2014 what are you reading thread

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Pax Romana #1 - I doubt this is going to wind up being good but I'm going to grab the rest of the series; time-travelling Catholic crusaders who apparently turn Earth into Dune? Aight.

Twilight Zone #1 - good-looking art but not distinctive, was hoping each issue would be a story but it looks like there will be multi-issue arcs

Baltimore: Chapel of Bones #1 - I guess there's supposed to be some backstory I already know from the Hellboy/Mignolaverse? Books like this are frustrating, some spooky setting and a reveal but nothing much to care about in the single issue itself.

Kiarostami bag (milo z), Thursday, 2 January 2014 05:49 (ten years ago) link

I just read Simon Hanselmann's "Life Zone" and Michael DeForge's "The Boy In Question" from Space Face. The DeForge is typical (ie excellent), but Hanselmann was a huge surprise for me. I've enjoyed the Megg, Mogg & Owl stuff I've seen before (I tried going through the archives online but reading sequential posts on Tumblr is a giant pain in the ass), but now I think I'm more excited for the Fantagraphics release than anything except Charles Burns's Sugar Skull.

CAROUSEL! CAROUSEL! (Telephone thing), Thursday, 2 January 2014 21:28 (ten years ago) link

The Nightly News #1 - maybe it gets better than sub-Fight Club posturing but I'm unlikely to find out.

Got the first two Y The Last Man collections next.

Kiarostami bag (milo z), Friday, 3 January 2014 06:57 (ten years ago) link

Got an unexpected Kindle for X-Mas so I'm aimlessly digging into the digital collection. Reading OG Thunderbolts from the beginning, to be followed up by the post-Heroes Reborn reboots of the Avengers titles. Still waiting to see if I eventually understand why Busiek is rated so highly.

Lip-Smackin', Finger-Lickin', Ooey-Gooey Goodness (Old Lunch), Friday, 3 January 2014 16:33 (ten years ago) link

David Finch's Batman: Golden Dawn. Pretty much as bad as I'd heard. (The girl/MacGuffin is actually named Dawn Golden...) Especially compared to the Morrison-written Batman: The Return story at the end of the trade that set up Batman Inc.

Nhex, Tuesday, 7 January 2014 06:07 (ten years ago) link


I was curious about Berserk 8 years ago and I was put off by the number of volumes and had reservations about the art style but last year I found out what I was missing out on.
I was a bit nostalgic for some of the animation I used to watch and I had heard good things about the 90s animated series and thought that might be a good way to spend time and find out if I wanted to commit to the comic series.
Although the animated series looked like it was done on a tiny budget and tight deadline (lots of shortcuts taken), considering that, it did an admirable job of telling the story (I think the recent animated films were too much like a summary and didn’t get the power of the gradual changes in story) and the soundtrack by Susumu Hirasawa was very powerful and evocative. It hooked me and I really needed to find out what happened later in the story (the 90s animated series largely ignores the first few volumes of the comic and ends at some point in volume 13).

This review was written after reading volumes 1-37, which is all that is currently available. I’ve done my best to avoid spoilers, because they really do matter in this story and I think fans are generally conscious of that.

I’ll use pros and cons...

The Good: I’m rarely interested enough to try long running comic serials but I’d say Berserk is one of my top contenders for that form. It has a really brilliant dark fantasy plot that unfolds in a really satisfying way and introduces several fascinating mysteries every now and then. The way the early characters change and grow together is really well done and although there are lots of tangents that bother me from the latter half of volume 14 and onward, the main story thread stays tantalising and well composed.

One of the early pleasures is seeing the world slowly letting in more and more fantasy; the initial disbelief and terror felt by the characters.
The events of volumes 12-13-14 makes one of the most incredible turning points I’ve ever seen in a story.
The story can be surprisingly emotional. In the first 14 volumes there were three different points that nearly had me crying.

The fantasy is visualised at a standard far above what most comic artists and companies are willing to attempt. The landscapes, scenery, architecture, castles, armour, boats, corpses and monsters all look excellent; there are lots of really brilliant images that succeed mightily in grandeur, awe, nasty brutality and grotesque.
The large scale battles that go through various stages are often amazing. I think the battle in volumes 33-34 must be the most impressive one I’ve ever in seen in a visual narrative medium and it’s unlikely for a film or a videogame to reach that kind of power and assurance.

I think it is interesting that a couple of the main characters have done truly terrible things but they are still more or less heroes. The position of some of the monsters is understandable and fairly sympathetic.
It is often a criticism of popular Japanese comics that they contrive a group of friends supporting a hero in a quest, but Guts benefits from friendship in way that doesn’t seem forced or unconvincing. In a way, he never really stops being a loner; you see him come out and retreat back in his shell to varying degrees depending on who is around him.

It isn’t really a good or a bad thing but there are several visible inspirations from films like Hellraiser, Phantom Of Paradise and Pet Semetery. Miura claims the similarity between Guts and Ash from Evil Dead was a coincidence but later on there is an Evil Dead reference.
Some character names are based on science fiction titles.

The Bad: I think most of the complaints I have about Berserk are about clichés. Sometimes I’m tempted to blame it all on overwhelming genre expectations influenced by fan demographics and powerful editors, also keeping in mind the serial is originally shown in a magazine for young men.

The very first scene in the first volume feels so out of place in the story that it feels like it never happened.
It bothers me that all of the female rape victims always look relatively glamorous.
There is a scene in which an ape-like monster tries to rape one of the main female characters and it is played way too humorously; the monster looked a bit goofy, the scene looked a lot like something from monster rape porn. When the creature’s genitals get severed, I think the cartoony humour undermines respect for the nearly victimised character.
A few characters prominently suffer from rape trauma and it is an important thing for the story to present better.

That scene was wisely left out the 90s animated series. Not only benefitting for the reasons above, but also because monsters are very slowly and gradually placed into the world of humans and the ape monster being seen by humans lessens the shock of what follows after. There are other monsters seen early, but so few people see them that there is a bigger doubt cast on the reality of those events.

The most persistent problem in Berserk is the comic relief, sometimes it goes away for a couple of chapters but it always comes back, and to makes things worse, it is very rarely funny. People often say how difficult Japanese humour is to translate but I strongly doubt the jokes work very well over there either.
It breaks the fourth wall regularly and there is even a joke that the story would be too dark without the humorous characters but I don’t see how being too dark could ever be a problem. Were the creators and editors ever honestly worried that people might stop reading if it were “too dark”?
These lazy jokes are pointlessly crammed in to excessive degree and the cartoony antics don’t sit comfortably with everything else. In those chapters crammed with the bickering of Puck, Isidro, Ivalera and Schierke (who are some of the weakest characters in the story, but sometimes other characters are guilty of it too), it is easy to forget how brilliant the comic can be and there were several times it was so overwhelming I considered giving up on Berserk, but in the last two volumes I ended up skimming these scenes.

The other big problem is that some of the tangential battles and adventures go on for far too long. I mean the Elves of the Misty Valley part with the two girls’ friendship; the trolls invading the village, the floods and the swampy forest caves where the trolls live; the pirates, sea monsters and merrows part.
There are other parts that went on far too long but those were easily the worst offenders, for various reasons. Those chapters have the most ill advised comic relief; they keep the books running far longer than they need to (more on that later) and keeping you from the most exciting main plotlines.

There are recurring irritants in the action scenes. Sometimes the pacing does this thing that I see all the time in lots of comics and films when some imminent danger is coming, yet lots of things manage to happen in that supposedly tiny space of time, including lots of dialogue. Sometimes it looks as if monsters are politely waiting for everyone to finish their speeches before attacking (a privilege that anonymous crowds never get). This gives the action an artificial feeling, as if the main characters are being protected.
There is a young boy character called Rickert who is somehow one of the leaders of an army, seeing him hold his own in a battlefield looks completely false.
Methods of creating tension like prolonged fights, anxious tactical planning and long explanations of how magic works aren’t really effective when Guts improbably survives extreme violence on a routine basis; even in a fantasy world with healing faeries (always called “elves” for some reason) it isn’t at all convincing . What was all that detailed suspense for when Guts always ends up winning, as if the story is saying “he survives because we say so”? All those efforts at creating suspense feel like wasted time when he survives any extremity of violence thrown at him.

I thought one of the later fights with Serpico and Guts was a really silly idea, they are prepared to kill each other, when they stand to gain very little from that and both of them could have suffered serious consequences for killing the other. “Good guys” fighting in comics has always been a major turnoff to me, it always makes the heroes look like fools who don’t realise there are more important things going on. The reasons are rarely compelling and it always seems like fans wanting to see a certain matchup is the motivating factor.

Berserk suffers from an excess of the “show, don’t tell” philosophy. Many of the less important events would be better if they were summarised in captions or made into quick montages. Miura understandably wants to show lots of places and monsters, but seeing lengthy fights with detailed tactical dilemmas for every encounter is not exciting. He probably could have shown a lot more cool monsters and places if he didn’t feel the need to show everything that happened at each time.

Although the art is great in general, there are problems here too.
All of the young characters and many of the female characters don’t have their own faces; they have uniform faces to suggest cuteness, so I can’t help but feel cheated when many of the faces in the crowds are more distinct than some of the main characters. It feels stylistically jarring to have cartoony characters next to far more realistic ones. Sometimes too many shorthand facial expressions are used and that lessens the drama.
I’ve heard Miura uses assistants (like many popular Japanese series) and the cartoony characters look like they were done by a different artist; those characters are not flattered next to the more beautifully rendered elements.

For a character as restless, world weary and boldly independent as Guts, he often looks far too self-conscious. He sometimes poses as if he is trying very hard to look cool and his hair looks way too neatly styled for a guy with his lifestyle (you never see him with facial hair no matter how rough his days have been).

Sometimes some of the panels are a bit cluttered and lack clarity, this is worse when there is lots of dialogue and sound effects but I wouldn’t say it was a big problem.

Many of the problems I’ve listed above pad out the books far longer than they needed to be; the story probably could have been finished by now if it didn’t do all those things I complained about. I think creators should take into consideration how much time and money a potential reader will need to put into a series like this. I’ve tried to persuade some people to buy the series and I don’t blame them for being so reluctant. It cost me well over 200 pounds for those 37 volumes and I didn’t even pay full price for most of the books; add to all this that many people are reluctant to read it because there were long periods of it being out of print (the Darkhorse English version at least), so difficult to complete the series.
You could stick to the first 14 volumes because that does constitute a great story but it would be an infuriatingly open ended one.

In a dream world where Berserk is shorter and sweeter and didn’t have all the aforementioned annoyances, it would be a far bigger phenomenon than it is and it would be one of the greatest fantasy stories ever made. But as it really is, I still love enough things about it and I’m still desperate to find out how the story finishes. I might have spent longer listing the flaws, but the good qualities are very powerful at times.

Robert Adam Gilmour, Wednesday, 8 January 2014 19:35 (ten years ago) link

one month passes...

Started Harvest by Jim Crace. The opening does not bode well for me -- really heavy on "voice" and labored "beautiful" prose imo. The narrator does not sound like a person. Opening to a random page:

"Still, there was essential work to finish yesterday, whatever our distractions. If we hoped for sufficient grain to last the year, we'd have to deserve it with some sweat. This summer's yield was not yet good enough. Plenty, here, has wed itself to Leanness. At the lower, shaded limits by the dell and on the more neglected stony slopes our plants have proven miserly." It's fine writing, and yet it's so fucking CRAFTED that I almost can't take it.

Burt Stuntin (Hurting 2), Thursday, 13 February 2014 18:16 (ten years ago) link

BAAHHHH goddamnit, wrong reading thread

Burt Stuntin (Hurting 2), Thursday, 13 February 2014 18:19 (ten years ago) link

I'm mostly reading the old Marvel comics.

Marvel Masterworks Fantastic Four vol.6 (up to #56 - beginning of Dr. Doom/Inhumans/Silver Surfer epic, which I think is where Doom steals the power cosmic. Never read this one.)
Essential Amazing Spider-man Vol. 9 (up to #191 in Marv Wolfman's run which is Jonah going after Spider-man again after thinking he killed John and hooking up w/ Smythe and the Spider-slayers again who is out to kill them both as the radiology from the slayers has given him cancer. I read this as a teenager and it's a pretty decent run of Spidey.)
Essential Marvel Team Up Vol. 4 (up to #81 which is a Spidey/Dr. Strange/Clea & Satana storyline during Chris Claremont's run as writer. His run is really good and a few of the issues with John Byrne in vol.3 are ace.)
Essential Peter Parker Vol. 2 (starting this one. This is in Bill Mantlo's run on the comic and just finished his tie to the original clone saga, which had good guest appearance with Daredevil including art by Frank Miller on 2 issues. Solid.)
Essential Hulk Vol. 2- (I'm up to #115 which has the Leader show up again for the first time in a while.)
Marvel Masterworks Warlock Vol. 2- (I'm up to Strange Tales #180. I read these a long time ago and have read the later Thanos arc, but this is the first time reading these classic Starlin issues since I was a kid. It's some of my favorite Marvel comics.)

earlnash, Thursday, 13 February 2014 22:39 (ten years ago) link

My monthly pull list is mostly Image comics - East of West, Black Science, Lazarus & Five Ghosts. I've got a couple of the Avengers titles on mail subscription and also get Daredevil and Hulk via my pull list.

earlnash, Thursday, 13 February 2014 23:03 (ten years ago) link

hey robert, i meant to reply earlier but thanks for your take on Berzerk. it's a series i was always kind of interested in, but i'm always intimidated by the length

Nhex, Friday, 14 February 2014 02:21 (ten years ago) link

Óscar Martínez - The Beast: Riding the Rails and Dodging Narcos on the Migrant Trail. Just heartbreaking. And admirable in scope and execution.

Playoff Starts Here (san lazaro), Friday, 14 February 2014 03:07 (ten years ago) link

Oops. Wrong thread. Apologies.

Playoff Starts Here (san lazaro), Friday, 14 February 2014 03:08 (ten years ago) link

Nhex- thanks. It is kind of a tough one to decide on for all the reasons I listed above. But it sure is by far preferable to most comics.

I've been less engaged by comics recently.
I liked some things in Mould Map 3 but I didnt understand all the hype. Been buying the Corben/Poe stuff and it is so-so/nice enough but I wish Corben would do something more ambitious. That recent Alex Nino book Molly Doves was disappointing and I wont bother with further issues.

On a more positive note, I'm very intrigued by Kerascoet, Maester and the recent Foligatto book.
Looking forward to the Fantagraphics Graham Ingels book even though I'm sure I have most of that stuff.

It bewilders and depresses me that everyone I see who reads Marvel and DC comics treats it like a dirty habit that they cant give up. There are plenty of other comics and things that desarve your time more.

Robert Adam Gilmour, Wednesday, 19 February 2014 17:24 (ten years ago) link

I just read volume 1 of Ed Piskor's Hip Hop Family Tree and thoroughly enjoyed it.

EZ Snappin, Wednesday, 19 February 2014 18:43 (ten years ago) link

I read and enjoy Marvel stuff. DC not at all, and I don't imagine buying (or even t0rrenting) anything by them until the next Grant Morrison whatever-it-is comes out.

Chuck_Tatum, Thursday, 20 February 2014 13:27 (ten years ago) link

reading Batman Inc Demon Star - pretty good, usually GMoz silliness

How dare you tarnish the reputation of Turturro's yodel (Shakey Mo Collier), Thursday, 20 February 2014 17:23 (ten years ago) link

Finally decide to tackle Tezuka's Buddha. Read the first couple of volumes and I'm hooked.

EZ Snappin, Thursday, 20 February 2014 17:27 (ten years ago) link

oh yeah, it's all time

PSY talks The Nut Job (forksclovetofu), Thursday, 20 February 2014 17:37 (ten years ago) link

I read the first volume when the reprints started but never followed through on the rest. A friend found a cheap used set so he's passing them along as he reads them.

EZ Snappin, Thursday, 20 February 2014 17:43 (ten years ago) link

concur wrt Buddha, good shit

Nhex, Thursday, 20 February 2014 17:57 (ten years ago) link

i'd seriously be interested in a retelling of The Bible with that kind of fun/pizazz

Nhex, Thursday, 20 February 2014 17:58 (ten years ago) link

crumb's genesis has its own appeal but hoping for another tezuka is a long shot

PSY talks The Nut Job (forksclovetofu), Thursday, 20 February 2014 18:00 (ten years ago) link

Just finished Binet's 'HHhH'

A specialist in foolery (Michael White), Thursday, 20 February 2014 18:10 (ten years ago) link

Townscapes by Christin and Bilal
Crossing the Empty Quarter and other stories by Carol Swain
Complete Eddy Current by Ted McKeever

all very cheap in forbidden planet glasgow

Ward Fowler, Thursday, 20 February 2014 19:23 (ten years ago) link

Was in Forbidden Planet Glasgow today, bought the Ingels EC compilation Sucker Bait. Also the Beautiful Darkness Kerascoet book, I just flipped through it an hour ago and one page really fucked me up like nothing in Berserk ever did, really not a kids book unless films like Watership Down and Plague Dogs dont bother your kids.

There is Wolverton's Bible but I didnt think it was anything special aside from the revelation images at the end.

Robert Adam Gilmour, Thursday, 20 February 2014 20:09 (ten years ago) link

What the hell


Chuck_Tatum, Saturday, 22 February 2014 15:15 (ten years ago) link

There is a lot of comics collections I resisted for a long time because of the good art/poor writing thing and also that I'm familiar with a lot of the stuff already but the temptation is rising again. I try to resist them unless they look amazing but just the quality of the drawing/linework has drawn me back to the idea of getting this stuff again, even if the individual images arent as powerful as I would often want.
All this stuff is going to cost about 250 pounds if I really want it all. Ditko, Mort Meskin, Simon+Kirby, Joe Kubert, Nicolas De Crecy and Bastien Vives.

I cut and paste my response to this topic...

The appeal of newspaper strips and webcomics in this style has always mystified me. I dont count Eisner’s The Spirit and similar comics because it feels just like a regular comic book.

It is a total mystery to me why so many people prize this form for creativity. Monthly comics is a bad idea for a very large percentage of creators, but weeklies and dailies sounds insane. It’s like standup comedy in that there are so many factors against you that you have to be a truly special type of freak to make it work.
It makes me think of crazy ideas for professions; like a chef who wants to have rocks thrown at him and a bull chasing him around a kitchen while he tries to work.
Deadlines aside, creating humor or any other type of amusement in the form time after time seems extremely tough to me too.

I think the only comic strips I’m a proper fan of are Gustave Verbeek’s visual trickery.

Even if I like the drawings in some strips, I never feel drawn or compelled by the content of 99% of them. I’ve been tempted to buy a Krazy Kat (because it is often called the best comic ever) or Thimble Theatre (because Domingos liked something that had a pop culture phenomenon in it) book before but there is just isnt enough allure in what I have seen. When I was a teen I assumed someday I would read Terry And The Pirates, Steve Canyon, Prince Valiant, Tarzan, Flash Gordon and Peanuts but I have pretty much no interest now. When I’m tempted I think the desire is to be totally enveloped in a world that you get to spend a very long time in.

From what little I seen of CC Beck’s critical writing, I always found it a bit unconvincing but it was kind of weird and funny. I always remember him saying “newspaper strips are boring because people who read newspapers are boring”; I found that funny in how sweeping a statement he made.
A lot of the strips in newspapers I’m familiar with seem almost invisible, because it taken me years to consciously notice/think about them, even though I’d seen them for so long. They seem like sleepwalking cartoons; you wonder who reads them. Some were unbelievably banal.

The only collections I’ve had are Windsor Mccay ones. Nemo is amazing in terms of the visual trickery but in general I found it a real heavy chore to read. At first it has quite a lot of unnecessary text but even when it cuts down there is still too much and the formula gets really stale even if the images and ideas are still excellent.
I just couldnt read a strip collection daily or weekly. I cant think of many things I’d want to read that regularly over one year let alone many years (decades in some cases).

Robert Adam Gilmour, Monday, 24 February 2014 18:27 (ten years ago) link

Just looked at Nicolas De Crecy's blog, that guy draws like a motherfucker.

Robert Adam Gilmour, Monday, 24 February 2014 18:27 (ten years ago) link

just read black hole for the first time and liked it enough to check out x'ed - which i much preferred! fantastic stuff.

Mordy , Monday, 24 February 2014 18:32 (ten years ago) link

I loved Black Hole; X'd has great work too, but I'm kind of hoping it all ends somewhere well, it was starting to feel like super-indulgent Clowes stuff where I left off.

Nhex, Monday, 24 February 2014 18:59 (ten years ago) link

My newspaper strip love honestly largely comes from having read them every week as a kid, so I'm very familiar with the form, gobbling up collected editions from my libraries and bookstores throughout my life. This extended to daily webcomics as well by the end of the '90s. But I have a harder time getting into the old 30s/40s/50s material.

Nhex, Monday, 24 February 2014 19:01 (ten years ago) link

Monthly comics is a bad idea for a very large percentage of creators, but weeklies and dailies sounds insane. It’s like standup comedy in that there are so many factors against you that you have to be a truly special type of freak to make it work.

For anyone interested in this I highly recommend R.C. Harvey's biography of Milton Caniff. That guy was superhuman.

fit and working again, Tuesday, 25 February 2014 04:45 (ten years ago) link

I heard the acclaim for that. Wasnt there two books?

Even reading about people who couldnt do it is interesting. I think it was Frank Thorne(?) who basically had no life doing his strip and drew on public transport and had his wife drive him to deliver the work while he slept in the car from exhaustion.

The lives of many japanese comic artists sound terrifying; although I dont know what is the general standard of living/creating. Why would anyone want a bestseller series when your trade your entire life for it and dont have the time to make it of any real quality? No wonder there is so much cliched crap with no signs of new elements when you have zombies who basically do nothing but create comics.

Robert Adam Gilmour, Tuesday, 25 February 2014 05:26 (ten years ago) link

I think it was Frank Thorne(?) who basically had no life doing his strip and drew on public transport and had his wife drive him to deliver the work while he slept in the car from exhaustion.

Thorne never had a newspaper strip of his own, only drew them briefly when he was young.

I got the Poison, I got the Rammellzee (sic), Tuesday, 25 February 2014 10:36 (ten years ago) link

newspaper strip similar to a sonnet - a minature mode of expression with tightly bounded formal rules/properties. it is a quite different experience from the novelistic comic book/graphic novel, but imho no less pleasurable once you accept the limitations of the form.

The great newspaper strip creators worked worked long and hard over many years, but the most successful of them could afford to hire assistants to do quite a lot of the heavy lifting (eg Dick Rockwell pencilling and Shel Dorf lettering Steve Canyon for something like 30 years).

Ward Fowler, Tuesday, 25 February 2014 11:12 (ten years ago) link

Just finished Buddha. I'm a little dumbstruck. What an amazing work.

EZ Snappin, Tuesday, 25 February 2014 11:59 (ten years ago) link

Just starting "Ubik"

Also reading "The Fighting Temeraire"

Then on to "Unfinished Tales" from Tolkien, Hamiltons "Reality Dysfunction"
Whilst dipping into from time to tome, lovecraft collection and the science fiction megapacks

Drop soap, not bombs (Ste), Tuesday, 25 February 2014 12:20 (ten years ago) link

argh, wrong board

Drop soap, not bombs (Ste), Tuesday, 25 February 2014 12:21 (ten years ago) link

As for comics, just got hold of "The Art of Denis McLoughlin"

Drop soap, not bombs (Ste), Tuesday, 25 February 2014 12:22 (ten years ago) link

heh - for 2015 make sure to put COMICS in the thread topic

Nhex, Tuesday, 25 February 2014 14:57 (ten years ago) link

Was reading one of the latest House of 1000 Manga posts by Jason Thompson. A manga was mentioned called Tuna Empire with a woman trying to spread peace in afghanistan using a mass orgy. Bush jr and Hussein end up having sex and Bin Laden makes an appearance too. Sounds funny.

Robert Adam Gilmour, Tuesday, 25 February 2014 21:27 (ten years ago) link

oh jeez i remember that one

Nhex, Tuesday, 25 February 2014 21:29 (ten years ago) link

it's very silly

Nhex, Tuesday, 25 February 2014 21:29 (ten years ago) link

I walked around my nearest comic shop picking up things in a dilemma of buying them or resisting them. Mostly 40s-50s Simon/Kirby, Mort Meskin and Ditko. I spent about an hour and a half changing my mind because it was all going to cost so much money. In the end I just bought Polina by Bastien Vives (his linework is gorgeous).

Even after leaving the shop I was still extremely conflicted over getting them someday. Part of the dilemma is that I'm already very familiar with that era of Simon/Kirby, Meskin and Ditko. I feel like I've been there and done it when I had a big phase in my late teens/early 20s. So it's hard to pull out my money so fast when the excitement is mostly gone. I envy people who are just getting into this stuff right now, with all these comprehensive collections coming out finally. If all this was out a decade ago I would have attempted to get all the PS Publishing 50s horror reprints, Warren reprints, Fantagraphics EC reprints; the Kirby, Ditko, Meskin, Everett, Krigstein, Kubert, Bob Powell, Jack Cole and Toth collections. Too bad most of the scripts aren't too good.

But the compositions of Ditko are often really impressive even when the drawings are a bit lacking (he was churning out a lot at that time) and there are so many beautiful touches.

I love the chunky, rubbery, doughy look of old Kirby art, especially the faces he draws on thugs and kids, they look like you could knead their faces; the panel/page compositions also look great (even if they aren't always smooth to read).

I don't think the Meskin compilation has the best selection sadly.

A couple of days ago I ordered the Ditko books and Kirby's Sandman.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed that someday Marvel and DC will offer Meskin, Kirby, Ditko, Heath and Everett collections with decent scans. It's horrible how much they put into those expensive Masterworks and Archives collections and the art reproduction is terrible.

Robert Adam Gilmour, Saturday, 1 March 2014 19:41 (ten years ago) link

Can someone tell me which Tezuka books are unflipped? I read one volume of Phoenix and it was great but the flipped aspect bothered me (they are becoming very expensive too. I think that eventually (presuming the planet is in decent shape) all manga will be unflipped and I'm willing to wait a few decades to read Otomo's Akira and a lot of Tezuka.

Robert Adam Gilmour, Sunday, 2 March 2014 00:41 (ten years ago) link

black jack and dororo are unflipped.

PSY talks The Nut Job (forksclovetofu), Sunday, 2 March 2014 18:46 (ten years ago) link


Robert Adam Gilmour, Sunday, 2 March 2014 21:11 (ten years ago) link

Creature Commandos is batshit and poignant. Fred Carrillo very underrated imo.

Daniel_Rf, Tuesday, 4 March 2014 18:00 (ten years ago) link


It's very nice to hear a big guy in the industry clearly state so many of the problems of the industry. Quite a few things I always feel like saying, especially about nostalgia for old IPs.

Robert Adam Gilmour, Thursday, 6 March 2014 03:09 (ten years ago) link

crossed was just like diving into his own moral abyss like what horrific thing can he dream up next oh i know raping zombies raping ppl's faces to death that'll shock them.

I'm not sure if you've probably read Crossed? Sure, the zombies are there doing all the horrible things (though unless I totally misremember it, they don't actually rape any of the human characters in the comic, just each other), but considering what someone with the imagination of Ennis could've done with the concept, it's actually fairly subdued. Anyway, the whole point of the comic is that the absolute amorality/social nihilism the zombies represent is used as contrast to the very hard moral choices the human survivors have to make. So Crossed is all about morality and what makes us human, it's actually more serious and far less indulgent than many other Ennis comics (including The Boys).

Tuomas, Tuesday, 23 December 2014 22:35 (nine years ago) link

i have read crossed

Mordy, Tuesday, 23 December 2014 22:38 (nine years ago) link

And yeah, obviously the zombie/human contrast is at the heart of most zombie apocalypse stories, but I think Crossed actually puts an interesting twist into it, because Ennis's zombies aren't mindless flesh-eaters, they still have their wits, they've just utterly amoral and totally hedonistic. So it doesn't become your typical survival of the fittest parable, where the zombies are equated with animals/nature, it's more about what morality means in a world where it's become almost extinct.


Tuomas, Tuesday, 23 December 2014 22:44 (nine years ago) link

Sorry about the typo, I meant to write "properly read", not "probably read". Anyway, I don't want to sound condescending or anything, but if all you remember of the comic is "moral abyss" and "gross zombies", then you probably didn't quite get what it was all about.

Tuomas, Tuesday, 23 December 2014 22:47 (nine years ago) link

lol just to be sure i opened up the first issue of the entire run and on the second to last page, just as i remembered it...

trigger warning

i mean, this certainly read for me at the time as just vileness for its own sake (which tbh i really shouldn't be complaining about since i've been enjoying my copy of fukitor) and not w/out a lot of nuance unless u have a specific semiotic reading of this panel that i am missing

Mordy, Tuesday, 23 December 2014 22:47 (nine years ago) link

I dunno, obviously Crossed is still quite extreme, but I think there is a fine line between illustrating your point and being indulgent. Yeah, I guess Ennis and Burrows could've toned that scene down, but like I said, they want to paint a picture of utter loss of morality. And that scene is limited to the one panel you posted. Compare it to Alan Moore's Neonomicon (also drawn by Burrows) which has a disgusting mass rape scene that goes on for several pages. Now, horrific violence and rape are part of both of these stories, you can't really tell them without it, but Ennis most certainly doesn't indulge on it the way Moore does. Of course your opinion may vary whether Crossed still shows too much of it, I can certainly understand that opinion... Ultimately it's a question of how much vileness you really need to show to get the "horror" part across... I know it's a fine line to walk, but I still feel Ennis and Burrows mostly stay on the "justified" side, rather than the "indulgent" side.

Tuomas, Tuesday, 23 December 2014 23:10 (nine years ago) link

trigger warning

jesus christ sometimes I hate comics

Οὖτις, Tuesday, 23 December 2014 23:31 (nine years ago) link

I dunno, IMO The Boys is notably less sexist and homophobic than some of Ennis' earlier works, such as Preacher. It's true that the series starts pretty horrifically with Starlight, the main female protagonist, being forced to perform oral sex on one of the superhero villains, and at first it felt like Ennis was treating this mostly as ultra-black comedy to depict how horrible the superheroes are, and I was almost ready to quit reading there and then, but Ennis does actually take the rape issue seriously and, despite all the expectations, manages to make Starlight into a sympathetic three-dimensional character instead of just a throwaway victim, which I thought was actually quite impressive.
Yeah I read the first dozen or so issues of The Boys and that bit was enough for me to give up on it. Preacher was nowhere near that bad.

Nhex, Wednesday, 24 December 2014 03:40 (nine years ago) link

I'll go a step further and say I still have a lot of love for Preacher, even with its flaws

Nhex, Wednesday, 24 December 2014 03:40 (nine years ago) link

Vileness for its own sake, indulgence, lack of nuance -- I think those things are selling points for Ennis. Why question assumptions about race, gender, sexuality etc. when you can just flay a child in the back corner of a comics panel? He probably think he's very open-minded.

Chuck_Tatum, Wednesday, 24 December 2014 13:27 (nine years ago) link

buncha comix just came in the mail for giftmas and such

Random issues of Nemo magazine
complete run of Manga Vizion
final book of dungeon (i am rereading the whole series)
the Don Rosa slipcase Uncle Scrooge books
the Richard Thompson art book
Won Ton Soup by stokoe

i will be buying Here shortly.

MAYBE HE'S NOT THE BEST THIGH SLAPPER IN THE WORLD (forksclovetofu), Wednesday, 24 December 2014 19:41 (nine years ago) link

so idk who's been reading "the wicked & the divine" as uh religiously as i have, but the new issue of sex criminals includes an extended riff on a porn movie called 'the lick-ed and the divine' starring two wicdiv character lookalikes, had me roaring on the bus

BIG HOOS aka the steendriver, Thursday, 25 December 2014 02:06 (nine years ago) link

Havent gotten the fukitor collection yet but now I kinda want it

Οὖτις, Thursday, 25 December 2014 03:45 (nine years ago) link

in some ways it's better just bc it's so insane - it clearly understands that it is pulpy pornographic cartoon violence and it delivers gleeful thrills on every page. ennis takes himself too seriously and so his violence + grossness are such intense downers.

Mordy, Thursday, 25 December 2014 03:47 (nine years ago) link

Lol of course yr here :)

Meant to link this is previous post


Οὖτις, Thursday, 25 December 2014 03:55 (nine years ago) link

The TCJ review gave me pause initially, but ultimately it felt at odds with the bits I've seen.

Οὖτις, Thursday, 25 December 2014 03:56 (nine years ago) link

from the aforementioned "ahem" forum: the complete Miss Don't Touch Me with at least two chapters of not-yet-released-in-America material
I have the first two US books (and will buy the others when they are released here) but getting them now on digital is a great giftmas treat.

MAYBE HE'S NOT THE BEST THIGH SLAPPER IN THE WORLD (forksclovetofu), Thursday, 25 December 2014 06:00 (nine years ago) link

Pretty sure that is the collection that just came out from nbm.

Robert Adam Gilmour, Thursday, 25 December 2014 10:39 (nine years ago) link

Well, the new book is the page count of the combined first two volumes. If the story is still going after that, why did NBM call it complete?

Robert Adam Gilmour, Thursday, 25 December 2014 12:21 (nine years ago) link

Wish NBM had wider distribution, I rarely see their books, even in specialist stores. Probably doesn't help that so much of their output has so much extreme content, even the stuff that looks all-ages friendly.

Robert Adam Gilmour, Thursday, 25 December 2014 12:37 (nine years ago) link

Wish nbm would do a completist Rick Geary compendium. There's soooo much magazine and anthology stuff that was never collected.

a drug by the name of WORLD WITHOUT END (Jon Lewis), Thursday, 25 December 2014 18:46 (nine years ago) link

Wish NBM had wider distribution,

They have broader distribution than DC Comics to comic book stores, and the same UK bookstore distribution as Marvel, Archie, Dark Horse, Fantagraphics, Legendary, Humanoids, Knockabout, Blank Slate, Panini and Toon Books, not to mention Bantam, Doubleday, National Geographic, Putnam and Moleskine notebooks.

Gland Of Horses (sic), Thursday, 25 December 2014 23:22 (nine years ago) link

Jon - They've got some Geary books coming. Just saw them in the upcoming section.

Sic - I'm a little surprised by that. I do see some and have bought a few in recent times, but somehow I never see Dungeon in Forbidden Planet or Waterstones.

Robert Adam Gilmour, Friday, 26 December 2014 00:23 (nine years ago) link

okay, so wrt Miss Don't Touch Me: It seems their "complete" edition adds about 30 to 50 pages of new material. They are "sold out" of volume one and are selling volume two for $3 on their website and there is no volume three to be purchased. This is one of those cases where i feel well justified, having bought the first two volumes at retail, to download the unpublished finale. Very disappointing way to treat a reader/customer imo.

MAYBE HE'S NOT THE BEST THIGH SLAPPER IN THE WORLD (forksclovetofu), Sunday, 28 December 2014 22:22 (nine years ago) link

Wolf Hall by Mantel. Next: Wolf's Hour by McCammon.

calstars, Sunday, 28 December 2014 22:39 (nine years ago) link

got all excited for half a second about a graphic novel adaptation of wolf hall

Mordy, Sunday, 28 December 2014 22:40 (nine years ago) link

seems like it would be well suited for an adaptation

calstars, Sunday, 28 December 2014 22:45 (nine years ago) link

meaning TV or film

calstars, Sunday, 28 December 2014 22:46 (nine years ago) link

was hella confused until i realized calstars doesn't know this is the comics thread

MAYBE HE'S NOT THE BEST THIGH SLAPPER IN THE WORLD (forksclovetofu), Sunday, 28 December 2014 22:53 (nine years ago) link

it's a new year, someone remember to put COMIX ED. in the next one

Nhex, Sunday, 28 December 2014 22:57 (nine years ago) link

lol sorry dudes!

calstars, Sunday, 28 December 2014 22:59 (nine years ago) link

i was thinking if someone was doing robert r mccammon comic adaptations i was gonna hafta go get those.

MAYBE HE'S NOT THE BEST THIGH SLAPPER IN THE WORLD (forksclovetofu), Sunday, 28 December 2014 23:01 (nine years ago) link

they are doing a tv adap of wolf hall xp hbo iirc?

Mordy, Sunday, 28 December 2014 23:05 (nine years ago) link

it's a new year, someone remember to put COMIX ED. in the next one


Gland Of Horses (sic), Monday, 29 December 2014 06:52 (nine years ago) link

ILC was here first, the ILB folks should put "BOOKS WITH JUST TEXT AND NO PICS ED." to their thread.

Tuomas, Monday, 29 December 2014 07:23 (nine years ago) link

it's just too much to ask these "books" people to know what board they're on

Nhex, Monday, 29 December 2014 12:44 (nine years ago) link

But I enjoy our usual cycle of "mistaken post about Thomas Paine biography" followed by passive-aggressive rebuttal of comics' worth

Chuck_Tatum, Monday, 29 December 2014 16:34 (nine years ago) link

ILC was here first, the ILB folks should put "BOOKS WITH JUST TEXT AND NO PICS ED." to their thread.

― Tuomas, Monday, 29 December 2014

That would probably rule out a lot of books, especially nonfiction.

Robert Adam Gilmour, Monday, 29 December 2014 17:02 (nine years ago) link


valleys of your mind (mh), Monday, 29 December 2014 17:04 (nine years ago) link

"what is the use of a book," thought Alice, "without pictures or conversations?"


Mordy, Monday, 29 December 2014 17:48 (nine years ago) link

Been stuck at home sick for the past week so got into Blacksad and The Wake

I was really put off by the whole furry connotations of Blacksad but it is a gorgeous piece of work

The Wake begins as a stereotypical Eurocomix thing but keeps building the moral ambiguity and craft until by the fifth or sixth vol it's totally cranking

Brakhage, Monday, 29 December 2014 19:13 (nine years ago) link

Wake is pretty good, yes

MAYBE HE'S NOT THE BEST THIGH SLAPPER IN THE WORLD (forksclovetofu), Monday, 29 December 2014 20:16 (nine years ago) link

Going to start a "What are you Watching" on the I Love Game Casting board.

calstars, Monday, 29 December 2014 23:54 (nine years ago) link

Curious what youse thought about the end of the Wake (potential spoiler - I thought it was a daft cop-out and waste of potential)

Chuck_Tatum, Tuesday, 30 December 2014 16:32 (nine years ago) link

First seven-eight issues are terrific tho'

Chuck_Tatum, Tuesday, 30 December 2014 16:33 (nine years ago) link

Oh it ends? I'm only up to ... no. 11. They just announced no. 17, so I didn't think it was wrapping up. (Are we talking about the same book? I'm talking about the French one, 'Sillage')

Brakhage, Tuesday, 30 December 2014 22:19 (nine years ago) link

Haha, I'm thinking of some trashy Vertigo comic. Yours sounds better.

Chuck_Tatum, Wednesday, 31 December 2014 10:30 (nine years ago) link

Someone's gotta name the new 2015 thread and I'm not going to screw it up.

Robert Adam Gilmour, Friday, 2 January 2015 19:24 (nine years ago) link

I'll screw it up then.
Rolling 2015 Reading Funnybooks Thread

MAYBE HE'S NOT THE BEST THIGH SLAPPER IN THE WORLD (forksclovetofu), Saturday, 3 January 2015 05:54 (nine years ago) link

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