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The Official Idiot Board Graphic Novel Thread

Discussion in 'Pop Culture Board' started by Sherwood, Oct 27, 2009.

  1. Paperbag

    Paperbag
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    i really started getting into comics and graphic novels about a year ago. is there anyone still reading these? it’s become a new hobby that i share with my dad and i bring him some books if i'm visiting.

    i am about 3 trades into scapled and enjoying it. it’s a crime drama set on a native reserve and written by jason aaron.

    i also read locke and key by joe hill (stephen king's son) and thought it was very good.

    saga was good, but the cliff hangers drove me crazy and i stopped reading it. i'll pick it up when the series ends.

    superheroes seem to be frowned upon by some, but i really like spiderman. straczynski's amazing spiderman run was great and bendis’ ultimate spiderman was awesome (i bought the miles morales stuff, but haven’t read it yet). i started a bit of superior spiderman and liked it, but am waiting for the rest of the series to come out in hardcover before i finish it.

    supreme power by straczynski was a cool marvel take on the dc heroes. for those who haven’t read it, imagine an infant superman crashing into present day earth. satellites spot the ship, the military immediately confiscates him, and the story builds from there with other 'dc heroes' emerging as well. this book was part of the max line and subject to less censorship, so the violence was more graphic.

    has anyone read gotham central, animal man, or the invisibles?
     
  2. Uno

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    gotham central is great.
    greg rucka and ed brubaker write some of the best (the best?) crime comics out there and they worked together on the book.
     
  3. downndirty

    downndirty
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    my top 5:

    preacher
    100 bullets
    kabuki
    sandman
    bone

    i've recently enjoyed:
    blacksad
    harbinger
    fables
    hawkeye (the new run is surprisingly entertaining)
     
  4. Paperbag

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    i’ll check out gotham central when i finish scalped.

    did you read anything else by ennis? i have heard that hitman is better than preacher and am trying to get a hold of it. i picked up his punisher stuff and liked what i read so far (welcome back frank and the first max hardcover).

    i didn’t read 100 bullets yet, but am familiar with azzarello’s wonder woman. she’s the only big dc character i have interest in (never liked superman and the idea that batman can beat anyone if he has ‘time to plan’ pisses me off) and i like how the book draws from mythology.

    i have sandman, but didn’t read it yet. it’s gotten so much praise, that i’m worried it won’t live up to it. i’m also under the impression that i should read swamp thing first, and i don’t have it.

    fraction is leaving hawkeye soon, right? i’ll check it out when it ends.

    is anyone into x-men? i read house of m, messiah complex, second coming, and schism. i think i was supposed to read morrison’s new x-men first, but didn’t realize it. i didn’t like schism, but it’s an important event, so i pushed through and found myself agreeing with cyclops. apparently, there’s a whole bunch of teams now.
     
  5. MoreCowbell

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    assorted thoughts reading this thread: azzarello's wonder woman is fantastic and rivals snyder's batman as the most successful of the new 52 relaunches. i actually prefer it to 100 bullets. it's all the more interesting when you remember that wonder woman has typically been an also-ran as far as stories; there have been relatively few good ww lines compared to batman, superman, etc.

    among older things, it's worth checking out moore's swamp thing if you haven't but it needn't precede sandman (i've heard good things about new swamp thing, but moore's run is the classic).

    in addition to plus-one'ing the sandman, preacher, locke & key, league of extraordinary gentlemen recommendations, i'd also strongly recommend fable. i'm currently about four trade collections into it, and it is fantastic and an impressively expansive world/character gallery.

    i've tried to get into hellblazer since i've really enjoyed the character when he shows up elsewhere, but i think i might have made a mistake in starting with the initial delano run. the first two collections were meh at best to me. is that a common reaction, and would i still enjoy the ennis stuff? i assume yes given that i really like preacher, but i'm not sure.
     
  6. bebop007

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    dangerous habits is probably one of, if not the best, hellblazer arc. i would also look into fear and loathing, damnation's flame, son of man and rake at the gates of hell are pretty good. i remember enjoying haunted as well, but i am a huge warren ellis whore.

    as for myself, i've been on a huge grant morrison kick recently. making my way through the invisibles once and for all after many aborted attempts. i've also fit in all star superman (which is out-fucking-standing) we3, arkham asylum: a serious house on serious earth. i picked up the filth which is supposed to be the quasi successor to the invisibles.

    i've also been making my way through irredeemable. long story short - superman expy goes batshit and starts massacring everybody. his old teammates (and some archenemies) team up to stop him.

    also, on the older story front i've been making my way through the 90s era starman and lucifer. both quite good, just anxiously awaiting the next volumes.

    oh and i, of course, eleventy-billionth the locke and key suggestions.
     
  7. Paperbag

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    i heard that fables is ending at issue 150. a lot of people have recommended it to me and i’m waiting for it to finish. there are a lot of spin off book as well though. are these necessary or can i get away with the main series?

    i haven’t followed the new 52 too closely, but heard good things about lemire’s green arrow and soule’s superman/wonder woman. i complain about batman, but it’s not due to snyder. i just get annoyed when batman is depicted as the perfect man who can defeat beings with god like powers.

    regarding snyder, has anyone read american vampire? i want to eventually check it out, but am still busy catching up on older books and don’t want to get hooked on something that is still ongoing.

    warren ellis’ run on the authority was fun, but the characters were completely new to me as i never read stormwatch. this created a bit of a disconnect for me as i never learned much about them (my own fault) and is a part of the reason why i thought the ultimates was much better. regardless, i still bought millar’s run on the authority and need to read it.

    i heard that the invisibles influenced the matrix which is why i’m interested in reading it. however, it seems to really be hit or miss and i’m hesitant to buy it. apparently, you need to read it at least twice to understand it, which doesn’t sit too well with me... but if it’s a good story i don’t want to miss out.
     
  8. downndirty

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    i just spent much of the day going through all of brian azzarello's work, and i have yet to be disappointed. garth ennis has some cool stuff (the talking rabbit in "chronicles of wormwood" is fucking dope), but some of his stuff gets repetitive, since he has a massive war hard-on (rifle brigage, 303, punisher, fury, etc).

    "loveless" by azzarello has to be one of the best westerns in the genre.

    i can also second "scalped", it's excellent.

    a weird one is "chew" that i was surprised by how entertaining it was.
     
  9. Paperbag

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    i’m not familiar with a lot of the westerns, but as you mention it, have you read the sixth gun? i liked the first trade and my dad enjoyed it as well, but it’s still ongoing. it’s ending at issue 50 and i was planning to get it when it’s complete. i hear jonah hex is good as well, but never checked it out.

    i picked up hitman and am into the second trade. the first 2 or 3 issues were weak and i had a bit of buyer’s remorse, but once the character’s origin and his first run in with the mob were out of the way it has been pretty good. as mentioned, ennis retreads a bit by giving the character a military background and this feels a lot like punisher, but it’s got a lot of humour and i like punisher so that’s ok with me.

    did anyone read bedlam?
     
  10. KIMaster2.0

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    How interesting. My twin read The Boys in 2010, when it was still being published, and got all the way up to the middle of the Highland Laddie spinoff. Then, faced with the prospect of having to slowly wait for each new issue to release, he dropped the series.

    That is, until 2020, when a gambling buddy gushed about the TV series, and I decided to read the entire comic book, as it had finally ended in 2012.

    The years have not been kind to this work! I have to laugh at calling the execution "marvelous" nowadays; in fact, it's very lacking. Ennis is a limited writer. He can set up some cool violent scenes, write some funny, ribald pisstakes, but when it comes to drama or adventure, he is often helpless.

    And if the overarching sociopolitical ideas about the evils of Bush Jr and the military-industrial complex seemed trite and eye-rolling to my twin when he was 23, you'd better believe it comes across like a retarded kid's finger-painting to me now at 34. And not just for me; the comic has aged horribly given what we have seen happen in the Western world. Even normies are figuring out that it's not a "military-industrial complex", but more of a "media-university-industrial" complex, with the military being easily subverted and controlled. That's the problem with making a comic in 2006 with a central character being a caricature of the then-US president along with a normie Western leftist's (not even a progressive, just a leftist) 2006-era political views. Shit is going to age horribly. The modern progressive is going to fucking hate this comic for a multitude of different reasons, including its politics.

    Even the violent and fucked-up elements of "The Boys" don't have the same charm they once did. I've been exposed to a lot more in the years since than my twin was, and more notably, I have a more keen eye for art and composition in comics, which he largely ignored at the time. And here, the art is painfully lacking, often bordering on outright poor. This is a particular problem for the violent and gory scenes, as they look sloppy and cheap, as opposed to reveling in beautifully drawn carnage the way that, say, Hiroaki Samura does. (I debated on whether to post a NSFW image with a spoiler showing this, but it may be a bit unsavory)

    Neither Ennis nor his various artists have any ability or interest in fight choreography either, so encounters feel simplistic and anti-climactic, having to solely rely on the violence and gore, which, as noted, isn't illustrated nearly well enough.

    At the time my twin dropped the comic, it had hit a lull and I had no idea how the hell Ennis would resolve it. Apparently, neither did the Irishman. The Boys is all well and good when it's reveling in violence and fucked-up comedy, but once he actually has to write actual plot, Ennis is at a complete loss. He either has to resort to the most cliche and predictable of tropes, as in Billy Butcher's backstory, or else write the utter disaster that is the ending.

    Essentially, Ennis wrote himself into a corner and had no idea how the hell to get out. Thus, not only did he betray established character traits and relationships, but the big, epic showdown we were promised at the end? It's a pathetic, anti-climactic dud, the lowliest of whimpers.

    Is it all bad and disappointing? Not quite. See, Ennis has one very definite gift I mentioned above which I appreciate even more now. The ribald piss-take. He can tell a funny, outrageous, violent, sex-infused story well. I imagine it's the same type of yarn he spins at an Irish pub around a pint of Guinness, surrounded by friends. Maybe even a pub where Conor McGregor is assaulting an old man for not wanting any of his pigswill whiskey.

    My favorite chapter is thus the origin story for Frenchie, an absurdist comedy with an unreliable narrator featuring no real point or larger idea.

    Ultimately, this ends up being a very average, deeply flawed comic exposing Ennis' major limitations as a writer, to the point where I now have little interest in ever checking out Preacher.
     
  11. downndirty

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    Preacher is kind of a period piece: it has a nod to Bill Hicks in it. It's a kind way of saying it didn't age well, and I don't think you can make "Preacher" now: too macho, too conservative (!), no diversity or wokeness and making fun of religion is kind of like calling retarded people retarded. The show was an extreme letdown. But it's ranked as one of the top graphic novels of all time for a reason.

    I couldn't agree more on the ribald piss-take: Chronicles of Wormwood is that to perfection. Ennis needs a big authority to poke at, and he hit his peak with late-90's religion as the biggest authority with the biggest poke.

    More recently, I'll add "The Old Guard", even though....it was kind of bland.

    I remember doing a writing prompt with that concept ("If you were immortal") and Rucka's work was cool (the movie wasn't half bad), but could have been so much cooler. If you're an immortal soldier, wouldn't you have astounding PTSD? What about a full blown lunatic who goes into battle naked and just attacks people with random shit you find, like a brick? I'd have loved to see an intro scene where they play Russian Roulette (a la "The Deer Hunter") as an immortal to scam cash for hookers/drugs or some shit.

    My ex did the Audible version of "Sandman" and I got kind of into it. Worth checking out.
     
  12. KIMaster2.0

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    Well, it was a comic from 1995, back when Donald Trump was a normie Democrat and Bill Clinton, at least publically, talked about securing the border and going after "super-predators". Damn near anything mainstream back then would be "too conservative" for the modern, hyper-woke comic industry. Even going through "The Boys", there is a bunch of material way too problematic for current progressive sensibilities. That's why so much of that shit was changed for the TV show.

    On a larger note, I have read very, very few graphic novels, and I see a lot of recommendations for deconstructions of the traditional hero story from the 80's and 90's, from The Watchmen onwards. That makes sense given the board's membership and modern cynicism (one of the few qualities we're better at than previous generations), and hey, I thought Watchmen was excellent, but it's ignoring all the earlier, honest hero stories. I've definitely heard some good things about Steve Ditko's work, and who knows, maybe some of those old Shadow comics still hold up today? I certainly wouldn't mind hearing your thoughts either, if any such works come to mind.

    Point being, cynicism and deconstruction is all well and good, but there has to be more to the medium. Nevermind that it's much easier than having to write a genuine hero genre tale with no shortcuts.

    I'll be honest. 2010, filthy secular me was fairly indifferent to criticism of religion, or mildly annoyed by it, since it was so damn easy and popular at the time. (This was the height of the New Atheism movement, when Hitchens and Dawkins were darlings of mainstream intellectualism)

    2021 me fucking hates that shit with a passion, even when aimed at religions I dislike. I can go into an exhaustive explanation why, but at the very, very least, such criticism is supremely boring.

    Hey man, have you ever heard of Philip Jose Farmer's Empire of the Nine series? They're science fiction books, not graphic novels, but they're some of the most thrilling, phenomenal, memorable adventure works I've ever read, and are also centered around a secret group of immortals, albeit with way more limitations than what I read of The Old Guard on Wikipedia. The first two books, A Feast Unknown and Lord of the Trees, are especially great, while the third one, The Mad Goblin, is merely good.