Saturday, May 12, 2007

comics, comics, comics...

I've been spending alot of time reading comics.
which ones do i like?
well.. I'm traditionally a DC guy, but i have read quite a bit of marvel over the years. i used to hate image books, but that is slowly changing thanks to robert kirkman. nowadays i read different books for different reasons and i really don't care who makes the comics as long as it's a good read. i also understand that different people will like different comics. (DC fanatics, marvel zombies, indies fans, etc.)
I'll try to explain my love of DC. when i was a kid and just started collecting comics, i was exposed to mostly marvel. their comics had such great iconic characters such as spidey, the hulk, captain america, etc...somehow though i got bored a little with reading the same old characters. the books were fun enough, i guess, but i felt like i was missing something because it didn't matter what marvel issues i picked up, the same things kept happening. with the exception of spiderman i felt the stories were going nowhere. i had started reading novels at the time and loved the idea of continuing plot and character development.(or as my young mind put it "stuff happening") then i read DC's legion of super heroes. i loved the fact that there was so many colorful heroes, each with their own back story. it was set in the future so i got my sci-fi fix. and they made numerous references to past issues. i know most comics have little blurbs to tell the reader that this villain or that villain appeared last in issue whatever, but legion had anywhere from 2 to 7 different story lines going, and they would tell you where to look to find them or which issues to get. i guess it was like watching a soap opera. i would buy back issues to see where a storyline would start and then i would get hooked on another storyline and want to see where that started. before i knew it...i was trying to collect the whole series.
this led me to try other DC heroes superman, batman, flash, etc. the thing i really enjoyed was the sense of history these characters had. they had stories that went back all the way to the 1930's. WOW!!!. there just seemed to me that marvel had these great flashy characters that went nowhere and DC had these characters with history. i think they had a stronger sense of continuity. like i was reading some giant story that was constantly growing.
now before the marvel guys start raking me over the coals, i should point out that i don't hate marvel and i think they have put out MANY, MANY classic stories. they have had wonderful artists and quite frankly, had they not rejuvenated the comics industry in the 60's, i would not be reading comics today because most likely the medium would be gone. i just feel that from the 60's to around the early 2000's marvel's style of storytelling has not changed much. (with exceptions of course).
i feel like their idea of history is keep the comics and characters just like they were in the 60's. oh sure they change them, but in the end they always change back to the way they were. even this current state of marvel, with "civil war" and the initiative, does anyone believe that the marvel universe will not be back to way it was in a few years? does anyone REALLY believe that captain america will not be back from the dead within a year or two? marvel seems to resist permanent change.
this goes back to why i like DC. they are one of the few companies that will change their entire universe if need be. take "crisis on infinite earths" in 1985. where there was a vast multiverse, now there was only one. with "52" there is now a new megaverse. DC seems to have track record of having sidekicks or others take up the role of a specific hero. my favorite example is the flash. jay garrick was the 1st. he was active in the golden age. then came barry allen for the silver age. barry had a sidekick in kid flash named wally west. eventually, wally took up the mantle of the flash from barry who died in the crisis. years later wally was replaced by bart allen (barry's grandson). now sometimes the changes are good, sometimes i don't like them. the point is the characters in DC grow and change. they are part of a legacy. i like that. the new "justice society" comic is a perfect example of this. they have over 3 generations of heroes on the team. sons and daughters and grandsons and granddaughters of classic heroes on the team. they respect their history for the most part. marvel just seems to drop stuff right out of continuity if they don't like it. just ignore it and it will go often has someone new taken up the identity of a major marvel character and kept it? not much i bet.
anyway, the comics i seem to enjoy the most these days are:

from DC
legion of super heroes (of course!)
justice society of america
manhunter (one of my new favorites!!!)
firestorm (recently cancelled "sigh")
justice league of america
the all new atom
blue beetle
countdown (the new weekly comic)
birds of prey
brave and the bold
trials of shazam!
jsa classified

from vertigo
jack of fables

from marvel
moon knight
the irredeemable ant-man (love robert kirkman's writing)
squadron supreme

from dark horse
buffy the vampire slayer season 8

from image
invincible (kirkman again)
walking dead (that kirkman guy gets around)
astounding wolf-man (enough with the kirkman already!!!!)
dynamo 5
madman atomic comics (he's back yea!!!)

other publishers
battlestar galactica
star trek
transformers (i like licensed properties)
army of darkness

i didn't count the numerous mini-series i read cause that would take forever! i also am probably sure i missed some other series, but will add them as i remember them.

anyway....tell me what books you like and why!

(this post is dedicated to my pal macguffin, who is slowly being dragged kicking and screaming back into comics) welcome back to the dark side buddy!!!