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Lost_Johnny

Getting back into comics

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I've not been collecting comics for about 14 years and I'm trying to pick up again with a few titles on top of HB, so I thought it might be useful for any others who are dipping their toes back into the slime (or jumping in for the first time) if there was a thread where we might get some recommendations for existing runs, as opposed to new runs which should be covered in John's post for new titles.

Newbies like me could also ask some dumb questions to help catch up with more established titles. I've already had some recommendations from the "reading in 2005" thread but Selkie bullied me into starting a new thread ;)

 

Seven Soldiers and Ex Machina seem like good bets so far

 

I've checked further down and found some answers to Seven Soldiers so I'll keep the dumb questions to Ex Machina. I've managed to pick up #10 and #11 Can anyone give me a brief synopsis of what has lead up to these issues?

 

I've noticed the first five episodes have been collected in a graphic novel so I guess any replies will have to carry spoiler warnings, not sure of the etiquette about this, sorry.

 

What's the craic with the current Doom Patrol run, this was one of my faves way back when, are they reprints or something?

 

Anyway any other recommendations gratefully received.

 

J.

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Johnny, I will keep it simple; you should collect the following series:

Starman

Sandman

Transmetropolitan

Bone

Hellblazer

Lucifer

Fables

Walking Dead

Invincible

Animal Man

 

All of the above can be found in trades. Have at it and good reading.

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I second most of what's on Shawn's list and would like to add (surprise surprise) Alan Moore's Top Ten, which is collected in two convenient TPBs!

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Yes, some good recommendations here.

 

Check out League of Extrordinary Gentlemen, too.

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What's the craic with the current Doom Patrol run, this was one of my faves way back when, are they reprints or something? 

 

They're collecting Grant Morrison's classic Doom Patrol run in trades (two so far: Crawling from the Wreckage and The Painting that Ate Paris), but the series that's running at the moment is nothing to do with that. It's a straight superhero story using the original team-up of Robotman, The Negative Man and Stretchy Lass or whatever she was called. It ignores all of the past Doom Patrol continuity and has totally rebooted the series. It's supposed to be rubbish.

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The nice thing about the comics industry that's changed since you last collected is you can pick up most of the creme in trades. In fact, you could get by never buying single issues, only trades.

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you could get by never buying single issues, only trades.
I know what you're saying, I've just got the first Preacher Trade, but that unhealthy sort of thrill of waiting for the next issue of some weird new title is starting to bite again.

 

I'm even getting pissed off that I haven't been able to locate the first issue of The Atheist that John posted about yesterday, but I'm not going to get obsessive like the rest of you weirdos :biggrin:

 

cheers all by the way.

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I've already had some recommendations from the "reading in 2005" thread but Selkie bullied me into starting a new thread ;) 

 

Nooo! Not bullied! :icon_cry: Gently suggested! Wanted to find most efficient way to drain your wal... er, recommend new material you might enjoy.

 

I've noticed the first five episodes have been collected in a graphic novel so I guess any replies will have to carry spoiler warnings, not sure of the etiquette about this, sorry.

 

If we ever figure it out, we'll let you know. :biggrin:Ex Machina is very good indeed, and as you'll soon learn, I'm allergic to spandex and to most superhero titles so that's high praise coming from me.

 

Fables has been mentioned, though I can't think why or by whom. The basic premise is that there's a small community of people who inspired various fables, nursery rhymes, and such, hiding in New York after being driven from their homelands by an as-yet-unrevealed "Adversary." It's much better than it ought to be. The first TPB, which has Bigby Wolf investigating the murder of a Fable, is generally regarded to be a little slow (although I personally liked it a lot) but the series really does pick up from there. There are at least five TPBs available, and the series is still going strong.

 

BTW - speaking of TPBs - ditto what Charlie said. There's an extraordinary amount of great material being released in that format, to the point where one could happily subsist on a comics diet that never included staples.

 

Some other books which haven't been mentioned:

 

Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood and Persepolis II: The Story of a Return are amazing books about a young girl growing up during the Cultural Revolution in Iran. Absolutely gripping material, alternately heart-wrenching and funny. Largely, though not totally, autobiographical as well.

 

Epileptic is another autobiography, this time about a young French boy and his family coming to terms with his brother's epilepsy starting in the 1950's. I realize this sounds dire, but in fact it's amazingly illustrated and almost impossible to put down. One of the best GNs I've ever read, and I read an awful lot of comics.

 

Queen & Country, an espionage tale about a small team of British operatives, is just one of the wonderful titles from the tiny but mighty Oni Press. Check out their catalog for other great material, especially Courtney Crumrin and Whiteout. While not every Oni book has been to my taste, I can't say I've ever read a bad one.

 

Blacksad: Out of the Shadows and Blacksad: Arctic Nation features a noir detective investigating dark deeds - who just so happens to be a black cat set in a world of anthropomorphic animals. Again, this is much better than it has any right to be, and the second book has a slew of well-deserved Eisner nominations to prove it. Stunning art AND well-written stories that celebrate the genre conventions without succumbing to cliche - what more could you ask for?

 

Finder is a series that's impossible to describe. Loosely, it's a series of stories set in a science fiction universe where people live in domed cities, intelligent lionesses ride meat-eating cattle along the plains in-between, prostitution is a sacred calling, and pilgrimages are held to go to a thinly veiled Disneyland. Most of the stories involve an aboriginal "Finder" who is bound by duty to help other people for the asking, but nothing about this series is easy to explain. Reading Finder is like receiving a dream-feed straight from the mind of a woman who is both brilliant and just a little off-kilter. Your LCS almost certainly won't carry it, but it's worth ordering.

 

If you're looking for more Hellblazer-type occult material, get thee over to AiT-Planetlar and check out Nobody.

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I'm even getting pissed off that I haven't been able to locate the first issue of The Atheist that John posted about yesterday, but I'm not going to get obsessive like the rest of you weirdos :biggrin:

 

The Atheist is well worth hunting down. There are all sorts of Wrong Paths this series could take, but the first issue was very promising.

 

A few others I just realized haven't been mentioned before, but should have:

 

Planetary

 

Transmetroplitan (Hunter S. Thompson fighting political corruption in a futuristic city)

 

Leave it to Chance

 

The first three issues of the newly relauched, Warren Ellis written Iron Man. Never thought I'd see the day I'd be reading, let alone enjoying, this title, but sometimes pigs DO fly!

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The nice thing about the comics industry that's changed since you last collected is you can pick up most of the creme in trades. In fact, you could get by never buying single issues, only trades.

Not true in the case of DC's unwillingness to collect Paul Jenkins' issues! I'm missing a little more than the second half of his run which frustrates me because I really liked what I've read yet can't say much about him having only 17 issues to go on.

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I fully share Selkie's comment on Epileptic. it's stunning. I dont know if anybody has published David B.'s latest in English yet, Babel? it's a 48 page book with short stories connected to Epileptic.

 

if we're talking trades, I'd have to recommend 100% by Paul Pope, one of my favourite comics of recent years.

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Johnny, if you're interested in trying Transmet I can help you out, cos I bought the first 3 trades, because everyone here loves them, and I'm not overly fond.

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I have been wanting to read Transmet for ages but haven't got around to it yet.

 

I'm trying to work out whether I should just buy the first trade or wait and see if it comes in the library. What didn't you like about it Pooka?

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I don't really know, I just didn't get into it. Just not my thing, I guess. I can send one down to you, see what you think, if you want?

 

(I'm sorry, critical analysis isn't my thing. I go on if it moves me or not, and it didn't.)

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The nice thing about the comics industry that's changed since you last collected is you can pick up most of the creme in trades. In fact, you could get by never buying single issues, only trades.

Not true in the case of DC's unwillingness to collect Paul Jenkins' issues! I'm missing a little more than the second half of his run which frustrates me because I really liked what I've read yet can't say much about him having only 17 issues to go on.

 

Lame! I didn't know that.

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I don't really know, I just didn't get into it. Just not my thing, I guess. I can send one down to you, see what you think, if you want?

 

If it wouldn't be to much trouble I would be most grateful to borrow it.

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I'm not sure I'd recommend the first trade, since I didn't like the earlier issues, when it was just Spider Jerusalem against The Beast. I got into it only in issue 14, when Vertigo was distributing cheap or free #14's without a cover. That got me hooked, but I think Spider's antagonism with The Smiler was what catalyzed the good stuff in the book. Just my humble opinion, of course.

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Johnny, if you're interested in trying Transmet I can help you out, cos I bought the first 3 trades, because everyone here loves them, and I'm not overly fond.
That's a mighty kind offer, I might give them a whirl at some point after Keeyah if you really don't mind, I've got a backlog of stuff to catch up on just now anyway, I've just got the first Preacher trade and Son of Man, plus those 3 Ex Machina back issues and the last 2 Seven Sons.

 

PS. they won't smell of perfume will they, otherwise I'm going to get in trouble again ;)

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The first three issues of the newly relauched, Warren Ellis written Iron Man. Never thought I'd see the day I'd be reading, let alone enjoying, this title, but sometimes pigs DO fly!

What do you like about it, Selkie?

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PS. they won't smell of perfume will they, otherwise I'm going to get in trouble again ;)

Maybe zombie flesh more so than perfume :biggrin: True story: Poppy Z. Brite's novel Drawing Blood had a few editions that smelled like burnt human flesh due to a fire. They sold for like $600 each.

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The first Transmet trade is really good, but also really short. On the plus side, it's also very cheap!

 

Oh come now, Selkie. Not all "Iron Man" is bad! The Denny O'Neil alcoholism issues of the 1980s are classics.

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Johnny, pick up the first Ex-Machina trade - the first issue alone is worth the price and is so good that I'm not going to tell you anything about it for fear of ruining it :biggrin:

 

James covered your query about Doom Patrol - just to reiterate though, don't bother with the current series - there was another relaunch done a few years back that lasted 20 issues or so and again the word wasn't good for same.

 

Some trades I'd recommend tracking down -

 

Queen & Country : Follows the explots of MI6 special agent Tara Chace - dense thriller with a strong, well defined protagonist, heavily steeped in real world scenarios.

 

Stray Bullets : Crime vignettes that eventually blend into one big story that's told out of chronological order. Brutal in all the right, horrible ways.

 

Strangehaven : A man crashes his car and ends up staying in a strange rural English town - oddness ensues.

 

The Walking Dead : Character drama based in your traditional zombie breakout - the first issue is disappointingly derivative but picks up right after that. Probably my favourite monthly read this. The writer is a master of cliffhangers.

 

Invincible : Written by the same chap (Robert Kirkman) as the Walking Dead - if you enjoy old school superheroes then this is a must read, loads of subplots, a great overarch and a funny sense of humour.

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The first three issues of the newly relauched, Warren Ellis written Iron Man. Never thought I'd see the day I'd be reading, let alone enjoying, this title, but sometimes pigs DO fly!

What do you like about it, Selkie?

 

I had a far more elegant version of this written in my head last night, but now I (and you) will pay the price for my laziness by having to read this messy account instead. Consider yourself warned.

 

Iron Man is one of the very, very few superhero titles that's ever given me a true sense of wonder, let alone a feeling of "you are there." For those alone, I forgive it many small things. Add to that a believable premise that requires minimal suspension of disbelief, and central character who is somene with whom I really can identify, in type if not in degree. Top it all with a science fiction sheen that permits me to forget it is a superhero title, and I'm in heaven.

 

The occasional stiffness in Granov's stationary figures is more than offset by the fluid, fast, action sequences that really sell the sense of flight, the feeling of danger, and an awesome sense of speed. Those flying sequences at the end of the first issue are some of the most thrilling things I've seen in comics. Not to mention, for once someone with an awe-inspiring ability actually admits to enjoying it, dammit, rather than angsting, or pondering on the Great Importance of Using These Powers for Good, or any of that crap (for which, admittedly, there is a time and place). Great Og, if I could fly my interior monologue would be a lot like what we read during those sequences, not some deep thoughts about, well, anything more complex than "I can fly"!

 

Other factors: Smart, educated, flawed protagonist who tinkers with stuff and is driven in part by a need for atonement? No, no similarities to my life there. Uh uh. No, not me. :closedeyes: I don't have to identify with a character to enjoy a title, but it never hurts. Tony Stark is not only not completely unlike myself, he's not unlike a whole host of people I've met, worked with, and slept with. He's much more believable to me than other fictional characters in similar situations.

 

I can relate a lot better to an "ordinary" guy who straps on a suit and has to cope with a variety of workday pressures than any of the near mythical beings who normally populate these sorts of things. Those beings generally not only have amazing powers on the surface, they ALSO have the neat trick of defying the laws of physics, biology, and a whole host of other sciences. They don't even get their hair mussed when zipping 'round the planet. Unlike those characters, who casually swat away hordes of other superbeings, vehicles, and what not, there's a sense of danger that, against ONE foe, Tony Stark could be hurt, and that any of the innocent bystanders could be hurt or killed not only by the foe's actions, but by those of Iron Man - and that the collateral damage could be due to entirely unintended consequences of the dangerous and potentially buggy machine intended to save their lives.

 

Bad guy apparently motivated by bad experiences in a Waco/Ruby Ridge type scenario? Yeah, I buy that. The fact that his abilities derive from government military technology is only too believaable. That human enhancement through both technology (represented by Tony Stark) and biology (represented by Maya's super soldier program), happens to be a subject I follow with some interest independently doesn't hurt a bit. (Someday, I WILL have my brain transplanted into a jar! I WILL I WILL I WILL!)

 

So, with all that going for it, I'll forgive WE for the inclusion of another drug-soaked shaman, characters who talk not only like each other but also like him, and more images of "gross" body modification. At least, for once Marvel editorial keeps him more restrained on that last topic than, say, Avatar would. If it's a plot we've seen before, at least on its most basic level, well... there aren't that many plots to go around, especially for genre material (any genre, not just this one), now aren't there?

 

So, that's why I love Iron Man. My boyfriend-equivalent keeps teasing me that once I've succumbed to this character, it's only a matter of time till I wind up reading Captain America, who has long been my standard-bearer for Outdated Concepts That Should Have Been Allowed to Die Decades Ago. If cables sports channels start showing figure skating competitions in the underworld, you'll know that I've lost my resistence in the face of Ed Brubaker's writing.

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