A Day of Comics!

It’s a busy world out there, and it is very rare that I have time to just gorge myself on comics.  Ever since I started doing iFanboy full time, I kept thinking I would be able to spend whole guilt free days reading comics, and call it professionalism.  Nearly 2 years later, that day never came.  So, why not now? Last friday, you might have been following along with me on Twitter as I tried to knock down my enormous, lurking (like Dirk Gently’s fridge) Stack of comics. 

It turns out that it’s harder to concentrate and read balls out for hours at a time with a dog and a wife and a car that needs a photo inspection in order to secure the new lower insurance rates.  But I did manage to get some reading done, and I’m here to sum up the books I read.

My first book of the day was High Moon, a western werewolf story from writer David Galliher and artist Steve Ellis, published by DC’s Zuda Comics.  Of course, you could read the whole thing online, where it originally appeared, but this story also earned the right to be published…. like a real book!  I was a bit detached reading the story, because I’m in the midst of writing a western comic myself, so it made it a touch harder for me to deal with the story objectively, but I’m confident that if the idea of werewolf badasses in the American West after Civil War sounds appealing to you, this will be something you’ll want to check out.  It’s a first volume, so there aren’t a lot of answers in this story, but there is a lot of action and atmosphere.  I really like the horizontal layout and the fresh ways you can build a comic book page in this format.  Steve Ellis really made very good use of the pages, and turned in some stellar work. 

Next up was White Picket Fences from Ape Entertainment written by Matt Anderson and Eric Hutchins with wonderful art by Micah Farritor.  I’d read the first 2 issues a while back, and finally got my hands on the third, plus the special Double Feature with a bunch of short stories.  It’s the story of some boys and an alien invasion in the 50’s.  It really captures the feel of the innocence and adventure of the pre-Camelot America, and is just sort of good, clean comics.  The art is my favorite part, and I wish more people had discovered this book, because it really is something special.

The Joe Kelly train of awesomeness in 2009 with Douglas Fredericks and the House of They by Joe Kelly and Ben Roman.  This isn’t a comic book perse, but an illustrated children’s book about a young boy who questions the mysterious “They” who dictate what should and should not be done.  I was definitely impressed and touched, and it was the first book that I’ve found that I can’t wait to show my child some day.  It made me laugh and smile, and is a great kids book, you know, if you’re into non-conformity.

If you don’t know the name of Doug Tennapel, then you’re not paying attention.  He created Earthworm Jim, and has done a steady stream of fun, creative graphic novels spanning all sorts of genres.  In Power Up, we learn about the life of a family guy who works in a copy shop, and wants to be a game designer.  He picks up an antique game console at a yard sale, and it dispenses magical power-ups, and they give him the power to change his life.  I laughed out loud several times and just generally had a good time.  I think this is my favorite of Tennapel’s last few works.  It wasn’t the most complicated of stories, but it was sincere, and that goes a long way.

And here is where I failed.  Isn’t it weird that I blame myself?  I’ve got a big stack of 2000 AD Comics, and among them is Nikolai Dante: the Romanov Dynasty written by Robbie Morrison, with art by various great artists like Charlie Adlard and Chris Weston.  It’s the story of an arrogant rapscallion, Nikolai Dante, in a bizarre futuristic tzarist Russian society.  In the style of 2000 AD, the chapters are short and sweet.  The thing is, I think I made it about 15 minutes before I sort of lost interest.  Perhaps I wasn’t in the mood, but I didn’t want to keep going, and there were plenty of other books to try.  Twitter was unimpressed.

I went in an entirely different direction with Niklas Asker’s Second Thoughts from Top Shelf.  This is a short, clever story about 2 people’s lives as they intersect in an airport.  It’s about romance, and love, and loss, and is pretty much exactly what you’d think of an indie comic about those things.  But that doesn’t mean it’s a bad thing at all.  It’s really well constructed and interesting, and I quite enjoyed it.  Obviously, this isn’t for everyone, but if you’re a fan of work by Adrian Tomine, you’ll like this, possibly more.

At this point, it was time to cook dinner (because someone’s got to!) so having only made about 4-5 inches of headway in about a 4 foot Stack, I had to move on.  I think I might have been getting a headache as well.  But enough complaining.  Before retiring for the evening, I took in the first couple chapters of Absolute V for Vendetta.  This might be my favorite Alan Moore story, and the big pages showcase David Lloyd’s legendary work quite well.  Further, this is the best smelling book I own.  Seriously, if you can get your hands on a copy, stick your nose in it.  I’m not kidding.


Comments

  1. Power Up was an awesome read. I think it’s more for children then adults; but as a whole it was funny and exciting for anyone to pick up. Tennapel has a great sense of humor and although this is not as wacky as Earthworm Jim; it’s close. Basically, it’s like the film Click but replace a remote with a console.

    All of these sound great, espeically this V for Vendetta…..Is this new? I never heard of this Alan Moore before. 🙂

  2. Thanks, Josh!  Almost all of these titles were new to me and it’s great to read about things that don’t always get covered. 

    Also, I’d really like to get my hands on V in that format.  Excellent!

  3. These aren’t comics!!!  They’re suppossed to say "MARVEL" on the cover!!!  🙂

  4. Nice. The only book on this list I’ve heard of was V for Vendetta, and that’s the only one I’m not really interested in reading now (except for that 2000 AD book, I guess).

  5. Adooooored White Picket Fences.  I remember being pushy on the forums about people reading it, not sure if it worked, but I hope I put it in a couple people’s minds.  Art is so fantastic!

     

  6. "It’s a busy world out there, and it is very rare that I have time to just gorge myself on comics."

    @Josh, I hate to say this now, but when your child comes, finding time will become very, very difficult.  You should see (right NOW) a movie starring Rachel Griffiths call "Me Myself I" (2000). Then five years from now watch it again, and see how you relate to her single verses married with kids lives.  (I really enjoy this film. Here’s Roger Ebert’s review, it you’re interested.)

    Mind you, being a dad is GREAT!!  Seriously, I could never have guessed it would be this good, but it’s hard work man.

    But in my case, now that I just started sharing comics with my daughter, I’m having a blast discovering the cool kids comics.  Hey Tiny Titans are great!  Plus, it was cute when my daughter told me one day about this "joke team" called the "Teen Titans". She thought it was so funny that they would make a parody of the Tiny Titans. I broke the news to her that Tiny Titan’s was actually the parody. Shortly afterwards I made sure to bring home the trade paperback of Teen Titan’s Year One, and she loved it.

  7. I would really like to get my hands one of those Absolute V for Vendetta books. That looks so awesome. If only it werent a hundred bucks.

  8. I really like the idea of A Day of Comics. It’d be cool to have a Day of Comics party where a bunch of people come over with their stacks and everyone can swap books and read and have punch and pie.

  9. @WonderAli, I love that, a comic swap sounds great! 

  10. @josh – Any chance at a collected White Picket Fences or do I have to hunt down the singles?

    @WonderAli – That may be one of the best ideas I have heard in quite some time, but can’t shake hearing Eric Cartman say "Punch and Pie"

  11. Check on their comicspace page up there.  I think there is one, but it might be a hunt either way.  Also, check with Ape Entertainment.

  12. JFernandes (@jdfernandes) says:

    I’m on vacation next week and feel like I should dedicate at least 3 or 4 days to my 100+ TPB/HC stack.  Another day or two to the stack of movies from the library.  We’ll see how that goes.

  13. This Seconds Thoughts looks like my cup of tea. I’ve been reading too many ‘punch and done’ books recently. I’ll check this out.

     

    I recently had a comic day recently, I read Ultimates 1,2 and Ultimate Origins.  I think all that "Flash, bang, boom, Ratatatata, Wheeeeeeeeeee" has given me insomnia. Life just doesn’t look like enough any more. Nothing satiates my incessant need for over the top violence. I feel empty now.

  14. I’ve never heard of any of these besides V for Vendetta.  The others are now on my radar.

  15. I love it when you guys highlight books that I didn’t know existed.  Thank you.  I’m glad you got to enjoy a day like this.  You better get as many of these in now, because they will cease to exist when Baby Flanagan pops out.

  16. It’s a kid, not a cataract. You’ll still be able to read just fine.

  17. @Jimski – Correct. Josh will have no problem reading the directions on the side of a can of baby formula at 2am.

  18. I really like the idea of A Day of Comics. It’d be cool to have a Day of Comics party where a bunch of people come over with their stacks and everyone can swap books and read and have punch and pie.
    Posted by WonderAli on 10/08/09 at 05:00 PM

    as Cartman once said it’s not a party unless there’s punch and pie. Swell idea, I’m there

  19. I can’t read if there are other people there.  I talk too much.

  20. There could be a talking room and a non talking room.

  21. Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    Are we establishing some kind of commune?

  22. Ooooh! I call dibs on being the messianiac leader who gets to sleep with all the women.

  23. I’m out.

  24. I’m in as long as I get to pick who we end up murdering.

    Too far?

  25. I’ll probably be the one being murdered….

    So I’m out.

  26. I can do all the gardening as well as tend to the livestock!

  27. @Jimski, haven’t you ever heard about children who poke your eyes out in your sleep!  It’s true, Josh!  Don’t ever turn your back on a child!

    Come to think of it, perhaps you _should_ turn your back to them — you know, to protect your eyes! Turn your back, Josh!! Turn it now!!

    (Now that’s what I call too far.)

  28. I think I also heard children like to stab their daddies with a butcher knife.

    So look out for that you two.

  29. @TheNextChampion, wow, man, you actually creeped me out.

  30. Is the absolute v recolored like watchmen and sandman?

  31. @jimski: It’ll be you…MWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

  32. I remember hearing about White Picket Fences when it was coming out. I’ll have to look for it – I like the premise.

    I’m also on vaca next week and have nothing but free time. I’m going to have to tackle a large part of my stack – I’ve got 9 Goon volumes staring at me, and if the Goon is staring at you, you had better do something about it.

  33. @conor you’re not creepy looking enough to be a cult leader

  34. @vadamowens – It’s always the ones you least suspect.

  35. Maybe if he grew some thick arched eyebrows…

  36. @powerdad: I’m just talking from experience……uh I mean I love my dad and he’s still very much alive.

    So lets stop questioning and hope the real murderer shows himself.

  37. @TheNextChampion…getting….more…creepy…!!!

    Wait, son, is that you? Son!!!  Its so good to hear from you!  

    (Okay, I’m out of comments. First for everything, huh.)

  38. Alright, let’s move along.

  39. I done this binge of books before but I seperated all single issues one day and all trades in another.  I could only get in 9 single issue in one day and only 2 trades.  I had to have a couple hour break in between and the books I read in the later half I found less enjoyable. 

  40. Alan Moore books smell good.

     

    It’s true.

  41. Okay serious comments for a change…

    I had a perfect comic book reading storm about a month or two ago.  The Seattle library system was shutting down for week (budget issues), so before they closed I checked out a ridiculous number of trades and hardcovers to give me some options for that week without the library. Then I got the flu/flu-like-cold which forced me into bed (my wife is the greatest letting me just stay in my sick bed); and I was able to read so many different comic collections.  I had a lot of DC and Marvel and some independents. Lots of recent Batman (RIP), Nightwing, Green Laterns (Rage of the Reds), Booster Gold (vol 1,2,3), Titans, Showcase Shazam!, Superman (New Krypton, Legion), Daredevil (Lady Bullseye), The Nobody, Invincible (vol something), Banana Sunday, and so on and so on.

    Other than being sick, it was the greatest! (And again thanks so much to my wife for letting me just lie there for a full two days.)

  42. I love the smell of Absolute V for Vendetta in the morning…

  43. The only book on this list that I’ve actually read is V FOR VENDETTA.  Just requested SECOND THOUGHTS and a few Doug Tennapel works because of this article.  I enjoy that my stack always seems to stay at about the same height.  Always gives me something to do.

  44. @Josh: Thanks for mentioned "White Picket Fences". That was a fun read… great artwork and clever story-telling. Not easy to find, but not toooo difficult either…