Wednesday, September 2, 2015

The State of My Sublist: Fall 2015 (part 1)

School’s back in session (for my kids). The leaves are turning. There is a bite in the air in the early morning. Fall is here. Time for me to check back in!

This summer marked a sad new achievement for me; I went an entire month without visiting the comic book store. There simply were not enough comics coming out to make it worth driving over and picking them up. As someone who has made the weekly pilgrimage to the comic store for 30 years, I’m shocked at this development.

That said, I am still buying some comics on Comixology, so that would certainly have driven me into the shop if I didn't just download them on my tablet. And don’t think for a second I don’t like comics any more. I love them. There are still plenty of fantastic books out there.

  • Transformers: More Than Meets the Eye is simply brilliant. The stories can sometimes get a tad silly, but always with pitch-perfect characterization and masterful dialogue. James Roberts writes this book as if it is an excellent sitcom or dramedy, and I mean that as high praise. It is not hyperbole to say that these are the best Transformers comics ever published. This title needs to be held in the same regard as the “Bwa-ha-ha” era JLI. It is that good.
  • G.I. Joe: Real American Hero has somehow returned and maintained its place as the perfect nostalgia comic. Larry Hama’s continuing saga adds to the Joe canon while having enough repetition to remind me of the joys of reading comics as a kid. The Death of Snake Eyes should rightfully get more eyes on this book, as it is simply a joy to read every month.
  • Walking Dead and Invincible are easy to forget, because Robert Kirkman has been doing them so well for so long. The slow-burning horror of Walking Dead has achieved the perfect balance of hope and terror. Invincible’s current arc isn’t as dynamic as some of the recent madness in that title, but it is OK to give your characters a breather sometimes too.
  • Hellboy, B.P.R.D.: Hell on Earth, and Abe Sapien continue to roll on as well. With the loss of institutions like Fables, it is easy to remember that Mike Mignola and John Arcudi have been creating the same epic, post-apocalyptic tale for over a decade. In the more recent BPRD trades, I feel like there is enough Hellboy-style super-heroic action to satisfy super-fans too.
  • And my beloved Astro City. How sad is it that I feel a stronger bond to the characters of this one title than I do to the entire DC Universe? It is not surprising, I guess. At this point, Astro City has a much longer and tighter continuity than the DCNU! Kurt Busiek’s masterpiece often speaks on aging and time, two subjects close to the audience’s hearts, I imagine. But rather than becoming maudlin, Astro City celebrates super-heroes and the passage of time in a poignant, interesting fashion. Heck, I never thought I’d need to read Astro City to get my Superman fix, but here we are!

Marvel still has a few titles holding on for me this summer. Unbeatable Squirrel Girl is a delight. Ant-Man is very entertaining. This Silver Surfer run will go down as a classic. But Daredevil is the pinnacle of what corporate super-comics can achieve. Mark Waid and Chris Samnee are wrapping up one of the best runs of my comic-reading career. Frank Miller was always too dark for me; THIS has been my favorite Daredevil era.  

DC Comics only has one book on my current sublist. All-Star Section Eight. I don’t love it, don’t hate it, but at least it reminds me of one of my favorite comics of all-time (Hitman). Garth Ennis can put out this kind of stuff in his sleep, I think. I tried Starfire, Cyborg, Martian Manhunter, and Justice League, but none blew me away. I really wanted to like them, but they felt too much like the new 52 or too far from the core character concepts that attracted me to the characters in the first place.

Image has had some good stuff too. The Fade Out, Trees, and Invisible Republic have all been intriguing. Valiant continues to be a great value on Comixology with the always entertaining Archer & Armstrong, Eternal Warrior, and X-0 Manowar.

But All-New, All-Different Marvel Now? That is going to be mighty expensive for me! 

To Be Continued!