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Comics chat

Discussion in 'The Clown Café' started by LarryTheClown, Mar 17, 2015.

  1. LarryTheClown

    LarryTheClown Well-Known Member

    Well, since it turns out a good number of us do read comics, I thought maybe I'd start this off.

    Read an great comics lately?

    I've been catching up on both new and old Suicide Squads lately. The latter I follow because I really do like the pair-up between Deadshot and resident murder clown Harley Quinn. Lately, though, the "New Suicide Squad" has been featuring some terrible art, and I can't justify dropping much more money on it. I like the new team dynamic, though. Harley beating the crap out of Joker's Daughter so she can get over her Joker obsession (and because she's a psychiatrist) was the highlight. I feel like I would have enjoyed the "injured Deadshot" storyline a lot more if the art wasn't so awful.

    Also, catching up on James Robinson's Starman, which I inexplicably stopped reading for a few years. (I think I was on a shoestring budget at the time. Not that I have that much more money now.) Love it. And strangely, I can especially relate now that I 've done a bit of clowning. I tend to work with people who are, say, 20 years my senior. Jack Knight, hero of Starman, finds himself thrust into the hero role and loving it. But Jack's also a bit of a hipster, and his heroes are the new breed like Batman. He worships guys like the Alan Scott Green Lantern, the Wesley Dodds Sandman, and his dad, the original Starman. It's a book about talking with and understanding people from an older generation and showing them love and respect, which weirdly parallels my own walk in life. There isn't much action, but that's sort of the point. The highlights happen when Jack finally connects with heroes and villains of days past.
     
  2. Pookie

    Pookie Well-Known Member

    I like the current Deadpool, though I do miss the Dan Way Deadpool who had several different voices in his head. The way that writer Brian Poeshn (yeah that Brian Poeshn (Rock Show! Rock Show! Rock Show!!!)) explained it away was pretty good.

    Otherwise, I look forward to the various Crossed comics and series. While some writers have put out little more than torture porn, others have managed to spotlight the age old question of who the real monster is: the diseased Crossed who are not in control of their actions or the uninfected who use the excuse that they are only trying to survive or otherwise use the demise of civilization to finally live out their fantasies?

    Also enjoying DC's Injustice: Gods Among Us. What happens when the ultimate Boy Scout loses everything dear to him? Which side do you stand on when beings who are essentially gods, (along with one, recently, who is a god) decide what is right or wrong and force the world to play by their rules. Though, honestly, it has been done before, and done slightly better. See Mark Waid/Alex Ross's Kingdom Come and the Mark Gruenwald 's seminal work, Squadron Supreme.

    Continuing the old school train of thought, I am also a huge fan of Garth Ennis's Preacher series. Came in a little late on Neil Gaiman's Sandman, but, WOW, what a tour de force of awesomeness and spot on writing. Just a side note, but has anyone thought of trying a clown character like Delirium?

    On the current batch of comics... I am really impressed in the directions some writers and companies and going, exploring ideas and story lines that would not otherwise have been tried before, but, many do not interest me. And amongst the titles and characters that I have enjoyed for, well, going on decades now, I do not like the direction the characters are being taken or otherwise find the writing not to my liking.

    I do want to leave on one up note. I encourage everyone, yes, everyone to check out what is the best comic to come out in quite a while. The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl. It is just plain fun reading for everyone. And, I think, a good teaching tool for clowns.
     
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  3. LarryTheClown

    LarryTheClown Well-Known Member

    Also good: Mark Waid expanded on his idea of "Superman losing it" with Irredeemable. Superman (or, rather, The Plutonian) is finally pushed too far and begins killing everybody. Part of the mystery is what finally triggered him (the Lois Lane analogue betrayed him? A crappy childhood?). Part of it is the horror of a guy who is literally unstoppable. Also good: it's pairing comic Incorruptible, where a murderous, indestructible villain changes his ways when he's at ground zero to a city that The Plutonian decimates. It's more uplifting, watching a guy who's lived a terrible life struggle to keep it together, simply because the world needs a hero.
     
  4. V

    V Well-Known Member

    The recent reboot of Amazing Spiderman has been ok thus far. It reverts back to Peter Parker as Spiderman rather than the Otto Octavious 'Superior' Spiderman or Miles Morales 'Ultimate' Spiderman. It's more of a traditionalist take on the Spiderman series. That being said, I enjoy the Miles Morales Spiderman as a casual reader as well

    The recent Spider-Verse (leading up to the incoming Marvel 'Secret Wars') was okay as well. Kind of weird but a lot of 80/90s throwback references. Marvel is essentially doing away with the parallel universe idea (think Earth 2, etc if you're a DC fan) and merging them all together. Some alts will die while others will survive the trip so in theory you could have 2 spider-men (Morales and Parker for example) side by side.

    Spiderman spin-offs. The new 'Silk' Spiderwoman title has a lot of followers. Modern art and decent writing from what I've heard - only a casual reader so I can't endorse it yet.

    I really wanted to like 'Spider Gwen' because; 1.) the writer and inkist are local to me, and 2.) the concept was ok. However, unlike 'Silk' who is a new character, the Spider Gwen guys are simply writing a Spiderman clone story (ie. the character is basically Peter Parker in a new costume). Also, it seems like a 13 year old Marvel fanatic is writing it as only a couple of issues in and we all ready have a alternate rogue's gallery of long time Marvel characters making appearances. I'm hating it actually which is disappointing and I'll stop following it after only 3 issues unless I happen across a loaner copy or torrent because it simply isn't worth the $3.99/issue.

    Superior Ironman may be my current favorite title. Again, it's leading in to 'Secret Wars' and we have an Ironman anti-hero of sorts (for now anyway, the arc is righting itself towards a standard Ironman). Only 6 issues into the series so it's easy to catch up.

    These are my only current titles (I'd been a huge comic book geek through the 90s. Some of the arcs killed me though and I'd not reach much since then until the past year. Fortunately a few good comic book shops locally (although I buy 90% of my stuff digital - more on that in a moment) to shop titles and get suggestions. I plan on picking up the Marvel Noir titles soon and will grab some bundles to catch up on past reading. I may give the 'All New X-Men' a try as well. Otherwise I'm not subscribing to a lot of Marvel titles until I see what's surviving the Secret Wars arc.

    I've never been much of a fan of the DCU save for a few titles. I've heard a lot of good things about the current Batgirl title and will bundle it soon and subscribe for a while.

    Picking up 'BILLY BATSON AND THE MAGIC OF SHAZAM!' as well. I'm a big fan of the 'modern-retro' art style and this comic seems to display it well. I liked the 40s character as well and reviews seem to indicate it has a retro writing style to match the art.

    I'm also a casual reader of The Walking Dead & A Wolf Among Us.

    On digital comics...

    In the 90s, I worked at a Comic Shop and collected quite a bit - some for fun some for profit, until comics took a big hit. I stilled liked print issues and was hesitant to buy digital. I was crazy about them on my Google Tablet or Kindle but am a big fan of them on my Surface Pro. It has a big screen with great resolution and the comic book reader scales to 1:1. It looks great and probably would do so on other larger screens. (again, hated them on 7-10" tablet screens). The 'Guided Reading' technology is also growing on me. Soon I imagine I'll be 100% digital. If you haven't tried it out, you should give it a go.
     
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  5. LarryTheClown

    LarryTheClown Well-Known Member

    Yeah, the nice thing about digital is that imy longboxes aren't taking up what limited space we have. Also, it's really easy to access. If I want to revisit Starman, for example, I just download it back onto my iPad.

    However, if I wanted to read the "Batman: Son of the Demon" graphic novel that I bought for a good price as the used book store, then I have to remember exactly where I stored the dang thing. It could be in at least three different bookshelves or lost in my cavernous storage area somewhere.

    (It's also getting to be the only place to access vintage comics as well. I love the 70's era of Batman, but it's tough to find those stories in trade. And the comic stores I go into anymore seem to be eliminating the fabled back-issue bins. There's a pretty nice selection on Comixology, though. Not comprehensive, mind you, but better than nothing.)
     
  6. V

    V Well-Known Member

    I have a pretty good brick & mortar comic shop relatively close by. The colorist from Spider Gwen works there and they hold a decent convention for those of us who don't want to deal with downtown NYC or San Diego for a larger con. They have a wall of long boxes stacked floor to ceiling of old titles - pretty impressive actually.

    That being said, I don't buy a lot of trade copies. Usually just a cover variant that I like or titles for my 7 year old (Lego Ninjago, etc) so that he isn't demanding my digital reader. Mostly for suggestions, reviews, nerd-talk and the like, but if you're in a market for back issues it might be a lead. They'll search and ship.

    More on digital - I like that most companies are going DRM free (even though many backed up trade books as digital copies long ago). It makes accessing archives easier.

    Comixology - As a Mac user, is your reader app still just a reader app or can you make point and click purchases with it again? As a Windows user we have that option but I know there were issues with the Apple store taking a % (hence you having to buy direct from the .com for a while - or still for Ipad users?).
     
  7. LarryTheClown

    LarryTheClown Well-Known Member

    You still can't download directly onto Apple products. I've had to go to the Comixology website and purchase from there. It's a pain, but it does tend to curb my spending.
     
  8. V

    V Well-Known Member

    I broke down and picked up some DC series bundles to try out - pricey, but what can you do? Someone explain the 'New 52?" and under the assumption they're making big changes with those titles again in the near future?

    I grabbed an Aquaman run because it had decent reviews and Aquaman has been the lamest superhero possible for decades. He has to get a shot sooner or later - right?

    A Wonder Woman run for the same reason as above. Lame stories for decades now but reviews claim they have a decent writer on board now.

    A couple of Batman runs. I can't remember which. Batman & Robin and then something else. Batman Unhinged maybe? I've never been much of a Batman guy but he's one of the big titles so I thought he'd give a good sampling. A Superman/Batman combo run as well. I may look into the other Superman titles if I can get into the DC titles I picked up. Batgirl as well from reviews of both writing and art.

    I also went back an grabbed a Superior Foes of Spiderman line. Supposedly decent writing with some humor. I'll let you know.

    More on the Marvel side..

    Silk (the only 2 issues) from reviews and to replace the disappointing Gwen title.

    And as recommended here, the first issue of Squirrel Girl.

    Something else from Marvel but I can't remember what - maybe a Daredevil bundle?

    A lot of titles that are downloading to my digital cbr as I type this. I'll try to read through several tonight while I'm at work if I can stave off napping my shift away. In that case I'll try to read a select titles to review or chatter about here...

    V
     
  9. LarryTheClown

    LarryTheClown Well-Known Member

    OK, so remember "Crisis on Infinite Earths"? The big event that wiped the slate clean, introduced new continuities for all the characters, and eliminated the DC multiverse by unifying it into one timeline?

    The New 52 is like that. (Except for the last part. The multiverse was actually restored, with one title, "Earth-2", being specifically about one of the alternate dimensions.)

    It was big deal a few years back, as it drove excitement in what was then a flagging sales line. Creators were free to write all new stories again, the entire Vertigo line (with Sandman, Animal Man, Constantine and them) and the entire Wildstorm line (Jim Lee's Image stuff, basically) got folded into regular continuity, and all the hero outfits got updated. Most notoriously, Superman, who loses the red trunks and gets something that looks like a suit of armor.

    The end result, though, was that it was a bit of a mess. After a while, it became clear that this was a desperation move and there was no planning involved at all. The mandate was that all titles occurred "5 years" after Superman showed up (except for Action Comics, where he's only just busting out on the scene). So what happened in those 5 years? Well, that was going to be a storytelling device, where some writers were going to fill you in on the events that happened earlier. In reality, though, the creators that signed up (which were a diverse bunch from George Perez to Rob Liefeld) had no idea where they stood with regards to continuity.

    There were some successes: I liked the early run of The Flash thanks to Manapul's keen artwork, the early Green Lantern (where Sinestro, of all people was the hero) was fun, and Aquaman showed some promise, but for the most part those title petered out because there was hardly anything that seemed compelling. Green Arrow also got pretty good when Jeff Lemire took over.

    And then there were the big event crossovers, which were super annoying. The latest was the one where the Crime Syndicate breaks free from their universe and invades the "New 52" one. This came right after something called the "Trinity War" (disappointing from what I hear), and I think there was another event before that. What's ludicrous is that these came one after another when DC had just rebooted their universe. DC had managed to bring about crossover fatigue in just a few short years.

    Which leads us to: the reboot. It's not so much a reboot as much as it is a relaxing of the rules that brought about the "New 52" in the first place. The first thing to go: the hard and fast rule that DC was to maintain 52 titles at all times. Don't ask me: I DON'T KNOW why they had that rule. (And it meant some ridiculous title launches. There was a Mr. Terrific comic for example. And a new Blackhawks. You know, the ones no one demanded.)

    Secondly, there was the forcing of Wildstorm onto the DC audience. Not just the titles, I mean (which included Grifter, Voodoo, and Authority). I mean the Jim Lee inspired house style. The newest DC titles, like "Gotham Academy" and the relaunched "Batgirl", have a softer, more distinct style that doesn't scream "90's Image" as much as "manga inspired".

    I'm in two minds about this: I respect DC for trying to shake things up, since their titles really were getting stagnant. On the other hand, they managed to throw away a lot of what was unique, and because of poor planning, they didn't have much compelling to replace it. As a result, the rebooted DC looks to be tossing out the cracked continuity that they started with "The New 52", and, while it isn't a slate wiped clean, it looks like they're pursuing a revision in story styles now vs. the original revision in characters and visual elements.
     
  10. Barnie Bonkers

    Barnie Bonkers Well-Known Member

    Then there is Smack Jeeves for (free) web comics....
    http://www.smackjeeves.com/

    You have to do some sorting through all of the offerings, some good , some eergh...not so good, but the price is right.

    .
     
  11. V

    V Well-Known Member

    @LarryTheClown,

    Thanks for the summary. I'd assumed as much and is basically what Marvel is doing which isn't a surprise since the 2 main players always seem to mirror each other to a degree. I think this most recent spring cleaning is to get some continuity and canon in regards to Superhero movies (that have proven to be cash cows - there are a ton slated for release over the next 5 years).

    On another note, I downloaded ComicRack DCR today and liking it so far. The only pain is having most of my digital archive on ComicRack and many new titles on Comixology DCR - granted it's only a 30 second inconvenience, but I'm still counting it.
     
  12. Pookie

    Pookie Well-Known Member

    Boy, I think I am officially old...

    You young people, with your technology, downloading comics. Sigh.

    While I am a comic book reader, (and have been since... well, I'll just say since 1st grade, which I am sure was way before you were born,) I am also a collector. I enjoy actually buying individual issues, reading them, storing them, and occasionally reading them again.

    Physical collections have been mentioned, and at risk of starting a "mine is bigger" debate, at last count I have just over 6,500. Which, sadly is still smaller than the collection that I had as a child. Like so many others, I left home and the collection got lost, somehow...
     
  13. LarryTheClown

    LarryTheClown Well-Known Member

    I'll tell you where you got a huge advantage, though. I'm going to ECCC next week and looking for stuff for creators to sign. It's not easy when everything's digital. What, are they signing my iPad? :???:
     
  14. V

    V Well-Known Member

    Signatures as a fan are okay I guess. It's easy to grab a variant or old trade issue in the rare instance of signature worthy artists though. As for collecting for value - it's not there. Even legends of the industry have little cash value for the most part. You'd spend more on getting a comic graded and a CoA than you'd ever recoup from the signature value.

    On digital. I save a ton of room. I can hold tens of thousands of comic books on an external hard drive that costs $40-50. I'd need 250 long boxes for as many comic books as I can put on my current HD which would take up an insane amount of room and cost me over $1000. I can catalog my digital comics for easy access to re-read them and take a few seconds to find it rather than digging through long boxes. I also don't have 200-300 cardboard boxes worth of resources and 50,000 plastic bags.

    Main point for me - much like the old argument of digital music vs. vinyl records - the quality of the product. Digital comics look great on screen compared to comic book quality paper (granted it's gotten better with gloss and printer qualities over the years, but still).
     
  15. LarryTheClown

    LarryTheClown Well-Known Member

    Yeah, it's not definitely about the money. It's more about having time to chat with th comic creator. (The signature's more of a souvenir to remind me of the it.). I imagine I can have a pretty decent conversation with Brad Guigar, for example. He's proven to be quite a sparkling personality in online conversations I've had with him.
     
  16. Pookie

    Pookie Well-Known Member

    "I'll do it, but I'll probably hate myself in the morning."
    Bugs Bunny

    Having been a collector for quite some time, and considering how many comics I have in my collection, (as small as it may be,) for me it is to some degree about the money. I know how much my collection is worth, and equally knowledgeable how much I can realistically sell it for. I will come out comfortably ahead of the amount I have invested in it.

    I do have a few signed copies. And as has been said, without a CoA or a CGC agent to witness it and then slab it, it doesn't add much value. Also, some would see it as defect that lowers the value. Unless, of course it is an ultra rare comic or creator signature or the comic itself is a super key comic. Even then, it may sell well only at auction, and then to someone only interested in it as a speculative investment.

    I am old school and proud. I enjoy having a physical comic to browse through. And I am aware of the changes in technology and culture, and am glad that you guys have alternative means to get and read comics.
     
  17. LarryTheClown

    LarryTheClown Well-Known Member

    Between Marvel and DC, by the way, I have to say that I used to be a pretty big Marvel guy in the day. Excalibur was my very first comic book, and the era where I started reading --- the 90's --- was the time when the only superheroes anyone my age cared about were the X-Men.

    So it's kinda weird that lately I've only been reading DC comics. Part of it is what got me into comics in the first place: the idea that you're part of a secret club that's totally into a thing that no one in the public at large is aware of. With the Avengers, Spider-Man, and the X-Men franchises dominating the movie theaters these days, I'm starting to feel that way too many people are fans, and thus I start feeling a little less connection to the characters. (I'm not sure why, honestly. Maybe because they were aiming for a newer audience that doesn't include a middle-aged fart like me.)

    DC, though: I'm a little obsessed with the history. Like, one of my gamer tags is "The Red Bee" after a notoriously terrible 40's superhero that's sorta become a running joke in DC. I even have a nice set of Justice Society Heroclix perched at my desk... not necessarily because I love the characters, but because I'm loving the 1940's hero designs (which, for the most part, were Superman ripoffs). And until "New 52", DC was leaning heavily on the legacy aspect with the Flash comics and especially with Starman.

    And yet... I'm still reading New 52. Partly because DC is definitely in the shadow of Marvel at the moment (it's the whole being obsessed with the unpopular brand thing), and partly because there are just enough touches to the legacy to keep me intrigued. I'm critical of the constant reboots... but dang it, they work.
     
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  18. KageTomari

    KageTomari prolific poster....

    i read Guardians Of The Galaxy 1 it was really great better then the movie i want to get the other comics too and i been reading Vampire Knight ( a manga ) love it so much
     
  19. V

    V Well-Known Member

    This week at work I was able to re-read the Superior Spider-Man series (around 32 issues), the Spider-Verse arc (also around 30 titles I think), both issues of Silk and a hodgepodge of other Marvel titles that were basically tied into the Spider-Verse since it had you reading Spider-Woman, Spider-Man 2099, and a few others so it was easy to finish out the rest of the series since you were partially into it via Spider-Verse. Overall, it was better than I remember - probably because it was a fluid read without having to wait weeks for the next issue. I'd recommend the read but, it would take buying a lot of comics to complete it.

    As a result of the above read, I picked up Spider-Man Noir but haven't read it yet. I'll give some thoughts on it when I do.

    Also started reading 'Death of Wolverine' and subscribed to 'Wolverines,' but too early to tell if I'm going to like it. I added some old 90s era comics to my archive that I haven't read or have long forgotten so will re-read them and it'll probably be the first of next week before I get my thoughts on them here (most of my reading is Thursday night, Friday night, Sunday @ work 3/12 hour shifts so I get through a lot of pages. I'm setting on a lot of comics and not sure when I'll get through them. I just added a comic version of Robert Jordan's 'Wheel of Time' because they were on digital clearance today. I liked the books well enough and will see how the comic version measures up.)

    I see where DC is doing a 'Convergence' this summer. Assuming that's their version of Marvel's Secret War except for Marvel doesn't seem to be suspending standard title issues during their arc? Reboots are a pain, but also not a bad time to jump into some new titles since both companies use them as an excuse to relases a new round of 001s.

    On Marvel v DC - Like you, I've always leaned towards Marvel and when I first got into comic books as a serious collector, most of my titles were Marvel. Trying to read some DC now but noticing that I really like the format of most Marvel titles a lot more than their DC counterparts. Obviously, I'm using a small sample size for now but overall, I'm finding that the layouts of most Marvel titles are cleaner. Also a major factor (for me anyway) is that Marvel's final letterers seem much better to me than the DC titles I've read thus far. This probably has some inherent bias as to what I started out on, but overall I'm liking the cleaner (technical aspect) Marvel Universe over DC by a lot...
     
  20. LarryTheClown

    LarryTheClown Well-Known Member

    No, no, I think you're right. I do read some Marvel titles here and there (though I think the last one I read regularly was "Wolverine and the X-Men"), and there's definitely a better consistency to the layout. DC tends to be more haphazard. I think a lot of it had to do with Jim Lee getting quite a lot of creative control over the entire line and bringing in his 90's Image Comics "Anything Goes" ethics with him. If you've ever read their "How To Draw Comics The Image Way", there was an emphasis that rules are for old people (a direct refutation of the Marvel ethic from the "How To Draw Comics The Marvel Way" book). So it's experimental, but not always in a good way.

    And yet it leads to some pretty great stylistic choices. Francis Manapul's "The Flash" was just fantastic to behold. The story is dull as dishwater (I actually jumped off when they emphasized the romance with Patty Spivey, because... ugh... ZERO chemistry). But it's great to see what tricks Manapul pulls with his layouts. The onomatopeia, for example, is integrated directly into the action. Like Flash is running across the water, and the waves form a gigantic "SPLASH!"
     

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