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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Next up is Nemo: Heart of Ice, by Alan Moore and Kevin O'Neill.  Another look at Lovecraft, this time in the LoEG universe.  Nemo's daughter, feeling overshadowed by her father's legend, leads an expedition to the Antarctic, where maybe things don't go so well.


Good stuff - Moore really does seem to have a feel for the whole Lovecraftian milieu, and O'Neill's artwork adds well to it.


Cull or Keep?: Keep.

Next is Doctor Who - The Dalek Project, by Justin Richards and Mike Collins.  This one is OK, as the Eleventh Doctor discovers the Daleks meddling about in World War One Europe. It's a bit derivative of "Victory of the Daleks", what with the Daleks pretending to help humans for reasons of their own, but it's not a bad read. Collins' artwork is OK, too.


Cull or Keep?: Keep.

And again - Doctor Who - The Only Good Dalek, by Justin Richards and Mike Collins. More Dalek fun with the Eleventh Doctor, although this time he's got Amy with him.  The duo get caught up in a human plan to use the Daleks' own technology against them. 


Enjoyable enough stuff, with alot of callbacks to previous Dalek stories. Amusingly, this is one of the few places where the "New Paradigm" Daleks got much of a showing, since Moffat seems to have dropeed them form the show itself almost immediately.


Cull or Keep?: Keep.

Next is Flex Mentallo: Man of Muscle Mystery, by Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely.  Another one of Grant's books that it took me a couple of reads to figure out what was going on - it alternates between the story of comic book writer Wallace Sage, who seems to be deciding whether to live or die, and  Flex Mentallo, a super-hero of his creation who escapes into reality. Somewhat abstract stuff, which is not really my strong stuff, but entertaining in its own way, as long you understand that it's not all going to be spelled out for you.  I'm not always a big fan of Quitely's art, but it works well on this.


Cull or Keep?: Keep.

The next one isn't a "graphic novel" so much as it si a "collection", but since it tells one story, I am including it.


Anyway, what I read I read is The Avengers: The Kree-Skrull War, by Roy Thomas, Sal Buscema, Neal Adams and John Buscema.  This was one that was given to me as a gift, it's from a period about three or four years before I started reading Marvel comics (the collection contains Avengers #89-97), so it's a mixture of familiar and unfamiliar elements. (When did Mar-Vell change his hair color to blond?)  The artwork is quite nice, and the story certainly is epic. The one thing I noticed, however, is how overblown and unnatural (not to say overwrought) the writing is. Certainly, that's a common trait of many super-hero books, but it seems particualrly egregious here, enough so that it can occasionally take one out of the story.


"The finger on the button: In the end, will it matter if that hand was alien... or green... or Protestant...?"


Sweet Chibi Jesus, Roy, what the Hell are you talking about?


Also, the plot's a bit wobbly in parts - characters have a tendency to suddenly decide to do the exact opposite of what they just said they were going to do, and the ending is pretty close to a literal Deus ex machina. Also, we don't actually see the Kree and Skrulls fighting all that much.


In general, Roy seems to go in for "characterization by expository sledgehammer", and characters tend to do way too much moping about their feelings. I am reminded of something Harrison Ford supposedly said to George Lucas: "You can write this s***, George, but you sure can't say it."


All that said, I am glad I read this, as it is an interesting glimpse at a period in Marvel history that I know little about.


Cull or Keep?: Keep, if only for its historical significance.

Also read Darkseid vs. Galactus: The Hunger, by John Byrne.


The title pretty much says it all here. The fun in this is seeing all of these swell Kirby characters interacting with one another., as drawn by Byrne, who is a talented artist.  If it had been published without dialogue, I probably would have enjoyed it just as much, but what dialogue there is doesn't get in the way, so it's still cool.


Cull or Keep?: Keep.

I know the Kree-Skrull War story from an 80s reprint of the Neal Adams and John Buscema issues. I did like the issues, except for the conclusion, but the plot is a shapeless mess. 

The Inhumans storyline was a crossover from their series in Amazing Adventures, which Neal Adams also briefly drew. But I suppose the volume likely says this.

For me John Buscema's 60s art is of gold-standard excellence, but I don't like his 70s superhero work nearly as much. I prefer Sal Buscema's. I've never read John Buscema's Conan work.

Captain Marvel got blond hair when he met Eon and was given cosmic awareness, in Captain Marvel #29.

Thanks, LB. So, gaining Cosmic Awareness changes your hair color - who knew?

I just realised that I've never found out where the Nega-Bands came from.

The Supreme Intelligence gives them to Mar-Vel in #16 but I don't remember how he got them. I don't think he really said.

Thanks, Ron. They seemed in the stories to be unique and indestructible.

I remember being excited (and I was 23!) by the idea of the Kree and the Skrulls being in the same story and having a major war. I haven't read it since it came out in the original comics.

I have the trade collection in my "pile" but don't know when I'll get to it. My recollection is that Earth and presumably other worlds were in danger of being collateral damage (charming phrase) in this war, which is why the Avengers got involved.

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