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#1 Red Templar

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Posted 28 June 2007 - 10:34 AM

It's been 18 years since my last purchase, but I have decided to get back into comic collecting. The problem is that I know next to nothing about them anymore, so I am asking the forum for advice.

What has changed over the last 18 years?
What titles are good?
Anything I need to be wary of?
Who are the big names now? I'm thinking artists, writers, publishers, etc?
Who produces the most cutting-edge stuff?
Anything else?

Any help would be appreciated. I'm heading over to my local comic shop later to look for "The Sworn Sword."

#2 davos

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Posted 28 June 2007 - 11:46 AM

*mod hat* Comic books discussions belong in lit. I will be relocating this thread to that forum. *mod hat off*

#3 Red Templar

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Posted 28 June 2007 - 11:49 AM

Funny - my first instinct was to put this in lit, but then opted for entertainment instead. One of those gray areas, I suppose. Either that, or I'm just doomed to be wrong no matter what.

#4 Lightsnake

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Posted 28 June 2007 - 11:53 AM

Well, mate, here're some titles you may like.

some of the best stuff is produced by Vertigo. IMO, the best:
100 Bullets and Fables are two excellent original series that definitely warrant checking out
The Sandman is considered a milestone in comic history and its spinoff Lucifer is really good as well.
Y: the Last Man is one of the better titles out there.

I'm not big on DC, but Marvel had a revolutionary run with 'Annihilation' and the sequel's started recently

#5 dornish prince

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Posted 28 June 2007 - 12:04 PM

i second the vertigo rec. and some other seminal works from vertigo that warrant consideration...
preacher and transmetropolitan.

there hasn't been a tremendous amount that has changed 'capes' wise. most of the heroes and villains that you used to know and love are still around. i think that the biggest change is the trade paperback industry. alot of folks, myself included, wait for story arcs to be collected in TPB form. i do still buy floppies but nowhere near as much as i used to.

as far as what i'm enjoying most right now...

buffy the vampire slayer season 8
death note
anything by warren ellis; especially fell and desolation jones
100 bullets
casanova
conan
the two avengers titles
the initiative
the boys
american virgin
justice; which just ended i believe
anything by grant morrison
the new annihilation stuff

and soon, mark waid will be returning to the flash and that should be good.

off the top of my head thats about it. there are other books i read but these are the ones that are standing out to me right now.

oh...and joe quesada, if you remember him, is editor in cheif at marvel.

also, here is a decent website to get you started back on track

Edited by dornish prince, 28 June 2007 - 12:05 PM.


#6 Narishma Reborn

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Posted 28 June 2007 - 12:13 PM

I second the Fables recommendation. Really good, worth picking up.

I don't read a whole lot, but if you like superhero comics, Marvel's Ultimate line is a great take on their universe, with Ultimate Spiderman being the best, I'd say. Brian Michael Bendis, writer for it, came out of near obscurity and hit the scene big with that title, and now is everywhere.

editted for sp

Edited by Narishma Reborn, 28 June 2007 - 12:13 PM.


#7 Red Templar

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Posted 28 June 2007 - 12:19 PM

Thanks for the input so far, everyone.

Are the TPBs generally available in comic book stores, or do I need to go to a normal bookstore for those? I've seen a few at my local Barnes & Noble, but wasn't sure about them. Are they generally just easier for the readability, or do they have "collectability" factor as well?

Don't get me wrong - I'm not doing this to make a profit. I still have all my old comics from the 1980's and would never dream of selling them. Just wondering if there has been a paradigm shift since I was last involved.

#8 Narishma Reborn

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Posted 28 June 2007 - 12:34 PM

The comic stores I go to have all the TPBs. The TPBs are better for readability, and sometimes they'll have concept art and other stuff included too. Some of the special ones will have script excerpts or something else.

#9 Ser Paladin

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Posted 28 June 2007 - 12:39 PM

I still have all my old comics from the 1980's and would never dream of selling them. Just wondering if there has been a paradigm shift since I was last involved.

What did you read in the 80s, and are you looking to a nostalgic return, or to the "cutting edge." In Marvel, the X Books have cooled off, and the Avengers are the flagship nowadays. But the authors of Avengers have bought into the "decompressed" style of comic writing, so things are slower than in our "Bang Ka-Pow" youths.

If you were reading DC in the 80s, well good news. They are still doing the Crisis on infinite Earths that started in 1986. Should feel like home for you.

#10 Ran

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Posted 28 June 2007 - 12:40 PM

RT,

What kind of comics, books, and movies do you enjoy? Are you looking for the superhero stuff, indie comics, fantasy, SF, etc.?

A quick run-down of comics I enjoy:

Fantasy
---------
Artesia (epic original fantasy by wunderkind artist/writer/creator/publisher/game designer/god knows what other hats he wears Mark Smylie; influenced by Mary Gentle, Jacqueline Carey, and GRRM -- so .... gritty military combat, high magic, labyrinthine politics, and ... oh, sex. Lots of it. I think fans of Erikson would probably enjoy these too.)

Age of Bronze (B&W retelling of the Trojan War, gorgeous -- also award-winning, and Eric Shanower is a nice guy)

Buffy the Vampier Slayer: Season 8 (yep, an official continuation of the TV series, masterminded by Joss Whedon)

Conan (I admit, I so far have preferred Busiek's and Nord's run)

Fables (and its spin-off, Jack of Fables)

Crime comics
----------------

Criminal (Ed Brubaker rocks -- also check out his work on the superhero comic Sleeper, and his work on Daredevil [following up Brian Michael Bendis's great run] and Captain America)

Stray Bullets (we need more of this!)

100 Bullets (noirish, great premise, absolutely byzantine backstory)

Powers (superhero police procedural by Bendis and Michael Oeming)

Punisher (not Punisher War Journal, which fits more traditionally in the superhero area; this one is the MAX series by Garth Ennis, with great art and a terrific take on Frank Castle -- supers basically never show up, so it's really all about criminals and killing 'em)

Fell (Warren Ellis writes short, punchy, weird stories about a cop in a godforsaken town called Snowton)


Espionage
------------

Queen & Country (brilliant)

Checkmate (same guy as Q&C, but with supers in the DC universe)

SF
-----

Not that much out there right now, off the top of my head. Star Wars: Legacy has been solid. Good stuff from the past would include Warren Ellis's Ocean, Orbiter, Ministry of Space, and Transmetropolitan (truly terrific, that one, and an actual series rather than one-shots and mini-series as the previous works are). You know, Ellis has cornered the market in good SF yarns...

Other
-------

Y the Last Man (all the men on Earth -- save Yorick Brown -- die suddenly, and the aftermath of that; another Brian K. Vaughn production)

Ex Machina (ex-superhero as mayor of New York; bit of a wonky comic ... and, hey, also by Brian K. Vaughn! Heh.)

DMZ (Brian Wood's tale of a United States divided by Civil War, through the eyes of a young reporter caught in the middle of the warzone that is Manhattan)

Jonah Hex (Great western -- the first 12 issues or so of Loveless were also great, very Deadwood, but I fear they ended up losing the plot...)
Superheroes
---------------

X-Factor (Peter David reuniting some of the characters from his terrific run on the earlier incarnation of the series)

Fallen Angel (an original property by David, set in the city-all-other-cities-reflect Bete Noire as the titular character wreaks havoc)

Astonishing X-Men (Joss Whedon is the king)

Runaways (Brian K. Vaughn and now Joss Whedon)

Boys (Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson turning out an original concept with Ennis's particular razor-sharp edge)

NEXT Wave (sadly cancelled, but go get the trades -- get them now! Warren Ellis madness times 12)

Planetary (speaking of Ellis ... next to Transmetropolitan, this is his magnum opus, I think)

Astro City (Kurt Busiek's own magnum opus -- people who don't like this, basically don't like comics ;)

Edited by Ran, 28 June 2007 - 12:44 PM.


#11 Red Templar

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Posted 28 June 2007 - 01:17 PM

I’d say I’m definitely looking for cutting edge material. The stuff I read in the 80’s was mostly considered cutting edge then – The Badger, Johnny Nemo, Thriller, Camelot 3000, Nexus, and a few other titles I can’t remember. I was also notorious among my friends for liking the ones that didn’t go over so well – Rom the Spaceknight, Godzilla, She Hulk, The Dazzler. The joke was that if I liked it, they’d likely stop printing it soon. My mainstream favorites were The Fantastic Four, Iron Man, The Hulk, and The X-Men. I’m sure I’m missing some, but that should be good enough to give you something to go on.

As far as content goes – I’m very much interested in great stories and great art. I like my stories complex, well written, and having 3-dimensional “shades of gray” characters like we all love so much from GRRM. At this point I’m not picky about whether they are superhero, horror, fantasy, mystery, espionage, etc. My favorite comic of all time is The Badger, hands down.

Once again – thank you all for the excellent recommendations so far.

#12 Lightsnake

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Posted 28 June 2007 - 01:52 PM

Oh, if you like that, I'd heartily recommend grabbing Fables and Bullets right off the bat. Lots of gray, great, weill written stories and Fables has an incredible new take on old mythology

#13 Ran

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Posted 28 June 2007 - 02:05 PM

Okay, looking at the list and what you say, I'd definitely think my suggestions for "Crime" and "Espionage" are all excellent picks.

The current Iron Man run is pretty interesting, but you may need to catch up on Civil War to really get where it is now. And speaking of the Hulk, there's a new massive crossover starting right now -- World War Hulk, which is much what you'd expect it to be. The last 12-16 issues of the Hulk have been pretty good.

#14 Lightsnake

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Posted 28 June 2007 - 02:12 PM

Oh, I second Ran's picks there, but Fables is a must

Edited by Lightsnake, 28 June 2007 - 02:12 PM.


#15 Red Templar

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Posted 29 June 2007 - 09:23 AM

Once again - thank you all. This is excellent information. I plan to go out this weekend and spend some money. I'll report back and let you know what I bought.

Thanks!

Edited by Red Templar, 29 June 2007 - 09:46 AM.


#16 Ran

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Posted 29 June 2007 - 09:28 AM

Great. :) I did forget a few things ... Alan Moore's League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and Promethea, Grant Morrison's We3 (this is really awesome) and All-Star Superman....

Catching up can be tremendous fun, let me tell you. You get to read all the good stuff and get to avoid the 10x greater volume of dreck. Of course, once you're caught up again...

#17 Ran

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Posted 29 June 2007 - 11:52 AM

Oh, big names. Forgot that question.

I'm always more impressed by writers than artists. Alan Moore is still pretty big. You missed a whole line of comics by him (America's Best Comics), with the likes of Tom Strong and Promethea (and, oh, another comic series I forgot to mention by him -- Top Ten, about a police precinct serving a city populated entirely by supers; full of lovely little in-jokes and references, and also just a great story).

Grant Morrison, of course. Kurt Busiek, Brian Michael Bendis, Ed Brubaker, Brian K. Vaughn, Warren Ellis ... and, gods help me, Mark Millar are all pretty big (I'm not a big fan of Millar's). Joss Whedon is something of an outsider, but if you dig Firefly, or Buffy, you'll dig what he's doing now.

For artists, big names that I'm aware of and think they merit at least part of the hype are Steve McNiven, John Cassady (brilliant work on Planetary with Ellis, and only slightly less brilliant work on Astonishing X-Men with Whedon), Jim Lee (yes, when he does art on something, it's still an event), J.H. Williams III (absolutely stunning artist on Promethea .... oooh, and Morrison's ambitious Seven Soldiers for D.C.; IMO, Seven Soldiers #1 was the best pencilled work that year.... hell, and I completely forgot to mention Ellis's first arc of Desolation Jones with Williams!), Darwyn Cooke (oh, yeah, his The New Frontier is a fantastic retro homage to DC, and he's doing great work emulating Eisner in the new The Spirit)...

You know, there's a lot of good stuff these days. Even more dreck, but a lot of good stuff. It's a good time to be a fan of comics, especially if you aren't stuck on reading just superheroes.

#18 Aplomb

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Posted 29 June 2007 - 12:32 PM

Among some of the excellent recommendations above, I'll add Robert Kirkman's The Walking Dead. (Image Comics.) It's an ongoing series about a zombie takeover, following a small group of people trying to survive them and other bands of humans. The art is black and white and more serviceable than compelling, but it's a great story. There are about 5 or 6 collected TPBs out so far, check out the first to see if you like it.

If you like humor, check out Eric Powell's The Goon, a truly twisted and hilarious series with lots of bizarre supernatural stuff. Powell's art is fantastic, and there are some fun guest writers and artists from time to time.

In terms of mainstream superhero stuff, if you go to the comics shop this weekend do check out DC's Sinestro Corps Special #1. It may be the single best issue from DC or Marvel in years. The two page spread ending the main story packs a bigger OMG moment for DC universe fans than the entirety of DC's recent supposed blockbuster events. You may need to go online to figure out who some of the characters are and why it's all such a big deal, but even without that you should enjoy the story and love the art. The story arc will continue in the Green Lantern books (Green Lantern, Green Lantern Corps), which have been pretty good lately if you like the sci-fi space hero genre.

#19 Spartanstark

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Posted 29 June 2007 - 06:38 PM

Prices have gone up. Also, they may be using different paper now than you're used to, as they switched to a slicker print.


Just like Red Templar I was also thinking of getting back into comics. The last issue I bought was around 1990. I was disappointed to see the newer paper. Yes the illustrations do look sharper but I miss the newsprint. I guess I am old fashioned that way.

Maybe I'll get some Hulk.

#20 Galactus

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Posted 30 June 2007 - 04:24 AM

I’d say I’m definitely looking for cutting edge material. The stuff I read in the 80’s was mostly considered cutting edge then – The Badger, Johnny Nemo, Thriller, Camelot 3000, Nexus, and a few other titles I can’t remember. I was also notorious among my friends for liking the ones that didn’t go over so well – Rom the Spaceknight, Godzilla, She Hulk, The Dazzler. The joke was that if I liked it, they’d likely stop printing it soon. My mainstream favorites were The Fantastic Four, Iron Man, The Hulk, and The X-Men. I’m sure I’m missing some, but that should be good enough to give you something to go on.

As far as content goes – I’m very much interested in great stories and great art. I like my stories complex, well written, and having 3-dimensional “shades of gray” characters like we all love so much from GRRM. At this point I’m not picky about whether they are superhero, horror, fantasy, mystery, espionage, etc. My favorite comic of all time is The Badger, hands down.

Once again – thank you all for the excellent recommendations so far.


Since I mostly read Marvel and a few Vertigo titles I'll just give you a brief rundown :P

She-Hulk: Dan Slott's run on She-Hulk has been funny and cool and has Shulkie kicking all sorts of ass. Good series. If more "lightweight humour" than "cutting-edge".

Iron-Man is good and interesting, but due to events in Civil War and such Tony has been very much at the centre of the MU, which kind of means his own book tries to folllow after and fill in the blanks. Very good story still.

Hulk has been recently going through an epic story (Planet Hulk) and is involved (well, starring) in Marvel's major summer crossover: World War Hulk. Good stuff thus far.

Dwayne Mcduffie just took over Fantastic Four. He's been telling kinda lighthearted FF stories but he's quite good at it. Oh yeah, right now Storm and T'Challa (they're married now) are temporary members, replacing Reed and Sue while they're away working some issues out.

X-men as usual sprawls over in every direction:

Astonishing X-men: Written by Joss Whedon is good, it is however, incredibly slow. (You get maybe a story-arc a year from him)

X-Factor: By Peter David is awesome. Madrox the multiple-man running a detective agency together with M, Wolvesbane, Strong Guy, Siryn, Rictor and a girl named Layal Miller who "knows stuff".

Exiles: Just to be an amazing comic (Winick's run is some of my favourite superhero comics altogether) Claremont is doing the writing now and it's Not. Good.

New Excalibur: Claremont is doing the writing here too, and as usual he has nice concepts and completely botches the execution. Horrible dialogue.

Uncanny X-men: Brubaker's stuff. Has been kind of meh.

New X-men: Awesome art currently and great writing. Probably my favourite X-title.

X-men: Carey is writing. Good stuff according to those who reads.

If you have to chose I suggest X-Factor, New X-men, And either Astonishing or Adjectiveless depending on how tolerant you are for delays.