90s Marvel in those decades.

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52 minutes ago, Shrike02 said:

Same here, which is why the pandemic pushed me into reading lots of 60s, 70s, and post 2000s Marvel. I'd read and collected a ton of 80s and 90s Marvel in those decades.

I'm in basically the same boat. Back during my last major fandom peak 20 years ago I was an 80s maniac. Also went through quite a bit of 60s Marvel at the time as well, plus some DC. I would've gotten heavy into the 70s back then too, but reprints weren't yet plentiful and single issues were either spotty to collect in runs (just relying on local stores) or too expensive 

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I did my own little tribute to MF DOOM by reading some classic Doom stories while listening to his music.

Emperor Doom offers up an interesting premise -- what if Doom took over the world and actually made it a better place? Doom solves the world's problems in short order, leaving the heroes with the moral quandary of whether it's right to have a utopia with no free will. Doom, for his part, grows bored with no one to challenge his authority. A decent Avengers yarn, but it wraps up too neatly, especially for the graphic novel format. I could understand it if it was in the monthly books, but I expected more from a prestige format book. 

Next up were the Wally Wood Doom stories. These were like a whirlwind. I had no idea what was going on half the time. Things just randomly happened. But the wackiness fit with the samples that MF DOOM liked to use from the Fantastic Four cartoon, and the art was great, as you'd expect. 

Lastly, the Doom arc from Fantastic Four #196-200. MF DOOM actually used a panel from #199 for one of his album covers, which is cool. The main event here is the double-sized anniversary issue with an epic showdown between Doom and Richards. It's a tremendous heavyweight fight. Richards had his powers juiced earlier in the storyline, and Doom snaps during their fight and nearly chokes Richards to death. The ending was brutal. You could easily read this as a standalone issue and skip all of the build up. I thought it was terrific. The art wasn't very dynamic, but the story lived up to its billing and was befitting of the occasion. 

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I randomly downloaded this app called Marvel Unlimited...It's ten bucks a month but you get a ton of comics. The app says over 20,000 worth. The downside is that you get the new releases a couple months behind. So for example they dropped Maestro but it's only on issue 2 on the app but the series on paperback is up to like 7 I think or something around there.

I read the new Thor comic with "The Black Winter" and it's really good but it's only up to issue 7. So I am just waiting for the app to update to read the rest. I would suggest maybe looking into that if anyone is interested. You can also get a free trial to see if it's worth it.

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Marvel Unlimited is definitely worth it. Been subscribing for close to a year. Since my interest is primarily in older comics, it's a gold mine. I've been impressed with some modern stuff; the current X-Men titles as a whole are very very good. Probably the best overall since Grant Morrison's New X-Men run.

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3 hours ago, Shrike02 said:

Marvel Unlimited is definitely worth it. Been subscribing for close to a year. Since my interest is primarily in older comics, it's a gold mine. I've been impressed with some modern stuff; the current X-Men titles as a whole are very very good. Probably the best overall since Grant Morrison's New X-Men run.

Did you read Kieron Gillen’s run? I liked that more than Morrison’s.

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16 minutes ago, Matt D said:

Did you read Kieron Gillen’s run? I liked that more than Morrison’s.

It's very good too, I'd have to re-read to say definitively which I prefer. By default I think Claremont's run (obvious warts and all) is the all-time best, followed by Morrrison, Gillen, and the current offerings.

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I finished Garth Ennis' run on Hellblazer. It tapered off a bit towards the end, as most runs do, but I was happy that he tied up all the loose threads instead of leaving them for another writer to ignore or misinterpret. The biggest problem I had with the run was the impetus for Constantine turning his life around after he'd hit rock bottom. I thought that could have been handled better. More impressive was the Heartland one shot that deals with Kit's life in Belfast and her relationship with her family. That was a great read. Proof positive that Ennis doesn't need to use shock tactics to write a really good story. 

Some other things I've been reading:

Jonah Hex, where have you been all my life? I've always had a fondness for Westerns but never explored the genre in comic book format. The Hex stories have been excellent so far. 

I have been eagerly devouring Roy Thomas & Barry Smith's Conan the Barbarian. I love the early Savage Sword of Conan issues, but for the longest time, I had this impression that the original Conan title was watered down and not worth reading. That was stupid of me. Smith starts out as a Kirby clone in the early issues, but he quickly begins to develop his own style, and within half a dozen issues, his artwork is simply phenomenal. It really is some of the most gorgeous stuff I've seen in comics. Although, I'm up to the Elric crossover right now, and I think that's been a misfire. 

I also read the Chris Claremont & Frank Miller Wolverine mini-series. Having lived in Japan for many years, I thought the representation of Japan was silly (Yakuza, ninjas, etc.), but the art is nice. If you like Miller's early work on Daredevil, you should check out his pencils on the series. 

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I too am a big fan of 70s Marvel doing work with literary IPs such as Howard's Conan stories and Burroughs' Barsoom novels. I'm not sure the latter are available on Marvel Unlimited, however. I should go look.

There are a couple of very famous cover illustrations featuring Dejah Thoris and John Carter from that period. Marv Wolfman was the writer.

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On 1/13/2021 at 6:51 PM, ohtani's jacket said:

Jonah Hex, where have you been all my life? I've always had a fondness for Westerns but never explored the genre in comic book format. The Hex stories have been excellent so far.

What Hex have you been reading? I l think Death of the Bounty Hunter is a top ten best DC story of all time.

I read a chunk of Sandman Mystery Theatre last week. I'm unsure how I feel about the introduction of other golden age DC characters once the series reached it's third year. The Hourman story was really fun and this interpretation of that character was intriguing. I thought The Mist with it's light science fiction elements were a bit clumsy. Phantom of the Fair was better. I'm a sucker for NY World's Fair stories and Guy Davis is great at the sense of place required to immerse you in a setting. 90s Guy Davis was like an alternate universe Ben Katchor who also drew adventure stories. The cameos in The Phantom (Jim Corrigan, The Crimson Avenger) were messy but that made them more charming than the cute shit in The Mist. The Blackhawk story was good though I missed Davis' art. This reminds me that even though I didn't enjoy the Chaykin reinvention of Blackhawk that I would like to pick up the ongoing by Burchett, Pasko, and Moench, mostly because I'm turning into a Moench completist as I get older.

Eternaut 1969 was an intriguing supplement to the original but in no way necessary. Perramus is one of the most attractive looking comics I've ever seen. Every other page made me stop and stare instead of reading. Still, I feel let down by the story and it's satire. Maybe my standards were too high. I'll probably revisit this down the line and attempt to appreciate what it is instead is what I'd like it to be.

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On 1/13/2021 at 8:51 PM, ohtani's jacket said:

I finished Garth Ennis' run on Hellblazer. It tapered off a bit towards the end, as most runs do, but I was happy that he tied up all the loose threads instead of leaving them for another writer to ignore or misinterpret. The biggest problem I had with the run was the impetus for Constantine turning his life around after he'd hit rock bottom. I thought that could have been handled better. More impressive was the Heartland one shot that deals with Kit's life in Belfast and her relationship with her family. That was a great read. Proof positive that Ennis doesn't need to use shock tactics to write a really good story. 

I've constantly gone back to that run as it's how I wish Constantine was always portrayed and how Ennis always told stories.

It was Ennis' first mainstream run, but in my mind it's his peak. Just enough grotesque wackiness without going overboard. The second issue (42) "A Drop Of The Hard Stuff" is a fantastic piece that sets the tone for what's to come really well.

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