Monday, April 11, 2011

What Comics Are Keeping You A Fan?

Not exactly the question that was posed, but the essential point of what I want to find out from my follower columnists. I have always felt that most fans start with the cape and cowl set and then move on. For me, the love of the super hero stuff waxes and wanes like an elongated lunar cycle, where days are like years.

With that in mind let’s start with Thomm’s answer to the question.

Thomm: My list is going to end up similar to Jim’s list, most likely. Of course, The List sort of gives it away, too. Scalped, Fables, Cinderella, Unwritten, Invincible, The Walking Dead, and the like. I’m primarily in the fantasy writings, with a smattering of the super hero, and the one noir title of Scalped.

I’ve found the super hero titles to be largely uninteresting in recent years. Ok, I’m getting old, so recent years probably goes back into the ‘90s. I only make occasional forays into the super hero stuff since my heyday of the ‘80s when I was reading just about all of the Marvel titles. Now it’s just a check now and then. My latest is FF #1, the first Marvel title I’ve bought in a couple years (since the end of Aaron’s Ghost Rider and JMS Thor). For consistently good reading, the Vertigo and independent titles are much more reliable.

Jim: Hard to argue, as Thomm said main favorite books and his favorites often line up exactly. That is not true on some other topics. Next let’s see what Greg has to say.

Greg: I'm probably going to go a bit more mainstream than most of you here. I get a huge kick out of Marvel's midlist. Stuff like Power Man & Iron Fist, Heroes for Hire, and Thunderbolts. They contain the crazy stuff that I enjoy so much about superhero comics AND do a nice job maximizing the benefits of a shared universe without getting navel gazing continuity.

In addition to that, I enjoy the creator owned stuff from all the different areas of the comic industry (Vertigo, Image, Icon, Dark Horse, Avatar... ok, maybe not Avatar). But what really appeals to me with creator owned books are the ones where a creator's style and/or interests really shine through. Criminal, Incognito, the Unwritten, and Blade of the Immortal are probably the stuff I'm most keen on at the moment. You'd probably be able to throw Casanova and any of Jonathan Hickman's Image minis on that list if they were coming out.

Jim: Again hard to disagree, because I like some of the midlist stuff also like Agents of Atlas was and Thunderbolts, Secret Six and some others still are today. Both Thomm and Greg are expressing their main interest are from comics that are not books containing the major characters from either company. Matthew has this to add to the answer.

Matthew: I enjoy comics that don't offend my sensibilities. I just dropped Warlord of Mars after five issues -- I could have put a down-payment on a nice Omnibus for that price. Unfortunately, that also leaves most of what y'all read off my radar. I also like comics that come out consistently and make sense. Add on ones that maintain the quality of a stellar first issue or even improve afterward. Joe the Barbarian, Tobin's Spider-Girl, and even Paul's Logan's Run all suffered from lateness or art-switches, etc.

The most enjoyable book I get and the one I look forward to the most is Life with Archie: The Married Life. You get two comics for the price of one at a magazine size, plus the excellent Lil' Jinx high school chapter, and it comes out on TIME!!! Sure, it's a soap opera, but you get to see real changes. Miss Grundy has already passed away from cancer. Lots of twists and turns -- a fantastic series with consistent quality artwork.

Another book I'm reading (on the light side) is The All-New Batman Brave and the Bold, which goes with the cartoon series. The Rich Burchett art is great and get this -- he does the art on every single issue! I still like the Marvel Adventures Super Heroes title, but only when Tobin is writing it. I actually skipped a non-Tobin issue (#12) -- no need to throw out $3 for another Hulk/Abomination fight. I like for my storylines to be meaningful, building toward something.

I'm really digging Next Men right now, another consistently good title. Although some of the subject matter may eventually drive me away -- it veers on the darker side of things. And of course, I've done a complete 180 on Amazing Spider-Man and am not only enjoying the series, but enjoying enjoying Spider-Man again. Hopefully, now that Tobin's Spider-Girl series is getting axed we can get Frenz and DeFalco back on the "real" Spider-Girl. Their Thunderstrike mini-series was a lot of fun. Speaking of fun, I'm ever amazed that I'm still loving Booster Gold! Comic Book Comics is always great too (when it comes out).

I'm not that much into events and while I liked the first arc of the Flash, the new one hasn't really clicked for me. Add in all those Flashpoint tie-ins (what is it like 21?) and I may drop the book all together. I'm on the fence with FF.

Godzilla had a promising start and I hope Elric will be good and POTA, but a lot of new series that I was excited about I've recently dropped for various reasons. It makes me gun-shy about jumping into some titles, even if they are good.

Recently, I purchased the complete Superboy: The Comic Book series based on the 1990's TV show. Both are awesome and I've got a whole new appreciation of Jim Mooney's art. I'm also reading the Jack Kirby Captain America Omnibus to one of my daughters -- it's even better when read aloud. Last week I finished the 1975-1976 Peanuts collection from the library and while not as funny as some of the earlier years, still has some really good parts. I think Peppermint Patty is my favorite character now.

Jim: Matthew, as you can see gives us more specifics, but his taste is still in line with the general thought process of wanting books that have something happening and books that entertain. Lee’s thoughts on the subject go like this.

Lee: Today, I am a fan of all things Indie, but I have been reading mostly Euro books the last couple of years. And, as such, I tend not to follow authors but Publishers. My preferred publishers right now are Fantagraphics (US indies and Jaques Tardi), Titan & Rebellion (Dudge Dredd, Judge Death, & Slaine), NBM (Dungeon), Archaia (Cyclops & Killer), and finally IDW. I am hugely excited about the rebirth of Humanoids, but haven't read any of their new books yet. I also love old strips and am slowly working my way through the Walt & Skeezix collection, to steal a line “one of the best interpretations of fatherhood and life” ever.

The best books I recently read have been Elmer, Cholly & Flytrap, Palookaville v20, Miss Don’t Touch Me Vol 2, & Zombo.

Jim: Lee has trended towards books that are giving us stories, often complete within one collection or original graphic novels. In some ways I hate Lee the most because he has cost me more money with his books than anyone else. The problem with this blog is when someone likes something; I will usually try it out if I’m not already reading it. Gwen weighs in with her viewpoint.

Gwen: As much as I still have fun with cape books to a point they definitely aren't my favorite anymore. The comics I enjoy the most these days are books like Mouse Guard and Stuff of Legend. I really enjoy books outside of any continuity as it seems in the past few years continuity just bogs stories down. I feel that creators don't really get to be creative anymore in mainstream comics unless the latest editorial mandate was their idea.

Mouse Guard is based in a world with history and culture but it's David Peterson's world so he has a chance to tell his stories based on what he wants to write. Also, I love reading books that I can share with pretty much anybody else without having to even think about it. Mouse Guard is all ages so as much as I love these comics I can also give Mouse Guard away as gifts to my friends with young kids. Peterson's art is also gorgeous and that certainly doesn't hurt. I enjoy Stuff of Legend for a lot of the same reasons - amazing art, accessible (and fun) story and I can share it with most anyone. Another thing I love about these types of comics is that while there can be plenty of action there's a lot of time spent on characterization. Also, you never feel cheated by these comics. If a character dies in one of these stories they are dead - and if their death retains it's meaning because of this. It's harder and harder to read comic books where death has no significance because then if a character dies you blow it off. Why care about any event if you know it's not going to make a difference in the long run?

I also enjoy books like iZombie, Fables, Echo... I guess my favorite comic books are books where I can be emotionally invested in the characters and the things they are involved in. I need to be able to relate to the characters in a comic to really enjoy the story and the plot itself has to have some sort on continuing integrity.

Jim: So I agree with everyone to one extent or another. If I had to choose one segment of the market that keeps me a fan today it would be Vertigo, Echo, Locke & Key, Killer, Parker and other such material. I could drop all the super hero stuff and except for some of the Batman stuff I probably would hardly notice that it was gone.

Still I think that the market place has changed and too often the super hero set writes to what they enjoyed as a kid as opposed to telling stories about the heroes that would be cool for today. And I could go on and on (and have) about other reasons and issues I think are wrong with the two majors, but what aggravates me the most is so much of the material that I think is great reaches a very, very small audience. One day in this digital age a book like Scapled has to hit the big time. Of course Walking Dead is on TV now and Locke and Key will be, so maybe that is the best way to make the books sell is get it exposed to wider audience and hope they seek out the source material.


  1. WAHOOOO!!!!! Jim hates me the most.

    Suck it, Thomm! I win again.

  2. He hates me more in politics. Nah, nah, nah!

  3. Please I hate you both, just in different ways. Wasn't this a different discussion?

  4. Hey, I actually work for Democrats. I think I win the hated in politics by a landslide.

  5. Greg - I hate Republicans with equal vigor, so you don't win just by being a tool for the system.

  6. Ouch. Wow Greg, that has got to hurt. Jim doesn't think enough of you to hate you. That's pretty low on the totem pole.

    If it makes you feel better then I can hate you on principle.

    That way you can be like Thomm and I.

  7. Not true Lee, I hate Greg, but not for him being a tool, I hate him more because he is too much of a fawning Marvelite.

  8. Let's just leave it at "Jim hates everyone" so the rest of us can be happy.