Which Runs Do You Read/Collect?

Started by Slash Man, Tue, 23 May 2023, 01:58

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I've only gotten serious about reading comics within the past few years, but I've quickly found my niche of heroes/artists/writers that I follow. As with all hobbies, without any kind of limit in mind, it's easy to get overwhelmed.

For me, Spider-Man was probably the first hero I followed as a kid. It goes without saying that the original Ditko era is classic through and through. Romita breathed new life into the character and defined him for years to come. Even past him and Lee, there were always great arcs to be found every so often. I mainly read through Epic Collections, so at least one arc with every volume is great enough to justify the purchase. Though I finally draw the line with the Clone Saga. I can do without the retcons, and all the added lore and science fiction elements stretch the suspension of disbelief. It's very 90s in a way that I haven't become nostalgic for yet.

Batman was my second favorite hero as a kid. I've read hundreds of the original stories, and I'll keep reading so long as DC keeps re-releasing them, though it already looks like they won't make it to the 50s. But regardless, my heart is mostly in the immediate post-Crisis stories of the 80s/90s. Unlike Spider-Man, these were still part of the comic culture when I was growing up, but still stand up beyond nostalgia. My cut-off has been Troika (following the prerequisite Knightfall saga), but I may continue reading on until the point where the classic writers finally drop off.

For Captain America, I actually started with some Mark Gruenwald stories and immediately sought out the rest of his run. I figure this is my stopping point, since I don't think any stories can follow his. For more of the character's lore, I went back to the original silver age run by Lee and Kirby. So far, that's been solid enough for me to read on (I'll try to fill in the blanks from the 60s to the 80s eventually).

As with many projects during the MCU's golden age, I checked out Frank Miller's Daredevil and found that was perfect for coming off of the TV show. I've since read the first few years' of Stan Lee issues, and despite one of the best assortments of rogues, I just didn't find myself as enthralled by the storytelling.

Punisher's solo series' in the 80s/90s have all been solid. Hasn't been a bad take yet, so I plan to keep reading. Though the Circle of Blood miniseries is still top for me.

I found myself delving into the Avengers West Coast series after U.S.Agent was transported there from his main Captain America series. I've read a couple years in, but haven't really been hooked since the initial Vision Quest arc by John Byrne.

Quote from: Slash Man on Tue, 23 May  2023, 01:58Though I finally draw the line with the Clone Saga. I can do without the retcons, and all the added lore and science fiction elements stretch the suspension of disbelief. It's very 90s in a way that I haven't become nostalgic for yet.
If you buy into the idea of a multiverse, there's one out there somewhere in which my fan evolution took me in a Spider-Man direction. But that's not this universe. Here, I tried getting into Spider-Man... just as the Clone Saga was getting underway.

I've since read tons of Spider-Man comics. But sadly, I wasn't able to come at Spider-Man comics as young, hungry comic book fan. As a result, my Spider-Man fandom has always been severely handicapped.

Quote from: Slash Man on Tue, 23 May  2023, 01:58I checked out Frank Miller's Daredevil and found that was perfect for coming off of the TV show. I've since read the first few years' of Stan Lee issues, and despite one of the best assortments of rogues, I just didn't find myself as enthralled by the storytelling.
Be careful. SN and I can talk your head off about Daredevil comics.

Miller is obviously Daredevil's granddaddy and I don't think anyone questions that. But Mack, Bendis, Brubaker and other writers did a lot for Daredevil and created worthy follow-ups to Miller's run. For that matter, I would even include Kevin Smith's run as well. All are worth checking out.

Ann Nocenti (eventually) followed after Miller's Born Again and... I can see strengths in her run. I think I understand what she was trying to do in taking the series in her own direction. Because trying to copycat Miller so soon after Miller himself was a sucker's bet. And clearly, Nocenti wasn't going to fall for that. But honestly, I think the title needed a more experienced writer. I can't help but think Nocenti could've done a better job if she'd had just five more years under her belt. In any case, her run is worth reading. But I would counsel you to try not to think of Miller's work when you read her stuff.

For the past several years, my movie tastes have been shifting away from superheroes and more toward horror. I suppose it's only fitting that my comic book diet has shifted (kind of) similarly.

I've been reading Marvel's old Tomb Of Dracula title. And while I can't speak for anyone else, I think the real franchise of Tomb Of Dracula is Gene Colan's art. Yeah, the title stabilizes once Marv Wolfman settles in. But still, Gene Colan did career best work on that title and that's ultimately my buy-in.

Aside from that, I've been checking out DC's Eighties and Nineties Vertigo stuff. Specifically, the magic stuff. Tim Hunter, Neil Gaiman's Sandman, Alan Moore's Swamp Thing and those related titles. All in all, I've very impressed with the consistent quality of these comics. Clearly, they were a labor of love for the creative teams and it shows on every page. I never paid much attention to Vertigo back in the old days. But now, I can see that I've been missing out on a serious treat.

But for superhero stuff, I've been revisiting Kurt Busiek's Astro City. Esp in today's world, this is a sadly underrated series. For those who don't know, it's basically a pastiche. A little bit of Marvel, a little bit of DC, plenty of familiar concepts and archetypes. Different enough to be unique, yet familiar enough to be recognizable. I encourage everyone to take another look at Astro City. It's prime stuff.

Aside from those things, I've also been picking up a lot of Comicsgate titles and enjoying them thoroughly.

Thank you for the suggestions! I guess I'm not done with DD just yet.

It's not superheroes, but at the moment, I'm collecting some Sons of Anarchy comics, published by BOOM! Studios. It takes place in between seasons of the TV show, serving backstories to key events that haven't been covered e.g. main character Jax Teller getting stabbed while in prison before getting his revenge to murder the capo of the Russian mob. Anybody who has seen the show will appreciate the comics follow the spirit of the show's exploration of the underworld politics and betrayal among SAMCRO and how they deal with allies and enemies.

Pretty good stuff if you're into crime comics.
QuoteJonathan Nolan: He [Batman] has this one rule, as the Joker says in The Dark Knight. But he does wind up breaking it. Does he break it in the third film?

Christopher Nolan: He breaks it in...

Jonathan Nolan: ...the first two.

Source: http://books.google.com.au/books?id=uwV8rddtKRgC&pg=PR8&dq=But+he+does+wind+up+breaking+it.&hl=en&sa=X&ei

I finished reading Ed Brubaker's The Marvels Project: Birth of the Super-Heroes, a retelling of some of Marvel's (or Timely Comics rather) Golden Age era right in the beginning of WWII.

Great book, I really enjoyed the backstories of the original Human Torch and his desire to be understood and feel human coincided with Namor's misguided vengeance against humanity for his people getting butchered by the Nazis; leading up to a huge battle in Coney Island where Human Torch cemented himself as a hero and another battle where Namor's assault on NYC lead to Captain America and co rescuing those who were injured in the attack.

I enjoyed the little character moments with Heinz Kruger writing an unmailed letter to his wife on the night before he assassinated Dr. Erskine during Steve Rogers' Super Soldier experiment, the Angel becoming more driven after a fallen costumed hero he had inspired was killed, and Human Torch disguising himself as a cop because of his desire to always help people, as well as making up for the fires he accidentally set in NYC.

Recommended if you're interested in reading a modern take on the Golden Age.
QuoteJonathan Nolan: He [Batman] has this one rule, as the Joker says in The Dark Knight. But he does wind up breaking it. Does he break it in the third film?

Christopher Nolan: He breaks it in...

Jonathan Nolan: ...the first two.

Source: http://books.google.com.au/books?id=uwV8rddtKRgC&pg=PR8&dq=But+he+does+wind+up+breaking+it.&hl=en&sa=X&ei

I've been reading a bunch of X-Men stuff lately. Obvious things. Claremont, Morrison and Whedon (in 616) and Millar (on Ultimate X-Men) and a bit of Hama (on Wolverine).

Frankly, I've developed a completely new appreciation for X-Men over the last couple of weeks. Such an amazingly rich tapestry. So many interesting characters and conflicts and storylines.

And artist after artist turning out some of the best work of their entire careers. The list is almost endless. Joe Madureira, John Byrne, Dave Cockrum, the Kuberts, Frank Quitely, all of the Image guys, etc.

Much respect to X-Men comics.

I'm currently reading some of Chris Claremont's X-Men run with the new team line-up introduced in 1975's Giant-Sized X-Men, from the moment all members of the original team minus Cyclops part ways to Thunderbird sacrificing himself to stop Count Nefaria. I continued reading through how Jean Grey became the Phoenix when she used all of her telepathic powers to absorb the solar flare in outer space to save everyone after the conflict with Steven Lang - the character himself was another racism allegory, started Project Armageddon in an attempt to wipe out the mutant race starting with the X-Men. While reading through these issues, Storm's backstory was explored and showed she suffered from claustrophia due to the tragedy of losing her parents during the Suez Wars (a brief real-life war conflict in Egypt during some time in the 1950s) and how she found them dead while she was buried in the rubble. That was the reason she kept suffering from PTSD and became paralysed with emotion while the rest of the X-Men were ambushed by Black Tom Cassidy and Juggernaut during a vacation in Ireland.

Great run, and it really expanded X-Men's mythos into something distinctive and unique compared to the rest of the wider Marvel universe. Despite all the talk about what's woke nowadays, these comics written Claremont didn't shy away from sociopolitical and even psychological themes, but he wrote them with tact. Without Claremont, I doubt the X-Men would be among some of the most iconic characters in comics today.

Even putting aside the themes, I enjoyed the little moments in these issues, such as the narration berating Wolverine for discarding flowers he had just bought for Jean Grey for the same lack of care of human life because his planned private moment with her in the hospital was interrupted when all the X-Men showed up, a Star Trek homage when a Shi'ar Empire starship was recording a status report as they hunt Lilandra across the galaxy, and Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Dave Cockrum and Claremont made funny cameos in some of the panels. Some of this stuff you don't get to see in comics anymore.
QuoteJonathan Nolan: He [Batman] has this one rule, as the Joker says in The Dark Knight. But he does wind up breaking it. Does he break it in the third film?

Christopher Nolan: He breaks it in...

Jonathan Nolan: ...the first two.

Source: http://books.google.com.au/books?id=uwV8rddtKRgC&pg=PR8&dq=But+he+does+wind+up+breaking+it.&hl=en&sa=X&ei

Tue, 16 Jul 2024, 01:07 #7 Last Edit: Tue, 16 Jul 2024, 18:36 by thecolorsblend
Started a reading project last week of Geoff Johns's run on Green Lantern. I first read it start-to-finish about twelve years ago. I adored it back then. And so far, it has DEFINITELY held up.

I started with Rebirth and have worked my way up to Green Lantern v4 #04 and Green Lantern Corps- Recharge #05.

What strikes me about this run is how instantly familiar the characters and concepts seem. Hal, John, Guy and Kyle all have their own unique identities as Lanterns that distinguish them from each other (which can't be easy to do since they essentially have the same "powers"). But the characterizations are done in a way where you can pretty easily believe that they're capable of working together in spite of their differences.

As most of you probably know, the stuff I've read is pretty much just the tip of the iceberg. The Geoff Johns run on GL is among the biggest, most epic storylines (or series of storylines) any comic book publisher has ever attempted.

I somewhat criticized Geoff Johns's run on Superman as STM fanfiction. Others agreed with that sentiment. And I think it's a fair criticism of his Superman work if I'm being honest.

But frankly, I simply do not see much room to criticize his GL work. It is true that Johns wiped Emerald Dawn I and Emerald Dawn II right out of continuity. But aside from that, the amount of retconning he DIDN'T do is pretty impressive. Hal Jordan was Parallax, Kilowog was killed, the Corps got wiped out, Kyle became a Green Lantern, Hal became possessed by The Spectre, etc. And Johns doesn't back away from any of that.

Most impressive of all (at least to me), Johns gave Hal a REAL characterization. Before Johns, Hal was pretty bland. Even Denny O'Neil couldn't find a satisfactory way of writing him. But Johns reimagined the character as a sort of Maverick/Top Gun figure. Hal can be a little freewheeling, he can be a bit of a horndog and commitment-phobe, he can be all those things. But he is still a true hero and you can see how he earned his reputation as the best of the Corps.

Another cool aspect of this run is how early on Johns foreshadowed the Blackest Night storyline. He wasted virtually no time in setting up the fact that something BIG was coming. And I can't wait to get Blackest Night... which is arguably where his run should've concluded. It's not that what came later is bad. But I don't remember it being as good as the lead-up to Blackest Night. But who knows, maybe that stuff has improved with age?

Something else is that the energy and excitement is immediate in these comics and it even shows on the covers:






























Every single one of the covers demands to be read. They're simply exciting to even look at.

It was around 2008-2011 that DC began trying to position Hal Jordan/GL as DC's replacement for Superman as the company's main mascot. It's not hard to guess why that ultimately failed. But it's also not hard to see why somebody ever wanted it to happen in the first place. Because the GL titles were firing on all cylinders and it was a pretty exciting time to be a fan and follow those comics.

Not sure if anyone else is as in love with the Johns era of Green Lantern as me. But if you've never read these comics before, I can't more highly recommend them to you. Because from 2004 to 2013, the Green Lantern titles were regularly in the top five most exciting comic books coming out.