Every comic you've read in 2015


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Dunno if these count, but I now own the Batman Files, The Batman Visual History and The DC Comics Visual history, where except for the latter all were totally written by Matthew K. Manning. They're fantastic informative books. The Batman Files specifically is fun for continuity snobs, but the Visual Histories are some of the most informative works on the character since Les Daniels Complete Batman History that I've read. That or the Bat-Cave Companion, which was really good too.

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Eternal #1: From BOOM! a high concept sci fi series that I can't quite get behind. It's a little confusing. The art is beautiful. Depending on the mood, I might grab the trade if the price is right.

GI Joe #3,4: Great. Still, out of four issues there's been maybe five pages of gunfights. Everything else is poltiical intrigue and espionage. It's perfect. I love it.

ODY-C #1: It's The Odyssey, but with women instead of dudes. Get it? We're edgy. We're also a snooze. Pass.

Rai #5: I am in love with Valiant's stuffsince passing on them originally on first issue publications. TRhis is the one series I can't find some real enjoyment in. I think the real appeal of Rai in the 90s to me is that he existed in a universe with Magnus the Robot Fighter.

Sensation Comics #16-19: A three part story and then a single issue. Love this stuff. Out of the 19 issues of this series, I think I've only disliked the 2 part Hernandez story. There've been a few ho hum stories, but mostly great stuff.

Shadow Show #1: the first in a series of Bradburyian stories. In this one, two children find the body of a dinosaur. It doesn't turn out well.

Sinergy #1,2: a fun story. Oeming's first he's written that I like. I'll probably follow this for a few more issues.

Solitary #1: A guy in the electric chair gets superpowers and he stays in prison after coming back to life. Weird. I'm in for another issue.

Squarriors #1: In the future, the animals have created violent tribes and go to war. Humans aren't really around. This is kind of fucking awesome. Also, this:

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i mean, come on!

Sundowners #4: So good. Nice weird superhero storytelling.

Superior Iron Man #2: I don't really understand what mainstream Marvel is trying to do anymore. I'm out.

Maxx: Maxximized #14: Fun. Not great. Not sure how much longer I'll follow.

October Faction #3: I might grab the trade, but I'll probably stop month-to-month now.

The Damnation of Charlie Wormwood #3: Shit gets real. We get a setting other than the hospital or the prison, so that's exciting. Art is great. I'm intrigued by the story.

Superior Foes of Spider-Man #17: I'm going to miss this series. Fucking beautiful ending though. Loved this.

X-Files Year Zero #5: Good ending, cool tie to the modern stuff. Fun series.

Thor #3: This was the best issue of the lot. I'm intrigued to see what happens next.

Thumper #1: A fun set of bawdy cartoons. Some really funny, some profound.

Uber #20: Still excellent.

Wolf Moon #1: Whoa! Liking this.

Comics: 25

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Abigail and the Snowman #1 (of 4): This is a truly fun, heartwarming comic I cannot wait to give to a younger cousin.

The Multiversity: The Thunderwolrd Adventures: Exactly what I wanted: a fun, lighthearted superhero comic book.

Rocket Salvage #1 (of 6): I've been looking forward to this since I read about it in Previews. Beautifully slick, clean art set in a mishmash of sci-fi worlds. Fun characters, too.

The Amazing Spider-Man #353-358: Also known as Spider-Man: Round Robin - The Sidekick's Revenge, which Marvel was promoting through their Marvel Unlimited app. Six issues of time-wasting garbage.

Comics: 9

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Solomon Kane #1-5: I wanted to go back and read through the other Baltimore stuff I've got after the recent mini, but I couldn't find them. So I read this instead. They're similar, and I love Howard's character. This is a solid tale of a Kane team-up with a mysterious traveler and their time lodging at a cursed castle. Pretty awesome. Gorgeous art.

Solomon Kane: Red Shadows #1-4: Also good, but nowhere near as good as the previous mini. They lowered the ante, which is always a bad idea for a sequel.

All You Need Is Kill: This is the graphic novel they based Edge of Tomorrow/Live Die Repeat off of that itself was based on a Japanese novel. There is one thing that is salvageable about this book and it's the title. This stinks. Badly.

Comics: 34

Graphic Novels: 1

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Ame-Comi Girls - After Smallville and Batman '66, I figured I would try another Digital First comic a try. And this was not good. The storytelling got repetitive quick. The art alternated between almost being too cheesecake and full on over the top cheesecake. And the plot just kinda stopped with 6 issues left. I'm not exactly sure what they were going for, but it didn't work.

Batman '66: The Lost Episode - Honestly, if this had been 3 issues of the the digital first series, it would have fit right in as one of the more forgettable stories. It probably would have been a bit welcome change from the overuse of King Tut. But as it was presented, and for that price, I have no idea what they were trying to do here.

Leather Tales #3 - I know I read #1 at some point last year. And, surprising to me, I kinda remembered it after starting this. I kinda liked this. No issue #4, which leaves me without an ending. That kinda sucks.

Comics: 2

Digital First Comics: 39

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Hellraiser The Dark Watch vol 3: the finale in this version of the Hellraiser universe. Fucking crazy. Nice wrap-up. I wasn't hot on the last volume, but this tidied things up very nicely.

Batman Superman vol 1 Cross World: Fucking gorgeous. Fun too. Pak's story is tight and the introduction of Kaiyo (a brand new Fourth World character! I can't remember the last time that happened) is pretty slick. Jae Lee. That is all.

Giant-size Kung Fu Bible Stories: ONce in a while Erik Larsen squeezes in another project into his output. As if writing, drawing, inking and sometimes coloring a mostly monthly comic for the past quarter century wasn't enough, he does these amazing prestige projects, like Herculean or The Next Issue project where he picks up a cancelled Golden Age comic and publishes the next issue with a bunch of talent. This one is a treasury edition sized anthology graphic novel featuring new superhero work from pros like him, Bruce Timm and Adam Warren and a bunch of newbs. LOTS of Kirby references. Naked lady Art Adams pinups too. Pretty slick.

Shadowman vol 3: Weirdly, this four issue collection doesn't feature Shadowman in the first two issues. Though it is an origin story for Darque, it makes it pretty damned uneven.

XO Manowar vol 3: This six issue collection crams in more story than most full years of modern comics. There's also still room for character shit too. I'll be rereading this just for the learning curve. Cary Nord. Fuck man. That guy can draw some shit.

Comics: 34

Graphic Novels: 2

Trade Paperbacks: 4

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Giant-size Kung Fu Bible Stories: ONce in a while Erik Larsen squeezes in another project into his output. As if writing, drawing, inking and sometimes coloring a mostly monthly comic for the past quarter century wasn't enough, he does these amazing prestige projects, like Herculean or The Next Issue project where he picks up a cancelled Golden Age comic and publishes the next issue with a bunch of talent. This one is a treasury edition sized anthology graphic novel featuring new superhero work from pros like him, Bruce Timm and Adam Warren and a bunch of newbs. LOTS of Kirby references. Naked lady Art Adams pinups too. Pretty slick.

I bought this from Bruce Timm at last year's SDCC. I particularly enjoyed his first story, riffing on the mainstream comic crossovers and their various characters. It was a lot of fun.

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The Amazing Spider-Man Omnibus Vol. 1: Collects Amazing Fantasy #15, Amazing Spider-Man #1-38, Annual #1 and 2, and stories from Fantastic Four Annual #1 and Strange Tales Annual #2. I.e., the complete Ditko run. The Lee-Romita run will always be my Spidey, but this three-plus year period is classic for a reason. Ditko is a master storyteller, and his work here is nothing short of astonishing. It takes a while for Lee to find the voice, but when he does, he nails it and doesn't stop for the length of the collection. Virtually everything that came to define Spider-Man is in this book, and really in the first two-thirds of the book - the last arguably classic villain to be introduced is the Scorpion in issue #20; after that, it's a lot of one-offs and second-stringers. However, this was one of only two books (the other being Fantastic Four) that really hit the ground running and was turning out consistent work that still holds up (for all the exciting, groundbreaking work being done in the Bullpen, the vast majority of Marvel's output between 1961 and 1964 is borderline unreadable garbage today). And while it's long held that Peter became handsome and popular as a result of Romita's work, Ditko did plenty to pretty Peter up by the time he left, to the extent that people are commenting on it in the comics themselves.

I dunno. It's the Steve Ditko run on Spider-Man. It doesn't need me to shill for it.

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If you or anyone else is interested, I was a part of a podcast that chronicled the beginnings of Spider-Man in which we covered the entirety of the Steve Ditko run. We talked about a number of things, from the Green Goblin "controversy" over his identity, how aspects of the early days were later retconned, and, most notoriously, the messed up character of Betty Brant. It was called "Amazing Spider-Man Classics" and it ran from the Spring of 2010 to the Fall of 2011.

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/amazing-spider-man-classics/id363483375?mt=2

I'm catching up on Waid's Daredevil, having found the final two trades (vols. 6 and 7) of his initial run and the first trade of this current run. The plots are a bit more out there, involving the Silver Surfer, Universal Horror Monsters and others, but Waid's voice for Matt is still great so that's been carrying me through.

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Archer & Armstrong: The One Percent #1: A oneshot detailing the practices of one offshoot of the cult villains The Sect. Pretty fucking funny. These are Wall Street guys who wear golden masks of Mammon and are clueless about how the world works. It's kind of amazing.

Archer & Armstrong vol 4 Sect War: This has the sect going to war with each other. It's hilarious and brilliantly writtn. One of, if not, the best comics on the market right now.

Comics: 35

Graphic Novels: 2

Trade Paperbacks: 5

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The Amazing World of Gumball: Pretty much the same ridiculous goodness as in the show. Once in a while it is only 2-D but most of the time it is the blend of 2-d with 3-d and puppets that the show is known for. I still think James and Damien may be behind it.

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Bloodstrike v1: Tim Seeley gets to reboot the Extreme Comics series he's always wanted to reboot (apparently) and it kind of stinks. It doesn't feel like a comic written by a guy who's made a living writing comics. I'll say that. The art was up and down.

Eternal Warrior v2: Shockingly, this entire trade takes place in the future. Never expected that. Pretty damned good too.

Wytches #3: Fuck. I was planning on moving to trade with this, and I'm not sure I can.

Comics: 36

Graphic Novels: 2

Trade Paperbacks: 7

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Re-read Identity Crisis yesterday.

I love this story. Yeah it's got some flaws ranging from the nitpicky (Deathstroke nerfing both the Flash and Kyle throwing a punch at him, timeline is incongruent with Tim having just given up being Robin in his own title at the time, and I won't buy Atom and his ex-wife knowing who Robin's father is) to the completely understandable (tossing a rape backstory for sensationalist effect, the deus ex crazy ending), but I love to death how Brad Meltzer writes the DC Universe here. He's got a great voice for everyone, he showcases a wide variety of characters and knows the history well enough to have most everything coincide with the story he's telling. Lots of personal relationships are on display, from the heroes to the villains, and though this was the first major story to drag the DCU into dark places for the next several years, it's in incredibly entertaining read through and through. The scene of Batman and Robin is one of the most emotional I've ever read in a mainstream miniseries.

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Spider-Man by Roger Stern Omnibus: collects Spectacular Spider-Man 43-61 and 85, Amazing Spider-Man 206 and 224-252, and Amazing Spider-Man Annual 16 and 17.

Roger Stern wrote Spidey for the first half of the 1980s, and was responsible for a really, really, REALLY good period in the character's run. There's a conscious effort here to bring back a certain amount of Silver Age sensibility to the book while keeping it very firmly grounded in the then-current Bronze Age. He created the Hobgoblin, the first Spider-Man villain to gain any real traction since arguably the Punisher, and made very good use of the Vulture, who appears here in at least three multi-issue arcs. This was a period where Peter was growing up and taking on adult responsibilities as a grad student and teaching assistant, and we get a lot of really fun supporting characters like Deb Whitman and the Black Cat. Furthermore, Stern is one of those writers who manages to create legitimately funny dialogue for Spidey, while at the same time making sure his life is falling to shit around him at all times. Great stuff.

The artwork is a mixed back. Spectacular had a rotating art team, and it seems like you never saw the same penciler more than two or three times. Marie Severin has her stuff absolutely ruined by shitty inking, which is a crime, as do Mike Zeck and Rick Leonardi. The vast bulk of Amazing was penciled by John Romita Jr., and his style goes through some wild swings, as it starts of very Marvel house style and evolves into what you think of today as Junior's work. He, too, is very inker dependent, and as someone who is not overly fond of looking at Junior's artwork these days - I do get the appeal and he's undeniably a huge talent, but damn, that can be some ugly shit - issues inked by Silver Age mainstays like Jim Mooney, Frank Giacoia and John Romita Sr. are far and away my favorites - we get Junior's gifts for action and storytelling while his rough edges are smoothed out. Later on, more and more issues are inked by Dan Green and (ugh) Klaus Janson, and I'm way less into it.

This volume is almost 1300 pages, and I burned through it in three sittings. This is absolutely terrific stuff, a ton of fun with compelling character work. Also, it has the Ringer issue of Spectacular, where Spidey comes across a villain who's nowhere near his weight class and absolutely takes his lunch money for 32 pages, which is one of the most fun things you'll ever read. Goddamn, I wish Roger Stern wrote more nowadays.

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Yeah...Spectacular was really inconsistent with its art, but hey, later in the 80s at least they had a really consistent run from Sal Busce.....never mind.

Yeah, Sal was on that book for something like a hundred issues. It wasn't even close to his best stuff.

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