Free and Cheap Comics

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Thad
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Re: Free and Cheap Comics

Postby Thad » Mon May 04, 2015 1:18 pm

I thought people liked his run on Daredevil.

Widening Gyre, on the other hand...

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Re: Free and Cheap Comics

Postby Mothra » Mon May 04, 2015 2:31 pm

Was Widening Gyre the one where Batman was retconned as having shit himself?

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Re: Free and Cheap Comics

Postby Büge » Mon May 04, 2015 3:15 pm

Yeeeeup. It also ends with Kevin's Original Villain Donut Steel slitting Batman's girlfriend's throat.

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Re: Free and Cheap Comics

Postby Thad » Mon May 04, 2015 3:32 pm

Pissed himself. But yes.

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Re: Free and Cheap Comics

Postby Thad » Fri May 15, 2015 1:12 pm

twomorrows.com has a 50% off sale on Comic Book Creator and Comic Book Artist magazines through the end of the month.

I picked up the first issue of CBC and I really liked it; it was Kirby-focused (because who else are you going to focus on in the first issue of a magazine called Comic Book Creator?) and had some edifying interviews with Kurt Busiek and Alex Ross.

Some creators like to get into the behind-the-scenes stuff -- business, politics, etc. -- and some don't. Busiek doesn't always go into detail but when he does I always find it really interesting and educational. In the interview in question he talked about how rights are split up in Astro City, among himself, Ross, and interior artist Brent Anderson. (And I don't think he mentioned this in that interview, but he's said elsewhere that everyone involved in the book, including colorists and letterers, gets a piece of the backend.) He talked about how one of the big mistakes in the past that led to a lot of creators getting taken advantage of, and a lot of relationships souring, was not getting a contract, upfront, establishing who owns what percentage of what, how much everybody gets from sales, and, yes, what they're going to get paid for movies, merchandising, etc. if that ever happens, no matter how unlikely that may seem at the time. (He mentioned, as an example, that Ross was the person most responsible for creating the Gentleman character, and so if there's ever a Gentleman action figure -- again, unlikely as that may seem -- Ross will get the bulk of the profits.)

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Re: Free and Cheap Comics

Postby Thad » Thu May 28, 2015 8:09 pm

Humble IDW Bundle contains Parker, March, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, and Locke & Key.

I already own one of those but I've been meaning to read the other three.

You know, it's occurred to me that I've got gift cards lying around that have tiny amounts of money on them, and a Humble Bundle would be the ideal way to use those up.



And in the "Free" corner, there's DC Sneak Peek: Justice League United #1. Which is...well, it's literally JLU, isn't it? It's a comic about team-ups among various unlikely DC characters. And it's by the team that did Animal Man a few years ago, when that was the best book to come out of the New 52 relaunch.

Here is a page, via ComicsAlliance:

Image

On the one hand, this looks amazing.

On the other, it makes me bitter all over again about how DC gave JLA to Dwayne McDuffie and then completely kneecapped him. This comic looks great. And -- with no disrespect to Jeff Lemire, who's written and/or drawn at least 3 of my favorite comics of the past decade -- I sure wish Dwayne McDuffie were still around to be the guy doing it.

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Re: Free and Cheap Comics

Postby Thad » Sat May 30, 2015 1:21 am

Used the last 89 cents on a gift card for the IDW Bundle. Can confirm that IDW has learned how to make a decent CBZ file since last year's disappointing Transformers bundle; these books look really good. Now that I've got a source of income on the way, I think I'll probably throw more money on and get the top-tier offerings.

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Re: Free and Cheap Comics

Postby Thad » Wed Jun 10, 2015 2:20 pm

Jim Henson Bundle has Dark Crystal, Fraggle Rock, Storyteller -- stuff that's still owned by the Henson Family (in other words, no Muppets).

I'd like to check this out -- particularly The Musical Monsters of Turkey Hollow by Roger Langridge -- but the last time I bought Boom comics in a Humble Bundle the quality was really disappointing.

Might do what I did with the last bundle and start by throwing down a little bit of money to see if it's any good, and add more later if it is.

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Re: Free and Cheap Comics

Postby Thad » Wed Jun 10, 2015 10:01 pm

Okay, I did, and...they look pretty good. I can see some JPEG artifacting on some of the pages of Dark Crystal if I look closely, but it's not bad at all. Big, BIG improvement over the mess Boom gave us last time. (It occurs to me that these are Archaia books, not Boom; while Boom owns Archaia now, it may not be responsible for the quality of these editions.)

Fraggle Rock Classics looks kind of terrible because it's a comic from the 1980's recolored using a bunch of Photoshop gradients. So if you were really looking forward to checking out this bundle for the 1980's Fraggle Rock comics, I would not recommend that you do that.

(For the sake of curiosity I tried setting PV to display it in Grayscale. That's not really an improvement, because everything comes out way too dark.)

Anyway, the files look good enough that I'll kick in for tier 2.

Hm...Tale of Sand won three Eisners. Okay, what the hell, tier 3 it is.

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Re: Free and Cheap Comics

Postby Thad » Wed Jun 24, 2015 9:15 pm

Welp, another week, another Dynamite sale. They're calling this one the Recent Dynamite Hits Sale. You can get the entirety of the Bob's Burgers miniseries for $5 (it is actually 4 cents cheaper if you buy the 5 issues individually than as a set; I am not sure what, if any, special material is in the collected version that the 4 cents will buy you), and they've also got Captain Victory, Conan and Red Sonja, and Shaft for a buck an issue (and all of those are series where I bought one issue, liked it, but never got around to the rest). Unfortunately, while Dynamite's made a big push toward DRM-free comics, those are all licensed comics and all of them have DRM except Bob's Burgers.

There's also a Ghostbusters sale. I haven't read any of the series but I've heard nothing but good things. And I was surprised to find that it's DRM-free, despite being a popular licensed property.

It was a light week this week at the ol' comic shop and I was looking forward to buying a bunch of these sale items; too bad most of them turned out to have DRM. Guess I'll just buy a couple Ghostbusters trades or something.

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Re: Free and Cheap Comics

Postby Thad » Sat Jun 27, 2015 12:07 pm

I'm 3 issues into the Ghostbusters series and it's a lot of fun; I decided to buy up through volume 5 (which (1) is the New #1 relaunch, (2) introduces a new Ghostbusters team, (3) comes recommended, (4) puts me just over the halfway point of what's been published in trade so far, and (5) brings the cost to an even $20).

There are some good bits in there; the backmatter of each issue comes not just with concept sketches but also with Egon's notes on the ghosts and monsters from each issue. The game is canon (I shold finish it one of these days), and somebody makes a joke about a talking gorilla.

Sale's still on. It's worth checking out at least vol 1.

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Re: Free and Cheap Comics

Postby Mothra » Sat Jun 27, 2015 6:53 pm

Pick up the first three volumes. Pretty iffy on most Ghostbusters stuff, but I liked the cartoon enough to give the comics a shot.

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Re: Free and Cheap Comics

Postby Thad » Sun Jun 28, 2015 1:45 am

There's actually a series running right now where the comic Ghostbusters team up with the cartoon Ghostbusters. But it's just out and not on sale.

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Re: Free and Cheap Comics

Postby Thad » Mon Aug 31, 2015 12:15 am

Want some free Cerebus comics? All you've gotta do is pick them up from a warehouse in Ontario.

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Re: Free and Cheap Comics

Postby Thad » Wed Sep 16, 2015 3:57 pm

If you're okay with Comixology DRM, there's a big Astro City sale on right now (Kurt Busiek has a note on the series order; the listing on the Comixology sale is close but not quite right).

Astro City may well be my favorite superhero comic of all time. If you haven't read it, start with a couple freebies: vol 1 #1 and vol 2 #1/2, which also happen to be two of the best stories in the series. If you like those, see what else you're into; there's a lot there for 99 cents each.

My favorite arc is Confession, a Batman and Robin pastiche which runs vol 2 #4-#9, and if you want a taste of a more recent done-in-one, you could do a lot worse than vol 3 #16, which came out last year and has gotten a lot of praise.

That's tip of the iceberg; I could go on at considerable length about what my favorite issues of Astro City are, and many of them are done-in-one stories that you don't need to read in order. Anybody wants any more recommendations beyond these, let me know.

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Re: Free and Cheap Comics

Postby Thad » Thu Sep 24, 2015 1:34 am

And the new Humble Books Bundle is themed on banned and challenged books.

It's not just a good theme, it is, in terms of quality content for your money, the single best collection of comics I have ever seen.

Pay more than the average and you get Heartbreak Soup.

Heartbreak Soup is my all-time favorite comic. Your mileage may vary, but as far as I'm concerned, it goes Heartbreak Soup, then Maus, then that Spider-Man arc where he has to lift the rubble off him as Doc Ock's underwater base collapses. (No, Watchmen is not in my top three.)

It's also got the first volume of Bone. Bone is phenomenal; it's an all-ages adventure story in the classic mold, with influences from Walt Kelly to Carl Barks to Don Martin; it's funny and it's gorgeously drawn. You should definitely get it if you haven't read it yet; it's at the first tier so it can be yours for a penny.

The bottom tier's also got Maggie the Mechanic, which is the other Love and Rockets vol 1. (Heartbreak Soup is the first volume of Gilbert Hernandez's Palomar stories; Maggie the Mechanic is the first volume of Jaime Hernandez's Locas stories.) Maggie the Mechanic is great too, but for my money it's not as great as Heartbreak Soup, or as the other Locas stories that followed. ("The Death of Speedy" is widely regarded as the best Love and Rockets story; if I'm not mistaken it's in vol 2 of Locas. Wouldn't be surprised to see that show up in this bundle later on.)

Bottom tier also has The Frank Book. And if I have a reservation about recommending Frank, it's that I'm not sure I want to read it on a 10" screen. Jim Woodring's work is beautiful, surreal, wordless, and incredibly detailed; it looks best in an oversized book, and I suspect it might lose something on a screen. But for the price (which, again, is as low as you set it) it's well worth checking out.

I have six pieces of comic book art hanging on my walls. One is a Quantum and Woody poster signed by Christopher Priest; one is an Uncle Scrooge print signed by Don Rosa. The other four are Jim Woodring prints that my uncle gave me for my birthday after using them in a museum exhibit.

There's some other stuff in there that I don't know as much about. I like Chester Brown but I haven't read The Little Man; I like Jeff Lemire but I haven't read Essex County. I suppose they're both pretty great based on their respective cartoonists' other work, but I don't know them.

And The Boys is in there. The Boys is not for me; I'm not a Garth Ennis fan. But if you like the sound of a bunch of asshole superheroes being taken down by a group of regular guys led by somebody who looks exactly like Simon Pegg, you'll probably dig it.

But seriously, this bundle? If you have never read a comic book in your life, this has two that I think you need to read. (Three if you count Frank, but again, not sure how well that one translates to a screen.) And several more that may not be quite so high on the must-read list but still rank as Great.

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Re: Free and Cheap Comics

Postby Thad » Fri Oct 02, 2015 12:17 pm

Bought the bundle; put some thoughts up on my blog in a heavily-reworked version of the previous post, complete with example pages.

tl;dr Frank looks a lot better on a 10" tablet than I thought it would, Love and Rockets looks worse (but I think it would probably look better on an iPad because of the aspect ratio), the colors on Crime Does Not Pay suck and you're better off downloading scans from Digital Comic Museum; ultimately this is still a great bundle and well worth buying.

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Re: Free and Cheap Comics

Postby Thad » Tue Nov 10, 2015 1:44 am

Current Humble Bundle is a bunch of Peanuts books. Some of them are collections of the original black-and-white Schulz strips published by Fantagraphics; others are new material and recolored Schulz strips published by Boom. I don't know if Boom has gotten its act together since the last Humble Boom Bundle I bought, but at that time the quality of its digital offerings was pretty piss-poor. I've never had a problem with Fantagraphics, on the other hand, and those are the books I'm more interested in out of this set.

$15 gets you vol 1 of Fantagraphics' complete Peanuts collection, spanning 1950-1952. That's a little bit less than the paperback version goes for on Amazon, for just that book.

The bundle's worth it for the 1950-1952 collection alone, and the Waiting for the Great Pumpkin strips (at the middle tier) include some of my favorites.

I haven't been wowed by the Boom comics I've read (old strips with fucking gradients added; new stories with flashy layouts that are the antithesis of Schulz's style), and, as I mentioned, I don't trust Boom's competence to put out quality digital comics after the last Humble Boom Bundle I snagged. As for the Fantagraphics stuff, I expect high-quality collections but I definitely prefer my Peanuts strips to be sorted by year, not by topic. (I could maybe see reading an entire book of Great Pumpkin strips, but not so much an entire book of WWI Flying Ace strips or baseball strips. Peanuts is repetetive enough without grouping content together like that.)

I'll probably get the bundle just for The Complete Peanuts vol 1. If I do, I'll probably write a blog post about what else I find in the set.

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Re: Free and Cheap Comics

Postby Thad » Thu Nov 12, 2015 2:04 pm

Well, the good news/bad news is I was wrong about the Boom comics looking bad and the Fantagraphics ones looking good; it's mostly the reverse.

Fortunately, The Complete Peanuts vol 1 -- which is the main thing I bought the bundle for -- looks great. But almost all the rest of the Fantagraphics collections look like aliased, artifacted crap. And you can tell which ones are going to look like crap, because all of them are under 12MB. You can also tell which ones are going to look like crap because it's every Fantagraphics comic included in the set except for The Complete Peanuts vol 1 and Snoopy vs. the Red Baron. (The Beagle Has Landed, Charlie Brown is listed as a Fantagraphics book but it's actually a Boom one.)

All in all -- well, I can't say it's disappointing, exactly, because I pretty much just bought the set for Complete Peanuts vol 1 and with the plan to give all the rest to my nephew. (Once I figure out how to get CBZ files onto an iPad. I have to install iTunes? Seriously?) It's a good deal for the 1950-1952 collection alone, and the rest is gravy. I don't have much interest in the Boom comics, but hey, you sure do get a lot of them in this bundle.

I wish Fantagraphics had put a few more volumes of The Complete Peanuts in, instead of those crappy collections of themed strips (maybe one volume from each decade?), but that's not really what Humble Bundles are for. They're a taste to whet your appetite. And, usually, some extra stuff you don't really want but maybe someone else will dig it.

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Re: Free and Cheap Comics

Postby Thad » Wed Nov 25, 2015 9:58 pm

You can read the complete first issue of Frankenstein Underground, by Mike Mignola, Ben Stenbeck, and Dave Stewart, for free at Boing Boing.

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