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Author Topic: Comics for People Who Don't Read Comics  (Read 14400 times)

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Burrito Al Pastor

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Re: Comics for People Who Don't Read Comics
« Reply #20 on: May 02, 2009, 01:33:25 PM »

What I've read of RASL is excellent, too. Too bad it's coming out at a glacial pace.
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Thad

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Re: Comics for People Who Don't Read Comics
« Reply #21 on: May 02, 2009, 02:13:16 PM »

The store was busy, but most of the good stuff was gone by the time I got there.  Which is okay, really, as long as it got into the hands of new readers rather than other guys like me who are there every Wednesday.
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MadMAxJr

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Re: Comics for People Who Don't Read Comics
« Reply #22 on: May 02, 2009, 02:15:13 PM »

Just finished 'Outbreak' in the Aliens Omnibus 1.  This is some seriously awesome stuff.  To think I was scared to death of the mere image of Geigers Alien up until early college..

Didn't help I saw the movie when I was like six....

Huh, didn't realize I picked up this one...  Something about a new Green Lantern story arc and lantern guilds of other colors.
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Rico

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Re: Comics for People Who Don't Read Comics
« Reply #23 on: May 02, 2009, 03:43:14 PM »

Yeah, basic idea is there are power sources which respond to a variety of emotions (:rainbow:?  :pride:?) in the same manner as Green's Willpower and Yellow's Fear.  They presumably all have some sort of weird spirit being, too, like Yellow's Parallax (see: Post-Death-of-Superman Green Lantern) and Green's Ion.

Re: Suggestions.  Even though it hasn't been released in one volume yet (instead, four shorter TPBs), I highly recommend Sleeper, especially since you seemed to be considering stuff like Sin City.  Basic premise is that a U.S government organization sends a sleeper agent who infiltrates a super-powered terrorist cell, but he gets stuck there because the only one who knows he's a double agent and can get him is in a coma.  Very good writing; a lot of fucked up stuff, sympathy for the devil, etc..
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MadMAxJr

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Re: Comics for People Who Don't Read Comics
« Reply #24 on: May 02, 2009, 04:21:03 PM »

Aliens Omnibus 1 complete

Summary:
Humanity is the greatest monster ever.
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Disposable Ninja

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Re: Comics for People Who Don't Read Comics
« Reply #25 on: May 02, 2009, 05:16:29 PM »

Apparently I'm not supposed to like Brian Clevinger because he writes a webcomic and... something. Didn't stop me from picking up the Giant Robo free comic.

My only complaint is that there wasn't enough Atomic Robo in the comic.
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MadMAxJr

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Re: Comics for People Who Don't Read Comics
« Reply #26 on: May 02, 2009, 05:22:45 PM »

It occurs to me I should have picked up the CARS comic to inflict on someone else when I inevitably ship a package to someone around here.
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BŁge

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Re: Comics for People Who Don't Read Comics
« Reply #27 on: May 02, 2009, 07:04:10 PM »

All I got for free was an Avengers one-shot.  ::(:

At least the store is having a sale on everything this month.
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Kayma

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Re: Comics for People Who Don't Read Comics
« Reply #28 on: May 02, 2009, 09:24:05 PM »

I had a freaking blast at the ole store. We had two local comic-ateers, Jay Hossler and Jarod Rosello, doing a signing and sketches for kids. It was wonderful. A bunch of skater kids came in and made Jay draw a bunch of far out shit..... on a skateboard.  Also: Some Storm Troopers showed up and did photo ops in front of the store. Weird. Awesome. Weirdly awesome.

I put a copy of Owly and Friends into the hands of as many people as I possibly could. The big duds of the day seemed to be DC Kids (slight tragedy) and Shonen Jump. At least Shonen Jump didn't have subscription cards in them this year (we tore 'em all out last year).

I dropped about about $50 on the entire Suikoden 3 series (75% off) and a book each from the guests, and got 'em signed, naturally. Overall, the store made more money today than on any single day ever in the history of anything. Not bad for free comics.

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Thad

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Re: Comics for People Who Don't Read Comics
« Reply #29 on: May 02, 2009, 10:20:29 PM »

It occurs to me I should have picked up the CARS comic to inflict on someone else when I inevitably ship a package to someone around here.

Haven't read it yet, but by all accounts Boom's licensed Disney comics are actually quite good.  I haven't read The Muppet Show yet because it sold out instantly, but it got great reviews.  The first issue of Incredibles was pretty all right.
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MadMAxJr

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Re: Comics for People Who Don't Read Comics
« Reply #30 on: May 02, 2009, 10:59:44 PM »

Finished Aliens Omnibus 2.  Okay so in Colonial Marines, they were kinda /reaching/ with that story arc, but good god that is over a hundred pages of pretty much 'FUCK YEAH, WE'RE SPACE MARINES WITH HORRIBLE PSYCHOLOGICAL PROBLEMS' awesomeness.
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Fortinbras

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Re: Comics for People Who Don't Read Comics
« Reply #31 on: May 03, 2009, 06:00:23 AM »

Sad that I was out of commission for free comics day.  Was hoping to snag a free Ignition City 2 maybe.

OH WELL, I WILL PAY FOR IT TODAY I GUESS  :sadpanda:
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Royal☭

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Re: Comics for People Who Don't Read Comics
« Reply #32 on: May 03, 2009, 11:29:21 AM »

Free Comic Book Day does not mean you pick a comic and it is free.  It means they have a selection of comics that were free.  You would have had to pay for that Ignition City anyway.

That said, apparently there was a Love and Rockets sampler to be had.  No sign of it at the store I went to.

Zach

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Re: Comics for People Who Don't Read Comics
« Reply #33 on: May 07, 2009, 12:10:35 PM »

My only complaint is that there wasn't enough Atomic Robo in the comic.

Also, Atomic Robo has a time machine... I'm pretty torn on Atomic Robo too, based on this issue and the most recent non-free one. It's a fun idea, but it doesn't really add anything new to the current crop of science adventurer pastiche. It seems to be going the way of ninja, pirates, and zombies (ninja and zombies, anyway. Pirates are forever.)
 
Clevinger's 8-Bit Theater voice sprung up immediately as well. It works, but I guess that I'm still glutted on it from my past flirtation with it.

The big duds of the day seemed to be DC Kids (slight tragedy) and Shonen Jump. At least Shonen Jump didn't have subscription cards in them this year (we tore 'em all out last year).

But there's a scene where Japanese Stan Lee commits seppuku while shouting "Hari Kiri!" I'm grasping at straws here, really.
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Thad

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Re: Comics for People Who Don't Read Comics
« Reply #34 on: May 10, 2009, 09:20:16 PM »

All right, finally put this together.  A quick summary/review/why you should read it on Art Spiegelman's classic, Maus.

---

Maus, by Art Spiegelman

In brief: Art Spiegelman tells the true story of his father, Vladek, a survivor of Auschwitz -- as a funny animal book, with Jews depicted as mice, Germans as cats, and Poles as pigs.

Significance: Won a Pulitzer.

Price: 2 $14 paperbacks.


Maus is one of a handful of books that I can say, without hyperbole, changed my life.  I first read it at the age of 11, and it proved both a compelling history of the Holocaust and a demonstration of the true power of the comics medium.

It's a highly personal story that has two major components.  The cartoonist, Art Spiegelman, sits down with his father, Vladek, and asks him to recount his story as a Holocaust survivor.  The book splits focus between Vladek's story and the "present" (some time in the late 1970's and early 1980's), where Vladek is a damaged, neurotic old man.  Art loves his father and feels a sense of duty to tell his story, but can hardly stand to be around him -- at one point, he remarks to his stepmother, Mala, that he is worried about the contradiction between telling what his father suffered and simultaneously depicting him as what amounts to an antisemitic stereotype.

As the story progresses, and particularly in the second volume (which was written after the first was published and received acclaim), another theme emerges: the cartoonist's own relationship to his work.  He's overwhelmed, not merely by the desire to honor his father, but by the magnitude of the Holocaust itself.  In one scene, he depicts himself sitting on a pile of the dead while surrounded by enthusiastic reporters asking him questions about his book.

Maus succeeds because it is deeply personal.  It is one man's story, seen through the eyes of his son.  Spiegelman addresses the big themes by focusing on the small and immediate, and by wearing his own conflicted feelings as storyteller on his sleeve.

And then of course there's the storytelling style itself.  It's a funny animal book: Spiegelman takes the Nazis' rhetoric, "Jews are vermin and Poles are pigs," literally.  The most striking effect, of course, is to highlight the utter absurdity of such a claim.  There are scenes, for example, where Vladek puts on a pig mask to escape detection, and in one sequence, a prisoner at Auschwitz pleads with the guards that he is a German and his son a decorated military hero -- Spiegelman depicts him as a mouse in one panel and a cat in the next.  Likewise, in one of my favorite scenes, Art is sitting with his wife Francoise and wondering aloud whether he should draw her as a mouse or a frog, as she's French but converted to Judaism.  Ultimately he decides she should be a mouse (and she has been throughout the scene), and describes a sequence (not actually pictured) where a rabbi transforms her into one.  (This may also have been my first encounter with metafiction.  There are several more sequences where Art switches back and forth between speaking as if he's not in a comic and then acknowledging that he is; later in the same chapter he's worrying that his work is unrealistic and takes too many artistic licenses, and then says to Francoise, "See?  In real life you never would have let me talk this long without interrupting.")

Another effect of the anthropomorphic animal characters is to provide a sort of cushion, a layer of fantasy between the reader and the horrors on the page.  It makes the shocking reality of Vladek's story easier for the audience to cope with, without diminishing its power.

At its core, of course, is the message that arbitrary distinctions don't matter, that we're all human, with all the vices and virtues that entails -- but that on the other hand, crisis shows us who we really are, and that when we face it, we may not be so different from frightened animals.  The story is full of people who, out of fear or avarice, steal, lie, and betray.  Vladek ends up in Auschwitz because he is double-crossed by two Poles who believe they will get preferential treatment if they turn in some Jews, and by a family friend who is coerced, under threat of death, into writing a letter claiming he is safe in Hungary.  Their betrayal does not save them; all three of them ultimately die in the gas chamber.

Vladek, on the other hand, survives, partly through wits and resourcefulness but mostly because of simple blind chance.  He is able to make himself useful, to stay strong enough to do odd jobs at the camp, but he never betrays his fellow prisoners and on more than one occasion he risks his life to help a friend or a family member (or even a stranger).  The book is punctuated as much by small acts of kindness as by ugly scenes of cruelty and self-serving betrayal.

On the art: a reminder here, I'm not an artist and my vocabulary may be lacking.  But here's what I notice as a layman:

Spiegelman conveys a lot of emotion with very little facial expression.  In most cases, the mice are drawn with dots for eyes and without visible mouths, so their emotion is conveyed by their eyebrows and their body language.  (There are exceptions; in one particularly haunting image, mice who are being burned alive are shown with wide eyes and visible mouths in panicked expressions.)  There's a whole section in Understanding Comics about how simple iconic imagery resonates more with readers than detailed photorealistic images -- of course the fact that we're dealing with animals in the first place ties right into that.

There are no gray tones, and shading is done by hand -- something about Spiegelman's not-quite-straight, not-quite-parallel diagonal hash marks gives the book an organic, personal feel.

And the layouts -- they're mostly very simple and conservative, which makes it really pop when they become more complex and creative.  Spiegelman's got a real eye for layouts, and I'm interested in checking out Breakdowns, his "new" book which is a collection of his work from the 1970's.

Maus is a brilliant book, deserving of its Pulitzer and its enduring reputation.  It's an incredible comic that makes unique use of its medium; it would not work in another format.  It's got pathos and drama and laughter and jokes; it takes on big ideas and unspeakable tragedy alongside a unique personal story of one family's struggles.  If you haven't read it, you really should; I waited 15 years to read it a second time and I'm glad I finally got to experience it from an adult perspective.
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Kayma

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Re: Comics for People Who Don't Read Comics
« Reply #35 on: May 11, 2009, 07:47:21 AM »

A friend of mine teaches Maus to his high school students.

...I promise, I'll swipe a copy and read it one day.
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MadMAxJr

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Re: Comics for People Who Don't Read Comics
« Reply #36 on: May 17, 2009, 05:17:53 PM »

Another jawdrop at the comic shop as I make another sizable purchase.

Scud The Disposable Assassin: The Whole Shebang
Batman Year One
Predator Omnibus 1 - 4

Read Year One, absolutely in love with the dual storyline of Gordon and Wayne.

Finished all of the Alien Omnibus books.  Some good stuff and a few hilarious bits.  Viking vs. Alien being the best one.
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MadMAxJr

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Re: Comics for People Who Don't Read Comics
« Reply #37 on: May 18, 2009, 06:31:15 AM »

About five issues into SCUD.  Loving this thing for being so darn odd.  Turns out the guy who did this is a writer for the Sarah Silverman show.
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Thad

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Re: Comics for People Who Don't Read Comics
« Reply #38 on: July 08, 2009, 09:43:31 PM »

Wednesday Comics is, quite simply, wonderful.  If the world were a fair place, this is exactly what would save both the comics industry and the newspaper industry.

I was born in 1982.  I can't imagine what it must have been like to get The Spirit as a newspaper supplement.  The current deplorable state of newspaper comics is pretty much exactly how it's been my entire life, with brightly-colored half-page stuff like Calvin and Hobbes and Bloom County the closest thing to a real broadsheet comic strip.  Those are gone now, of course, and what's left is uniform -- all boring, similar strips of the same format, the same size, the same genre, and the same utter banality.  (With a few exceptions -- I still like Doonesbury.  And Boondocks was great while it lasted, though entirely too funny to see print in a major Phoenix paper.)  Here and there I've seen a few strips that weren't simple three-panel gag strips, but stuff like Prince Valiant and Dick Tracy was far past its prime by the time I ever laid eyes on it.

Wednesday Comics -- it's funny.  My uncle and I were talking awhile back about this very thing.  He commented that, say, The Walking Dead would work fantastically as a page-a-day serial, or Gilbert Hernandez could put out a regular strip to brilliant effect.  Wednesday Comics isn't that, exactly, but it shows the versatility of the format in a way unheard of in my lifetime.

If the world were just, stuff like this would be on prominent display in the checkout line, and every newspaper in the country would have at least a few strips like this.  There's real creativity and variety here, with gorgeous art against a backdrop of clean, tight writing.  I like to think this is the kind of shit Eisner wanted to see when he started The Spirit in the first place, though frankly I'm never quite sure with that guy.  Certainly his influence is there, particularly in some of the very creative layouts (like the Deadman strip).

Wednesday Comics is good.  If you see a copy on sale, pick it up.  In fact, I was going to put this in the Funnybooks thread but fuck it, I'm totally cut-and-pasting into Comics for People Who Don't Read Comics.  That's where it belongs.
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Burrito Al Pastor

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Re: Comics for People Who Don't Read Comics
« Reply #39 on: July 08, 2009, 09:52:50 PM »

Scud is a lot of fun. It's been years since I read it.
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