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Author Topic: Comics for People Who Don't Read Comics  (Read 14384 times)

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Thad

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Re: Comics for People Who Don't Read Comics
« Reply #40 on: July 31, 2009, 11:26:36 PM »

Just finished Chew #1, included in its entirety as a bonus with the latest Walking Dead, and have decided it is fodder for this thread.

Also, it is FUCKED.  UP.

It's a sick comedy in the tradition of Johnny the Homicidal Maniac -- except this one also happens to be a very clever sendup of the cop drama genre.  And, specifically, the cop-drama-with-supernatural-powers subgenre.

It's the old "cop solves mysteries with telepathy" bit, except in this case, the telepathy is triggered by eating.  Chu gets telepathic residue from eating things -- animal or vegetable, when he eats something he knows how it died, and maybe gets some other imagery around that.

Oh, also chicken is illegal.  It's been banned under a spurious bird flu scare.  So now there is chicken-related organized crime, and chicken speakeasies.  And the FDA plays the role traditionally played by the FBI in a cop drama -- stepping on the local cops' toes and telling them they have to let the perp walk because he's turned informant.

Pretty much every cop show cliche is there right upfront, from :MENDOZAAAAA: to the mood-swingy chief.  Also, as you might expect, there is cannibalism before the end of the first issue.

I think I might have to continue picking this one up.  It's funny!  Because I am a sick, sick man.
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Thad

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Re: Comics for People Who Don't Read Comics
« Reply #41 on: September 07, 2009, 08:18:49 PM »

Robot 6 has a neat little Comics 101 piece on Love and Rockets.  There are a few minor points I could disagree with, but overall it's a fantastic damn guide to the series and what you should read if you're just getting started.
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Royal☭

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Re: Comics for People Who Don't Read Comics
« Reply #42 on: September 07, 2009, 08:23:51 PM »

I disagree with recommendation to not start with the Maggie the Mechanic story.  While the goofiness and genre fiction are abandoned as the series progress, it establishes most of the world surrounding the Locas stories.

Speaking of the brothers, Citizen Rex has been a good read so far.  Based around a robot who was the first lifelike synthetic being, the story focuses on a young writer who discovers the titular robot Citizen Rex is still around and running loose in the city.  Gilbert's art style is evocative in creating a dirty, mysterious city of the future.  It's worth picking up, and only 2 issues isn't hard to catch up on.

Thad

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Re: Comics for People Who Don't Read Comics
« Reply #43 on: September 13, 2009, 12:08:58 AM »

And while I agree with the CW that Mario's work is on the whole not as good as his brothers', he still does some great stuff.  I just read Amor y Cohetes (a paperback of the extraneous L&R stuff that's neither Palomar nor Locas), which had his Somewhere in California series; it was quite good.

That stuff IS deemphasized in the brothers' more prominent work; in the long run there's been plenty of love but fewer and fewer rockets.  That said, Jaime's been doing a superhero story in L&R vol 3 that features Penny Century from the Locas stories.  (Issue #2 is out this week -- bear in mind that vol 3 consists of 100-page annuals, so picking up individual issues IS effectively waiting for the trades.)

I'm kinda of two minds on the "start with the second Locas collection" suggestion.  It IS much more representative of the series, but vol 1 is great shit too.  Of course, I'd sidestep the question and suggest starting with Heartbreak Soup as I prefer Gilbert to Jaime.
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Royal☭

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Re: Comics for People Who Don't Read Comics
« Reply #44 on: September 13, 2009, 06:32:18 AM »

I see no reason a person can't start both (aside from cost).  Palomar has a stronger start than the Locas stuff, but they'll both keep you entertained as you read.  Although Palomar has Human Diasphora and X, which are both complex, textured and fantastic reads.

 I did read the first trade of the new L&R series.  It was interesting, but didn't quite grip me like the regular stuff did.  Though I did like the unconventional nature of the superheroes.  I like that Jaime draws his women plumper and more realistic, it adds charm to the book.  I'm going to go out and say I didn't understand all of Gilbert's stuff, although that can also be said about Speak of the Devil. 

Thad

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Re: Comics for People Who Don't Read Comics
« Reply #45 on: September 13, 2009, 11:30:29 AM »

Gilbert does some great surreal stuff, and I liked that #1 focused on that rather than the usual Palomar/Luba stuff.  (He keeps saying he's done with all that -- the Venus story at the end of vol 2 was supposed to serve as a coda -- but I'm betting we haven't seen the last of those characters even if they're not going to be a focus for awhile.)

I mentioned his contribution to Treehouse of Horror last year; it was an offbeat Homer-turns-into-a-giant-monster story that wasn't very Simpsons-y but WAS very Gilbert Hernandez-y.  It was my favorite thing in the book.
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SCD

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Re: Comics for People Who Don't Read Comics
« Reply #46 on: October 11, 2009, 04:51:12 PM »

I tend to be a serious man when it comes to my readings. 

I ended picking something up from image called Comic Book Tatoo.  It's pretty much a collection of short comic stories.  It's pretty fun and thick for 50 dollars, but I would only recommend it for the artists in the house. 

Instead I will recommend for the serious types a couple of what I've read that are a bit older, but classic:

Louis Riel:  A Comic-Strip Biography is a good representation of a piece of history that remains controversial to this very day akin to the civil war types, minus an effective south.  While people from Ontario are quick to call him a crazy and a traitor to confederation, he was against corporate arrogance and outright evil before globalization protests were in vogue. 

Another close favorite is a piece of comic-strip journalism called "Palestine" by Joe Sacco.  Guy goes visiting both the West Bank and Gaza Strip before Hamas came to power.  Explains well why popular resistance and jew-destroying really doesn't need the cover of Islam to explain why (in their minds) they fight. 
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Mongrel

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Re: Comics for People Who Don't Read Comics
« Reply #47 on: October 11, 2009, 06:14:29 PM »

I have a copy of Louis Riel and I have read Palestine. I can endorse the above. Palestine is a fairly thorough indictment of the slippery slope the Israelis put themselves on, written well before it was fashionable in the west to criticize the Israeli state.

Amusing note: Koipond - who is actually Mťtis - hates Louis Riel. :lol:
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Influenza Enema

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Re: Comics for People Who Don't Read Comics
« Reply #48 on: December 30, 2009, 07:41:41 PM »

I'd recommend Strangers in Paradise and ElfQuest, especially if the non-comic-reader is a girl. Strangers in Paradise is primarily a relationship drama/comedy with some action elements, centered mainly around the two female main characters. ElfQuest is a fantasy epic following a group of tree elves as they fight trolls, ride wolves, go on spirit journeys, and the like. Both series sort of require you to start from the beginning, but both have been handily collected in several different . . . uh, collections.
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BŁge

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Re: Comics for People Who Don't Read Comics
« Reply #49 on: December 31, 2009, 05:22:08 AM »

ElfQuest is a fantasy epic following a group of tree elves as they fight trolls, ride wolves, go on spirit journeys, and have vaguely disturbing orgies.

To be fair, I think that Wendy and Richard Pini handled the scene much more maturely than, say, Jim Balent.
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Envy

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Re: Comics for People Who Don't Read Comics
« Reply #50 on: January 27, 2010, 04:02:48 AM »

100 bullets. Guy gives people the chance to get revenge for something going horrible in their life with no repercussions.
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Burrito Al Pastor

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Re: Comics for People Who Don't Read Comics
« Reply #51 on: January 27, 2010, 01:40:16 PM »

I'm going to disagree on Strangers in Paradise. I like Strangers of Paradise, and I own the whole series in omnibus, but I wouldn't recommend it to most people. There's a lot to like about it, but at the end of the day, it was the guy's first comic, and it really shows. The storytelling oscillates wildly in tone and quality, and whole plot lines disappear without warning, never to be seen again. (What ever happened with that bomber?) When it's good, it's great, but when it's not great, it's really uneven. It's a great comic if you like to watch as a comics artist/writer figures out how to make comics - which is why I was delighted to finally pick up the Zot! omnibus, and why I have a soft spot for Megatokyo. But for somebody who doesn't already like comics and doesn't have an existing interest in the underlying craft, it's not a good choice.

I'm going to have to say that the best comic for people who don't read comics is still Scott McCloud's Understanding Comics. I loaned it to my 7th grade English teacher, who was not a comics person; he kept it for two months, returned it, and asked if I had any other comics worth reading. You can't argue with results.
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Mongrel

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Re: Comics for People Who Don't Read Comics
« Reply #52 on: January 27, 2010, 01:49:49 PM »

100 bullets. Guy gives people the chance to get revenge for something going horrible in their life with no repercussions.

I liked it better when it was that series as opposed to GRAND CONSPIRACY. I mean, the GRAND CONSPIRACY was okay, but the book danced around explicitly explaining anything so much so that the whole second half of the series was pretty much made of nothing but dead bodies and innuendo.

Plus the ending was TERRIBLE [spoiler]"Rocks fall, everybody dies"? Are you kidding me? I mean, it was predictable I suppose, but when they had such good twists earlier, I was actually expecting to be surprised. And I LOVE "everybody dies" endings.[/spoiler]
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Royal☭

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Re: Comics for People Who Don't Read Comics
« Reply #53 on: January 27, 2010, 07:29:33 PM »

I read the first volume of Strangers in Paradise and nearly vomited from rage.  A tired, boring revenge fantasy with unlikable protagonists and cliche writing.  Though apparently the series turns into something about snipers and murder towards the end?

Kashan

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Re: Comics for People Who Don't Read Comics
« Reply #54 on: January 27, 2010, 07:50:20 PM »

I read the first volume of Strangers in Paradise and nearly vomited from rage.  A tired, boring revenge fantasy with unlikable protagonists and cliche writing.  Though apparently the series turns into something about snipers and murder towards the end?
Uhm, what?
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Royal☭

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Re: Comics for People Who Don't Read Comics
« Reply #55 on: January 27, 2010, 07:59:57 PM »

Not the first volume, the whole series.

I've flipped through some of the later issues at work, and they apparently involve things like people being assassinated while doing their daily routine.

Thad

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Re: Comics for People Who Don't Read Comics
« Reply #56 on: January 27, 2010, 09:37:03 PM »

I'm going to have to say that the best comic for people who don't read comics is still Scott McCloud's Understanding Comics.

Hm.  I dunno about the best period, but certainly the best book of its type.  I've always been more of a fiction guy, but yeah, Understanding Comics is an incredibly informative work.

Hell, it's a good one just for helping you TALK to people who aren't interested in comics.  There was a time when I felt it hard to quantify what comics could do that other media couldn't; after reading that book, I can explain it simply.  (The two key things are control over time, both from the artist's end and the reader's, and the principle of the closure that occurs between panels.)

I read the first volume of Strangers in Paradise and nearly vomited from rage.  A tired, boring revenge fantasy with unlikable protagonists and cliche writing.  Though apparently the series turns into something about snipers and murder towards the end?

The reason for the "Uhm, what?" is that it doesn't sound like you're describing Strangers in Paradise.  Are you sure you're talking about the same thing?  I mean, Strangers has the silly mob angle and all, but it's predominantly over-the-top slice-of-life stuff.  Love triangles and what-have-you.

I've flipped through some of the later issues at work, and they apparently involve things like people being assassinated while doing their daily routine.

...that sounds like it could be Strangers in Paradise.  I've only read the first book myself.
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Burrito Al Pastor

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Re: Comics for People Who Don't Read Comics
« Reply #57 on: January 27, 2010, 09:57:13 PM »

Hell, it's a good one just for helping you TALK to people who aren't interested in comics.  There was a time when I felt it hard to quantify what comics could do that other media couldn't; after reading that book, I can explain it simply.  (The two key things are control over time, both from the artist's end and the reader's, and the principle of the closure that occurs between panels.)


Really? Funny, I've never been terribly interested in closure - the two most important things in that book to me are time and pacing (like you said) and the stuff about varying degrees of detail abstraction in iconographic art.

(It's also the book that first taught me the word "juxtaposition".)

I read the first volume of Strangers in Paradise and nearly vomited from rage.  A tired, boring revenge fantasy with unlikable protagonists and cliche writing.  Though apparently the series turns into something about snipers and murder towards the end?

Did I mention how uneven it is? And the aborted storylines?

It seems terribly odd to me that you'd remember Strangers in Paradise like that - it's not exactly an action comic - but it's certainly plausible that it's Strangers in Paradise that you're talking about.
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Kashan

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Re: Comics for People Who Don't Read Comics
« Reply #58 on: January 28, 2010, 09:16:38 AM »

There are maybe seven action scenes in the whole series. Honestly I thought you'd mistakenly typed strangers in paradise instead of 100 bullets. I'm really not even sure where revenge fantasy comes into the series, much less a sniper plot line.


Strangers in paradise kind of pissed me off because I really grew to love the characters and some of their arcs, but ultimately nothing in the plot of the story felt like it happened for a reason and nothing was ever resolved. Echo is holding up very well so far though.
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Thad

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Re: Comics for People Who Don't Read Comics
« Reply #59 on: January 31, 2010, 09:15:38 PM »

I've been picking up the latest volume of Age of Reptiles, and it is fucking gorgeous.

First: I love dinosaurs.  My love for dinosaurs has scarcely diminished since I was 4 years old.

Second: There are not enough comic books about dinosaurs.

Third: I love it when people can do an art-driven story and not make the characters talk too much.

Age of Reptiles is a goddamned beautiful book about dinosaurs, and it has no words.  And it tells a clear story, with pathos and drama, without them.  (I haven't delved too deeply to check on scientific accuracy -- if I'm not mistaken, it features dinosaur species that didn't actually coexist -- but The Journey does include fairly recent hypotheses such as T Rex being a scavenger.)

...I swear I've written about it before but I can't find it with a search.  Anyway, it's a great damn book, and unlike anything else on the stands.  Well worth buying.
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