I thought it might be kind of fun to pick a comic (storyline) and see what kind of recommendations the board would come up with based on that comic. (If it works well, who knows, I might choose another one next week. :))
Just 'cause it's not a game without criteria, why don't we go like this:
1. Something old (a specific story or issue)
2. Something new (a series being published currently)
3. Something related (by a member of the creative team or another story featuring the same character)
4. Something Batman (a specific story or issue)
So, the comic is:
Southern Bastards Vol. 1: Here Was A Man
(Mark has a review here.)
Our picks so far:
But the best piece of all here is the secret origin of Black Canary, the story of our Black Canary visiting her mother (the original BC) in the hospital as she dies. It co-stars Green Lantern and Green Arrow, as well as the Justice Society. It is written by Alan Brennert with art by Joe Staton. It is, to this day, one of two comic books that has ever moved me to tears while reading it.
Brennert wrote To Kill a Legend in Detective 500 as well. He might not be very prolific in the comics' scene, but what he's written is generally excellent.
I'll give this round a go myself.
Something Old: Secret Origins #5. This is when the original series came into its own in my opinion. A full book dedicated to a character I was wholly unfamiliar with outside of the couple of paragraphs in his Who's Who entry: Crimson Avenger.
Something New: A bit of a stretch for being new, but I really dug Secret Origins of Super-Villains an 80 page giant that DC put out in '99 that had the origins of a few of DCs villains. Mixing old and new like Sinestro and Johnny Sorrow. Good stuff.
Something Related: Showcase #100. An insane comic that includes every character that had appeared and in Showcase up until that time and then some. Paul Levitz co-wrote it, and The Phantom Stranger is one of many who makes an appearance. A Bronze Age comic with a bunch of Silver Age fun.
Something Batman: Ah, let's go with Batman #436-439. Which is the "Batman: Year Three" arc. A re-telling of Dick Grayson's origin written by Marv Wolfman with Pat Broderick on art. Worth the price of admission alone for the George Perez art.
Well, I haven’t had a chance to reread the Phantom Stranger issue, but I didn’t want to wait any longer:
Something Old: This issue of Secret Origins reads less like a superhero book and more like one of DC’s old anthologies. The one I’ll pick to recommend was a short-lived Dollar Comic called Time Warp, that, might just have had a few stories in its run drawn by Joe Orlando. Thick and jam-packed with stories, not all of them hit, but there’s usually a few really solid ones in the mix. I picked up a couple issues at the New Jersey comic con a few weeks ago, so I’ve got some rereading in my future.
Something New: Might as well give a nod to DC’s more recent anthologies, too -- and the one I’ll single out is Ghosts, from 2012. My favorite story of the bunch is Al Ewing and Rufus Dayglo’s “The Night After I Took the Data Entry Job I was Visited By My Own Ghost,” but from what I recall, this was definitely one of Vertigo’s stronger anthology efforts.
Something Related: One of the Phantom Stranger stories is by Dan Mishkin and Ernie Colon, who also brought us Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld. The New 52 version of Amethyst was a tiresome bore in her own book -- I never read her Justice League Dark appearances -- but there was something really appealing about her original adventures. There was broad examples of good and evil, of course, but there was also refreshing shades of gray in many of the other houses of Gemworld. I’d like to go back and reread this at some point; there must have been something really compelling going on to get a 15-year-old boy to buy a book called “Princess of Gemworld” every month. (Besides Colon’s art, that is, as good as it ever looked.)
Something Batman: Batman 250 gave us a story called “The Batman Nobody Knows” by Frank Robbins and Dick Giordano, in which a number of kids sit around a campfire and talk about Batman -- but in each story, he’s revealed as a construction of their own fantasies and points of view. It’s the story that immediately leapt to mind when I thought about the multi-origin structure of this book. Well, that and Rashomon, but as far as I know, that’s never been a comic!
Okay, I'll start the next one with a series I recently reread and enjoyed -- maybe more than the first time: Mark Waid & Barry Kitson's JLA: Year One.
Something Old: Made in the 90s, JLA Year One is already something old, but here’s another from the same team: Waid & Kitson’s The Brave & the Bold miniseries, featuring six single-issue stories of the friendship between Barry Allen and Hal Jordan.
Something New: Here, I’ll recommend the new Marvel SHIELD series, by Waid and various artists. Each issue has been a done-in-one, teaming characters from the Agents of SHIELD tv show with characters from the Marvel U. The artists sometimes fall down on the likenesses -- I couldn’t really tell Agent May from Maria Hill in the most recent issue, until Coulson shouted May’s name -- but the stories are always inventive and fun, giving us a tour of the Marvel U -- with a somewhat similar creative philosophy to how Waid & Kitson approached JLA Year One -- looking at old characters & situations with a fresh eye.
Something related: Well, technically my something old and something new are also something related, since they’re done by the same creators. But I’ll recommend Empire: Volume 1 for this--Waid & Kitson turning their talents to a decidedly different universe.
Something Batman: Heck, let’s make this an all-Mark Waid entry, since he really is one of my favorites. The first issue of the Waid-Perez The Brave & the Bold series starts with a Batman/Green Lantern teamup -- but even better is the later issue, #5, where Batman has to evade all the skills and powers of the Legion of Super-Heroes (in this case, the version rebooted by -- drumroll please -- Waid & Kitson).
Sorry I fell off for a little while there, Rob. Thanks for "bumping it" with your post.
Something Old: I honestly can't remember whether I've recommended this yet or not, but Mark Waid's body of work on Flash in the 90's is a thing of beauty. This was a streak of red running right through the middle of the Dark Age. Mark Waid not only showed that super-heroes as the Bronze Age knew them weren't dead, but that heroism for heroism's sake could be cool. This was the Wally West Flash (the best, IMHO), but supporting characters like Linda Park, Max Mercury, Impulse eventually, Iris West, Jesse Quick, Pied Piper, even characters like Argus (a Bloodlines character) got little chances to shine here and there. I cannot recommend this highly enough. The later issues started to get a little weaker, but all in all, this was a supreme run. Art by Greg LaRoque, Mike Weiringo, and even a little bit of Carlos Pacheco made this a beautiful book just to look at as well.
Something New: I'm going to go with something newer, but I was reminded of Mark Waid's run on the 2000's Brave and the Bold. I loved the loony team-ups he came up with: Brother Power the Geek/Batman, Dr. Fate/Green Lantern, Flash/Blackhawks, Batman/Dial H for Hero, Demon/Aquaman, Superman/Catwoman... He had to have had fun writing this book. You can tell just in reading it.
Something Related: Another Justice League book that I'm going to bet has been overlooked is JLA: Superpower. This was a one-shot (I think it was prestige format, IIRC) written by John Arcudi with art by Scot Eaton. It is the tragic tale of a new super-hero who joins the JLA, but the weight of being a hero proves to be more than what the newbie had in mind. This is a story without a true villain in it. It's a good one, and I highly recommend it for any back-issue bin divers out there.
Something Batman: I'm going to go with Batman Year 3, keeping with the "year" motif of JLA: Year One. Year 3 is the story of when Batman got a Robin, and what happened to him because of it. It is written by Marv Wolfman with art by Pat Broderick. This was amongst the first Batman comics that I read way back in the day. It lead the way to Tim Drake becoming Robin in a year or two from the time this story was told.
Rob Staeger (Grodd Mod) said:
Something Old: JLA: Year One dealt with a revised past where Superman wasn't a founding member. Another book that had Superman's absence from League history front and center was Davis and Farmer's JLA: The Nail. This Elseworlds book had a flat tire, caused by a nail, prevent the Kent's from taking in young Clark so he doesn't assume the role of Superman. It was a gorgeous book and a blast from start to finish.
Something New: Scott Lobdell's new Doomed title looks like it'll be an enjoyable tale about a hero just starting out. I don't expect it will last that long, but lately my favourite DC titles seem to be the shorter lived ones anyway.
Something Related: How 'bout one of the CrossGen titles Mark Waid left the modern JLA to create, Ruse. This comic was essentially a Sherlock Holmes book with just a dash of fantasy elements thrown in... an assistant that was more than she seemed and living gargoyles flitting throughout the city. A fun title that provided a bit of consolation for Waid leaving the JLA so quickly.
Something Batman: For this one, I'm going to go with JLA: Incarnations, another mini set in the Post Crisis, revised past of the JLA. Like Rob's first Brave and the Bold pick, this one shifts time between issues, showcasing different eras of the League, but the first couple are set near the Year One time frame and in issue number two we find out how Batman joined the League. (At the time, I thought this mini was an indication Ostrander was the next man on deck for the modern JLA, but after Waid's too short term, they went a different way.)
Great recommendations, guys! I loved Ruse -- that's definitely due for a reread one of these days.
Border Mutt? What do you think?
I was sad to see, (in another thread), that Robin Olsen had passed. How 'bout we go with something Robin was fond of? Any suggestions?
As I said, Robin loved Silver Age comics. Here's one I'm sure he enjoyed:
This is the first Silver Age Superman story in the eyes of many. It kicked off reprint collections like the Archives and Showcase Presents. Here's a synopsis:
Superman visits his Fortress of Solitude where he can relax and work on experiments. He discovers a message written on the wall which reveals that an intruder has penetrated the Fortress. Superman seals the entrance, but later learns that the intruder has returned. When a cave-in seals him in a cavern with a Kryptonite rock, Batman appears and reveals himself as the intruder. Superman begins laughing because the Kryptonite is phony. He used the stunt to get Batman to reveal himself. The friends then celebrate the anniversary of Superman’s arrival on Earth.
I haven't actually read this, I'm just going off a couple of synopses, but I'll give it a shot.
Something Old: For this one, I'll go with a silver age tale of the Legion, The Fantastic Spy from Adventure Comics 303. This one also deals with a hidden being who gets duped, revealed, and who then receives his just desserts. :) Also, the first appearance of Matter-Eater Lad... how could it not be a classic?
Something New: The two part Convergence: Blue Beetle was a fun romp where Beetle, Captain Atom, and the Question have to face off against the reboot Legion and an elaborate deception is used. This was definitely one of the best of the Convergence tie-ins.
Something Related: Switching tone here, I'm going to go with For the Man Who Has Everything from Superman Annual 11. Another tale where Batman goes to the Fortress of Solitude to celebrate an important day for Superman.
Something Batman: In Batman 291-294, Batman appears to be dead and lots of criminals are trying to take credit for offing him, so, his rogues gallery gets together to hold a trial to cut through the deceptions and determine Who Killed Batman?