Conor’s 2010 Thanksgiving Reading List

This past weekend we switched off the lights, locked up the liquor cabinet, and closed up the iFanboy offices for the Thanksgiving holiday. There isn't really ever a day off here at iFanboy so it was nice to have a few days off. What did I choose to do with my long weekend off? I read a bunch of trades. See? About the never really being a day off thing?

So here's what I read and here's what I thought. Spoilers possibly ahoy.

Oishinbo: Sake

Writer: Tetsu Kariya
Artist: Akira Hanasaki

$12.99 / 272 pages / VIZ Media

This book… is… making me thirsty!

The Oishinbo series of books follows Japanese journalists Yamaoka and Kurita as they attempt to compile the ultimate Japanese food menu and in this volume we switch things up a bit and focus on sake (and wine). This book is not for the faint of heart or stomach, and if you don't find find the intricacies of food and drink to be interesting and appealing then you should stay far away. Oishinbo is a drama, a comedy, a text book, a history book, and a cook book all rolled into one.

I'm not a huge sushi fan though I have been known to partake on occasion and as such my knowledge of sake is somewhat limited. Or I should say "was somewhat limited" because now I know exactly why some of the sake I've had has been exquisitely good and some just down right terrible. If there was a ever a comic bok that drove me to want to have a drink in my hand it was this one. I really enjoyed this, my second volume of Oishinbo and I will be definitely be picking up more volumes soon.

Two Generals

Writer/Artist: Scott Chantler

$24.95 / 152 pages / McClelland & Stewart

You'll see this book featured on this week's video show and I read it because after Josh talked about it on the show I just had to get it.

As someone who has read ans seen a lot on World War II, one area that is completely new to me is the Canadian army experience. Two Generals the tale of two Canadian soldiers from basic training to D-Day and the invasion of Normandy to the war itself.

I don't want to steal too much of the video show's thunder but I will say that I really enjoyed this. Scott Chantler did the wonderful Northwest Passage and this is a fine follow-up. He is a wonderful and heartfelt cartoonist. Here he tells the tale of his real life grandfather and as someone whose grandfather is a World War II veteran I can only imagine the weight that this story places on his shoulders: the pressure to get it right and do his grandfather justice.

This book also features the best production of everything I read this weekend. It's made up to look like a moleskin book with the outer rubber band ribbon to hold the book closed. Two Generals is a lovely package.


Writer: Brian Azzarello
Artists: Lee Bermejo

$19.99 / 144 pages / DC Comics

I'm pretty sure that I've read this mini-series in issues, but it had been so long I had forgotten 99% of it. Sometimes that's the beauty of stories — you wait long enough to experience them again and it's like the first time all over again.

I assume that DC rereleased this mini-series in the wake of the success of The Joker by the same creative team. The title (the original title was slightly different) and packaging is certainly intentionally similar.

The best villains are usually the most complex and Lex Luthor is no exception. In Luthor the focus is squarely on the man himself — Superman is a (an almost entirely) silent force of nature seen mostly in the background. In fact, Superman comes off as a bit menacing and scary, and that's how we know that this story is filtered through the Lex Luthor lens. And you know what? Luthor is so good that more than a few times I found myself thinking that Luthor wasn't so bad and maybe held a few reasonable points of view.

A Sickness in the Family

Writer: Denise Mina
Artist: Antonio Fuso

$19.99 / 192 pages / DC Comics

These Vertigo Crime books have varied so wildly in quality that I never know what to expect when I open a new one up. It's kind of exciting in that way.

A Sickness in the Family might be the best one so far.

The biggest problem with these books has been that far too many of them have relied on a super natural element and haven't been pure crime stories. This one pulls a switcheroo that played on my super natural expectations — it makes you think that there's an ancient curse on this poor London family but there's not. There's something far worse plaguing them: evil.

Ever since his run on G.I. Joe: Cobra, Antonio Fuso has been an artist I always keep an eye out for. He's great here drawing a story with no dynamic action but lots of terror and mystery.

This story actually made me tense as I flew through the pages to get to the end and the big reveal. I read this one late at night after a fiew of these other books and although I was tired and fighting off sleep, I couldn't put A Sickness in the Family down until I finished the story.

Hulk, Vol. 5

Writer: Jeph Loeb
Artist: Ed McGuinness & John Romita, Jr.

$14.99 / 136 pages / Marvel Comics

This was an absolute delight!

I wasn't totally in love with the fourth volume. I wasn't as into the story as much (there were a bunch of crossovers and guest stars that I just didn't care about) and felt my enthusiasm for the Red Hulk saga waning a bit. This volume brought my excitement level right back.

This was the first time that I read the Red Hulk story that I felt the events in the book kind of tied into the greater Marvel Universe that I had been reading. Here, Red Hulk teams up (VERY reluctantly) with Bruce Banner and friends to take out ne'er do wells like M.O.D.O.K. and The Leader who are trying to destroy the world. I can see now the groundwork being laid for what is currently happening in Jeff Parker's run on Hulk.

It goes without saying — but I'll say it anyway! — that the book is gorgeous. John Romita Jr. and Ed McGuinnes bring the big action like so much thunder. There are some fantastic pages in here.

The Walking Dead, Vol. 13

Writer: Robert Kirkman
Artist: Charlie Adlard

$14.99 / 136 pages / Image Comics

I don't know if you've heard of this Image title but it's an indie book and doesn't get a lot of press.


This was the first Walking Dead that I read since having watched the TV show and it was an absolutely fascinating experience. I found myself comparing the characters where they were now to where they were at the beginning of the story and it's startling to see the change. I hadn't thought about the beginning of the story in a long time and this was the first time that I was able to make that comparison.

My one abiding thought throughout this volume? "Oh… Rick."

One of the things that I really love about Walking Dead is that you can never really tell where the story is going to go and this was no different. I thought I knew what would happen in this new environment and the story went in a completely different way. That's exciting.


Writer/Artist: Ho Che Anderson

$34.99 / 312 pages / Fantagraphics Books

This might have been 312 pages but it felt like 512. And that's not a criticism.

Most of the books on this list I read in one session. This one took three. It's just so dense! Covering Dr. Martin Luthor King's life from childhood to his assassination there is A LOT of information here and while there are often blocks and blocks of dialogue and text I wasn't bothered because it's all interesting and it's all riveting not just because of its importance in history… but because it's a great story.

This special edition also features a fascinating bonus section for process jumkies or aspiring writers. Writer/artist Ho Che Anderson spent almost two decades on this graphic novel (which was oriignally released in multiple volumes, but it's collected in one volume here) and he writes about the entire saga in the back in a year by year break down. It's fascinating to read about the peaks and valleys of working on such a mammoth creator owned project that he started when he was 20 and finished when he was nearly 40.

Marvel Her-Oes

Writer: Grace Randolph
Artist: Craig Rousseau

$14.99 / 208 pages / Marvel Comics

This one made me both happy and sad.

Happy because I found this reimagining of the Marvel Universe where many of the prominant female superheroes attend the same high school to be fun and funny. There's a reason why teenage super heroes are so popular and it's because the normal drama inherent in teenage angst, when combined with the problems that come from being young and having super powers, leads to something really compelling. High school is hard enough without having green skin.

Sad because it is really just a set up story and I assume that we're not getting any more, which means we're not going to get to the meat of the story (Hell, many of the characters don't even meet until the very end.) I don't know anything for sure but I just assume that in this current market, fun and quirky and out-of-continuity books like this don't survive.


  1. Glad to see I wasn’t the only one who spent my entire Thanksgiving weekend catching up on reading.  I haven’t gotten into the Hulk, but now I just might have to check out some of the recent trades and I can’t wait to pick up King.

  2. Nice list. I need to check out Two Generals.
    I read Northlanders vol 1 and 2 (and part of 3), A Sickness in the Family, Fogtown, and The Executor
  3. Nice

  4. Wow, what are you going to read over the Xmas break?

  5. I stopped by my LCS in black Friday and I picked up quite A few trades. The Wretch vol 1($2.95) Wolv. Enemy of the state. Ex machina vol 4. Irr. Ant-man. Dark Ares. And the first 2 Invincible trades for a friend I got hooked on TWD.

    Started w. The Wretch and Wolv. EotS

  6. @THEHOCHE  I have a lot of options, this barely put a dent in my stack.

  7. Good list. That Luthor trade stopped short of being the definitive Luthor story. Although there was plenty of excitment, it kind of fell flat near the end. The obsession with wanting to best Superman is there but the perverse obsession with wanting to be Superman isn’t. Was slightly disappointed with that as it initially held so much inital promise. The exchange Luthor has with his secretary shortly before he fires her is the highlight of the series. Walking Dead, top-notch as per usual.

  8. @conor  Your Storage unit must be overflowing

  9. I definitely am going to check out Two Generals, Luthor, and A Sickness in the Family.  Those all were on my radar.  I’m glad they are good.

  10. I read the first volume in the Oishinbo series earlier this year, it felt like reading an episode of the Japanese Iron Chef. I enjoyed the book, but I don’t think I’ll be reading any more from this series. Two Generals is definitely on my wishlist now.

  11. @THEHOCHE  The area next to his desk requires a hard hat.

  12. And Chew vol 3.

  13. I saw Two Generals at Chapters on the weekend, and it was only the ridiculously long line at the cash that made me put it back and not buy it. Now I’ll have to go back and pick it up.

  14. Fall Of The Hulks is truly where Loeb’s Hulk series becomes great. Very fun, well written action, and the best art in any books being put out.

  15. Luthor sounds interesting.  I may add that to the list.

  16. The only thing i read over the weekend was Chew Vol 1, and i really enjoyed it.

  17. More graphic novel reviews.  It’s good to see something other than singe issues discussed.

  18. That’s a lot of reading… Good Reading! 

  19. Cool List.  I finally finished the first Cooke Parker GN and have the second on the stack.  Also subscribed to marvel digital with the sale yesterday and will pick up a lot of old stuff that way (including the hulk run) and other stuff I’ve missed (ultimate universe, new x-men, etc).  I hope and wish apple allows subscription services via iTunes so comixlology/DC can offer a similar subscription based plan…

  20. I definitely want to read Two Generals.

  21. I had the same reaction to Her-Oes.  When a book like this or Thor the Mighty Avenger can’t thrive, I feel like there’s some kind of disconnect between the product and its potential audience.

    Great reviews down the line, thanks for posting these!

  22. I need to get my hands on the last two Vertigo Crime books.  Love them and the format.

  23. I really like Denise Mina. i feel as if she got the short straw when they didn’t let her write more on Constantine (big fan of that here). I look forward to reading her graphic novel. I was hesitant because I haven’t really heard anything about the line as a whole so thanks for the recommend Connor. 

  24. In November:

    read all of Scott Pilgrim and watched the DVD, both great translates better to DVD as it is such a strong sound effect driven piece.  Plus ramona sigh.

    Read all of Young Avengers.  Simply amazing even when it is reaching it is at least reaching in the right direction.

    Read the 3 Locke and Key trades and think it is better than anything his dad has put out in 15 years. 

    Read American Vampire and I am intrigued.

    Read Blackest Night and was bored.

    Caught up on the Morrison Batman stuff and was near orgasmic.

    Re-Read TransMet and was stirred to start writing again.

    Re-Read the first 4 of SiP and fell in love again.

    Re-Read Millers Batman Stuff and decided I really really miss Frank Miller.

    Finished my yearly reading of Sandman and this time fell in love with Delirium instead of Death or Dream or War or Lucian or Cain or Abel or Lucifer.

    Who knows what December will bring.  I have a ton ordered from inter library loan and just put in an order for our library to buy another 75 trades.  I get to choose cuz I’m their on call comic nerd.


  25. @WeaklyRoll  re: Chew, it gets better after vol.1 and damn the art is awesome

  26. i bought all the vertigo crime books. good reads. have yet to get a sickness in the family.

  27. @irishred  Wow! How many words a minute do you read?

  28. Wow, you really put some work in this weekend..and reminded me just how much I have on my stack at the moment.  I did just get through the first oversize Red Hulk HC thanks to the ifanboy recommendation and was pleasantly surprised. I remember reading Luthor in issues and thought it was okay, but I think I might just have to check out Two Generals…once I’ve caught up a little.

  29. Two Generals sounds interesting, TWD I need to pick up.  I started reading Journey by Messner-Loebs, and some Lone Wolf & Cub, the small digest graphic novels.  Luthor sounded pretty interesting as well–though I don’t have much interest in the super hero thing unless done pretty well, but you made that one sound good.

  30. @SuperMoore.  I am an avid reader.  I have been since the start.  I usually have a novel going too (just finished crooked little vein last night). 
    To be fair I probably have more time than most, I have a very serious disease (graves) and have been on disability since August so I spend a lot of time reading. 
    Even prior to that though I had a weekly pull list of 8-10 comics plus random pick ups and would read 10-12 trades a month.  I enjoy reading.  I don’t watch much TV beyond sporting events and a couple serialized shows.  I love the sequential art form.  I do talks and programs at the local library, have been on the radio here doing call in Comic Book shows and like I said consult for the library on what books to order.  That gig has been nice for me forcing me to branch out beyond capes.
    If you are not using interlibrary loan to check books that you may not want to purchase or read books that have been on your list but just haven’t found or have been over priced I highly recomend it.  I get books from all over the US. 
    So long answer…sorry.