Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Nostalgia - Comic Books Subscriptions - Part 2

In addition to Cap the other series I had a subscription to was X-Men.

Uncanny X-Men - Phoenix was dead, had been for about a year, and Uncanny X-Men was definitely the book that everyone reading comic books seemed to be talking about. I am sure that was due in part to the beautiful job John Byrne and Terry Austin were doing illustrating the series. By the time I started collecting Byrne and Austin were gone. Chris Claremont was still writing and Dave Cockrum was back penciling the series.

At first I was disappointed but the quality of the stories soon picked up. The first couple issues weren't great.

#152 - I can't remember what this one was all about. On the cover Storm is fighting Emma Frost. Presumably that also happened in the issue but I can't remember what else.

# 153 - One-shot. Kitty has a dream or tells a story à la 1001 nights. I don't think I was spectacularly impressed by this issue. Not bad but not what I wanted.

# 154 & 155 - This is where it started to get better. Cyclops' father, Corsair, returns from outer space. He is being pursued by aliens. Colossus seemingly gets killed during the fight with the aliens but he back on the cover a few issues later. I can't remember how he is saved but I think it might have been by some of the Corsair's alien buddies, the Starjammers.

# 156 & 157 - More Starjammers plus the Shi'ar. The X-Men leave earth temporarily. Warbird, Lilandra's sister is their primary foe.

# 158 - Rogue is on the cover but from what I gather she was still a villain at this point and it would be more than I year before she would join the team.

# 159 - Dracula attempts to turn Storm into his consort. Of course he was ultimately unsuccesful. I remember this issue because it marked the first time I learned that holy symbols like crosses only could affect Dracula if the bearer believed. Overall a pretty good story from what I recall

# 160 - Colossus' sister Illyana is kidnapped by a demon, Belasco. Magic wasn't exactly what I was hoping to read about in X-Men but I think I enjoyed this issue. Especially cool was how Illyana was only gone for a few moments out of the X-Men's lives but years passed for her and she came back a teenager.

# 161 - Probably my favorite single issue from this run. A one-shot story about the past. Professor X and Magneto team up to fight Baron Stucker.

# 162 & 163 - The X-Men return to outer space and fight the Brood. These two issues are just the beginning of a story that ran through issue 167.

I was hooked at this point. I continued to collect and read Uncanny X-Men for a couple more years. Not sure why I ultimately dropped it. My favorite multi-part story following the Brood story was probably the one featuring the Morlocks. After that the title languished a bit. I've tried a couple times but never been able to get myself to read much following the early 180s. I still enjoy going back to read these stories and hope that one day they will be available in a Marvel Masterworks colleciton.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Nostalgia - Comic Book Subscriptions

I should start calling this blog 'Inspired by Podcasts', because that's where I seem to get most of my ideas. This post was inspired by the very first episode of Bullpen Bulletins; I started listening to it earlier this evening.

When I was 9 or 10, or possibly a little older, my mother bought subscriptions for my brother and I to a couple comic books. There were four subscriptions in all. I believe two were my and two were my brother's. I don't think we had all four at the same time. I think we had two and then when those ran out we got another two.

One of my picks was Captain America. The issues I received were # 265 - 276. Not all great issues. Some better than others. My subscription began with a two-parter that guest-starred Spider-Man and Nick Fury. After that it sorta went downhill after that until Nick Fury returned, this time with the Howling Commandos. Together Cap and Fury battled Baron Stucker and Hydra, although if I remember correctly Baron Strucker turned out to be a robot. The real Baron Stucker had been killed years before.

In between the two appearances by Nick Fury were some unmemorable tales that included fighting lame villains like Everyman and Mr. X, and fighting alongside new creations like Team America and old ones like The Defenders.

That's it for now. I'll try to remember to write about the other three subscriptions in the near future.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

What I Bought - July 18

I made the monthly trek to Barbarian Books today. I wasn't planning on buying a lot. I ended up spending more than $50, which is well within my monthly budget but more than I thought I would.

20th Century Boys v2 & v3 - link - I'm not completely sold on the series yet but I decided to take a chance and buy the next two books at the same time based on how I felt about writer/artist Naoki Urasawa's previous series, Monster.

Superman: The Bottle City of Kandor - link - which is a collection of stories from the 1950s, 60s, and 70s about the Kryptonian city of Kandor. I may have read one or two of these before but I couldn't resist.

Carl Bark's Greatest Duck Tales Stories v2 - link - Uncle Scrooge stories from the 1950s and 60s. Hard to resist. I recall reading some of these kinds of stories before I really got into reading comic books. I would usually find them at the barber shop. When I was in my teens I sometimes watched the Duck Tales animated tv series. This collection is of comic book stories that were made into episodes of the tv series. I would have bought v1 if they had it but they didn't.

Stuff I Wanna Read (vi)

More stuff that came to mind while listening to an interview of Guy Davis from Heroes Con 2009.

Mage - link - Written and drawn by Matt Wagner there is nothing to connect it to Guy Davis other than the fact that he mentioned reading it during the interview. Where to begin? The Hero Discovered

Fantastic Four: Unstable Molecules - link - I remember this getting a lot of press at the time it was released. Haven't heard much about it since then but learning recently that it was drawn by Guy Davis makes me want to read it. From the description it sounds like an Elseworlds or alternate history of the FF. That intrigues me.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Stuff I wanna read (v)

B.P.R.D. - link - I've never had too much interest in reading Hell Boy (or is it Hellboy?) but for some reason B.P.R.D calls to me. Maybe it's the art by Guy Davis, although he didn't draw all the BPRD minis. Where to begin? Hollow Earth and Other Stories

Casanova - link - Supposed to be really weird. Where to begin? Luxuria

Sunday, July 12, 2009

What I wanna read iv

More stuff...

Grimjack - link - I've read some of Grimjack. I started reading it during my sophomore year of college; the series was near the end of its run but it was still a solid read. My interest in rereading this series was brought to the surface by the Wordballoon interview with Grimjack co-creator and writer John Ostrander. Where to begin? The Legends of Grimjack v1

Bone - link - Sounds great. I've never even tried it. This series was most recently brought to my attention by the podcast of a panel from Heroes Con with writer/artist Jeff Smith. It has been printed in black-and-white and in color, although it was originally released in black-and-white. I think I would rather try it in b/w. Where to begin? Out from Boneville.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

What I Read - Powers, Starman

Powers v10: Cosmic - SPOILERS >>> A power (person with superhuman abilities) gets killed by another power. Walker and Pilgrim investigate only to get pulled off the case by the FBI. Turns out the power who was killed was the human agent of the Millenium Guard (think Green Lantern Corps of the Powers universe). Walker gets tapped by the Millenium Guard to replace the dead man as the protector of Earth. Meanwhile Deena is being investigated by Internal Affairs and trying to deal with the her new powers. <<<

I liked both Christian's and Deena's story arcs. Both are dealing with having powers. He used to have them, she's never had them. How do they cope? Her story arc is a little more developed and actually began in the last collection.

I enjoyed this collection but I wouldn't recommend it to someone who hadn't read Powers before. Its an in-between-er arc. There are developments but it feels like everything here is building to something bigger that's coming down the line. There are some great moments, great sequential art by Mike Avon Oeming, and great dialogue by Brian Michael Bendis but once again this feels like the 2nd or 3rd act of a 5 act play. Things develop but nothing substantial gets resolved.

Starman Omnibus v1 - I wrote about Starman before, but that was when I was halfway through the book. I finished it off several months ago but have not written about it since. The short of it is that I wasn't wild about it. There wasn't any single aspect of the story that I really liked, that would keep me coming back for more. It had its moments but on the whole it came up short and didn't impress me.

On iFanboy Booksplode # 1 (released about 1 week ago) Josh, Connor, Paul, and Sonia discussed volume 1 of this often praised series. I listened to it in the hopes that it would spark my interest in the book and nudge me closer to picking up the second volume. Instead, for the most part, it only reminded me of the parts that I didn't like and that I feel that it is overrated. I finished the program feeling the same way about Starman as I did after reading v1: it wasn't bad but it also wasn't something that I felt the urge to read more of.

I've read the first 17 chapters in this series. It didn't hook me or pique my interest enough to want to know what comes next. Its time to move on and read something else. That said I just learned that the guys at Around Comics also recorded a podcast about Starman Omnibus v1, episode # 191. Because so many people think this is a great series and because I like to hear different POVs on the same topic I will probably be listening to their discussion of Starman soon.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

What I wanna read iii

More stuff that I wanna read...

Series of Miniseries

Fear Agent - link - This is supposed to be Rick Remender's great indie title. Where to begin? Re-ignition.

Astro City - link - No particular reasons. I've just heard good things about it. Where to begin? Life in the Big City.

What I'm Reading Now

Two chapters into Kingdom Come and I'm not so sure about where this is headed. I like the grand scale but sometimes it seems like there's too much in the story and not enough focus. Also the sequential story-telling isn't as good as I expect it to be in a story is spoken of with such reverence. That said there are still some great moments here, to go along with the ones that just make me shake my head.

Monday, July 6, 2009

What I'm Reading Now

Kingdom Come - link - This is supposed to be one of the great comic book mini-series of the past couple decades, or so I have been led to believe. I've seen plenty of his artwork all over the internet but I believe that this may be the Alex Ross-drawn story that I have ever read.

I'm one chapter in. So far I like. At first I was concerned with knowing who all the characters were but as I've gotten into the story I've lost that urge. Its enough for me to just get the general gist of the story and enjoy it for what it is. I like how the main character isn't a superhero but an ordinary human. The painted look and feel of the book work for me, in large part because of the scale and apocryphal tone of the story.

Mixed Vegetables v1 - link - a shoujo manga, about Hanayu who comes from a family of pastry chefs and wants to marry Hayato (one of her classmates) who comes from a family of sushi chefs. What drew me to this manga initially was the cooking angle of it. I knew about the romance but that was secondary in my mind and I thought it was going to be secondary in the story. Wrong.

Hanayu's determination to get Hayato to propose (they are only classmates at the beginning of the story) was a bit annoying, at first, probably because it made her seem one dimensional. When she panicked after he asked her out in menu (chapter) 2 it made her seem more real and I started to enjoy the story more. I did like the humor from the get go. I'm only three chapters in but I like. Hopefully the rest of this book will be as good as the first three chapters, or better.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

What I Wanna Read ii

More stuff that I wanna read...

Limited Series

I've read parts of both these stories. Neither of these are ongoing although one of them does star one of the most popular comic book characters ever.

Batman: Death and the Maidens - link - I bought the first issue of this nine-issue mini-series, when it first came out. At the time I was looking to cut back on my comic book buying and didn't buy any more issues for that reason. Since then I have heard a lot of good things about it. Most recently it was brought to my attention during the recent Wordballoon interview with writer Greg Rucka. I don't read a whole lotta Batman comics but this one sounds like it would be worth my time, primarily because of who wrote it and my past experience (Queen & Country; Batman/Huntress: Cry For Blood) with his comic books.

Rocketo - link - I've got the first few issues of this series. I love the style employed by the artist. Some of his creations leave me stunned by their beauty and the amount of creativity they show. Its kind of how I feel when I read China Mieville's novels. That's not to say that the two are comparable just that they are both very creative. So far there are only two collections but hopefully one day there will be more.

Friday, July 3, 2009

What I Wanna Read

Just for my own reference, and because I am thinking about it and have the time right now, here are some trades/series that I would like to read and have heard good things about but have yet to dive into:

Ongoing Series

DC Comics
  • Booster Gold - link - time travel, need I say more? - where to begin? 52-Pickup
  • Secret Six - link - it just sounds cool, ok? where to begin? Villains United

Marvel Comics

  • Captain America - link - Ed Brubaker's run of course; I read the first two trades some time ago but dropped it not realizing how big the story was going to get; should give it another try; where to begin? Captain America Omnibus

  • Scalped - link - where to begin? Indian Country
  • Ex Machina - link - I thought Y: The Last Man was great so why not give Brian K another try? where to begin? The First Hundred Days
  • Fables - link - sounds like can't miss comics; where to begin? Legends in Exile

There may be others series that aren't coming to mind right now. I also have a list of limited series or runs within (and across) ongoing series but I'll get to those later. That's it for now.