Comic Books

Anything comic book, or -as the bots call them- graphic novels, can be discussed here.

After some discussion about women artists in the Out of Context Comics thread, I thought I might chime in with some of my favorites in the comic book thread (just to keep that thread from straying too off topic)

The only problem was, there is no general comics thread. There’s some comics talk in the “Whatcha Reading” thread, and another about comic book movies and series, but there was nowhere to post what I was hoping to post.

Until now.

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I’ve never been hugely into Superhero comics and I do appreciate the storytelling that went on in Vertigo, but for me, my favorite comics are either social commentary (often semi-disguised) like Transmetropolitan or true-to-life stories like American Splendor.

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So, lady comic book artists, Clang named some greats (June Brigman, Jan Duursema, Ramona Fradon, Cynthia Martin) - Others I liked include Amanda Conner… I love her Power Girl stuff - she was very expressive, dynamic, and funny. These days she’s doing more writing than drawing, which makes me sad as I miss the art.

One, more recent (2015-17) - Whatever became of Marley Zarcone? I don’t see her working in comics anymore. I loved her work on Shade the Changing Girl. It was trippy, with clean lines, and a psychedelic 60s style that was given a groovy boost by Kelly Fitzpatrick’s bright coloring

“Artist Marley Zarcone has drawn each panel with vivid chaos and intense care. Zarcone’s stark linework, youthful style and well-placed negative space capture the spirit of this book impeccably.” —NEWSARAMA

some covers

A page within

Character design

She also did some work on Tim Seeley’s short lived Vertigo series, “Effigy” (man, do I miss Effigy, it was gone before it started, and we never got to see how it all would have played out)

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Interesting. I didn’t know they did a reboot of Shade. I’ll check it out.

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Also a big fan of Amanda Conner. I have her runs of Power Girl and Harley Quinn and the Terra miniseries. Despite not being a fan of superhero comics.

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I’m a superfreak, grew up with the Supers, mostly Marvel comics from the 60s and 70s… but I liked all type of stories, and enjoyed other publishers (First Comics in the early 80s, with Nexus, Jon Sable, Grimjack, American Flagg).

I started reading more DC with The Watchmen, Sandman, and Ostrander’s Spectre. About 10 years back(?) it was Image with titles like Revival, East of West, and whatever Ed Brubaker was/is writing.

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More women artists. Tula Lotay, she has kind of a dreamy, fashion artist style. I first came to know her for a variety of covers (I remember Ms. Fury for one) and I think she drew a short story in the digital comic Sensational Wonder Woman. But don’t hold me to that.

Her highlights were an issue of Images “The Wicked + The Divine”, which was devastating…

3f1d3944fd0142f9c4add84dda409fdc--the-divine-wicked

and her masterpiece, to date, is her work on Warren Ellis’s confounding, beautiful, brilliant, Supreme: Blue Rose

Back in 2015 it was announced that she and Ellis were working another series, I think it was a gothic horror type, but it has never seen the light of day.

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I like the comics that are more on the weird side, so that’s stuff from Matt Howarth (Savage Henry in particular, plus Star Crossed and Weirdfall), Madman, Doom Patrol, Howard the Duck, and Doctor Strange.

Now I’m really there for the stories, not so much the art, so when I talk about my favorite runs, I’m talking about the writer. But I do remember a few years ago when I was going through Doctor Strange, the art started with Ditko, then when he left someone else took over and I was like “no, this artist is… not quite there” but then at one point another new artist came in and I was like “oh, whoever this is, they’re great; they get it” and it was Marie Severin. The editor’s note when she left said she’d been moved on to the Incredible Hulk, and I was sad to see her go but also “hey, good for you being given a more popular title.” Which is kind of a weird thing to think nearly half a century after it happened, but whatevs.

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I just finished the latest Reckless graphic novel by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips. These things are great and come out every few months.

Ghostinyou

I started Tuki book 2 by Jeff Smith of Bone fame. It’s set during the dawn of humanity when multiple factions of the human race coexisted. The main character, Tuki, is based off Toshiro Mifune’s character from Yojimbo/Sanjuro. It’s a lot of fun, with beautiful line art.

Tuki

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As a kid in the 70s I was casually into comics. I lked Batman and Spider-Man. But I actually preferred the weird/horror Night Gallery type of comic, and I also loved Uncle Scrooge.

Sold all my comics at a garage sale when I was maybe 15 (one guy bought the lot). Then I didn’t read another comic until maybe 2002 or thereabouts. I was, as usual, walking past the comics wall in my local comics/game store to get to the RPG stuff in the back, when this cover caught my eye:

So I investigated Transmetropolitan and totally got hooked. Made online friends with Darick Robertson and got my name on a Transmet TPB cover and on a page of The Boys. And from there I got into a bunch of the other Vertigo stuff… Sandman, Preacher, Fables, Y: The Last Man, Swamp Thing, Hellblazer, etc.

I was a huge Xena fan as well, and when that went off the air I was looking for another women-kick-ass show to watch. I tried the Birds of Prey TV show, which was… not so much. But I’d heard it was based on an acclaimed comics series, so I hunted up Gail Simone’s run on BoP and loved it. And that led me to other female superheroes who generally operated on the fringes of annoying DC continuity… Power Girl, Zatanna, Batgirl, Harley Quinn. That lasted until the “New 52” reboot.

Today I read mainly Image titles and a few others.

Right now I’m into Saga, Nocterra, What’s the Farthest Place From Here, the new Sandman and Fables arcs, and as always the Girl Genius webcomic and The Knights of the Dinner Table gaming comic.

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As a kid in the '60s I casually read the popular comics, Superman, Archie, etc. After that I didn’t read any comics for a long time until a friend introduced me to Grant Morrison’s stuff. I read Doom Patrol while he was writing it and thought it was one of the best things I’ve ever read, and then went back and read his Animal Man. Around that time I also read The Tick and Concrete, but didn’t stay interested in comics after that.

I still don’t watch much movie or TV content based on comics. I’m enjoying the current Superman series and The Boys, and I’ve really liked what they’ve done with Doom Patrol.

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This series has been MR_Potroast’s pick of the hour for about three years now. I’m not as gaga for it as he is. Perhaps no one is. But it’s enjoyable:

My favorite work by a woman writer-artist over the last few years has probably been this one:

Disturbing in places and periodically outright bawdy, in the best way possible. It helps if you’re a huge fan of Katherine Mansfield, like I am. Because you’ll catch more of the Easter Eggs. But I wouldn’t say that’s necessary to enjoy it.

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Thank you! Given Doctor Mordred is coming up, a place to discuss comics would be fab. Besides, the overlap between comics readers and MST3K fans had always been wide.

Short, not at all shameful confession: I love the fact that there are so many types of stories being published now! Comics vs graphic novel labeling arguments, there’s great superhero stories out there along with the no flying, not tights tales.

What are you currently reading?

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I miss Vertigo. Yeah, much of what would have been that shows up under DC Black Label but Karen Berger & Shelly Bond brought some great comics to light. They still do.

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Where are you picking up comics nowadays?

While I’ve been in Brooklyn I’ve been lucky to have fantastic local shops: Rocketship, Bergen Street, and now Anyone.

Bully orders from Sterling Silver in California because friendship is deeper than postage.

Online I use Better World Books because I don’t mind my copies being ex-library and getting free shipping for UK titles is not a small thing.

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The library, since it’s usually graphic novels I’m seeking. One of the better ones I found in recent years was this one:

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I’ve seen her work - it’s consistently amazing - had no idea she started Thought Bubble?

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Fat Cat Comics in Johnson City, NY. In business since 1976, which makes it one of the oldest comic shops in the U.S. I remember riding my bike there as a kid to buy D&D stuff and fantasy and sci-fi books.

It doesn’t sell books anymore and very little RPG stuff. It focuses on comics, but somehow manages to stay in business even with the decline of the comics direct market and the neighborhood where it’s located.

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Some being mentioned, oh yeah, Alan Moore and Stephen Bissett’s Swamp Thing was a game changer, mind blowing, great characterization and nightmarish folklore tales. Great love story too.

Reckless is incredible, Ed Brubaker is my one go-to, guaranteed to please writer these days.

Mentioning Steve Ditko’s run on Doctor Strange brought back such fond memories. Madman I liked (actually had some Madman fanart that wound up in an issue of Heroes Illustrated long, long ago)

As to what I’m currently reading? Well, I’m trying to clear out and sell/give away a lot of my clutter, and I have no room for another box in the house. So I was reading digitally… until Amazon murdered Comixology (I don’t do apps, and browser reading is a horror… but if I go on about this I’ll lose my temper again and write a 10,000 page rant, so… :zipper_mouth_face:)

So, I’m currently collecting nothing, and reading little, unless it’s offered as a graphic novel or collected trade edition at the library, or I can find a decent -readable- digital copy. I’m catching up on my X-Men for example, at Marvel Unlimited.

Whenever Ed Brubaker publishes, I get those at the library, or with his digital series, Friday, I buy at Panel Syndicate.

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Oh, and thinking of great graphic novels + library check-outs + women artists/writers - My Favorite Thing is Monsters is a must read.

And the long, hard journey she went on to get it done and published is just as interesting a story.

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