Catching Up 1: Comics

My last post, until recently, was published on 15 Nov 2014. This was, not coincidentally, just before the birth of my first child.  Reading has continued over the last 14 months, but writing about reading took a back seat (in fact, it was kicked out of the car altogether).

To the best of my recollection, here are the comics I’ve read over that period…

Fatale Vol. 1-5 (Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips)

Velvet Vol. 1-2 (Ed Brubaker and Steve Epting)

The Fade Out Vol. 1-2 (Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips)

That’s a lot of Brubaker.  I picked up the first Fatale in the library and adored it’s Lovecraft noir vibe.  I was delighted to find that there was a complete run of 5 volumes and picked up the lot.  I don’t think it stayed as exciting for me all the way through (I have a thing about world building.  World inhabitance is almost always a let down), but it was very very good.  Velvet is ridiculously good and I can’t wait to read more.  She’s a crazy bad-ass international superspy, kicking ass and taking names and as cool and mature as you could ask for.  I love that she’s in her forties. I love her sexiness. Just awesome. The Fade Out is less exciting than Velvet, but that’s a testament to how good Velvet is, because The Fade Out is still very good indeed (and it’s got Sean Phillips on art duties again.  PLUS.). Mysterious deaths are happening in Hollywood.  We follow a screenwriter, drunk and foolish and self-destructive, as he bumps up against these murderous shenanigans.

American Vampire Vol. 1-6 (Scott Snyder and Rafael Albuquerque)

My favourite creation by Snyder. A new kind of Vampire is born in the Wild West. A natural killer of those old decadent European aristo vamps.  It sounds a bit grand to call it the story of America, but it’s certainly ambitious — sweeping across the states and the centuries. Panoramic and action packed.  Very good stuff.

Cursed Pirate Girl (Jeremy Bastian)

A comic about a… Well, you can probably guess. Bastian uses lots of 18th Century visual tropes to create this stunningly detailed and hilariously irreverant tale of life on the Omerta Seas. It is truly beautiful and every page rewards long minutes of intense examination. A masterpiece.

Silver Surfer Vol.1 (Michael Allred)

Allred’s characteristic smooth and clean; bright and poppy art style and zany writing.  Some delightful stuff and a definitely enjoyable read but not exactly one of the great works of our time.

FF Vol.1 (Matt Fraction and Michael Allred)

The Fantastic Four, but not as you know them. As above, but with sharper writing thanks to Fraction.

Daredevil Vol.3 (Mark Waid)

I had read the first two previously.  Fabulous art with very clever and striking graphic design, often playing on Matt Murdoch’s “sonar” vision.  Equally fab dialogue and light hearted swashbuckling adventure was the name of the game. The art is of the same exceptional quality here, but some of the swashbuckling vibe of the first two volumes was lost.  It felt like things were starting to go downhill for Daredevil… (the character, not the book).

Murder Mysteries (Neil Gaiman and P. Craig Russel)

A murder has been committed in heaven, so one angel must take upon himself his Detecting aspect and go shake the truth loose.  Celestial Noir.  I don’t need to comment on the writing (*cough* Neil Gaiman) or the art (*cough* P. Craig Russel).

Black Science Vol.1 (Rick Remender)

A somewhat trippy and somewhat pulp sci-fi adventure. A scientist gets lost with his family in some other dimension and has to find his way home battling against the obligatory alien natives. Well put together but unfortunate to come out at the same time as Prophet and Saga (sci fi adventures that have gotten better press).

Metabarons (Jodorowsky and Jimenez)

So, I read the Incal a while ago, and then I reread Dune, and then I watched Jodorowsky’s Dune (“I was raping Frank Herbert!”), so I thought reading Metabarons would be a pretty good idea. There’s a cheap harcover collection floating around at the moment (well, it’s about £25, but it’s bloody massive!).  It’s exactly the epic, odd, imaginative (I can’t bring myself to say visionary) stuff you’d expect.  I also loved the generation-spanning aspect of it.  It’s great watching each Metabaron (a kind of cosmic batman — a fabulously wealthy gadget and gun toting warrior kicking the shit out of people across the galaxy who passes on his/her mantle each generation) develop in different ways, responding in a summative fashion to all those who have gone before.

Ms Marvel Vol.1 (G. Willow Wilson)

Kamala Khan is just great. I love that the (relatively) new Ms. Marvel is a Pakistani-American teen. There’s lovely intergenerational and intercultural stuff all set in a classic light-hearted teen-angsty world.  Boy troubles and supervillain troubles all in one.  Rock solid art and perfectly pitched writing too.

Hellboy in Hell Vol. 1 (Mike Mignola)

Mignola creates things at his own slow and steady pace, so there was a long break between finishing Hellboy, hearing about this, and eventually reading it.  It’s just as beautiful, stoney, and gothic as one would expect.  Hellboy gets contemplative as he wanders through Hell. A wonderful (partial) coda to the main series.

Pretty Deadly Vol. 1 (Kelly Sue DeConnick)

A beautiful book — larger than life gothic characters stride across the Wild West in a tale of blood and vengeance. If it were set in a city, I’d call it an urban fantasy, but it’s not, so I can’t.












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1 Response to Catching Up 1: Comics

  1. Owen Banner says:

    I was tracking with Marvel for a long time. I’ve always appreciate the continuity of the universe vs. DC’s reboot every decade or so. This last major event (Secret Wars) and whatever they did with the universe really threw me though and I dropped off the bandwagon with no hopes of figuring out where to pick back up. I might be migrating over to one-offs like a few of the ones you’ve mentioned. Working on an “American” vampire novel right now, so that American Vampire series looks juicy. Thanks for the rundown.

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