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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Luke Blanchard said:

Biggles was the hero of a long-running series of books by W.E. Johns. He was apparently very well-known in Britain mid-century, and by extension here, as Australia was more British then.



I've hear dof him, but I've never read any of the original books.

I've actually I always preferred Squadron Supreme over The Watchmen. My brother gave this series (amongst other comis) to me to read during the first family summer vacation he wasn't able to go on. I think I read it 3 times during that trip alone.

The Baron said:

Next up was Squadron Supreme,by Mark Gruenwald, with art by John Buscema, Bob Hall, Paul Ryan, Paul Neary, Sam De La Rosa, John Beatty, Keith Williams, Jackson Guice and Dennis Janke.


This collection includes Squadron Supreme #1-12 and Captain America #314. I daresay most people here are familiar with this one - if you aren't, you should give it a read.  I give Gruenwald credit, he took characters that were thinly-veiled JLA pastiches and made them interesting characters in their own rights, having them do things and go places that the originals couldn't have done and gone. The art is a little uneven, but never too bad.  Good stuff!


Cull or Keep?: Keep!

More reading:


First up was Wanted, by Mark Millar and J. G. Jones. This is the story of a loser who suddenly discovers that he's the heir to a member of a secret cabal of super-villains. It's a funny thing. I remember enjoying this alot when I first read it, but I guess my attitude has changed over the years. I still think it's well-drawn and well-written, but it's just too  - I guess "immoral" is the word - for me.  Everyone in it is unlikable - even the protagonist. There's no room for goodness in it. At least, that's how it seems to me.


Cull or Keep?: Cull.

Next up was Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader?, by Neil Gaiman (well-known as the second most famous writer ever to write for Doctor Who), with art by Andy Kubert and Scott Williams.


This is not so much Gaiman's answer to "Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?" as his idea of a sort of eternal "last Batman story". Batman observes as his friends and foes gather for his funeral, and each one tells a different story of Batman's death.  A nice, touching tales by a man who obviously has a great deal of affection for the character. Gaiman obviously knows Batman very well.  (Gaiman seems to be a fanboy at heart - just from listening to his commentary track for "The Doctor's Wife",  I would not want to get into a Who trivia contest with him, and I suspect that his knowledge of comics runs equally deep.) The art is beautiful, evoking the work of various Bat-artists over the years.


What I have is called "The Deluxe Edition",a nd it contains several other Bat-related stories written by Gaiman. They include:


  • "A Black and White World", art by Simon Bisley. An amusing gag story - Batman and the Joker are "actors" playing roles in a comic book. We see them  "behind the scenes", conversing as they wait to go on.
  • "Pavane", art by Mark Buckingham.  A recruiter for the Suicide Squad interviews Ivy at Arkham, and isn't prepared for what he finds.
  • "Original Sins", art by Mike Hoffman and Kevin Nowlan.  A film crew comes to Gotham to do a special on costumed criminals. As I recall, this was sort of a "framing story" for an entire issue of villain origins.
  • "When is a Door", art by Bernie Mireault and Matt Wagner. The aforementioned film crew interviews the Riddler. Gaiman's nostalgic look at the era of the 60's TV show. Not wild about the art on this, however.


For the record, the stories in this came from Secret Origins #36, Secret Origins Special #1, Batman Black and White #2, Batman #686 and Detective Comics #853.


Cull or Keep?: Keep.

Finally, I read Superman/Batman: Absolute Power, by Jeph Loeb, Carlos Pacheco and Jesus Merino, from Super/Batman #14 - 18.


An interesting story - the Legion of Super-Villains decides to re-write history by "adopting" Kal-El and Bruce Wayne and using them to re-shape the timeline. Fun stuff that re-visits just about every period in DC history.

Cull or Keep?: Keep.


I've always meant to read that Batman/Superman story! I'll have to keep an eye out for it.

Sounds a bit like the Legion of Doom Superfriends episode where Lex Luthor became Green Lantern and Kal-El was redirected to a planet with a red sun so couldn't become Superman. Strangely once getting the power ring from Abin Sur, Luthor did absolutely nothing with it. Did the writers not think how much trouble Luthor could cause with that power? Or did Standards and Practices say it would have been too violent?  
The Baron said:

Finally, I read Superman/Batman: Absolute Power, by Jeph Loeb, Carlos Pacheco and Jesus Merino, from Super/Batman #14 - 18.


An interesting story - the Legion of Super-Villains decides to re-write history by "adopting" Kal-El and Bruce Wayne and using them to re-shape the timeline. Fun stuff that re-visits just about every period in DC history.

Cull or Keep?: Keep.


Lots more reading:


First up was Uncle Sam, by Steve Darnall and Alex Ross, in which Uncle Sam confronts America's darker side. Excellent stuff, thought-provoking and well-drawn.


Cull or Keep?: Keep.

Then I read JLA: Earth 2, by Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely, in whiohc Morrison re-invents the old Crime Syndicate.  What I really appreciate in this are all the amusing little touches Morrison put into depicting the Syndicate's world. He obviously put alot of thought into it.  This is one thing I think DC really never did enough of - exploring what life might actually be like on some of these altrnate Earths of theirs.


Cull or Keep?: Keep.

Next was Batman: The Man Who Laughs, by Ed Brubaker and Doug Mahnke. This is a re-telling of Batman's first encounter with the Joker. It's pretty entertaining stuff.


The volume I have also contains Made of Wood, by Brubaker and Patrick Zircher, Aaron Sowd and Setve Bird, from Detective Comics #784 - 786. In this story, Batman helps Alan Scott solve an old case that has plagued him since the 40's. I really liked this. That's one thing I miss in the current DC universe, the multigenerational feel of a story like this.


Cull or Keep?: Keep.

As far as I'm concerned the Uncle Sam , mini is about as subtle as a sledgehammer over the head.  In retrospect isn't that good. I loved it when it first cam out.

Earth-2 barely holds up for me these days. A nice idea, but barely much more than an Elseworlds book. Seriously, this and Uncle Sam are just clap-trap material.

Finally I read Judgment Day, by Alan Moore and Rob Liefeld, with a plethora of guest artists, most notably Gil Kane. It mostly revolves around a super-team called Youngblood. A character called Knight Sabre is accused of the murder of a teammate called Riptide, and his ensuing trial reveals ancient secrets.  Lots of pastiches of many different kinds of story, Moore's knowledge of comics history really shows here, and he gets me interested in characters that I cared very little about.


I'm afraid, however, that you will have to add me to the list of people who can't stand Liefeld's art, especially his costume design.  Yuck.


Cull or Keep?: Keep. The goodness of the story outweighs the badness of the art.

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