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The Master

Every comic you've read in 2015

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I quite like Sal Buscema's Spidey work, especially during the JMD run in the 90s with Harry Osborn Green Goblin. It's a bit repetitive, but still enjoyable IMO.

Romita Jr. inked by Romita Sr. is candy. I love the Hobgoblin story where those artists start things off. It's some of the best Spider-Man art you'll ever see. Klaus Janson can be a good inker for JRjr depending on the stories, like Lost Years, but lately he's been doing HATCHWORK on the guys pencils. Romita Jr's Kick-Ass art is way more in line with his own classic style than his current Superman stuff or his ASM stuff after 2008 because Janson's inks have totally neutered it.

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I quite like Sal Buscema's Spidey work, especially during the JMD run in the 90s with Harry Osborn Green Goblin. It's a bit repetitive, but still enjoyable IMO.

I have fond memories of those comics; I was in high school and buying Spectacular pretty regularly. Gerry Conway was doing great work. And hell, it was Our Pal Sal. However, Sal's best work was well behind him by that point, and he was usually inking himself in those days, and his inking has never been great.

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Anyways, my friend recently got into comics and asked for recommendations from me. I gave him a whole bunch. He read Fell and Y the Last Man, which he greatly enjoyed. I told him on his next choice to let me know and we'd do a sort of book club.

To my delight, he picked Alias by Brian Michael Bendis.

So I've been re-reading Alias lately. He's done with the book and I am almost finished with just two issues left. Such a strong book, a great look at the fringes of the Marvel universe, with a great main character who is flawed, human, makes mistakes, and doesn't feel like a typical superhero. A book that touches greatly upon themes of identity and plays with that theme maturely from all different angles.

I've been pushing two books as his next choice hard. Daredevil by Brian Michael Bendis and Planetary by Warren Ellis. I'm not sure if he'll pick either one or go in a completely different direction.

I have three different books in play before Alias:

Docktor Sleepless by Warren Ellis

Suicide Squad by John Ostrander (I was on Issue #40)

Fantastic Four by John Hickman (Just finished the Dark Reign tie in that kicks it off).

Both Suicide Squad and Fantastic Four/FF by Hickman were things that I wanted to read this year.

FF by Hickman because I wanted to read his Avengers/New Avengers run afterwards.

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COWL vol 1: In the early sixties, the superheroes in Chicago are unionized. If that doesn't interest you, then there's nothing else I'll say. Brilliance.

Grimm Fairy Tales: Tales from Oz #3: Not good. Got this for free at WHC because it's written by one of the authors there. This is party three I guess, but it feels like a bad part one.

Savage Dragon #198-200: Still kicking ass. Issue 200 is a 100 page special with a bunch of stories that actually introduce you beautifully to the universe. There is a story drawn by Herb Trimpe and inked by Larsen and story drawn by Larsen inked by Trimpe on top of the main story and a bunch of short stories. What an event!

The Walking Dead #131-135: Wow...when the zombies started talking an issue or two before this run started, I thought "Kirkman's lost interest." I was wrong. I am more interested in this series than I probably ever have been. Some sick shit going on.

Sunstone: Stjepan Sejic writes and draws this BDSM-themed lesbian romantic comedy graphic novel. It's gorgeous, it's funny, it's hot.

The Jack Kirby Omnibus vol 2: This covers the Super Powers minis that Kirby wrote (the first one) and then plotted and drew (the second) as well as a bunch of miscellaneous stuff that he did at DC in the seventies.

George RR Martin's Wild Card #1-6: this was back when the Dabel Brothers ran a publishing imprint where they just licensed shit. This is pretty good, but could probably be four issues instead.

All-New Miracleman Annual #1: two separate stories, one by Morrison and Quesada about Kid Miracleman shortly after going bonkers and another of the Miracleman Family in the silver age by Milligan and Allred. Pretty fun.

Ant-Man #1: Too much of this feels like "let's introduce the world to Scott Lang because there's a movie coming out, you know?" That said, the last half of this issue is him trying to get the job as Stark's security head. Also, I got to see the female Beetle again.

Arkham Manor #3: The fun continues. Good times here.

Atomic Yeti #1: Better than I expected. Interested to see where this goes. A pretty no-nonsense monster story.

Birthright #4: This is the best new series of last year. Hands down. Beautiful.

Colder-The Bad Seed #3: fucking creepy, bro.

Comics: 57

Graphic Novels: 3

Trade Paperbacks: 8

Omnibus: 1

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Silver Surfer (2014) #5-8: Slott and Allred continue to crush this. A terrifically fun series that might be the Silver Agiest book on the racks right now.

Princess Ugg #1-6: A Scottish/Viking barbarian princess goes to Disney Princess finishing school, from Courtney Crumrin's Ted Naifeh. It is every shred as awesome as that should sound.

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Dawn of the PLanet of the Apes #2: Glorious. Beautiful art. This is the kind of story I want to see bridging two films.

Epochalypse #2, 3: This is crazy and fun. I love it, but not entirely. Something's holding me back on it, but I'm not sure what it is.

Feathers #1: a mutant raven boy in a steampunk type universe. Not good.

God is Dead #26: Still great. This is likely the best series I've read that I've picked up in the past two years that has had this many good consecutive issues.

Gotham by Midnight #2: I'm out. Not good.

Graveyard Shift #1: Supposedly this began in 2005 for the write. He did not modernize it for publishing today. It feels like a goddamn Anne Rice novel.

Hellboy & The BPRD #2: Fantastic and fun. It's always great to see Maleev drawing Hellboy.

Lady Killer #1: I feel like this should be a TV show and not a comic. It doesn't work completely.

Men of Wrath #4: Badass.

Operation S.I.N. #1: If you put a gun to my family and said "tell me the base plot of this comic or they're all dead!" I couldn't. I reads this like three or four days ago and can't remember a single thing. Pretty bad, Marvel. Pretty bad.

Rasputin #3: I adore this book.

Sensation Comics #20,21: So. Much. Fun.

Sinergy #3: Also fun. Not sure if it's great, but it's definitely good.

Star Trek/Planet of the Apes #1: It shouldn't take 35 pages for the Enterprise crew to reach the Ape Planet. I LOVED the Dana Gould introduction though.

Star Wars #1: This was fun. I don't see how it fits in between SW and ESB in any way, though. They have major problems if that's what they're doing, but I liked what I read. I'll probably grab the trade.

Stray #1: a former sidekick is brought in after the death of his mentor. This is very close to the novel I have in the works right now. Fun. I'm in for future issues.

Sundowners #5: not a lot happened here, but that was what was needed for this issue. Super great, weird and fun superhero storytelling.

Death Defying Dr. Mirage #2-5: I read issue one and loved it. Then I waited until everything was out to read the rest of it in one go, and I don't like it. A lot of people are talking about how this is Valiant's best, but it's pretty close to the worst if you ask me.

Maxx: maxximized #15: kind of tiring of this. I'll give it another issue. I can see why it faded in original run though.

Wolf Moon #2: this is 2015's best horror comic so far. Crazy good. Love the twist on the werewolf mythos.

Wonder Woman '77 #1: the answer to Batman '66 with Linda Carter's WW. REALLY fun. I'm in for many more issues.

Comics: 83

Graphic Novels: 3

Trade Paperbacks: 8

Omnibus: 1

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Star Trek/Planet of the Apes #1: It shouldn't take 35 pages for the Enterprise crew to reach the Ape Planet. I LOVED the Dana Gould introduction though.

The guys who wrote this also penned the ST:TNG / Doctor Who crossover, and they pulled the same shit.

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The Fearless Defenders #1-10: This was a lot of fun. Cullen Bunn and Will Sliney put together a really interesting team book composed entirely of women, with the Valkyrie and Misty Knight at its core, with assists from Hippolyta/Warrior Woman, a de-powered Dani Moonstar, Clea, and Dr. Annabelle Riggs, who is made of awesome. The actual stories - mainly centering on Valkyrie's failure to reinstate the Valkyrior for Asgard and its consequences - aren't super deep, but the characters are fun and the interplay comes together naturally. Definitely worth a read.

Wolverine First Class #6-10: I always liked this book a lot back in the day. Despite its title. it's really just a much more lighthearted Kitty Pryde and Wolverine without the truly squicky bits of that miniseries. The stories are largely one-and-done, with some two-parters at the absolute most, and while it's a light read, it manages to pass the time ably enough.

The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Deluxe Edition: Yeah, it's roughly thirty years out of date at this point, but holy shit, this is easily the most successful attempt by any company to have a definitive reference guide to its characters. Well-written, well-sourced, and great to look at, if this had been the sum total of Mark Gruenwald's contribution to Marvel - and it wasn't, not by a long shot - he would still have earned every shred of respect he did. Terrific.

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Star Wars #1: This was fun. I don't see how it fits in between SW and ESB in any way, though. They have major problems if that's what they're doing, but I liked what I read. I'll probably grab the trade.

I liked this a lot. This was that rarest of things: a Star Wars comic that actually felt like a Star Wars story. Jason Aaron has the voices fucking nailed and this is some of the best artwork John Cassaday has come out with in years. This came in this month's Loot Crate box and actually has me considering buying this in issue format. If you know me, you know what a big deal that is.

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The Champions #11-15: The Champions has become a standing punchline at Marvel. This is less because of the quality of the book (though it was generally mediocre at best) than because it was about a team that had absolutely no business being a team. Created in the 70s by Tony Isabella largely as a way to give a showcase to his character Black Goliath (who was then given his own book and made unavailable for this one), we have the Angel, the Black Widow, the Iceman, Hercules, and the Ghost Rider, largely because none of them were doing anything else. Seriously, that's the only reason. At least most of these characters made their bones on team books or as the partners of other characters, but the Ghost Rider is shoehorned in here very, very awkwardly. Darkstar is pretty much added unofficially as well here, and with that, the X-Men are made almost entirely superfluous. Black Widow becomes team leader, and she does it well, though it does make for some unfortunate "I don't see why I have to listen to a woman" from pretty much everyone, especially Hercules and Johnny Blaze. At this point in the book, they seem to be in "let's put good creators on it so it won't get cancelled" mode, and these issues are written by Bill Mantlo and penciled by John Byrne at the very beginning of his Marvel career; he's a little rough, and Bob Layton, while he's one of the best inkers in the history of the medium, doesn't suit Byrne's style, but the storytelling is pretty good and if nothing else, Byrne draws a terrific Angel. Also, issue #14 and 15 introduces Swarm, who's a Nazi made out of bees. So, you know, there's that.

The Thing, volume 1 # 2-17: This was the first time Ben Grimm had a solo book, coming right on the heels of Marvel Two-In-One ending. The first ten issues are pretty straightforward tales of Ben beating up bad guys on his own and don't serve him well at all. Ben really only works when he has other characters to bounce off of. However, at the end of issue 10 he (as well as Reed and Johnny) are transported off to go be in Secret Wars, and Ben elected to stay on Battleworld at the end of that miniseries due to his ability to change back and forth into human form there. From that point on, the title began a year-long epic story called "Rocky Grimm, Space Ranger", which is amazing. Ben is plunged headfirst into what is essentially a 1930s space opera, traveling from village to village fighting monsters, engaging in space battles, having swordfights with giant champions, and generally being awesome. Ron Wilson continues the art chores from Two-In-One and does a decent job; he's got Ben down cold, obviously, but his women all look kind of weird. John Byrne does most of the scripting, with Mike Carlin taking a few issues here and there. The writing's not bad, though this was Ben Grimm in full self-pity mode, and sometimes that gets a little old. Overall, though, the "Rocky Grimm" issues are terrific fun.

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Well, crud. I had no idea there was an entire series devoted to Ben Grimm sword fighting monsters in space.

It honestly feels like my whole life has been a lie.

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Well, crud. I had no idea there was an entire series devoted to Ben Grimm sword fighting monsters in space.

It honestly feels like my whole life has been a lie.

Dude.

39710_20140210180143_large.jpg

The "Rocky Grimm" arc is collected in The Thing Classic, volume 2 TPB. So much fun.

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Druuna: Clone-The last, I think, graphic novel in the Druuna series by Serpieri. It's the least sexiest and craziest of them all. As such it kind of fizzles out.

Vampirella #1-4: This is the Nancy Collins written series. It's good, but not great.

Vampirella #100: Also not great. Kind of a sad celebration.

Strega II: A collection of two Italian erotic horror graphic novels. One is kind of a great porno version of Halloween and the other is a weird Outer Limits episode. The first half is great.

Rat Queens vol 1: Pretty funny. Great art. About to get greater. I'll check out volume 2 when it comes out.

The Shadow: Agents of the Shadow: This is one of three (?) Dynamite graphic novel specials for their pulp guys. This is awful It doesn't say much for the other two, but I'll still be reading them. It doesn't get anywhere near as good as the dimestore novel cover.

Comics: 88

Graphic Novels: 6

Trade Paperbacks: 9

Omnibus: 1

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Sheena, Queen of the Jungle #1-5: I've toyed with the idea of writing a Jungle Girl novel for a while, and now that I'm almost finished the novel I'm working on now I thought I'd reinvigorate that idea. This is crazy. The 2007 mini from Devil's Due Productions and it's written by the guy who wrote Die Hard. It feels that way too. Great adventure. A little bit too much on the entry-level eco warrior character, but fun nonetheless.

Eternal Warrior Days of Steel #1-3: a fun little story of how Gilad helped usher in the hero who turned away the Magyars. Great Cary Nord art.

Comics: 96

Graphic Novels: 6

Trade Paperbacks: 9

Omnibus: 1

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It's a cocktease, for sure. I'm in for the second issue though.

I am eagerly awaiting Issue 2 only for the fact that it looks like Heston will beat up Shatner.

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The Amazing World of Gumball: Issue #7 as ridiculous as the show I was a bit disappointed that it only appears to have 2-D art unlike the layering of art forms like in previous issues and in the show.

Steampunk Fairy tales: Goldilocks with Special Guest Miss Muffett. I noticed that Espinosa called her miss muffett which is appropriate because he drew her anything but little. So Goldilocks and Miss Muffett are irresponsible sisters who loot for the dark queen. The spider is a security system that sneaks into Miss Muffetts tank and the porridge has some sort of sleeping potion. Little Red Riding hood is still the best.

Galaxy Quest: The journey Continues - Yeah, I got this as a result of listening to "The Edge of Forever" but I am glad I did. Although the faces on the protagonists are too similar that I have trouble telling them apart, I loved it. I love the colring and the way the aliens and spaceships are drawn. When I picked it up I was expecting something generic like the bride or son of Sarrus seeking revenge but it turns out the problem is caused by the protagonists. I feel they were loyal to the tone because I am wondering whether the heroes will live long enough to take responsibility for their actions.

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Daredevil vol 7: This is quite possibly the most satisfying trade paperback I have ever read in my entire life. DD by Waid/Samnee/et al. has been the most solid comic reading experience I can remember ever having, but this one is one of the most inventive hero stories ever told in comics form, in my opinion. Also, Legion of Monsters.

Daredevil: Devil At Bay vol 1: in the aftermath of the previous trade, DD moves to San Francisco. It carries forward the brilliance. SHROUD? Yup. Shroud.

Multiversity: New Thunderworld Adventures #1: Beautiful. Easily the second best of the Multiversity run so far (nothing will beat Pax Americana). Loved it. Pure fun.

Burning Fields #1: New horror mystery based in an oil field in Iraq. Great beginning.

Smiley the Psychotic Button #1: The origin of Evil Ernie's button friend. This was pretty bad. I just found out that Pulido has no control here and isn't even given a "created by" credit. Yikes. I'm out.

Dark Gods #3: This is pure meathead, supernatural horror madness. I can't even come up with a good example of another like it. Fun, but mostly forgettable.

God Is Dead #27: I mentioned Mark Waid's DD as the most consistent read, and this is pretty close. Love this series.

Harbinger Bleeding Monk #0: a cool prologue story to the series. Interesting.

Ivar Timewalker #1: WOW! If you like time travel stuff, this is for you. Super fun. I'm in! Another great Valiant series. The only one so far that has grabbed me from the first issue, though.

Comics: 103

Graphic Novels: 6

Trade Paperbacks: 11

Omnibus: 1

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Occupation: Slave: Morale Stramaglia's erotic crime thriller graphic novel. this is the best I've read of his stuff so far. In that it has a cohesive story. This is like a 70s porno. Yeah, there's a lot of graphic sex, but there's a story and it's halfway decent.

Archer & Armstrong vol 5 Mission Improbable: Man, this shit is good. Hilarious, and fun. Beautiful art. Great storytelling. Consistently blown away by this series.

Millennium #1: Wow. Impressed that they were able to jump into things so smoothly. I've wanted a comic on this series for a long time and I'm stoked I finally have it. Nice to have Mulder there as well.

Star Trek/PLanet of the Apes #2: This is fun, pure and simple. Not great and nowhere near world-changing, but damned fun.

Uber #21: Still pretty great.

Wonder Woman '77 #2,3: More fun. This is better than Batman '66 because the artist is doing their best Linda Carter and there ain't nothing wrong with that.

Comics: 108

Graphic Novels: 7

Trade Paperbacks: 12

Omnibus: 1

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Gridnhouse Double Feature: Bride of Blood/Flesh Feast of the Devil Doll-The second volume of Alex de Campi's exploitation-themed anthology at DHP. The first is a sober and intense revenge tale set in medieval times. kind of like Ms. 45 meets The Virgin Spring. Pretty great. The second is pure horror cheese and it's glorious. I would love to see it adapted to film. Super fun.

Comics: 108

Graphic Novels: 7

Trade Paperbacks: 13

Omnibus: 1

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