Going Through My Graphic Novels: Cull or Keep? (SPOILERS)

I've got rather alot of graphic novels, most of which sit on my bookshelves or in boxes in my closets from one year to the next, never being looked at. So, I've decided to go through them all, re-reading each one and deciding whether to keep it or to cull it. Culls will be donated to the local public library.

 

As I re-read each one, I'm going to try to present my impression of each one, and then announce the verdict: Cull or Keep?

 

There will be spoilers here, so beware. I most likely won't read one every day, but I 'm going to try to keep up a steady pace.

 

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Read Justice League Elite: Volume One, written by Joe Kelly, with art by Doug Mahnke, Lee Bermejo, John Byrne, Tom Nguyen, Wayne Faucher, Jose Marzan, Jim Royal, Dexter Vines, and Wade Von Grawbadger, and containing material from Action Comics #775, JLA #100, JLElite #1-4. and JLA Secret Files 2004.

 

This is a better story than I remember it being, containing Superman's encounter with Manchester Black and his sister Vera's subsequent formation of a covert ops team vaguely affiliated with the JLA. Ther's alot of these characters that I'm not a big fan of  - Manitou Raven (Have DC or Marvel ever done a Native American character that wasn't a stereotype?) and Green Arrow spring to mind especially - but overall Kelly managed to keep the story interesting.

 

Cull or Keep?: Keep.

 

Read Doctor Who - The Betrothal of Sontar, a collection of Tenth Doctor stories, including:

  1. "The Betrothal of Sontar", by John Tomlinson, Nick Abadzis, Mike Collins and David A. Roach, in which the Doctor and Rose encounter a Sontaran team seeking out an ancient super-weapon.
  2. "The Lodger", by Gareth Roberts, Mike Collins and David A. Roach, in which the Doctor spends some time rooming with Mickey Smith.
  3. "F.A.Q.", by Tony Lee, Mike Collins and David A. Roach, in which the Doctor and Rose encounter a teenage boy whose imaginary friend has come to life.
  4. "The Futurists", by Mike Collins and David A. Roach, in which the Doctor and Rose encounter a 1920's Italian fascist in Roman Britain.
  5. "Interstellar Overdrive", by Jonathan Morris, Mike Collins and David A. Roach, in which the Doctor and Rose encounter an outer space rock band.
  6. "Opera of Doom!", by Jonathan Morris, Martin Geraghty and David A. Roach, in which the Doctor and Rose investigate an actual space opera.
  7. "The Green-Eyed Monster", by Nev Fountain and Roger Langridge, in which Rose finds herself defending her relationship with the Doctor on a Jerry Springer-type show. Very "wacky" art on this one. Not my cup of tea.
  8. "The Warkeeper's Crown", by Alan Barnes, Martin Geraghty and David A. Roach, in which the Doctor and the Brigadier battle alien warriors.

Overall:  An OK group of stories, with only the humor one being a bit of  a lemon.

Cull or Keep?: Keep.

Read Doctor Who - The Child of Time, a collection of stories featuring the Eleventh Doctor and Amy, all written by Jonathan Morris. The stories include:

 

  1. "Supernature", art by Michael Collins and David A. Roach. Our heroes visit an Earth colony where the inhabitants are mutating.
  2. "Planet Bollywood", art by Roger Langridge. A humorous story in which our heroes visit a world which resembles an Indian musical.
  3. "The Golden Ones", art by Martin Geraghty and David A.Roach. The Doctor, Amy and UNIT battle the Axons in Tokyo.
  4. "The Professor, the Queen and the Bookshop", art by Rob Davis. The Doctor and Amy suggest story ideas to C.S. Lewis.
  5. "The Screams of Death", art by Dan McDaid.  Our heroes visit Nineteenth Century Paris, where they discover a time traveler trying to kill his enemies' ancestors.
  6. "Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night", art by David A.Roach. Our heroes investigate strange disappearances at an old folks' home.
  7. "Forever Dreaming", art by Adrian Salmon. The Doctor and Amy are caught up in a weird dreamscape.
  8. "Apotheosis", art by Dan McDaid. In an apocalyptic future, our heroes encounter Chiyoko, a little girl who apepared in the Axon story, and who is more than she seems.
  9. ""The Child of Time", art by Martin Geraghty and David A. Roach. Our heroes continue their battle with Chiyoko.

 

Overall, an OK collection of stories. I think I liked the Axon story best. I have to say I'm not a big fan of the humor stories. Not theat I'm against humor - thwese ones just aren't funny.

 

Cull or Keep?: Keep.

Next, I read Common Grounds, written by our own Troy Hickman, with art by various folks, including Dan Jurgens, Michael Avon Oeming and Geroge Perez.  It's a collection of super-hero "slice of life" stories, centered around a chain of donut shops that cater to super-humans. This is great stuff, easily on a par with something like Astro City.  All the stories are good, but I think my favorite is the "team-up" between Deb-U-Ton and the Acidic Jew. Seriously, this is highly recommended.

 

Cull or Keep?: Keep.

After that, I read New Mangaverse: The Rings of Fate, by C.B. Cebulski and Tommy Ohtsuka, in which the Avengers - Iron Man, Wolverine, Spider-Man, the Black Cat, Spider-Woman (Mary Jane Watson), Captain America (Carol Danvers) and the Human Torch (Jonni Storm) battle ninja  led by Deathstrike, the Silver Samurai, Elektra and Sunfire. Fun stuff, I liked this, and Ohtsuka's stuff suited it well. Enjoyable.

 

Cull or Keep?: Keep.

Doctor Who - The Forgotten, by Tony Lee, with art by Pia Guerra, Stefano Martino, Kelly Yates, Kent Archer, Shaynne Corbett, Rick Ketchem, Brian Shearer and John Wycough. The Tenth Doctor finds himself in a space museum with the memories of his first nine lives gone. As he strives to regain his memories, he recalls vignettes from his first nine incarnations. OK, but not that amazing. It doesn't help that much of this sory has bene overtaken by subsequnet continuity.

 

Cull or Keep?: Keep.

Ms. Marvel - No Normal, by G.Willow Wilson and Adrian Alphona. Picked this up on a whim yesterday.  It's quite good - an interesting introduction to a new character.

 

Cull or Keep?: Keep.

Have DC or Marvel ever done a Native American character that wasn't a stereotype?

Animal Man palled around with a Native American quantum physicist during Morrison's run with the character.  There may have been some Native Americans in The Invisibles who were just blokes, rather than headress-wearing 'warriors for their people'.

However in both cases they were participants/guides when the main characters got off their heads on Peyote on some Messa in the New Mexico desert, so maybe they don't count?

Figserello said:

Have DC or Marvel ever done a Native American character that wasn't a stereotype?

Animal Man palled around with a Native American quantum physicist during Morrison's run with the character.  There may have been some Native Americans in The Invisibles who were just blokes, rather than headress-wearing 'warriors for their people'.

However in both cases they were participants/guides when the main characters got off their heads on Peyote on some Messa in the New Mexico desert, so maybe they don't count?

I still remember Fred Hembeck's stinging comment that DC's two major "Indian" characters, Firehair and Scalphunter, were really White men who grew up with Native American tribes. 

Actually, DC in the 50s-70s had a history of doing Indian heroes, and a number of them were probably intended as anti-stereotypes. The ones I can think of are as follows:

Pow-Wow Smith, from Detective Comics #151-#202 (1949-53) and Western Comics #43-#85 (1954-60). He was cover-featured on the latter from #43-#76. Smith was a lawman. His stories were reportedly initially set in the modern day, and later in the Old West.

Strong Bow, from All-Star Western #58-#99 (1951-57). He was sometimes cover-featured earlier on. He was an Indian warrior who was the last survivor of his tribe and who wandered about doing good. His stories were set at some point before significant white settlement in North America. Despite the cover of #59, he had no superpowers or magic powers.

Johnny Cloud, the Navajo Ace, who first starred in his own series in All-American Men of War #82-#111 (1960-65), during which period he was usually cover-featured or co-cover-featured. He was later a member of the Losers, who starred in Our Fighting Forces from #123-#181 (1969-78).

Super-Chief, who appeared in All-Star Western #117-#119  (1960-61). Like Strong Bow's, his stories were set before significant white settlement in North America. He was a superhero who had superpowers and a secret identity.

Firehair, from Showcase #85-#87 (1969) and Tomahawk #131 (promo), #132, #134, #136 (1970-71).

Hawk, the son of Tomahawk, who was half-Indian and the named star of Tomahawk from #131-#140 (1970-72). I call him the named star because the cover logo during the period read "Son of Tomahawk", but the elderly Tomahawk was sometimes the star of the stories.

Scalphunter, who starred in Weird Western Tales after Jonah Hex was moved into his own title, from #39-#70 (1976-80).

Other companies also published comics with Indian heroes in the 40s/50s. Some of these (Straight Arrow from ME, which was based on a radio show; Tonto from Dell, starring the Lone Ranger's sidekick) enjoyed good runs. Pow-Wow Smith and Johnny Cloud stand out as highly assimilated Indian heroes.

The Firehair/Scalphunter premise - white child adopted into an Indian tribe - reflects history. Firehair was probably partly based on Fiction House's Firehair, who starred in Rangers Comics. She was a red-haired young woman who was adopted into an Indian tribe during a period when she'd lost her memory. DC's Firehair is remembered because of his try-out in Showcase, but he was a failed character.

According to his origin story Jonah Hex also partly grew up with Indians.


The Puma's the closest I can think of.
Figserello said:

Have DC or Marvel ever done a Native American character that wasn't a stereotype?

 

I wrote Pow-Wow Smith appeared in Western Comics from 1954-60; that should be 1953-60.

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