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JasonT

Other comics we read recently

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That doesn't sound like a complete collection, John: it's probably just a reprint of the 2000AD Ro-Busters stories, and doesn't include the ones from Starlord at least three of which were by Mills, and none of which were Hammerstein's war memoirs.

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Ah I was just skim reading online and must've missed the actual switch to 2000AD.

Mills is still an angry young man on Facebook, his rage is inspiring really.

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It shows in a lot of his best comics, imo. You should have a look at his memoir (Be Pure, Be Vigilant, Behave), in which he spreads a lot of bile about the industry, though he mostly avoids naming names, which is a pity.

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Absolutely, the righteous fury that flows through his work is a big hook for me.  I admire the confidence he displays in his work too, he's rightly proud of what he's produced - if he were a rock star he'd still be on stage shamelessly banging out his greatest hits I think. 

They've finally released English versions of the last few Requiem volumes on Comixology so I have those there when I'm done with his 2000AD work.

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Impossible Inc. (by J.M. DeMatteis, from IDW)-This was my palate cleanser after reading that pretty horrible "Batman....Damn!" comic book. This was really cute and really fun.  It reminds me why I love J.M. DeMatteis so much, all over again, not that I needed to be reminded. (I'm glad I don't use spell-check on my computer, because DeMatteis would be auto-correct to dermatitis, and I do not love dermatitis!) I'd have to say this is probably what a Grant Morrison comic would be like without the drugs. No, what it really is, this is what the new Fantastic Four comic should be, instead of being about disappointment, as it currently is under Dan Slott. I wish DeMatteis was writing this as the FF relaunch,.

It's a comic book to say, "This is why I love comics, because of the limitless imagination that can be shown in this medium.", instead of having to lament how much we hate modern comic books, because of books like the new FF or "That Damned Batman!".

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It's written so that it can be read by both children and adults. It would be a good comic for a younger girl to read (it would work fine for boys also, but features a female protagonist). I think that most comics work best when they can appeal to both children and adults, like most mainstream comics did throughout the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s.

I have no problem with "mature reader" comics with something to say or a grand vision, of course. I love those types of comics too.

It's more this attitude of "comics aren't for kids anymore". Kids can't afford to read comics, so comics should be geared solely toward adults, no matter how silly the concept, it must be made to seem "mature".

DeMatteis does a good job presenting a comic that is really fun and imaginative, doing what comics do at their best, because he's not worried about trying to make it so that there can't be anything "endearing" in the story.

It's the story of the world's smartest man (cue Reed Richards analogue) who disappeared on an adventure through the multiverse. His teenage daughter, who is also a super-genius, has taken over running her father's super-science company (hence "Impossible Inc.") along with her elderly grandfather. They carry on her father's legacy of doing the impossible, but also the daughter is trying to find out what happened to her father. The girl's mother died of breast cancer also (poor Sue Storm.....). Cue wild and wacky adventures traveling on a cross-temporal/cross-dimensional train.

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Read through Spread over the weekend, think The Thing meets The Walking Dead as written by Justin Jordan with art by Kyle Strahm and numerous fill-ins towards the back-half.  Pretty good all told though it felt like they had to kill it a volume or two early as the last four issues book it through a lot of stuff.  No final words from the writer or artist either, which I thought was a little unusual. 

Good characters, gory monsters and some juicy fight scenes all spread over 25 issues. 

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Checked out the first issue of Maneaters by Chelsea Cain and Kate Niemcyzk, and it was fairly interesting.  I was a big fan of their Mockingbird series and this is done in a very similar style, with lots of big cutaway panel pages and diagrams for stuff interspersed with the story.  I'm curious to see where it's going, so I'll definitely check out the next issue.

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Now, Image compared the series, partially, to Atwood's Handmaid's Tale. Would you say this is accurate?

The issue synopsis didn't sound much like Atwood, and Image has a tendency to both indulge in hyperbole and make false analogies with their hype comparisons. So, I wonder how much a resemblance bears to Handmaid's Tale.

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It's set in a dystopian America ruled by religious fundamentalists, where women have no rights.

It's my girlfriend's favourite novel, from her favourite author. I....have to admit that I just didn't love it. It's considered a classic of the dystopian science fiction sub-genre, and if you're interested, I wouldn't discourage you from reading it. I just really love Atwood's Oryx and Crake series, and find that to be a far better example of Atwood's talent as a writer. Yet, everyone always talks about the Handmaid's Tale.

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Turns out I am enjoying one of the Berger Books.

 

She Could Fly

Written by Christopher Cantwell who you might know from Halt and Catch Fire. 

His spot on family dynamics are at play here. It's a nice take of a young woman bordering on psychosis but probably just imaginative. She investigates the death of a woman who could fly.

 

I've just realised that its style reminds me of Sean McKeever's The Waiting Place.

 

Final issue in two weeks.

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Are you reading Anne Nocenti's The Seeds? That's a Berger Books I am enjoying. It's looking to end up on my list of "best comics of 2018".

Such a year of highs and lows. There were so many poorly done comics littering the stands in 2018, it seems to be more and more of those every year. However, those few comics which hit the high point in 2018 were just masterfully done. I'd like to see a bit more quite good comics making up a middle ground, or see a lot more comics in that sections of extreme highs, but those few truly stand-out comics save 2018 from being so dismal.

Anyway, comparing anything to McKeever's The Waiting Place makes me interested in what I am missing. I might have to check out She Could Fly now.

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It's more in style and setting, but it made me think of that and Teenagers From Mars.

It's been a while, so might be nothing like them.

 

Oh and I have Seeds but not read it yet.

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Lone Ranger #1 (by Mark Russell)-I'm of two minds on this one. On the one half, it's still a well-written Russell comic book. On the other half, I'm not sure how interested I am in a comic which is, at the end of the days, still a "western" story, even with the strong politics.

I will give Russell a lot of credit for digging up an interesting bit of history, involving the creation of barbed wire. The politics were done very well.

I just don't know if I care about the Lone Ranger enough to continue reading this story.

It's going to be an odd one, in that I give it a good review, and find it worthy, yet I don't see myself continuing to read it.

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Christian, I see your point, but I thought it was stunning. (The script anyway — the art is a bit too Romita Jr cartoony for my tastes. Imagine the same thing with more realistic art!)  The politics were there if you were looking, under the radar if you weren't; and very timely, yet directly and unironically applicable to the Lone Ranger and Tonto. Apart from a couple of jarring jump cuts that might have been down to the writer or artist, I thought the storytelling was masterful and the dialogue was a hoot. I went in to the comic with high expectations and it blew me away. Total win.

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Maybe somebody hired JR jr to do the art because they'd confused his dad with Joe Kubert?

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Jason-I don't disagree with your assessment of the comic, at all. It's just that I'm not all that big a fan of westerns, and the Lone Ranger as a character is pretty boring. He's a Captain America type, always do the right thing, be stoic and keep your chin up figure. There just really isn't anything interesting to do with the character, himself. He's a cardboard cut-out serving the interests of the plot. That's not anything against Russell or this comic book, it's just a statement in general about the Lone Ranger, himself.

I do disagree with you about the politics. They were pretty apparent and in-your-face. I doubt anyone would miss the politics of the story. I'm not sure how you can read the scenes with the aspiring senator, and claim that the politics were subtle. Especially, when he described his vision of the cotton plantation as the ideal America.

There's nothing wrong with that, as that was what the plot was about. It wasn't pandering or preachy. The plot is just overtly political, and that aspect was interesting.

I like that Russell dealt with an area of political history that isn't so well known today. It was a lot better than another story about racism against former-slaves or the genocide of Native Americans. Not that there's anything wrong with those topics, as they are important issues, of course. However, those parts of history have been covered to death in fiction and are so obvious. There isn't much new to be done with that aspect of that period of American history.

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9 hours ago, Christian said:

I do disagree with you about the politics. They were pretty apparent and in-your-face. I doubt anyone would miss the politics of the story. I'm not sure how you can read the scenes with the aspiring senator, and claim that the politics were subtle. Especially, when he described his vision of the cotton plantation as the ideal America.

Land-graspin' ranchers and oily crooked politicians are tropes of the western genre. The way they mirrored present-day concerns was obvious to us, but I think (though I can't prove anything) that a lot of readers could have read and enjoyed the same story without registering the parallels.

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Are they tropes of the western genre? As I said, I'm not particularly a fan of westerns. I read some of the old Marvel Westerns, and I've read a few books by A.B. Guthrie and did read Treasure of the Sierra Madre (as the author was an anarchist), but it's not my thing.

I took Guthrie and B. Traven's novels to be more an exception, due to Traven's politics and Guthrie's concern for preserving the ecology of a wild west, as opposed to seeing the west becoming commercialized.

I thought that usually, based on some of the TV shows and movies I have caught over the years, it seemed like good lawmen trying to preserve law and order in town against outlaws with no respect for the law or property, and sometimes fights with unruly Injuns, who can't understand the white man's civilized ways, seemed to be the main tropes of the genre.

It seemed like ranchers were usually portrayed as positive figures too. Even in The Octopus by Left-Wing Frank Norris, which I grant wasn't really a western (coming along a bit late in 1901, but dealt with western US political concerns), the ranchers were portrayed as some of the protagonists against the evil, corrupt railroad trusts.

It also seems that a lot of the westerns tend to glorify the confederacy as a better way of life, and I thought that Russell's comments from the aspiring senator were meant to be something of a meta-commentary on that motif....especially with the "the only thing that's changed is do we buy them or just rent?".

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12 hours ago, Christian said:

Are they tropes of the western genre?

A teensy bit. Didn't they make you read Shane in school?

The political content in westerns mostly comes down to rugged individualism, which can be spun in both directions, but there's plenty about corrupt ranchers and crooked politicians, and it isn't like the railroad stuff is inherently authoritarian either. That stuff was entrenched enough in the western films for Mel Brooks to spend a glorious hour and a half taking the piss out of it in the mid '70s, for heaven's sake.

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No, we didn't have to read Shane in school.

Yeah, the story in Russell's Lone Ranger is about the conflict between free rangers and ranchers wanting strict property rights. With Russell, and the Ranger of course, coming down firmly on the side of leaving the land open.

It's similar to the conflict in The Octopus, where ranchers and small farmers are given common cause to resist the encroachment of monopolies against individuals.

I hadn't seen any fiction writers touch on the creation of barbed wire and how that had an effect on social organization, the way Russell is doing. I thought that made Russell's political commentary stand out.

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Barbed wire is an immediate image, and using it as a metaphor for illegal enclosure rather than a tattoo showing that somebody's up for a spanking session (which seems a lot more usual) is a very clever touch.

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