I know this forum focuses mainly on older works of the Silver Age, but we aren't without our discussions on modern books as well. I wanted to start a thread to talk about modern collected editions and original graphic novels out of pure selfishness. I'm afraid some of these would get lost in "What Comic Books Have You Read Today?", and I have things I want to share with everyone! Plus, I look forward to hearing from you about what you all have read as well.

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Sexcastle by Kyle Starks

Back when Rock Candy Mountain started coming out last summer (?), I liked it, but didn't take to it exactly. I think it was just the subject matter. But I looked into the artist, Kyle Starks, and discovered that he has done a few other works. Sexcastle is the first one I really delved into, and I do not regret it at all.

This is one of the funniest manly-man comics I have read since Eric Powell's The Goon. It's a take-off on bad 80's detective/action movies. The art isn't for everyone, but I would suggest that, if you're up for something worth an hour or so of your time, you check this one out. I got it on the cheap from Amazon through a pre-order, but I'd bet that your better libraries would have it. Lines like "I'm going to pop your head off and use your neck for a toilet," and this gem...

...line up perfectly for someone like me, who can have a pretty juvenile sense of humor when I'm not researching history and listening to A Way With Words, admittedly.

This is a win, as far as I'm concerned!

Tarantula by Alexis Ziritt and Fabian and Evelyn Rangel

It's no secret that I have become a big fan of Fabian Rangel, Jr. in the past six months or so. Between Helena Crash, 'Namwolf, and Space Riders, I have been grabbing up all of his work I can find. I was so happy to find that he had an upcoming book for AdHouse Books called Tarantula, and I do not regret reading this at all.

Just a few minutes ago, I was saying in the "Movies I Have Seen" thread that I loved how Quentin Tarantino used the 70's grindhouse look to enhance the story in the movie Death Proof. Never once did you get the feeling that he was poking fun at those books; he was having a blast telling a story in that same style.

Here, we have the exact same thing in the book Tarantula. This is Ziritt and the Rangels' tribute to 1970's Mexican schlock movies. It doesn't make fun of them. This is definitely a tribute. The title character is a revenge-seeking action character. You get the feeling this is just a part of a series of stories, right in the middle. The characters are all familiar with each other and have pasts. She teams up here with Senor Muerte, Sombra, and Lucha Libre to take down the Penumbra Killer. I don't want to give anything away, but this is an awesome story. Just predictable enough, and with some awesome retro-ish art.

Loved this book! So sincere, and so cool.

Songy of Paradise by Gary Panter

There are books that aren't for everyone. This is one of those books. I enjoyed it for what it was, a retelling in gigantic storybook form of Milton's Paradise Regained.

Here we are given the story of Jesus in the desert being tempted by Satan, only where Jesus is a hillbilly, and Satan takes on various forms of lizards and dinosaurs.

This is definitely a satire, and while I don't think most people would find much to enjoy here, I have to say that I loved the delivery in the form of a gigantic, thin hardcover book. This belongs (and will go) on my shelf alongside R. Crumb. It was enjoyable for me to read this story again (I read Milton's book back in college), but your mileage will most likely vary.

Some of these have been collected, others haven't yet, but these are my top five current non-super-hero comics.

Paper Girls
Stray Bullets
Motor Girl
Grass Kings
Eleanor and the Egret

I haven't tried Eleanor and the Egret, but I've heard and read a few reviews on it. Honestly, I haven't heard anything that makes me want to look into it, even though reviews have been positive.

While I am not caught up on Grass Kings, I have all of the issues to date. I think I read the first two. It's not out of a lack of interest that I haven't read them all, but it's all about time.

Ever since I bought Stray Bullets: Uber Alles, I haven't been caught up on this title either. Something about that mammoth volume that I just haven't tried to read it yet, which makes me automatically behind on the ongoing series.

Ghost Fleet from Dark Horse, written by Donny Cates and drawn by Daniel Warren Johnson

This one was a truly unique reading experience. The cargo of a mystical semi truck, a man whose best friend is his working partner's wife, betrayal, deals with the devil, and biker gangs all come together to create a crazy, 8-issue reading frenzy.

Has anyone else read this? I read in one of the two-volume trade treatment that it was originally meant to be twelve issues, but was shortened to eight.

Daniel Warren Johnson is now doing Extremity from Image, but this is before his rise to prominence. If you still don't know who he is, his work is definitely worth a look.

If you enjoyed Sexcastle (and I'm pretty sure I'm the only one here who did so far), then Kyle Starks did a follow-up book called Kill Them All! It is every bit as highly recommended as the first one.

It's not a sequel as much as it is a new story with the same tone. This one is about a female version of the main character in SC, but one in which she has to battle her way to the top of a skyscraper, a la The Raid: Redemption. She does this with the aid of a couple of partners, a man with some issues regarding his dad beating his mom (which is one of the sadder moments, but adds some levity) and his hook-handed professional partner.

This is a must-read if you either enjoyed Sexcastle, or if you are enjoying Rock Candy Mountain.

Stray Bullets: Uber Alles has been my downfall too! I've bought every issue of the current run (with the mini and now the ongoing, we're up to more than 30 comics) and I've put them aside until I reread Uber Alles! I need to jump on that book right quick.

It's too much of a good thing, isn't it? I have to say, I have read quite a few pages over my fall break, and Uber Alles may have to be my next goal over either Thanksgiving or Winter Break. (Although I still have an embarrassing amount of other books to read--Buzzkill, Space Mullet, Doc Unknown...)

Rob Staeger (Grodd Mod) said:

Stray Bullets: Uber Alles has been my downfall too! I've bought every issue of the current run (with the mini and now the ongoing, we're up to more than 30 comics) and I've put them aside until I reread Uber Alles! I need to jump on that book right quick.

I wish I could motivate you guys, but I already did a re-reading thread last year:


And a blog entry summary:


I know! And I've been meaning to get to it, too! (Thanks for the links, so I don't have to go searching again...)

This may be TMI -- oh, hell, it's certainly TMI -- but Uber Alles fails in the most crucial metric of "comfortable to read on the toilet." Shoulda gotten it in digital.

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