The iFanboy Letter Column – 05/29/2009

Friday means many things to many people. For some, Friday means it’s time to really give some thought to how much food you can eat in one 48 hour period without moving. For others, Friday means it’s finding out who’s holdin’.

At iFanboy, Friday means it’s letter column time.

You write. We answer. Very simple.

As always, if you want to have your e-mail read on the any of our shows or answered here, keep them coming —


I’m 15 and only just really got into comics. I love DC/Vertigo’s Absolute Editions and wanted to ask, if you could see any one comic in the Absolute format what would it be? e.g. what mini series or long series?

Also I was wondering if you know of any good comic conventions in England and if you would ever come to one (even though I bet they suck compared to the ones you got)?

Marcus from Stoke On Trent, England, UK

It’s funny, I was just thinking about Absolute Editions the other day.  We’ve talked about which books we’ve wanted to see in Absolute form before, but it’s been a while, so now’s as good a time as any to revisit the subject.

Right now it seems like Absolute Editions are the domain of the works of Alan Moore, Jim Lee, Alex Ross, and Neil Gaiman. If there is a new Absolute announced chances are you’ll find one of those names attached. The one that just came out — Absolute Superman For Tomorrow — had art by Jim Lee, and the next four are Absolute V For Vendetta (Alan Moore), Absolute Promethea (Alan Moore), Absolute Justice (Alex Ross), and Absolute Death (Neil Gaiman). I’d like to get some other books into that format and right now the two books that reside at the top of my wish list are All-Star Superman and Darwyn Cooke’s The Spirit. If I were put in charge of Absolute Editions, those would be the next two printed. Absolutes are about great stories, but they are also about great art. That oversize treatment isn’t just so you can read the word balloons better. I’d love to see Frank Quitely’s All-Star Superman work in Absolute form, I think it’s the best stuff of his career. And Darwyn Cooke’s big, clean style is perfect for the oversized editions. Absolute DC: The New Frontier is still the best looking Absolute I own. Gorgeous.

As for comic cons in the United Kingdom, the one that I hear about the most is Bristol Comic Expo. That one seems to be the biggest comic con in the UK, with the most professional attendees. Please, someone correct me if I’m wrong. As for making it out there, maybe some day. We’d love to go, but right now with the economy being what it is, finances preclude it. Plus, it already happened this year.

Conor Kilpatrick


I’m part of a monthly book club and we rotate book selections amongst the group. I was thinking of picking a graphic novel to introduce my fellow clubbers to the medium (I got them interested in sci-fi with Ender’s Game). I was thinking something that’s more self-contained might be better vs something that doesn’t feel like a full story on its own, i.e. Watchmen (which I think would be too much to start someone off with) vs. say a volume of Strangers in Paradise which never seems to have a jumping off point. The group consists mostly of 20-30 year old women, interested more in character development than straight-up action.

What would you suggest I pick?

Walter from Minnesota

That’s a great questions Walter, and it’s an awesome way to get people to read some comics.

I also agree with your choices of what not to start with. I never consider Watchmen a “starter” book, as great as it may be. And Strangers in Paradise is a favorite, but it’s a big commitment to start with and the first volume is not the strongest. So in that case, you should go with something self-contained, and I’d suggest something that goes against pre-conceptions of what a comic book is or should be in the minds of people who don’t know. What about Tricked or Too Cool to Be Forgotten from Alex Robinson, or Blankets from Craig Thompson? Recently we talked about Alan’s War, which is a little more war history, but a very rich story. Perhaps try Pride of Baghdad from Brian K. Vaughan? A favorite of mine is The King by Rich Koslowski, which is a fine and touching graphic novel in one volume about someone who may or may not be Elvis Presley.

There’s a treasure trove of one volume graphic novels out there. Pick one that really affected you in some way, and you’ll at least have that to talk about and explore. Every book I’ve mentioned above really touched me when I read them. Try to find something where someone dies and it’ll make them cry. Works every time! Luckily there are many more graphic novels to get to than you’ll ever need to keep your book club supplied for years.

Josh Flanagan


  1. @Walter

    The first volume of Y: The Last Man (HC or trade) is extremely accesible and instantly hooks everyone. I highly suggest it.

    Everyone I give it to gets hooked. 

  2. I love the ‘book club’ question!  I’ve thought about this a bit myself though I’ve never been brave enough to propose it in a club.

    What about "Fun Home" by Alison Bechdel?  It could be interesting for a book club, because there’s a lot of discussion about books and reading.  It also has a female narrator/protagonist, is all about relationships, and (I know this can be important with a book club) is pretty easy to find copies of.

  3. Jeff Reid (@JeffRReid) says:

    Great idea about "Fun Home."  That’s a keeper for sure.

    "Blankets" has always been a personal favorite of mine as well.  That thing’s stayed by my side through many moves around several college dorm rooms all the way to my first "real" job.  It helps that I got it signed when I bought it.

    I have always loved Chris Ware’s "Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth."

    Maybe something that a movie was based on?  "Ghost World" or "Road to Perdition"?

  4. How does "The King" compare to "Bubba Ho-Tep"?

  5. The King moved me to go meet the creator, and there’s a print from it framed on my wall.  Bubba Ho-Tep was mildly enjoyable.

    But that’s just me.

  6. How about…

    Absolute "Weapon X"

    Absolute Steranko "Captain America" or "Nick Fury"

    Absolute "Kamandi"

    is there any rule that these books need to be DC centric and or post 1984?

  7. @bean6344: Well, DC puts out the Absolutes, so… yes.

  8. If you choose The King, add this as supplemantal material:

    I vote for Absolute Superman: Peace on Earth just so it can be even more of a pain in the ass to read, and it will have to consist mostly of extras since the book is very short. 

  9. I’d second BLANKETS for the book club. Incredible book.

  10. @Walter: If they have even a passin interest in history I’d reccomend Louis Riel by Chester Brown or I never liked you by same author.

    Also, Bannock, Beans and Black tea by Seth is absolutely incredible! One of my favorites!

    Those three are heavy with character. Have fun!


  11. @bean6344 Steranko? YES! I’ll be second in line, behind you, for that one!

  12. Jeff Reid (@JeffRReid) says:

    Another quick suggestion for the book club.  I can’t believe I forgot about this one last time, but "Persepolis" by Marjane Satrapi would be another solid choice.  It’s a great coming of age tale during the Iranian Revolution.  It’s fairly straight-forward but a great character piece.

    And, of course, there’s "Maus" by Art Spiegelman.

    Can’t believe I forgot about those two yesterday when I suggested some titles.

  13. Walter from Minnesota, kudos to you for a) finding a book club where you are the lone male, and b) getting these chickadees to read Ender’s Game

  14. Give me some Absolute Gotham by Gaslight. Big Mike Mignola art and Batman…oh that’d be the bomb.

    As for the book club: Dan Dare (The recent Ennis stuff), The Dark Phoenix Saga, Bone Onmibus (i know that’s a big comitment, but well worth it, and when it’s done it’s done). 


  15. I’m in a book club at my workplace and some girl chose Watchme and it was a bit too much for the crowd. I would go with something like Acme Novelty Library #19 – completely self contained, quick enough and engaging enough to read twice, gripping art within an addictive design philosophy and it is only 10 bucks on Amazon.

     Plus you can tell all of the dames that Chris Ware does work for This American Life and they can wet their knickers and agree to read it without complaint.


    If you have a cerebral mystery loving group and like to pick all the meat off the bones of a book the comic adaptation of Paul Auster’s City of Glass is one of the best comics ever made.

  16. @Connor: Does DC own the trademark on "Absolute"?  That is what I am asking (maybe not so well).  The format seems appropriate for books beore 1984 and blah blah blah….

  17. @bean6344-DC does Absolute versions of thier stories, while Marvel does Omnibus versions.  Both are oversized and contain extra goodies.  Its just a different name, but both are the biggest and bestest treatment that a story can get from the publishers

  18. It was my understanding that Absolute’s were oversized in surface size (i.e. reprinted at 8 inches by 12 inches vs 6 5/8 X 10 3/16)  while Omini are oversized in number of issues but standard (or near standard size).  I was just asking if bigger is better than thicker (that’s what she said….).  I may be wrong but that’s how I think of them.

    I would love for other companies to adopt this format (i.e. Hellboy Library Editon) and I would love for DC to recognise that stories prior to 1984 may also be deserving of this format.




  19. @bean6344: "Absolute Edition" is a product branding that DC uses. Just like "Library Edition" is a product branding that Dark Horse uses.  So when you talk about an Absolute Edition it’s going to always be a DC book.

  20. I guess my poorly worded point is that I wish other pubishers would adopt this format for artistically approriate material and DC would expand the program to material prior to 1984.

    Call it a Library Edition, Absolute, etc.  I don’t care.  I just  believe that there is material outside of "the works of Alan

    I guess my poorly worded point is that I wish other pubishers would adopt this format for artistically approriate material and DC would expand the program to material prior to 1984.

    Call it a Library Edition, Absolute, etc.  I don’t care.  I just  believe that there is material outside of "the works of Alan Moore, Jim Lee, Alex Ross and Neil Gaiman" that be nice to see.



  21. Bristol is the biggest and longest running UK comic convention. This year it was on 9-10th May. If anyone is interested, I did some posts to the forum from the con and you can read them here:

    Marcus may be interested in the Birmingham Comic Con coming up in October (a bit nearer to you than Bristol!) 


  22. @bean6344: Sure, thre is a ton of material that deserves over-sized hardcover treatment, but the statement about Alan Moore, Jim Lee, Alex Ross and Neil Gaiman pertained only to DC’s Absolute Editions.  It’s also not DC’s official edict, it’s just what I notice they tend to put the most into Absolute form.  It’s probably because that’s what they figure will sell most.

    And as much as I’d like to see some older material in Absolute form, I don’t know that the sales would be there to justify the expensive editions. It’s hard enough to get most modern readers to read and appreciate books from the 80s.

  23. We forgot Frank Miller is constantly getting the Abs Edition

  24. @JurassicAlien: Has he gotten more than DARK KNIGHT and RONIN? I don’t think he has any more scheduled, unless I’m missing something.

  25. Thought i’d throw in a couple book club suggestions:

    We3 would be a good self contained story, and it has a different feel than most of the previous suggestions.

    or if your book club has read "The Dark Tower" books by Steven King you could transition them in with "Dark Tower: Gunslinger Born" i’ve gotten a few people in to comics with that series.

  26. The only other oversized Frank Miller I can think of is the Library Editions of Sin City, but that’s not DC.  I’m thinking you’re on the money with that thought Conor.

  27. Bring back Absolute Planetary and Absolute Authority and finish those out (well, when Planetary eventually finishes). The only copies I can find on Amazon are $200+.

    I’d love anything Darwyn Cooke in Absolute – collect his Batman/Catwoman stuff into one nifty volume.

    I’ve got the JLA/Avengers oversized hardcover that came out and that’s something that looks beautiful oversized. While the story was only so-so, the art looks great and the extras are just, Wow! I have a feeling reprint rights and the like are stopping that on being reprinted.

    Geoff Johns’ Flash run, with the awesome Scott Kollins art, would be a hell of an Absolute collection.