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Author Topic: Comics for People Who Don't Read Comics  (Read 14383 times)

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BŁge

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Re: Comics for People Who Don't Read Comics
« Reply #60 on: February 13, 2010, 02:57:52 PM »

Hey, so is this the thread where I ask what Judge Dredd TPB is a good one to pick up? I haven't read british comics, but I did catch a few of the Progs on /co/ storytime, and it seemed like a dark and humourous read, with frequently bleak endings.

...which makes sense, considering it sprung up in the Maggie Thatcher era.
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Nerd

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Re: Comics for People Who Don't Read Comics
« Reply #61 on: February 13, 2010, 04:17:32 PM »

Quote
Hey, so is this the thread where I ask what Judge Dredd TPB is a good one to pick up?

I've only read one actual Judge Dredd story.  It's called "America", and seems to be a fan-favorite.  It's a bit heavy-handed (one of the main characters is actually named "America"), but it was interesting enough to see a story where the focus is on "average" citizens and the effect the judges have on their lives.  At least for somebody who's only really familiar with Judge Dredd through wikipedia summaries and the TOTALLY BRILLIANT movie.

Alternate answer:  The one where Dredd puts his fist through a zombie judge's face.
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BŁge

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Re: Comics for People Who Don't Read Comics
« Reply #62 on: February 13, 2010, 06:06:54 PM »

I'm going to listen to you because your avatar appears to be Jinnai from El-Hazard.
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Nerd

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Re: Comics for People Who Don't Read Comics
« Reply #63 on: February 14, 2010, 02:29:27 AM »

Jinnai is the number one villain.

Anyways, America is recommended for having sympathetic and tragically humanly-flawed characters in an interesting futuristic backdrop.  You could probably pick a worse starting point for the series!
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Burrito Al Pastor

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Re: Comics for People Who Don't Read Comics
« Reply #64 on: February 14, 2010, 11:20:53 AM »

I just found an enormous series of scans of all the major storylines, going back to the very first Judge Dredd comic, on /rs/.

That's worked fine for me so far.
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Mongrel

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Re: Comics for People Who Don't Read Comics
« Reply #65 on: February 14, 2010, 12:11:18 PM »

Link please? My collection of JD stuff just consisted of old single issues obtained totally at random.
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BŁge

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Re: Comics for People Who Don't Read Comics
« Reply #66 on: March 06, 2010, 04:57:36 AM »

Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader?

Could someone explain it to me? I mean, what I got out of it is that this, like other Gaiman yarns, is a story sbout stories. Specifically, the individual stories of all the people whom Batman's life has influenced from the Golden Age to today. Sorta like "The Wake" in Sandman.

I'm just wondering if I got it right.
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Thad

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Re: Comics for People Who Don't Read Comics
« Reply #67 on: March 06, 2010, 02:22:04 PM »

That's an element of it.  In keeping with the "like other Gaiman yarns" description, it's more about the mythology of the character.  It's an examination of what he means, why he exists, what he says about us.

It's also unfettered by canon.  The funeral itself is like a dream, with the friends and foes filing in, and they change appearance throughout (the Joker will resemble the Robinson version in one panel, the Miller in another, the Sprang in another and the Timm in another).  The stories they tell aren't bound by Batman continuity.  The first is a '40's noir story with Catwoman; the second (my personal favorite) involves a very different take on the origin story and the rogues' gallery (and, it turns out, was conceived by Kurt Busiek on a car trip with Gaiman).

It does resemble The Wake, quite a lot.  But where Morpheus was a character we'd followed for a few dozen issues, Batman is one of the deepest and most recognizable icons in American culture.  And also just so happens to have the best rogues' gallery in comics.  So there's a real richness of icons there to explore and play with.

All in all, like I said, my second-favorite comic of '09, after Crumb's Genesis.  Which I'll get to at some point here.
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Thad

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Re: Comics for People Who Don't Read Comics
« Reply #68 on: March 24, 2010, 09:44:44 PM »

...So a few months back, I was in my local independent bookseller, and I ran across Jack Cole and Plastic Man: Forms Stretched to Their Limits.  I didn't even notice Spiegelman's name on the cover, I just flipped through the book and thought hey, this is pretty neat.  And then my girlfriend got it for me for Christmas.

I started it today, and...wow.

Here's the thing: I've never actually read a Plastic Man comic before.  I'm aware of him, I'm aware of Cole's work, but...I had no idea what I was missing out on.

It's just absolutely phenomenal stuff.  The double-meaning in the book's title is apt: Plastic Man is like nothing I've ever seen before.  It doesn't so much defy rules as live in a world where they haven't been invented yet.  It freewheels between absurd whimsy and slapstick and completely shocking violence -- in one story, the villain, trying to escape, trips and LANDS WITH HIS HEAD IN A BEAR TRAP AND DIES.  (It's page 12 in the link above.)  There is absolutely nothing to foreshadow this; there is just a FUCKING BEAR TRAP ALL OF A SUDDEN.  It's a real straight-up anything-can-happen book -- the closest analog I can think of is Tex Avery.  (Spiegelman says it's like "Tex Avery on cocaine".)

Of course, Spiegelman's name is on the cover because a good big chunk of the book is a biography he's written -- and Cole is a fascinating character, right from the start.  Early on, there's a story of how, at the age of 17, he biked from Pennsylvania to LA -- and there's a photocopy of his first published work, a piece he wrote about the journey that was published in Boys' Life.

I've read some very good comics histories over the past couple years, but none that used the artist's actual work so extensively.  The Ten-Cent Plague, in particular, is a great book whose greatest weakness is its need to describe covers because it can't just print them (not sure whether that was due to rights issues or cost of printing, but at any rate there are many cases where it tells when it should show).  Not only does Spiegelman use extensive excerpts of Cole's work, he discusses them with an artist's eye -- Cole's talent for layouts, the way Plastic Man draws your eye to create a sense of motion -- there are even diagrams.

And speaking of layouts, there's a reason Chip Kidd's name is on the cover too.  He's the graphic designer who put it all together, Spiegelman's words and Cole's pictures.  The whole thing is composed like a giant magazine article -- which it actually is, as it began life in The New Yorker.  (Those of you familiar with Spiegelman will know that he is a major contributor to the magazine, and is married to Francoise Mouly, the editor and a supreme talent herself.)  The book is absolutely flooded with incidental Cole work, sometimes just a few panels on a page and sometimes a complete, uncut story.  (Interestingly -- well, if you're interested in things like paper stock, which you actually most likely are not --, the pages that reprint stories in longform are newsprint, while the rest of the book is glossy.  Those of you familiar with reprints of old comics have most likely observed that the old 4-color printing process looks much better on the newsprint it's intended for than on glossy paper.  McCloud discusses this a good bit in Understanding Comics, which we've already discussed in the thread.)

Anyway.  I've never seen a book quite like this, and I've never read a comic quite like Plastic Man.  I'm only a few chapters in, but it's already proven a deft combination -- Spiegelman makes for a great biographer AND a great art teacher, and is equally masterful at knowing when to step the hell back and let the man's work speak for itself.  And Kidd puts the whole thing together, creating an eye-catching presentation that's easy to read, or, if you prefer, just glance at.  (I prefer to read everything, even the incidental stuff -- and even on the thumbnails, the text is big enough to read.)

This book makes me want to go out and buy a bunch of Jack Cole stuff.  In the span of an hour he has become one of my favorite artists, and I don't know how I managed to miss out all these years.

And this book is the best casual introduction I can see, as sadly there is no set of cheap Chronicles paperbacks for Plas -- just $50 hardback Archives.  I'm seriously considering saving up, though -- I want to see more.
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Thad

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Re: Comics for People Who Don't Read Comics
« Reply #69 on: March 28, 2010, 09:20:15 PM »

Also: Spiegelman's book reprints Cole's infamous "Murder, Morphine and Me" in its entirety.  I'd never read the story before (though I'd seen the infamous "woman about to get a syringe in the eye" panel that made it Exhibit A in the 1950's Senate hearings on comics), and it's an important piece of history, as well as a very neat contrast to the whimsy of the Plastic Man stories.  It's got an afterschool-special quality to its message, and a predictable twist ending, but it's also got sympathetic characters, a breakneck pace, expressive art, and content that's graphic not just for violence's sake but to truly move the audience.  It represents everything that thrilled young audiences of the time, and scared the old guard.  It's just as powerful a representation of the no-rules nature of groundbreaking Golden Age comics as Plastic Man, with the same artist but an entirely different tone and genre.

Seriously, I love this book, and I've fallen in love with Cole.  Give it a read if you can find it.
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Zach

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Re: Comics for People Who Don't Read Comics
« Reply #70 on: April 16, 2010, 12:54:12 AM »

I mentioned The Unwritten over in the funnybooks thread, but I'll give it a shout here as well.

The plot revolves around Tom Taylor, son of Wilson Taylor, an author who disappeared without a trace at the height of his career. Wilson wrote a series of books about a boy wizard called Tommy Taylor -- Tom Taylor is essentially the Christopher Robin to he father's Harry Potter. During a comic convention, it comes to light that Tom Taylor may not be Wilson's son at all. Mystery, conspiracy, meditations on society's need for literature, social satire, and violence follow.

By the end of the first volume, it is clear that [spoiler]something metaphysical is going on. Magic![/spoiler]

There are enough unanswered questions as of issue #12 that I pretty much cribbed Wikipedia for that description. It's hard to tell what kind of series this is going to turn into, but it's kept my attention so far. In spite of how I keep on returning to the mystery, each issue ends up revealing something -- this is not a static story. It has direction, or at least a very good facsimile of one.

Read it if:
You like Harry Potter and have a strong cynical streak.
Enjoy intertextual works that reward you for paying attention in English class.
Want a smart adventure/suspense comic without superheros.

One aspect bothers me. It occurs in issue #11. Here's the page in question.

[spoiler] The canker was created when Jud Suss, a pro-Jew novel, was turned into a a Nazi-financed movie. Did the transformation occur because Nazis are terrible people, or because the original text was modified? As a strong proponent of reader reaction theory of literature, where the author's intent is second or third place to what the reader gets out of the text, the latter option bothers me. Isn't this saying that if enough people interpret a work differently than the author intends, the book will turn into a giant cancer monster and go on a rampage? I'm not saying that the author is "dead," but books lose a lot of their potential if they're simply reduced to "this is what the author put in, so this is what you have to get out."

Let's say that I write a book that's intended as a satire of a topical social issue, but everybody takes the book at face value. They've all created that meaning based on their unique social contexts, and possibly my lack of skill as a writer. Does this make everybody who reads the book wrong? Is that book a cancer monster?

Second case: I write a book and it's not very good -- plot holes, typos, inconsistent characterization. Someone edits the work so that it stands up to what folks call storytelling these days. Is that book a cancer monster?

I want to believe the "Nazis turn books into book-monsters" answer, but I'm not sure that the text supports it.
[/spoiler]

OK. Here's a shorter bit on issue #12: It started out as a rehash of an idea I'd seen a few other places, and I wasn't expecting to enjoy it. The [spoiler]literary personification of the story's author[/spoiler] was creepy as all get-out though, and saved the issue.

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Thad

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Re: Comics for People Who Don't Read Comics
« Reply #71 on: April 30, 2010, 04:01:27 PM »

Free Comic Book Day is tomorrow, May 1.  For those who don't know, there's a selection of free comics that are given out as promos in the hopes of attracting new readers.

If you don't know where there's a comic store around, hit up comicshoplocator.com.
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Disposable Ninja

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Re: Comics for People Who Don't Read Comics
« Reply #72 on: April 30, 2010, 05:02:11 PM »

And they're going to be giving away free MOUSE GUARD!
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BŁge

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Re: Comics for People Who Don't Read Comics
« Reply #73 on: April 30, 2010, 07:23:01 PM »

Arrrrgh

They're also giving away a Lady Gaga comic

Don't make me choose
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Zach

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Re: Comics for People Who Don't Read Comics
« Reply #74 on: April 30, 2010, 08:14:07 PM »

Some stores let you fill up on the promotional comics. Mine does, at least, unless they've changed from last year.

Anyone want me to pick anything up?
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Kayma

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Re: Comics for People Who Don't Read Comics
« Reply #75 on: April 30, 2010, 09:21:36 PM »

I have to get up in... 5 hours to set up for FCBD.

fffffffffffffffffffff
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A≤

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Re: Comics for People Who Don't Read Comics
« Reply #76 on: May 01, 2010, 12:13:37 AM »

Some stores let you fill up on the promotional comics. Mine does, at least, unless they've changed from last year.

Anyone want me to pick anything up?
...could I request Mouse Guard & the Sonic comic, if I'm reading the site right?

The only comic book shop near me is very, very uncomfortable to be in.
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Royal☭

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Re: Comics for People Who Don't Read Comics
« Reply #77 on: May 01, 2010, 04:47:16 AM »

Going go meet KC Green in Dallas and get him to sign the comic he's giving away.

Zach

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Re: Comics for People Who Don't Read Comics
« Reply #78 on: May 01, 2010, 12:22:01 PM »

Quote from: Lypoie
...could I request Mouse Guard & the Sonic comic, if I'm reading the site right?

They didn't have Sonic, but the Mouse Guard/Fraggle comic is on my floor, waiting for a destination to be mailed.

The local store wasn't as into the event as they were last year. Instead of having the free books front and center in the main room, they were hidden in the side room used by the CCG and HeroClix crowd.

There weren't any sales or attempts to bring in new readers either. I guess that last year's push didn't have the returns that the store had hoped for.

Oh well. I picked up a  DC Showcase Presents: The Elongated Man and a Nova glass that I had my eye on along with a big stack of free stuff.
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Lottel

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Re: Comics for People Who Don't Read Comics
« Reply #79 on: May 01, 2010, 07:41:42 PM »

FCBD?!
MOTHERFUCKER. Here I am hanging out with my girlfriend this weekend.
 ::(:

Shit. If I'd had known, I'd have just stayed in Iowa and helped at my old job for shits and giggles.
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