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#1 thebiz

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Posted 17 July 2009 - 07:56 PM

Never got into either as a kid but grabbed Watchmen during christmas 08 and really enjoyed it. Took some advice from some weathered and hard drinking comic readers and now find myself fully engulfed in the genre. So a thread dedicated to comics, graphic novels and things similar.

Since I have less than a year under my belt my list is easy.

Watchmen - This is the one that teaches you just whats so cool about graphic novels. Well formed and messed up superheros, the world gone astray in a bleak future and the visual ideas..well...it didnt matter how good the movie was (or wasnt), there are things going on here that just cant be put to celluloid. Watching the action occur in adjacent boxes where the characters change and speak and do their thing but the scenery just flows through like one extended set. Very cool. And the way the dialogue seesaws between whats being shown and whats being told (The Black freighter being read over images from the "existing world" and vice versa) is supreme. I first scoffed at it being in Times top 100 novels list but now...perhaps. 9.5/10

League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Volume 1 - Outstanding. Literary and cultural references in every nook and cranny with super cool visuals (just check out the page 1 LoEG insignia), very fun characters and steampunk themes. Not sure if its possible for any movie to represent source material worse than the 2003 movie did. 9/10

League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Volume 2 - The visuals remain solid but the story turns to cheese here. Worth a look but lacks the magic of the first. 7/10

League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Volume 3.1 - Much more grown up than the first 2 with less action and more singing and dancing...hehe. Pretty solid start to a trilogy that will end up being the third part of the trilogy (er..). All three episodes include a story at the end and here is the first one I found readable and enjoyable. Cant wait for the next episode. 8/10

League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: The Black Dossier - A whole lot of character backstories, some good, others not. Kudos for the inventive format and the 3d glasses. 7/10

Batman: The Dark Knight Returns - Holy Cow, Batman! Super actiony action. I had my reserves but its a barrel full of fists in the face action with blunted graphics, a crotchety old (60ish?) batman, a spry (13?) female robin, a gang of mutants and the Man o Steel in full goodygoody fashions. Highly recommended. Very male. Very fun. 9.5/10

Batman: Year One - Again I wasnt sure if I would like this as Ive heard the tale so many times before. But here the story revolves around a hard boozing Lt Gordon. Very stylish in a classic 1950s noir kinda way. Way better than it should have been. 9/10

Batman: The Killing Joke - The origin of the Joker written by Allan Moore (Watchmen) ends up being hokey and a bit boring with nothing special going on in the visuals (yeayea, its got calamari). A pretty big letdown in my humble opine. 6/10

Jack of Fables #1 - Fables are out and about in the world today and here is the most famous; Jack Horner(be nimble, and the beanstalk, etc.). 10 parts Bruce Campbell, Jack is sassy but overall it ends up being not quite sassy enough for my tastes. Yea Goldilocks is sexy but somehow it made me wish a bit for fritz the cat (if your going to go that direction, you really got to go all the way). 6/10


And stuff on my list of things to check out...if you have any ideas Id be happy to hear 'em

The Ultimates Vol 1 & 2 - Recommended by a friend, I took an in store looksee. Looks like a lot of action and some well known comic characters (The Hulk for one if memory serves). Maybe...

Mister X - Came upon this one through its cover art in a random google image search. And wow! Its from the 80s and is looks badass and deals with architecture, drugs, violence and physcology in an art deco meets german expressionalist style. Sign me up!

The Sandman Series - I really like Gaiman's writing style but the fantasy/fairytale atmosphere has kept me away so far. Still i have yet to read anything from Gaiman I havent enjoyed so I will grab it one day.

Swamp Thing - Well if its good enough for Troma...hehe. Actually supposed to be pretty good from what I hear.




So hows about your favorites?

Edited by thebiz, 17 July 2009 - 08:10 PM.

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#2 TehPoptartKid

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Posted 18 July 2009 - 08:31 AM

Do comic strips, and Manga count in your discussion? If so, Calvin and Hobbes is an awesome comic. Between Calvin's silly antics, all the adventures, and philosophical discussions between Calvin and Hobbes, it's jam-packed with hours of non-stop fun. My favorite character is Hobbes; I like the fact that through Calvin's eyes, Hobbes as a anthropormorphic tiger, and the others see him as a stuffed tiger. The creativity is just awesome. It's too bad that Bill Watterson retired. 10/10

Pearls Before Swine is a hilarious comic. I don't know if it's me, but Rat is an evil genius. He says all the things I want to say, and do to people who are just obnoxious. Oh, and the Crocs that live next door are funny; the zebra/croc clash provides so laugh out loud material. And pig is just so naive, but his ignorance just can't help but make you laugh. And everything about this strip is really clever. Between breaking the fourth wall, and the characters knowing that they're in a comic strip, and breaking out of their own strip to go into another one, Stephen Pastis is an evil mastermind of the comic strip world. Mwahaha! 9.8/10

Speaking of graphic novels, One Piece is a fun read, so is the Shaman King. Oh, and Anna Kyōyama is hot. :drool:

I'll come back later with more of my favorite Manga. :devil2:


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#3 Daninsky

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Posted 18 July 2009 - 11:29 AM

Nice selections so far, I'd throw in the usual suspect Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns, but who doesn't know and love that one anyway so...

A probably lesser known excellent Japanese Sci-Fi comic is 2001 Nights, the title is program. It's a very clever written series of short stories about mans journey to the stars with a few hommages to the classic movie collaboration by Kubrik/Clarke, but the first issue reminded me in it's tenor more of a early collection short stories by Isaac Asimov.
A well drawn comic that shows science with a solid sense of wonder.

My all time favoured comic is Yoko Tsuno by Roger Leloup (french homepage: http://yoko.tsuno.free.fr/index.php), the adventures of a beautiful Japanese electronics expert both on and off earth.

And last but not least we have Durango a wild west comis series by Yves Swolfs which is heavily influenced by classic Spaghetti westerns.
...and naturally the movie needs to have an explosion for the fourteen year olds.
-Unknown newspaper critic.

#4 thebiz

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Posted 04 August 2009 - 01:59 PM

2001 Nights is now on my list. Thanks for the recommnedation.

Bought a batch last week. Here's my thoughts.

Preacher - Gone To Texas

A worldly preacher man is newly inhabited by a creature from heaven/hell and on the run from the Saint of Killers (think Steven King's DT gunslinger) and a racist redneck sherrif. Filling out the gang is his ex galpal (a failed assassin) and a friendly, sassy, punkrock vampire. Second storyline involves a NYC serial killer and is definitely the stronger of the two. At times creepy and certainly gory. Overarching storyline involves the preacher in search of an absentee God (he resigned).

This one ends up feeling like a product of its time, Tarantino-esque with a crazy high body count and cute one liners. Slick but kinda vapid. Nothing particularly special about the artwork. One of my favorite elements is the inclusion of John Wayne speaking to the hero (similar to Sam Elliot's Stranger role in The Big Lebowski) but it goes undeveloped here. Dialogue is above average but perhaps a bit too cute. Reminded me of "Dusk till Dawn" in that it is amusing enough the first time but I doubt I'll be going back for the sequel (unless perhaps it finds me first).

6/10

100 Bullets - First Shot, Last Call

100 Bullets has a solid theme involving a mysterious Agent Graves who shows up on the doorstep of many a victim with a briefcase full of 100 untraceable bullets and information on how they became a victim in the first place. What they do with the bullets is completely up to them. Its straight crime/pulp with nary a superhero in sight.

The first story involves a hispanic girl fresh out of prison lamenting the fact that her husband and son were gunned down while she sat in the joint. An unfortunate starting point as much of this episode feels like a caricature of 1990's urban life with much of the artwork reminding me plenty of GTA3's cutscene material. The second story rachets it up a bit focusing on a dive bar and tossing in a wonderful twist at the end.

As I said, Im not a fan of the way the hispanic urban culture is drawn here but overall there is a lot of style in the graphics with some heavy heavy shadows all about (noir much?). The best stuff focuses on strip joints, dive bars and police precincts with two-dimensional two-color backdrops sitting stylishly behind the action. Based on the enjoyable overall theme and the second half I might be checking out the next installment in the not so distant future.

7/10

Swamp Thing - Saga of the Swamp Thing

Saving the best for last. Alan Moore takes over the reigns of Swamp Thing in 1983 (which was headed for the comix scrap heap) and reinvents the character and perhaps the comic book culture as a whole. But all that was before my time. How does "Saga of the Swamp Thing" work in 2009? Mighty good.

The tale starts off with "The Anatomy Lesson" which has a distinct Edgar Allen Poe kinda vibe and is about as solid a start as I could imigine. The first tale is full of intelligent (even eloquent) dialogue and has a solid storyline that jump starts the origin of Swamp Thing. Following this we get two tales of horror that focus perhaps more upon the evil that visits the bayous of Luoisiana (creepy horror at that, almost like a backwoods lovecraft kind of vibe) than upon the Swamp Thing himself. And thats probably a good choice. Swampy shows up when things need pounding.

Visually, Swamp Thing is love/hate. A friend of mine who gets second dibbs on my purchases said it looks unfinished as if its a first draft. Reminds me a little of the minimalist style used in Batman: Year One. Theres a lot of unfinished lines and a lack of polish but it works very well with the material and the coloring is very vibrant with an array of greens, golds and grays of the swamp mixed with a dash of red blood here and there. This style also works really well with the creatures and villians leaving some parts to the imagination and some parts to your nightmares.

Highly recommended. Gets my creative juices going.

9/10

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#5 Mustachio26

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Posted 04 August 2009 - 04:58 PM

I'd check out the original V for Vendetta graphic novel since you seemed to enjoy the majority of Moore's works that you've read. It's pretty dense, but I enjoyed it immensely.

I'm also a bit embarrassed to admit that I own the movie version :blushing:. What can I say? I'm a sucker for some of those action sequences.

#6 thebiz

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Posted 04 August 2009 - 06:36 PM

I'd check out the original V for Vendetta graphic novel since you seemed to enjoy the majority of Moore's works that you've read. It's pretty dense, but I enjoyed it immensely.


Yea, that was in my last Amazon order but I removed it because I topped a wife imposed limit.

I do enjoy much of Moore's stuff a lot it seems. I want to find someone else of equal quality. Frank Miller seems interesting. Going to eventually check out Ronin. And maybe some Daredevil (but man o man that movie was bad.).

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#7 thebiz

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Posted 04 August 2009 - 07:08 PM

Two movies I enjoyed a lot that I recently learned began life as Graphic Novels...

A History of Violence

The Road to Perdition

whodathunkit (well plenty Im sure but Im on the outside of the proverbial loop).

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#8 Killian

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Posted 04 August 2009 - 07:44 PM

Stick The Books of Magic on your list; I have a feeling you might enjoy them...


#9 Daninsky

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Posted 05 August 2009 - 06:25 PM

Never read that series but this cover is tempting like hell:
http://www.bodoi.inf...bois_caiman.jpg

I'm positively in luv with her. *sigh*
...and naturally the movie needs to have an explosion for the fourteen year olds.
-Unknown newspaper critic.

#10 Uber

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Posted 05 August 2009 - 07:38 PM

Here is one that I (ironically) came across while on leave from an overseas tour:

http://en.wikipedia....ver_War_(comics)
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#11 Daninsky

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Posted 05 August 2009 - 10:35 PM

Brilliant novel, never read the comic.
...and naturally the movie needs to have an explosion for the fourteen year olds.
-Unknown newspaper critic.

#12 thebiz

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Posted 12 August 2009 - 01:41 PM

Stick The Books of Magic on your list; I have a feeling you might enjoy them...


The Constantine bit piques my interest (I gotta getta check out the hellblazer books) but the fantasy/magic aspect is a bit of a turnoff for me (same reason why I haven't picked up any Sandman books). Its on my radar now.

Here is one that I (ironically) came across while on leave from an overseas tour:

http://en.wikipedia....ver_War_(comics)


Started looking into this and got caught up in information on the ligne claire style which led me to reading all about the adventures of tintin which is pretty interesting of itself. Anywho, I will have to see if mrsbiz has the novel. Sounds like something she will have read (being a hugo winner and such..the book, not my wife).

Thanks for the recommendations folks.

Just finished Asterios Polyp by David Mazzucchelli. Mazzucchelli was the artist on Batman; Year 1 as well as the graphic novel based upon Paul Auster's House of Glass (a definite future purchase, read the book and loved it, the graphic novel looks excellent). Apparently he has been working on Asterios for the last 10 years and it is definitely impressive.

Storywise the characters shine, feeling real when they are supposed to and like strange caricatures when called for. Asterios is something of a pompous (but brainy) paper architect who meets a girl, gets married, screws up a good thing and goes walkabout trying to figure out just what the hell went wrong (with narration by his stillborn twin brother). Some comedy, some drama, all just kinda cool to read. The storytelling is very very strong and there are multiple layers of meaning that will have me going back for another read in the future.

Graphically the artwork uses only 3 or 4 colors and simple lines without filling things out with minute details. Each character gets a particular style (asterios's head shape never changes regardless of where his face is turned) while dreams and flashbacks are treated with strange shadings. It all works within the story very well and ends up feeling very unique.

Overall, Asterios manages to retain a sense of fun while feeling more "important" than your average graphic novel and definitely opened my eyes to a new viewpoint/style of storytelling. And it looks nice sitting out for your hip friends. Check plus.

8.5/10


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#13 wackyal3000

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Posted 12 August 2009 - 02:00 PM

I'd recommend the twelve part series Global Frequency (http://en.wikipedia....lobal_Frequency), not very well known but I think you'll like it.

Make sure you get V for Vendetta soon, you'll love it. Get the film too but watch it afterwards, it is absolute trash compared to the graphic novel and Natalie Portman is incredibly annoying but Hurt, Fry and Rea are excellent.

Track down some of Will Eisner's The Spirit. The real early stuff is all in collections (e.g. 'The Spirit Archives Volume 1' and so on) but DC have brought him back and they aren't too bad. Plus the movie was one of the most under rated movies of January in my opinion. Even if you don't like the Spirit you can't not love Samuel Jackson in this movie.

#14 Johnny Ex

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Posted 12 August 2009 - 04:23 PM

Marvel's first graphic novel The Death of Captain Marvel is a classic, shorly after that (1980's) they put out The New Mutants, which spawned a brilliant yet short lived comic series of the same name. Bill Sienkewics penciled much of that and I always thought it was great.
After ALL these years I finally read the Watchmen, and I LOVED it, and I cant wait to finally see the flick. Yeah Ima little behind...
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#15 Chris62

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Posted 12 August 2009 - 04:27 PM

Marvel's first graphic novel The Death of Captain Marvel is a classic, shorly after that (1980's) they put out The New Mutants, which spawned a brilliant yet short lived comic series of the same name. Bill Sienkewics penciled much of that and I always thought it was great.
After ALL these years I finally read the Watchmen, and I LOVED it, and I cant wait to finally see the flick. Yeah Ima little behind...


The movie was a little disappointing but that's my opinion.

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#16 thebiz

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Posted 13 August 2009 - 01:55 PM

Marvel's first graphic novel The Death of Captain Marvel is a classic, shorly after that (1980's) they put out The New Mutants, which spawned a brilliant yet short lived comic series of the same name. Bill Sienkewics penciled much of that and I always thought it was great.

After ALL these years I finally read the Watchmen, and I LOVED it, and I cant wait to finally see the flick. Yeah Ima little behind...


The Death of Captain Marvel actually sounds pretty good (being a death of cancer instead of some heroic thing). Might have to look around for that one.

I thought the Watchmen was a bit hokey but faithful to the book. I also left the theater feeling that 10 years down the road the movie will be looked upon a little more more favorably than it was on release. I think it might need some time to breath (and to be viewed on the small screen by a generation or two)..but thats just my take.

Anywho, after researching various "best of" lists and reading some nice reviews ("a book to lend to your non-comic friends") I picked up Why I Hate Saturn by Kyle Baker. A product of the early 1990s this one feels like a Janeane Garofalo stand up routine. New York girl dressed in black complains about stuff. Yes, there are some genuine moments of amusement (only people with licenses to drive a vehicle can buy alcahol) but overall it boils down to too much whining and moaning. Somewhere past the midpoint things liven up a bit with a crazy ex-lover and an amusing chapter called "The Diary of Anne's Frank" but the ending fell flat for me.

Graphically this one is interesting in that all of the dialogue is placed under the animation frame (no dialogue balloons here). The effect is different but largely divorces the words from the pictures (and the pictures really aren't all that interesting). All the artwork is black and white with a touch of sepia and felt to me a bit lacking in that 75% of the images are of people with their mouth open at a muppet-like 45 degrees while in some state of talking.

Probably would have worked better for me if I had read it when it came out in 1990 with something of a more cynical view (at a time when being hard core cynical was still in style). It doesnt help matters that the book itself is oversized and feels like one of kid millions' coloring books. Worth the time spent reading it but not so impressed.

6.5/10

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#17 thebiz

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Posted 20 August 2009 - 06:54 PM

Chew by John Layman

Grabbed my first um...non trade comic book the other day (an actual soft page comic about 20 pages in length) based upon a really cool concept. Following the outbreak of the Avian Flu chicken has been outlawed and now only outlaws eat chicken. So the police have organized little squads of officers to break up these chicken speakeasy restaraunts. One such copper is Tony Chu who possesses the strange ability to inherit the memories of everthing he eats (except beets) from an apple to a hamburger to human flesh. Hilarity ensues.

Being an actual comic, its crazy short and I finished it up in about 20 minutes. The story was best thing here with pretty average dialogue and somewhat generic artwork. Great concept. Average execution.

6.5/10

Swamp Thing Vol: 2; Love and Death

Picks up where volume 1 left off with a wonderfully creepy tale of demons and corpses and bugs and things that slither in the night and the dreary day. Again, the stories were more successful with Swamp Thing out of focus and all the creepy stuff front and center. I was having an excellent time and then about two-thirds of the way through theres a bizarre turn of the story (ok, its really a completely new story, which may have worked in an episodic comic but not so much in a bound up graphic novel) to some eco-friendly marvin the martian meets walt disney-esque thing. Screech went the brakes. This story was followed by a psycadelic "love" story that made me think Swampy is made more of dairy product than of vegetation. Cheesey.

Graphically this one is very similar to episode one (Saga of the Swamp Thing) in its scratchy, slightly outside the coloring lines kind of style. The creepy stuff works great but in the MarvinMartian episode Swampy get nuetered into a sympathetic slooped shoulder, raised eyebrow kinda houseplant. Erg.

This last third of the story really made me wish they would have taken the episodes relating to the first issue and tied them all together. Also made me question whether I will continue in this title. Probably, but Im not rushing out the door.

6.5/10

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#18 Daninsky

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Posted 21 August 2009 - 03:22 PM

Swamp Thing Vol: 2; Love and Death


Regarding Swamp Thing, do you know the Theodore Sturgeon story "It"?

It might be worth to look for, it kind of reads like the basis for the first "Swamp Thing" story.
...and naturally the movie needs to have an explosion for the fourteen year olds.
-Unknown newspaper critic.

#19 Daninsky

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Posted 09 March 2010 - 04:51 PM

Time to give this a bump:

I've got two that I like to point out today:
First of, eventhough it shouldn't need to be named, we have the Mark Schultz classic Cadillacs & Dinosaurs, if you haven't heard of that before you either live under a rock or have no interest in American comic culture, else, shame on you!

But undoubtedly you will have come across the iconic Time in Overdrive art by Schultz.
Cadillacs & Dinosaurs is exactly what it says on the tin, after a natural catastrophe large parts of Earth are flooded, and humanity has fallen back into a more archaic political state powered by charming 50's tech, this is also reflected in Schultze's drawing style that strongly reminds us of the classic Warren magazins, and naturally Dinosaurs resurfaced.
The stories build more on telling classic Adventure Stories than Sci-Fi or Fantasy, eventhough ti first in the 80's it doesn't use the tired Mad Max distopia but rather goes for an original "golden age style" told in a series of short stories.

If you like adventure stories or looking for something featuring a likeable, independent female heroine at the side of the hero, this one is definitively worth a look.*


Secondly: Age of Reptiles, Ricardo Delgado's brilliant tale featuring Dinosaurs and (almost) nothing else. There are two installments Tribal Warfare the first is the better of the two, here Delgado makes full use of his plot and tells a riveting, poignant revenge story without any dialogue. The second, The Hunt, is still a great comic, also told completely without dialogue, but you can already see the limitations of that kind of storytelling, making this one less impacting than its predecessor.



*If you happen to like it give the Soundtrack CD a listen, too, though it's nothing out of the ordinary, not as original as the comic, just a bunch of 50's style mainstream rock songs, the intro spoken by Miguel Ferrer is worth it.
...and naturally the movie needs to have an explosion for the fourteen year olds.
-Unknown newspaper critic.

#20 themonk

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Posted 10 March 2010 - 11:05 PM

I am currently working my way thru 'HellBoy' by Mike Mignola.... only have 6 of the books so far... Wonderfully scary artwork...

A suggestion of those who love Graphic Novels... Elf Quest, by Wendy and Richard Pini... Excellent Art and Story, maybe a feature film in the works...
here is the site that you can read All the Stories, ONLINE!
http://www.elfquest....ineComics3.html

This story has such an epic reach, just in the first saga, that you will find yourself reading and rereading to see the links. Story is about a Tribe of wood elves trying to survive in Neo-Lithic world with tribes of men and Trolls... They have lost their history but not the soul of their people... Its a great read with very Memorable characters...
This has nothing to do with Tolkin's Middle Earth or his idea of Elves... but pointy ear fans... you wont be disappointed. So, join Cutter, the young Chief, and his best friend Skywise as they begin their ElfQuest!




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