Comics for People who Don't Read Comics

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Mongrel
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Re: Comics for People who Don't Read Comics

Postby Mongrel » Sun Nov 20, 2016 2:57 pm

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Thad
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Re: Comics for People who Don't Read Comics

Postby Thad » Mon Jan 02, 2017 1:37 am

I'm quite enjoying Hillbilly by Eric Powell. It's 4 issues in (and I'm sure there'll be a trade soon now) but they're all done-in-one; you can pick it up anywhere.

It fuses a few different genres. It's got a real classic fairytale vibe to it (Brothers Grimm etc.) but it's set in Appalachia, in some hazy and indeterminate mythical period that seems to correspond to anywhere from the seventeenth to early twentieth century, depending on what any given story requires.

And the hero, Rondel, is the classic loner hero archetype, in the cowboy/samurai/barbarian/etc. mold; he drifts from one adventure to another and walks away, alone, in the end.

And it's a horror comic. Rondel uses the Devil's Cleaver to fight witches and other assorted supernatural menaces.

It's a great, atmospheric book, of the type I'd like to see more of.

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Thad
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Re: Comics for People who Don't Read Comics

Postby Thad » Sun May 28, 2017 1:52 pm

Royal City has Jeff Lemire back to his magical realist roots; it's a bit like a less-Canadian Essex County.

It's the story of a factory town that's seen better days, and an estranged family that's reunited (but, so far, not brought back together) when Dad has a stroke. It's also got a ghost in it.

Lemire said in the backmatter of #1 that he hates the phrase "slice of life" because he thinks it's a synonym for "boring"; I would propose that leisurely and relatable are better synonyms. Plus, he's writing and drawing, which is great; as much as I like him as a writer, I like him better as an artist.

The first three issues are out; you can support your local comic shop, buy them from Image, Comixology, or wherever, or wait for the trade, which will collect the first 5 issues, come out in August, and sell for $10 (which is half-price compared to the individual issues, which have a $4 cover price).

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Thad
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Re: Comics for People who Don't Read Comics

Postby Thad » Sun Nov 26, 2017 2:10 pm

Astro City #49 is a done-in-one that introduces The Resistor, a liberal protest-themed superhero. It briefly touches on immigration, white supremacists, healthcare, voting rights, the Keystone XL, attacks on the press, and a variety of other timely socioeconomic issues. But because it's Astro City, it's not about those things. The big issues are there, but the focus, as usual, is on the little people, on individual characters and their relationships. In this case, it's about a reporter and her relationship with her father.

But it's also a superhero origin story. And it's also a story about the moment we're in, and the power of ordinary people against the darkness.

It was a good read. Perhaps not as emotionally resonant as last month's issue (which involved a dying dog), but Astro City continues to be one of my all-time favorite books.

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Thad
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Re: Comics for People who Don't Read Comics

Postby Thad » Thu Dec 21, 2017 11:07 am

The first issue of X-Men: Grand Design, by Ed Piskor (Wizzywig, Hip-Hop Family Tree) is out.

The hook is, he's adapting the first 280 issues of X-Men as a 6-issue miniseries. He wants to take one of the most tangled and confusing superhero series and make it accessible to somebody who's never picked up an X-Men comic before.

He's got a ways to go (the series is on a twice-a-year schedule, so if there are no delays the last issue will be out in June 2020), and I haven't even finished the first issue (these are 40-page comics and, as you might expect from the amount of information he has to go through, those pages are pretty packed). But so far, he is succeeding. I can legitimately say that this is the best entry point to X-Men I've ever seen. It's fucking gorgeous, and it manages to take a famously convoluted history, rearrange it so it goes in chronological order (starting, where else, with WWII), and make it not just coherent but narratively compelling.

I'm only up to the part where young Charles Xavier is introduced to his new stepbrother, Cain Marko. But I'm far enough along to know that this is something fucking special.

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Re: Comics for People who Don't Read Comics

Postby Thad » Wed May 16, 2018 12:20 am

The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck (collected in The Don Rosa Library volumes 4 and 5) is every bit the stone-cold classic its reputation suggests.

If there's one caveat, it's this: while the series stands on its own, you'll get a lot more out of it if you've read the original Barks stories that it references, the most important of which are Christmas on Bear Mountain, Only a Poor Old Man, Back to the Klondike (collected in Only a Poor Old Man), and Voodoo Hoodoo (collected in Lost in the Andes).

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Re: Comics for People who Don't Read Comics

Postby Thad » Wed Sep 26, 2018 12:59 am

Slayground is Darwyn Cooke's fourth Parker adaptation, and I think it might be his best. (And the first three are damn good.)

It fits the format the best. Cooke's Parker books alternate between comics and prose narration. Slayground leans heavily on the former; it's got a lot more show and a lot less tell. And its setting is perfect: Parker is cornered in an amusement park (closed for winter); the only way out is through the front gate, but first he has to get past mobsters and corrupt cops who are after his score. What follows is an extremely satisfying series of setups and payoffs: Parker sets traps, and then he springs them.

It's a short one, so the book contains a second story: The Seventh. It's a lot heavier on the narration than Slayground, but it's also got a damned interesting setting: Parker chases a target through a construction site.

Again, all the Parker books are great, but this may be the best. And it's standalone. (So's the third book, The Score.)

Cooke planned to adapt more Parker books, but from what I've read it sounds like they never got past the planning phase. I'd love to be wrong and for it to turn out he was far enough into the next one when he died that it could eventually be completed and released -- but it doesn't look like that's the case. It's a damn shame.

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