Every comic you've read in 2020


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The Last Space Race #1: I think I found it. A sci fi comic I actually give a shit about. 

The Unstoppable Wasp #1: I loved the last series, but I can't get past the art here. Can't do the manga influence. Not for me.

Weapon H #9: still fucking great.

What If Marvel Comics Went Metal with Ghost Rider? #1: god this is fucking horrible.

What if Peter Parker Became the Punisher? #1: this is really fun. Felt like an old school 90s What If?

X-23 #5: not bad. Didn't light my world on fire.

X-Men Black Mojo #1: Oh my God...this was fucking funny. I dug it a lot.

X-Men Black Mystique #1: decent. It did feel very rote.

Babyteeth #13: holy shit. This was good.

Bettie Page Halloween Special #1: the first story was fun, but the second was almost unreadable.

Books of Magic #1: so...are they just remaking the original series? No complaints here, really, because the other Sandman U reboot books have sucked horribly. This was pretty good.

Dead Kings #1: good introduction to the world. I'll try another.

High Heaven #2: still pretty good.

Infinity Wars Arachknight #1: this was...not too bad. 

Infinity Wars Sleepwalker #2: still pretty good.

Infinity Wars Soldier Supreme #2: this was also pretty good.

Judge Dread Toxic #1: no thanks.

Justice League Odyssey #2: this is kind of cool.

KISS Blood and Stardust #1: I'm intrigued, but not enough to continue.

Lodger #1: a crime book by the Laphams? I'm in...I read it. Nope. Not in.

Mars Attacks #1: I liked this a lot more than I thought I would. I would check it out in trade.

Moon Knight #200: this was a slog.

Old Lady Harley #1: holy shit this was awful.

Red Sonja Halloween #1: same as the Bettie Page one, first story was decent, but the second was unreadable. Also, can we do something other than Kulan Gath?

Supervillains Unite! The Complete Super-villain Team-up: this is a really fun collection of mostly shenanigans between Doom and Namor. I did it as a read-along for the Defender's Dialogue podcast like Godzilla. Next up is Man-Thing!

And now the stuff that's been sitting on my bedside table forever:

Savage Dragon #246-7: really enjoying this part of the run.

Young Romance The Best of Simon & Kirby's Romance Comics: some of these are pretty hokey, but there's a lot of really great storytelling and boisterous early silver age work here. Recurring themes: young women are a pain in the ass. Haha! People talk all about Kirby defining superhero comics in the 60s, but he also created several genres with Simon, Romance Comics being one of them.

In the Pines: 5 Murder Ballads: this is a cool collection of adaptations of old murder ballads by Erik Kriek. There is stark terror in a lot of these pages and it was extremely compelling.

Flayed Corpse and Other Stories: I almost bought this when it came out through DCBS but it was an expensive month so I dropped it. I then picked it up last summer when Stacy and I went to Seattle at the Fantagraphics Books store. It is quite easily the best sequential work I've read all year. It's a collection of short strips that deal with horror, sex and nihilism. It's beautiful, funny and sad. Josh Simmons has quickly climbed my list of favourite cartoonists.

and more:

Return of Wolverine #2: this is really good. 

Sentry #5: this is likely a lot of noise signalling nothing, but, overall, I'd say this is a successful miniseries. 

The Army of Darkness Halloween Special: garbage from jump.

The Punisher #3: still so fucking good. This is a golden age of Punisher comics.

The Whispering Dark #1: a slog. I'm out.

Vampirella: Roses for the Dead #2: this was decent

Vampirella Halloween Special: not good.

Vampironica #4: this was ok. It feels like it's treading water a bit.

What If Thor was raised by Frost Giants? #1: this was a lot of fun. Something that captures that 90s WI? feel while using a modern method of storytelling. It was quite solid.

X-Men Black Juggernaut #1: This was pretty fun. 

  • Issues: 155
  • Trades: 12
  • Omnibus: 4
  • Graphic Novel: 7
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X-Men Red #9: still great.

Avengers Halloween Special: awful

Batman Secret Files #1: this was mostly pretty bad. Some great art though.

Daredevil #610: still great.

Deathstroke/Yogi Bear Special #1: I can't stress enough how fun this was.

Edgar Allan poe's Snifter of Terror #1: not good.

Extermination #4: great!

Green Lantern/Huckleberry Hound Special #1: this is a great examination of race and police brutality. Recommended reading...weirdly.

Heroes in Crisis #2: did people hate this? This is really good!

Hex Wives #1: awful.

Ice Cream Man #8: so fucking good.

Justice League Dark and Wonder Woman Witching Hour #1: really good.

Man-eaters #2: ehhh, I think I'm out.

Marvel Two-In-One #11: great.

Multiple Man #5: solid ending.

Nightwing/Magilla Gorilla Special #1: pretty good.

Old Man Hawkeye #10: pretty good.

Old Man Logan #50: great ending.

Planet of the Apes The Time of Man #1: nawww

Sex Death Revolution #1: I'll take "comics that don't come anywhere near living up to their title for 400 please alex."

Spider-Force #1: I have no fucking idea what's happening, but I'll give it another.

Superman/Top Cat Special #1: awful

Uber Invasion #17: so great.

Vault of Spiders#1: no thank you

What If Magik Became Sorcerer Supreme? #1: this was good.

Wytches Bad Egg Special: really fucking good. This is basically a graphic novel prelude to volume two I guess.

X-Men Black Emma Frost #1: decent.

  • Issues: 182
  • Trades: 12
  • Omnibus: 4
  • Graphic Novel: 7
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Sunstone, Vol. 1 hardcover - collects vol. 1-3 of the Image TPB collections, which in turn collected a bunch of webcomics off DeviantArt.

The most adorable BDSM erotica you're likely to see. It's definitely NSFW, but the real focus here is Stjepan Sejic's utterly goofy sense of humor and loving characterizations of two people stumbling towards each other as they get deeper and deeper into what began as a FWB situation. Charming as all hell, and that's not even taking into account the absolutely stunning artwork.

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Asgardians of the Galaxy #3: this is pretty fun.

Border Town #3: great

Champions #26: this is kind of lame. I am not a fan of these kinds of stories. They kind of reek of a lack of ideas.

Dead Rabbit #2: this is fun.

Secret Agent Deadpool #5: easily the most entertaining series of Deadpool books I've ever read.

Fearscape #2: this is alright. A little too esoteric.

Infinity Wars #5: this is freaking great!

Iron Fist Phantom Limb #1: unreadable

Marvel Knights #1: this was really weird and intriguing.

Outer Darkness #1: I'll maybe stick around for another.

Road of the Dead #1: another boring zombie comic.I'm out.

Shatterstar #2: this is quite good

Suicide Squad Black Files #1: I really enjoyed this. Especially the magical team story.

The Empty Man #1: I'm intrigued.

The Green Lantern #1: awful. Grant Morrison on autopilot. I'm out.

Typhoid Fever/X-Men #1: this was a weird surprise.

Weapon X #25: so good.

X-23 #6: they're kind of contracting the scope of the stories they're telling with this new numbered series. Not sure how I feel about it yet.

X-Men Red #10: still great.

Bitter Root #1: I get it, but it didn't grab me. I think I'm out.

Captain America #5: not bad.

Cyber Force #7: this is treading water. I think I'm out.

Daredevil #611: fucking great.

Daughters of the Dragon #1: not bad. I've never really been a Colleen Wing fan. I'm still not.

Electric Warriors #1:I couldn't tell you the plot of this at gunpoint. So forgettable.

Fantastic Four #3: Wow. This was amazing.

God of War #1: haha! Not bad.

Infinity Warps #1: ugh. terrible.

Murder Falcon #2: still rad.

Ninja-K #13: so good.

Quantum Age #4: stuff is finally happening here. Not the best Black Hammer iteration. Not too bad though.

Red Hood Outlaw #28: ugh...Scott Lobdell. Terrible.

The Black Order #1: these characters only work when they're fighting characters with personalities.

  • Issues: 215
  • Trades: 12
  • Omnibus: 4
  • Graphic Novel: 7

 

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I am reading through the Death of Superman arc for the first time. I didn't start reading comics until the mid aughts and the 1990s DC stuff I've gone back to read is mostly Green Lantern and Batman. 

I was very very unprepared for super hairy ginger faux Australian Lex Luthor and his girlfriend the shapeshifting fake Supergirl. I'm in the middle of Reign of the Supermen and I still cannot really handle this.

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Batman: The Three Jokers #1: A 48-page comic for $6.99 that could have been maybe 30 pages. The first issue sets up a lot but not enough to hook me to read these individually; I'll wait 'til it's collected.

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Starstruck: collects #1-13 of the 2009 IDW series, which in turn collected expanded versions of Starstruck #1-4 and Galactic Girl Guide strips from The Rocketeer from Dark Horse (1990), which in turn collected expanded versions of Marvel Graphic Novel #13 and Starstruck #1 from Marvel/Epic (1985), which in turn collected strips that had appeared in Illustracion+Comix Internacional and Heavy Metal (1982), which in turn adapted the 1980 off-off-Broadway play by Elaine Lee (Vamps).

Yeah, there's a history.

At one point mentioned alongside Watchmen and Dark Knight Returns in lists of groundbreaking adult-oriented comics from the 1980s, you don't hear a lot about Starstruck any more. It began life as a play with a decidedly Douglas Adams/Rocky Horror vibe, a modern-day, kitschy send-up of old fashioned space opera with a weird, sharp sense of humor. Written by soap opera actress Elaine Lee with set design by Michael Wm. Kaluta, the two of them collaborated on telling a story for the underground comix scene that led into the play, concerning space heroines in a far-distant future with multiple overlapping storylines, digs at religion, consumerism, and the Girl Scouts. Lee is exploding with ideas, arguably too many ideas, as it can be hard to follow the story at times, but the whole thing is epic, and sweeping, and very, very funny.

The art, on the other hand, is some of the most beautiful I've ever seen. Kaluta was a master, and here he channels European SF comics storytelling, especially Moebius, to create rich and lived-in worlds that are all gorgeous in their own unique ways. Charles Vess does some of the inking, and it's all newly painted by Lee Moyer. Todd Klein even does some of the best lettering of his career.

 

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20 hours ago, The Master said:

Batman: The Three Jokers #1: A 48-page comic for $6.99 that could have been maybe 30 pages. The first issue sets up a lot but not enough to hook me to read these individually; I'll wait 'til it's collected.

I keep going back and forth on it. The artwork is awesome, and I love the references to older history like the way the Batcave is designed, and the acknowledgement that Batman's worn different costumes over the years (they don't make that official enough). On the other hand, this really isn't telling us anything new. Both Barbara and Jason have had their thoughts on the Joker more than explored past their trauma, and while the scheme is interesting, you just get the feeling that this is going to fall down to more misery porn. Also - like Doomsday Clock - this would've been far more relevant five years ago when it was first teased. 

Chu #1-#2: John Layman is back with the "Better Call Saul" of the Chew series. I had no idea this was out, but it's two issues deep and I am here for it. I miss Rob Guillory on art, but Dan Boultwood has a unique style of his own, and I feel I'll grow to love him before long.

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I read Starstruck on Comixology a while ago (probably not the best choice, since it was either on my phone or my computer) and while I couldn't make heads or tails of the story, it definitely had heart. I might be due for a reread, I'd love to take a closer look at the worldbuilding and ideas. I'd probably get the trade or read it on my tablet, Kaluta's art deserves to be seen on a big scale.

And if you have Spotify, the audio drama version is on there. From what I've heard, the voice acting...sure fits the broad style.

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9 hours ago, Davedevil said:

And if you have Spotify, the audio drama version is on there. From what I've heard, the voice acting...sure fits the broad style.

Yeah, the play was basically a cartoon, and they play it as such. Listening to the play actually makes the comic make a lot more sense.

Big Apple Comix #1 (1975): A sort of semi-underground comix anthology, edited by Fabulous Flo Steinberg after leaving Marvel, with a running theme of paying tribute to New York City. Specifically, pre-Guiliani "haven of filth and crime but we love it anyway" NYC. It has that almost quaint quality where what was super transgressive in 1975 is almost adorable now, but this comic is filled with work from Marvel mainstays like Archie Goodwin, Neal Adams, Herb Trimpe, Al Williamson, Mike Ploog, John Severin, and Wally Wood, so unlike the vast majority of underground comix, this is actually pretty good.

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Spectacular Spider-Man by Zdarsky, Kubert, Quinones, et al: I wanted to like this more than I did. Zdarsky clearly has affection for the character, but his style drives me up a wall. It felt like reading a different book from arc to arc, through an occasionally memefied lens. I enjoy weird comics and self-aware writing, and I do like the themes from a macro point of view, but reading it issue to issue felt like a fever dream. Maybe that's part of the intent, but it wasn't an easy read. I love the dinner with Jonah issue, the annual was pretty good, and I liked the final issue. I hardly remember the context of the story with the Batman: Year One homage, but that was still awesome.

Kubert did an excellent job with his issues. I've loved his Spider-Man since Astonishing Spider-Man/Wolverine. (Another batshit crazy Spidey story but one I have more fondness for.) Quinones was a great choice for the Amazing Fantasy arc, I dug the little visual touches the team put in to differentiate the two Spideys. Walsh did a great job with the dinner with Jonah issue, he really captured the emotion of that story.

I might give the series another read through in the future, but for now, Life Story is definitely my preferred Zdarsky Spidey.

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Jungle Action #6-#24: "Panther's Rage":

I bought this Marvel Masterwork in the lead-up to the Black Panther movie and never got around to reading it, finally reading it today of all days as I didn't know what to do with myself.

Imagine the "If This Be My Destiny" machinery lifting scene from Amazing Spider-Man #33. Now imagine that, with T'Challa, for over a dozen issues, every issue.

This is every bit as good as people say it is. Don McGregor uses this book to write poetry, not comic book scripts. It's often over-written and purple prose-y, but the story content is Shakespearian, so it only feels right, never out of place. Black Panther returns to Wakanda which in the time he's been dicking around with the Avengers has been conquered by Killmonger. For the next two years of (bi-monthly) storytelling, the Black Panther runs a gauntlet of vicious new enemies and combats distrust and betrayal of his own people due to his negligence. Panther questioning his right to be king of Wakanda is as natural to him as guilt is to Spider-Man and manwhoring is to Daredevil, but this has to be the theme's finest workout for the character. He gets thrown through the absolute ringer, battling terrifying new villains and on multiple occasions fighting for his life against Wakandan wildlife such as rhinos, aligators, cobras, gorillas and even dinosaurs. He's brutalized, slashed open, and often nearly drowned again and again, and the miracle of him being Black Panther - thus having a healing factor to recover from his injuries - turns into an unending hell for him to continue battling again and again, his faith in himself constantly questioned. The art starts off on a great foot with pros like Rich Buckler and Gil Kane, but when things really ramp up, Billy Graham comes onto the scene and brings the exact amount of frenzied, deranged energy that the escalating stakes require. This book is like a living being clawing their way from underneath the ground with clenched teeth and gnarled fingers. Once the Panther's Rage arc ends, the follow-up story sees T'Challa in Georgia battling the Klan. This is less successful, mainly due to the fact that it was never finished. Jungle Action got cancelled, and Jack Kirby revamped the character with his own name-led title. It's a shame because you're just dying to see the Panther brutalize these fuckers, but Graham still brings some of the most gorgeous artwork of T'challa descending upon a gaggle of hooded thugs in the dead of midnight. 

This run is definitive. It stands in stark contrast to the Priest run, who depicted the Panther far more capably against overhwelming odds, which serves the basis for modern Panther. He never liked how easily his ceremonial costume got shredded for instance, hence it being bulletproof. But as anachronistic as it may be today, it's still an absolute HELL of a comic series to read.

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Don, if you liked this (and yes, McGregor was THE T'Challa writer), you might want to seek out "Panther's Quest", a story that stretched across Marvel Comics Presents #13-37 (it was eight pages an issue, so it's not as insanely long as that sounds). T'Challa goes on an undercover mission into South Africa at the height of apartheid, and it was written by McGregor and the art was by Gene Colan. That was the story that got me loving the character back in the day.

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Guardians of the Galaxy #6: Read the issue because I saw a spoiler on Twitter that intrigued me. (More in a moment on that.) The creative team does an excellent job demonstrating the PTSD the cosmic characters -- Richard Rider's Nova in this case -- suffer. With war after war after war, and more deaths than anyone can count, Rider is spent. He's done. But he cannot stop. The entire creative team comes together to truly sell the idea that Richard is shattered inside but is compelled to keep going.

Now, for the spoiler:

Spoiler

Nova admits he loved Peter Quill. It's never said if this is romantic love or platonic best-friend love. And I think it's interesting that the team left it open for interpretation. Down the line, they or another creative team can further explore this, and I cannot wait to see where it goes.

 

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The Best of Comix Book: In 1975, Denis Kitchen and Stan Lee got together to come up with Comix Book, a countercultural magazine that would be published by Marvel Comics that offered pro rates to high-visibility underground comix creators. However, Stan got nervous, so the magazine would tone down the subversive elements significantly, all but eliminating any reference to sex, drugs, nudity, or profane language. If you are wondering what the fucking point to Comix Book was, you are in line with the vast majority of the intended audience, and it only lasted five issues before folding. However, it did provide a showcase for early creators such as Trina Robbins, Mike Ploog, Harvey Pekar, and Basil Wolverton, as well as the very first three-page version of Art Speigleman's Maus. An interesting curiosity, but there's always the sense that this was, by its very nature, doomed to fail.

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The Stone King #1: forgettable.

Uncanny X-Men #1: A decent fresh start. I just hope it's more cohesive going forward.

William Gibson's Alien 3 #1: The only good version of this movie is the original theatrical version, and even that kind of sucks.

Smooth Criminals #1: also forgettable. Awful art.

Black Hammer Age of Doom #7: Kirby homage is Kirby homaging

American Carnage #1: Nawww...I'm good.

Bettie Page #1: This is the last BP comic I'll ever read.

Crimson Lotus #1: ugh...not good.

GI Joe Silent Option #2: ok

High Heaven #3: this should be up my alley, but it just isn't good.

Infinity Wars Ghost Panther #1: terrible.

Infinity Wars Sleepwalker #3: still not bad.

Justice League Dark #5: really fun.

LIghtstep #1: forgettable

Marvel Knights #2: this better end well because it's building incredibly well.

Thunderbolts vol 2 Red Scare: fuck, this series was a sleeper. It's so good.

  • Issues: 230
  • Trades: 13
  • Omnibus: 4
  • Graphic Novel: 7
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Femforce #1-10: Somehow these just fell in my lap. This is a small press book (Americomics) from the mid-80s that combines a handful of good girl characters from the Golden Age, either straight up (Ms. Victory) or as thinly-veiled substitutes (Harvey's Black Cat becomes She-Cat), teaming up to do whatever the hell. This. Was. AWFUL. The story is dull and nonsensical, and the artwork (which should be the main draw as the whole point of the book is hey, look at the ladies) is pretty bad. There are some reprints that aren't bad (some Matt Baker stuff from the 50s is pretty decent), but on the whole this was a waste of time and I can't believe this book lasted more than three decades.

Jimmy Olsen (2019) #1-9: This, on the other hand, is genius. Set up like an old Silver Age anthology title with a bunch of short stories across multiple timelines per issue that manage to thread across multiple issues while simultaneously braiding together into a cohesive whole, featuring a Jimmy that is somehow modern while at the same time being the Silver Age buffoon who is metaphysically incapable of staying out of catastrophic, spectacular trouble. And due to the way it's set up, it actually works better as an issue-to-issue experience. Matt Fraction, man.

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On 9/15/2020 at 8:02 PM, Dan said:

Femforce #1-10: ..... but on the whole this was a waste of time and I can't believe this book lasted more than three decades.

 

No past tense needed.  Still being published to this day.  Only reason I know this: my local shop has a spot reserved on the wall for these.  No idea why, as it looks like four issues a year come out.  Cannot imagine enough (or any) demand.

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Marvel Snapshots: X-Men: Written by Jay Edidin of Jay and Miles X-Plain the X-Men fame (a much vaunted podcast I should pick up), this is a point-of-view story of a pre-Xavier Scott Summers, and his feelings as an outsider just before his powers start to develop. With sublime art by Tom Reilly and a really soft but felt touch in the writing, Jay explained why Cyclops is my favorite X-Man perfectly. Recommended for sure.

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