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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I didn't want to say anything, but I was wondering when you were going to correct that...  photo tongue.gif

Luke Blanchard said:

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

I hate making errors, but I still do it.

Showcase #2, "Kings of the Wild", included a story about an Indian boy.

Oh, I was just being funny. I never EVER would have known that. No sweat, man!

Luke Blanchard said:

I hate making errors, but I still do it.

Tales of the Bizarro World, by Jerry Siegel, John Forte, Wayne Boring and Curt Swan, collecting stories from Adventure Comics #285- 299 (June 1961 - August 1962).

This isn't really a "graphic novel", as such, but it was in the pile, and it's a fun read, so here it is.  I enjoyed this - I would almost like to visit the Bizarro World, though perhaps only for a brief trip. It's essentially a one-joke strip - you notice that more, reading them all at once, but it's still fun seeing how Siegel develops that one joke. Enjoyable stuff.

Cull or Keep?:  Keep. Me hate this book so much, me will never get rid of it.

A couple more additions to Luke's list:

Arak, Son of Thunder, who had his own solo book which ran for 50 issues from 1981-1985.  He was a Pre-Columbian North American Indian who was raised by Vikings after the massacre of his tribe. He eventually made his way to Europe where he spent years wandering across the continent and having adventures alongside his lover, Valda, the Iron Maiden, who was a female knight serving King Charlemagne.

Captain Fear, a Carib Indian enslaved by the Spanish, he started a slave revolt and joined up with a group of pirates.  After taking over as captain of the ship, he used his new crew to launch a war against the Spanish navy.  He had his own strip which ran in Adventure Comics from 1972-1974.
 
Luke Blanchard said:

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.

Re-read Empire, Mark Waid and Barry Kitson, with James Pascoe. This book asks the question: "What if a super-villain  actually managed to conquer the world?"  The villain in question is called Golgoth (a little Biblical reference, there) finds that conquering the  world and destroying all of one's enemies does not guarantee a happy home life.

This book is extremely well-written, with lots of interesting characters and situations. The art is quite good as well and complements the story nicely.  This one is a big favorite of mine.

Cull or Keep?:  Keep.

I believe I read that Waid and Kitson are working on a sequel.

The Baron said:

Re-read Empire, Mark Waid and Barry Kitson, with James Pascoe. This book asks the question: "What if a super-villain  actually managed to conquer the world?"  The villain in question is called Golgoth (a little Biblical reference, there) finds that conquering the  world and destroying all of one's enemies does not guarantee a happy home life.

This book is extremely well-written, with lots of interesting characters and situations. The art is quite good as well and complements the story nicely.  This one is a big favorite of mine.

Cull or Keep?:  Keep.

I'd be interested to see that.

Which is why I mentioned it. :)

Read another one that isn't really a "graphic novel" as such, but more of a collection. The Shield collects stories from Pep Comics #1 - 5 and Shield-Wizard Comics #1-3.  The first few stories show credits for Irving Novick and Harry Shorten, no idea if they did all of them.

The character has a certain amount of significance as the first of the Golden Age patriotic American super-heroes, but the stories themselves are fairly mediocre. they're all pretty much the same - our hero discovers enemy saboteurs, and stops them.  Not the worst Golden Age stories I've ever read, but not the best, either.

Cull or Keep?:  Keep, but more for historical significance than for the quality of the stories themselves.

It gets better when they start imitating Simon and Kirby's Captain America.

Read JLA - Act of God, by Doug Moench, Dave Ross and George Freeman. An "Elseworlds", in which an unexplained "event" robs all super-humans of their powers, leaving only the non-powered and technologically-based heroes and villains to fight it out. It's an interesting story in which we see how characters like Superman and Wonder Woman react to suddenly being less capable than the Blue Beetle and Booster Gold - not that the latter two don't have their problems, also. Some heroes quit, other learn how to fight crime without powers.

It's not bad, but it could have used a little bit of polishing up. The magic-based heroes are written out with "we don't know what happened to them", which seems a bit "Plot Convenience Playhouse" to me.  Also, one of the storylines involves Kyle Rayner not dealing well with his ring no longer working. Um, isn't the ring technology? Why wouldn't it still be working? Wouldn't the Space Smurfs notice that they'd lost contact with him?

Also, is Aquaman's ability to breathe underwater a "power" as such? Isn't it just a natural part of who he is?  For that matter are Superman's or the Martian Manhunter's abilities "powers" or just natural parts of their alien physiologies?

Cull or Keep?:   Keep.

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