The iFanboy Letter Column – 06/11/2010

Friday means many things to many people. For some, Friday means movie night. For others, Friday means pure unbridled hedonism. For some, it’s both.

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 —

After listening to numerous positive reviews on the podcast of Abnett & Lanning’s cosmic Marvel stuff, I was wondering what to go back and read. This is not the typical “jumping-on point” question — I plan to dive into the Thanos Imperative stuff and hope for the best — but what are the top series arcs of what I’ve missed?

Nathan M.

I will gladly take any opportunity to talk about the Marvel Cosmic universe, as it’s been one of the unexpected joys of the latter part of the past decade in comics, in my humble opinion. Dan Abbnett and Andy Lanning have picked up on what Keith Giffen started with reviving the Marvel cosmic characters in such a fun and engaging way, I wish I could get everyone to start reading these books!

So you’re going to dive into The Thanos Imperative, which has been off to an awesome start, but what else should you read? While I applaud your diving in approach and not looking for the typical “jumping on point,” I do think it would be good to go back to the beginning and pick up the Annihilation stories as those not only restarted what’s been occurring in the cosmic universe, but told a great story that set the status quo for the universe and was packed with some badass action. Pick up Annihilation: Book 1 and see if you dig it, and then go finish up those run of books to get the whole story.

Once you do that, then slide into the world of Nova, Vol. 1 picks up the story from Annihilation and gives you, what I think, the best of the Marvel Cosmic, by viewing the universe and the challenges through the eyes of one character, the earthling Richard Rider, also known as Nova. If you’re not too worried about continuity, then I would jump ahead to Nova, Vol. 4: Nova Corps, for what I thought was a ton of fun and a great link to the past stories of Nova and the concept of the Nova Corps.

The other gem of the Marvel Cosmic-verse as been the Guardians of the Galaxy. Just go out and pick up Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 1: Legacy and you’ll instantly get a feel for the characters, the team and the storytelling technique, which Abnett and Lanning have developed uniquely for this book, which makes it feel less like a repeat of Nova and more along the lines of having it’s own identity. After reading volume 1, just go down the line with the rest of the volumes, you won’t be sorry.

I really thought about the individual storylines and arc and various collected editions and the Marvel Cosmic universe is a rare case in that if you stick to the main books of Nova and Guardians of the Galaxy, I really don’t think you can go wrong. Even with a few “events” thrown in there, like War of Kings, these books still managed to be good reads on their own.

If you’re looking for a little history, then I strongly recommend the Nova Essentials, Vol. 1 for some great classic stories that give you a feel for Nova as a character and his origins. They’re starting to collect old Guardians of the Galaxy stories like Earth Shall Overcome by Arnold Drake/Gene Colan and Steve Gerber/Sal Bucema, but for old Guardians of the Galaxy stories, I’m holding out for the late 1980s/early 1990s Jim Valentino stuff to be collections, so I would say to hold off on that for now, unless you REALLY love the Marvel Cosmic (Note that the old Guardians of the Galaxy are a completely different team than the current one, they only share the name).

Have fun getting into the Marvel Cosmic! I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Ron Richards

I’ve been overseas teaching English in Korea for the past two years. I’ve been listening to your show to keep a lifeline to comics since it’s been difficult keeping up with my favorite books. Now that I’m returning to the States in the summer, I figure I’ve got a lot of trades to catch up on. If you got to go back and select your favorites, what books do you think are worth picking up in trade from the past two years? I loved the looks of Adventure Comics with Manapul and Detective Comics with J.H. Williams, I picked up Blackest Night in issues and the Final Crisis hardcover so I’m good with events, and I enjoyed the first few issues of Chew. Also, can you recommend a few graphic novels? I’m already on the look out for Afrodisiac.

Erick B. from South Korea

What’s good from the last two years? I don’t know from trades, since I get so much in issues, but a lot of this has been collected, so I guess here’s a list of good things.  Try not to be overwhelmed.

Jonah Hex, The Mighty, Irredeemable, The Unwritten, Ultimate Spider-Man, Batman and Robin, Daytripper, Unknown Soldier, Dong Xoai Vietnam 1965, Battlefields, Siege, The Flash: Rebirth, The Invincible Iron Man, Echo, G.I. Joe: Cobra, Avengers: Prime, The New Avengers, Invincible, The Walking Dead, Sweet Tooth, Fables, Jack of Fables, 7 Psychopaths, Scalped, Wednesday Comics, American Vampire, B.P.R.D., The Marvels Project, Northlanders, Hellblazer, Stumptown, Parker: The Hunter, Asterios Polyp, I Kill GIants, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.

And that’s just what I liked.

Josh Flanagan


First of all, what the hell happened to Shawn Martinbrough? If you know where he is can you tell him I love him, and I miss him, and I want him to come home?

Second of all, this one would have been easier on voicemail, but have you considered that Guy Gardner may actually be pronounced Gee Gardnair?

Dan from Toronto, Canada

While Shawn Martinbrough hasn’t had the high profile gigs that he had in the early 2000s when he drew Detective Comics for two years with writer Greg Rucka, he’s still in the game. Martinbrough just wrapped up Luke Cage: Noir and he’s got a book entitled How To Draw Noir Comics: The Art and Technique of Visual Storytelling. He is currently working on another mini-series for Marvel called Bullseye: The Perfect Game.

Shawn Martinbrough is a fantastic artist and his run on Detective Comics was some of my favorite stuff from that time period. It was the last great golden age in Batbooks before the current creative renaissance that began about a year ago. Martinbrough brought such a powerful mood and atmosphere to Detective Comics and it worked perfectly with Rucka’s gritty stories.

When I look at that page to the right I am instantly transported back to those fantastic comics. Man, I really wish DC’s trade program didn’t blow. I’d love a few really nice, comprehensive collections of that Rucka/Martinbrough run. Ah, well. A guy can dream, can’t he?

As for your second question… no. No, I hadn’t considered that.

Conor Kilpatrick


  1. What’s worth reading from the past two years? I feel like I’m standing on the beach, watching a vast tidal wave of recommendations approaching…

    Also, I will now forever read "Guy Gardner" as "Gee Gardnair".

  2. Wow. How wonderfully pertinent as I’ve been wondering the same thing about Abnett and Lanning myself. I just picked up Annihilation vol. 1 this morning. Glad to hear I’m doing it right.

  3. Some fairly recent but probably lesser known trades I’d recommend are The Nobody, Area 10, The Unknown, Lockjaw and the Pet Avengers, and Lost Girls.

  4. Jeff Reid (@JeffRReid) says:

    I’ve stayed away from cosmic Marvel for a while, but after hearing so much good stuff for so long, I’ve decided to go back and read ANNIHILATION and the first two trades of GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY. After glancing through the ANNIHILATION trades, I’m surprised to see some Scott Kollins art in there. Why did no one tell me he was in these things? I’d have read them long ago!

    So hey, thanks for breaking things down for us, Ron. I’m looking forward to reading these stories.

  5. Guy Jardinier

  6. Regular readers of this site probably think we have a very general idea about what the ifanboys and associates tend to like, but I enjoyed having Josh just lay it all out. It would be interesting to see the other guys respond to that question, too. What do you say?

  7. I’m also going to start from Annihilation since I’ve been curious after hearing Ron and Josh talk about it on previous podcast.

  8. Anybody know what #’s those old Rucka issues are?

  9. Anyone have an opinion on Abnett and Landing’s Authority?

  10. @Dan : Guy’s not French, right?

    @RapidEyeMovement: Just like Ron influenced me to read Nemesis as Nami-sus

  11. @RaBoogie: Greg Rucka first run on DETECTIVE COMICS was #732, 735, 739-753, 755-775, 783. Shawn Martinbrough drew DETECTIVE COMICS #742-746, 750-752, 755, 758-761, 763-764, 783 

    @UncleBob: We did a video show about Wildstorm and talked about those issues.

  12. I’m generally a DC kinda guy cos i like batman (obviously) and all the crazy cosmic stuff and goofy, pulpy characters etc etc, and for reasons i can’t put my finger on i’ve never really been drawn to capt america or wolverine or any of the marvel characters….but….i like the look of that space racoon (!)on the guardians of the galaxy picture. can anyone tell me more about the series?

    is it worth leaving my comfort zone and dipping my toe into marvel…?

  13. That page from Rucka’s Detective looks awesome in black and white. I assume the original is color, but it would be great to get a black and white version of his run, it looks great in B&W.

  14. @Connor:  Thanks.  You guys have built quite the library of articles and podcasts!

  15. Timely! I read Annihilation Memorial Day weekend and just finished – literally moments ago – Annihilation: Conquest Book 1.I plan to move on to the enitierty of Nova, Guardians, and War of Kings next. These have been awesome. 

  16. @GloriousGodfrey – Yeah, I’m not a marvel guy either but I pick up the Cosimic stuff, it’s fairly self contained and high on action story telling, usually with high consequence. 

    The Raccoon is awesome. 

  17. Gee Gardnair???

    You my friend, have been watching way too much hockey.

  18. I’ve been on board of the Marvel cosmic ride since Annihilation. I’ve loved every issue but felt the creativity has droped some since "Realm of Kings". Personally I like Nova better than GotG but both are unique and fun in there own way.

  19. Some great trade recommendations – there’s also Power Girl and Secret Six.

  20. @ Conor:  Thank you sir!