The iFanboy Letter Column – 10.15.2010

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. For others, neither.

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

You write. We answer. Very simple.

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I recently picked up the Aquaman series from the ’90s written by Peter David. I’ve often heard high praise about the series from the few folks that have read it, and I have to agree. It’s really, really good. But I haven’t heard of this run except for some chatter here and there. Reading this got me thinking, what are some other really well done runs or storylines in your opinions that are good, but very underrated? As comic fans we constantly hear about Watchmen, Dark Knight or other ground breaking comics, that’s well deserved praise, but that’s not what I’m asking about. I’m asking, what in your opinion is just some great solid work we may not have heard of, maybe it wasn’t ground breaking, maybe it didn’t change comics as we know it, but it was just some damn enjoyable reading and maybe you’d like to get the word out?

Cameron R. (Jurassicalien)

Oh, Cameron. There are so many great series that have fallen through the cracks and have been forgotten about over the years. I wish I had ready access to my long boxes so I could really reminisce about all those great series. But I don’t so I can’t be comprehensive. So here are five great runs that came to me right away.

Catwoman #1-10, 12-37 – Ed Brubaker’s fantastic crime noir-ish take on a mostly heroic Selena Kyle featured the artistic talents of Darwyn Cooke, Cameron Stewart, Paul Gulacy, Sean Phillips, Guy Davis, Jimmy Palmiotti, and Javier Pulido. This might be the most under-the-radar fantastic book of the last ten years. It never shows up on anyone’s “Best of” lists but it really should.

Nightwing #1-70 – Chuck Dixon wrote this book for 70 issues but it was the first 40 that were drawn by Scott McDaniel that stand out most in my mind and in my memory. Chuck Dixon owned the Batuniverse for most of the 90s and this might have been his best book.

Captain America #338-354, 357-365, 367 – Mark Gruenwald wrote this book for, like, ever, but it was his run with artist Kieron Dwyer that should really be remembered. Just classic, old school Captain America superhero comics. Different, tonally, from the more espionage based stores of recent years, but just as good. I’d buy a collection of that run in a heartbeat.

Wonder Man #1-29 – A run that was huge when it first came out but now no one talks about or seems to remember came from writer Gerard Jones and artist Jeff Johnson. It chronicled the Hollywood and superhero adventures of Wonder Man and was tons of fun. Plus, Jeff Johnson’s art was great and would totally work on a big time superhero book today.

Chase #1-9 – Written by Dan Curtis Johnson and drawn by J.H. Williams III, this series about Cameron Chase, an agent of the Department of Extranormal Operations, the arm of the U.S. government dealing with metahumans and the supernatural, was criminally short-lived.

Conor Kilpatrick


1) If you could have any series/run collected into an oversized hardcover, that has not been collected into one yet, which one would you choose?

Transmetropolitan.

2) If you could write any current series, which one would you choose and who would you want doing the art? (I asked this one to the guys on the other comics podcast I listen to and think it is an interesting question to ask people.)

That’s an incredibly tough question, because most of my favorite titles are those that are creator owned, or strongly associated with a single creator. That said, I’d really want to take Captain America. I would get all over the man out of time idea, and really bring the idea of the greatest generation back to Cap. For an artist, I’d either go with Chris Samnee or Gabriel Hardman. They’re both exemplary storytellers, which is what makes a writer look good, but they’re also both just so good at lighting and figures and acting. I’d also love to work with Jock and Skottie Young, because they’re like no one else out there.

3) I’m a voracious reader, not just of comics, but of books as well, can you tell us some books that you like?

I love books about U.S. History. My favorite fiction author is Neal Stephenson. I could read The Baroque Trilogy many times over. I even liked his last book Anathem. Since I started working from home, and then we had the baby, my reading has slowed down incredibly, and I don’t read nearly as much as I used to. That said, it’s only one of my favorite things on Earth. I most recently finished Star, the Warren Beatty biography by Peter Biskind. I’m reading Dick Winters’ story of his WWII experience right now, Beyond Band of Brothers.

4) If ever in the future, another person writes to you and tells you they are starting college and are not sure if they can afford comics. Tell them to apply for a part time job at a bookstore. I read trades my entire lunch hour through grad school and was introduced to a lot of great stuff I may not have seen otherwise. Let them know to apply somewhere between Halloween and the second week of November, as they’ll probably be looking for holiday help then and they will be far enough into school to be settled in. (Clearly, this isn’t a question, but advice).

So I don’t have to write anything here, right? Boss! Still, that seems like a hell of a complicated strategy.

Dan (ColossusofRhodeIsland) from Boston, Massachussets

Josh Flanagan

Comments

  1. My local comic shop sells packaged up runs of comics for a low, low price. I just yesterday bought the run of Empire,  which I was introduced to on the iFanboy video podcast. It really caught my fancy when I learn what it was all about. 

    So this might be a good run to check out. 

  2. Totally agree on nightwing. It was here that dick proved himself the equal to Bruce, long before battle forth cowl.

  3. I have never heard of that Wonder Man run.  That sounds awesome!

  4. I thought Dixon’s early run on Robin was as good, if not better, than his Nightwing run. 

    The Vertigo Human Target run is one of my unsung favorites, that I have NEVER heard anyone else say they like.  They should.

  5. Finally, someone else is showing some Wonder Man respect. That book was great, fun comics. Great writing and jaw-dropping art. I constantly try to recommend it to people but I’m met with a raised eyebrow, followed by a distant "uh-huh".

    Thank you for bringing some attention to it.

  6. I agree with the last one, I worked at Barnes and Noble for 2 years after graduating high school, and read a trade a day on my lunch breaks. Its how i got into Fables and Y: The Last Man

  7. Oh agreed on both Chase and Wonder Man. Those were all fun series that really escaped notice.

    I’d also add Resurrection Man, by Abnett and Lanning, which came out roughly around the time that Chase was coming out. Another good one. Actually, there were all sorts of cool little DC series that flew under the radar in the 90s. Young Heroes in Love. Major Bummer. Green Lantern Mosaic (with early Cully Hamner art). Xero by Priest — which I think never got to properly play itself out. All series I dug, even if none of ’em ever lasted too long.

  8. Paul Chadwick’s Concrete – the original and the minis.  Not just one of the top under-the-radar series, one of the top series period.  Of course, I am avatar biased.

  9. Hard Time!

  10. @Kmob181 Concrete is one of my all-time favorites. That series is just one of the most charming things I have ever read. I would love to see a Concrete movie/TV series.

    There are so many great runs in comics. Some are more celebrated than others. John Byrne’s run on Fantastic Four is legendary and made the Invisible Woman one of the best marvel characters. She went from being the useless damsel in distress to the most powerful member of the team.

    Dave Sim’s run on Cerebus, 300 issues as writer and artist, is just an astounding achievement. He may be controversial at times with some of his views on certain things, but Cerebus is a great, great comic and Sim’s accomplishment is one of the most impressive in all of comics history.

    Peter David’s first run on the original X-Factor series is probably my favorite run on an x-book, with peter David’s current run on X-Factor being the only thing that rivals it.

    Steve Gerber on Howard the Duck is terrific. The horrible movie makes people forget how fantastic the comic itself was.

  11. There was a Neal Adams Deadman run back in the day (i think it ran as a backup to Aquaman) that was quite awesome. It was collected, but hard to find now. 

    @powerdad–a couple of shops in my area do that with runs as well. I never really thought about em, but it might be an opportunity to find some gems that haven’t been collected.  

  12. Nightwing was great and that Cap run is awesome. I would say start that run at issue#327.

  13. I would really like to see that Nightwing run get collected one day!!  I’ve never read it but I hear NOTHING but good things about it!!

  14. Chase needs a thick trade.

  15. @Conor: You are my hero.

  16. Is that Peter David Aquaman collected?

  17. Which iFanboy video show talked about Empire? Only just re-read it the other week and would like to hear the guys thoughts.

  18. Thumbs-up to Conor for mentioning the Chase series. That was cancelled WAY too soon. It shows off JH Williams’ co-writing skills, which makes me sure he’ll do a great job co-writing Batwoman. It’s also the series that got JH the Promethea gig.

  19. Brubaker’s Catwoman run is one of the greatest ever, it’s in my all time top five, so pleased it gets a mention. I loved Chuck Dixon’s Batgirl and Robin runs so i really should check out his Nightwing.

  20. WONDER MAN!

     

    Love Wonder Man.

  21. YES! That Catwoman run is probably one of the best runs I’ve ever read, it seems like its one of Brubakers best work, right up there with Sleeper and Criminal, that seems to get overlooked these days.

    And the artwork, Darwyn Cooke was cool, but man Cameron Stewart really delivered some beautiful art and its made him one of my favorite artists

  22. That Brubaker Catwoman run is, without a doubt, one of my favorite things that I have ever read. Especially the issues with Cameron Stewart on art, which were emotional and harrowing. At the moment, I’m trying to find Bru’s Batman run.

  23. @comicBOOKchris 

    If you’re after some Brubaker Batman then check out the DC comics presents Batman #1 out this week