Thursday, January 24, 2013

So many comics, so little time.

As Courtney mentioned last week, we haven't quit reading comics (you'd have to pry them from my cold dead  hands!) but between getting sick with the flu for a week, writing our theses, and starting a new full-time job, we have very little free time to update this blog.  We're not about to give up blogging, but you can expect our posts to be more infrequent until things quiet down.

I've also been cutting a lot of the fat from my pull list, as DC continues to bore me with what I've felt are a lot of really mediocre comic books.  Clearly there is a lot of restructuring going on  there, what with people being let go and then rehired, and then books being announced only to be cancelled before they are published. Something is clearly rotten in the state of Denmark, but in my opinion you could tell that from the low quality titles they've been publishing for the last few months. Once the Rotworld  story arc ends in Animal Man and Swamp Thing, I'll be dropping both of those titles, I doubt Dial H has much of a future, considering how quickly DC is cancelling low-selling titles these days.  If I'm really honest, the only book I'm really enjoying from DC right now is Wonder Woman.

Marvel Now, on the other hand, has been a huge surprise. There are a lot of comics I'd like to read but won't for budgetary reasons, but a lot of titles I've taken a chance on (FF, Avengers Arena, Deadpool, All New X-Men) have been routinely entertaining.  All New X-Men is my most-anticipated book every month, which is something I never thought I'd say.

My enthusiasm for Valiant comics has been cooling off over the past few months. X-O Manowar and Bloodshot just were not meeting my expectations, and neither has Shadowman, so I've dropped each of them from my pull list.  Harbinger has been getting better with every issue, and from a story perspective, is one of the best mainstream comics being published today. My only issue with Harbinger is the art often looks rushed and inconsistent. Warren Simons, get a regular artist on this book now! Archer and Armstrong was the title I was looking forward to the least when it was first announced, but it's actually a lot of fun, and is maybe the most consistently good book Valiant is putting out each month.

Last year everyone was raging about  Image Comics and creator-owned books, and while I am all for more independent creators, not many of the books Image is publishing these days appeal to me. Of course I'm still reading Saga, Prophet, and The Manhattan Projects, but beyond that? I would love to read more Image Comics, but honestly, they're just not publishing a lot of books that appeal to me lately.

So what am I most enthusiastic about lately? Well, that would be my growing stack of hardcovers and trade paperbacks.  I went a little overboard during the holiday season, and now have a ton of books that I still have to read. I rediscovered my love for Alejandro Jodorowsky's comics last year when a friend of mine gave me a copy of Screaming Planet as a Secret Santa gift, not knowing that years ago I was completely gaga for all the Humanoids stuff back when they still had a distribution deal with DC. Now, Humanoids Inc. has retrieved all the publishing rights to their stuff, and have been re-releasing their comics in ultra-rare, premium oversized hardcovers.  Just in the past month alone I've purchased The Incal, Before the Incal, Megalex, The Technopriests: Supreme Collection, The Metabarons: Ulimate Collection, and The Metabarons: Supreme Collection, all in their hardcover glory.  Of those, I've only had time to re-read The Metabarons, and about half of The Technopriests.

I could go on and on forever about the greatness of Jodorowsky and his sci-fi epics, but needless to say, if you've never read The Metabarons or any of the comics I've just mentioned, go buy them before their disappear again. It could be years before they become available again in English, and they are some of the greatest sci-fi epics ever written in the medium.

As if all that wasn't enough, I've started going back to the Judge Dredd Complete Case Files that I bought last summer, and have been rediscovering my love of Dredd. I think I went about reading those graphic novels the wrong way last summer. As much as I appreciate having been able to read some of Dredd's earliest adventures in The Complete Case Files Vol. 1, I would really recommend that new readers not start with that first volume, but instead, start with one of the mega-arcs like The Cursed Earth, The Day the Law Died, The Apocalypse War, or Judge Death.  Speaking of Dredd, lately I've been discovering a lot of the 2000AD stuff that, being a Canadian, I've never really had the opportunity to read. In particular, I've really been enjoying what I've read of Pat Mills' work on ABC Warriors and Nemesis the Warlock. Unfortunately, it looks like a lot of the ABC Warriors stuff is very hard to find, and very expensive.

Oh yeah, and I've got Matt Wagner's Grendel Omnibus, Volume 2: Devil's Legacy to read as well.

So what am I doing wasting my time writing here, I've got comics to read!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

What We've Been Reading: January, 2013

Alright, I'm going to make this quick to get all caught up to what we're reading now.  Christian and I were ridiculously sick over the holidays so we've been catching up on our lives ever since then.  But that doesn't mean we stopped reading comics!  What have we been reading?  Well, let's start with Colder, because I am still so freaking blown away by the last issue that I can't stop thinking about it.  Remember that issue I picked up on a whim back in November with the creepy cover?  Yea, this one:

Creepy, right?  Well, Christian and I are IN LOVE with this comic.  It's incredibly well-written--total page-turner.  I'm not even going to describe the plot for you because you should just go read it; it's THAT good.  We just read the third issue and it's only a four-issue run, so you need to get your hands on it before it's over.

What else have I been reading...let's see.  Well, I tried out Brian Wood's Mara but it was pretty lame, to be honest.  I picked it up because I played power in high school volleyball and I thought there would be some good old volleyball talk.  He missed out on all the good lines he could have used! Volleyball players like to get low and hit balls, for example.  Boy, was I ever disappointed.  I don't think this guy has ever watched a volleyball game before and neither had the artist, for that matter.  Everyone was very stiff and posed--the volleyball matches were skimmed over, although still managing to screw up the entire concept of volleyball.  What position does Mara even play?  They're playing indoor volleyball, not beach volleyball, so there is no way there would be ONE star player who gets to call all the shots and hit the balls.  You know who really calls the shots in indoor volleyball?  The setter.  Yep, that's right, the one who DOESN'T get to hit the ball.  Anyway, I'm getting all worked up again.  Oh, but the kicker was that she uses her new-found superpowers to CHEAT at volleyball.  So frustrating!

Batgirl, Batgirl, Batgirl...what to say about Batgirl?  Well, Gail Simone is still around.  THANK GOD!  So, I am back on the bandwagon.  And it's still awesome.  That is all. Oh but wait, what is under that bloody platter lid that the Joker is holding?  And what is going on with her brother??  Is her mother dead???  Did the Joker cut something off of Batgirl????  The next two issues will be written by someone else, which is sad-making.  But then Simone will be back.  And it will be good.

We've also been reading All-New X-Men (the younger X-Men time travel to confront their older selves) and Avengers Academy (Hunger Games with superheroes)--both good, both recommended, but I'll leave those for another day.  Right now, I'm going to read issue 7 of Fables, because I'm supposed to be doing thesis work.  A graphic novel about fairy tales totally counts, right?