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:

Southern Bastards Vol. 1: Here Was A Man

Legion of Super-Heroes: The Great Darkness Saga

Daredevil by Mark Waid Vol. 1

Saga Vol. 1

The Magneto Testament

Avengers: Ultron Unlimited

Seven Soldiers of Victory by Grant Morrison

Secret Origins (1987) #10: The (possible) origins of the Phantom St...

JLA: Year One

Action Comics #241: The Super-Key to Fort Superman

Detective Comics #s 604-607: The Mudpack

Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?

Planet Hulk

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Something Old: This book isn't exactly "old" (I think it came out in 2007?), but the material sure is. The Amazing Transformations of Jimmy Olsen. This awesome, strange TPB shows many (maybe all? not sure...) of Jimmy Olsen's Silver Age transformations, from Elastic Lad to Turtle Boy to a werewolf to everything in between. I haven't read too much Silver Age material, but this is one that I've read and actually enjoyed. Jimmy Olsen has one of the oddest histories of any comic book character.

Something New: I'm going to go with newer here, and say All-Star Superman. This is no news for anyone who is a Grant Morrison fan or a Frank Quitely fan (likely if you're one, you're both). This is just one of the best comic books I've ever read. My reason for recommending it is the fact that the issue addressed in the recommendation appears to deal with the key to his Fortress of Solitude. I thought Morrison's new take on the giant key was genius.

Something Related: I'm going to say Greg Pak and Aaron Kuder's Action Comics vol. 5: What Lies Beneath. This story introduces Greg Pak's run on the title, which is the first time the book had settled down and gotten comfortable after Morrison left the New 52 version of the character. Pak has managed to take Morrison's admittedly crazy, mixed-up take on the character and level him out into a cool, off-beat storyline that would take him to many of Morrison's laid-down quirky corners of continuity, but this is all Greg Pak's. Joining him on art is Aaron Kuder, who has really come into his own on this book. DC needs (REALLY NEEDS) to hold onto Mr. Kuder for as long as possible. His work started out as a cartoonish version of Frank Quitely or Erik Burnham, but has transformed into his own very cool, very detailed style.

Something Batman: The Black Casebook, a collection of all the Golden and Silver Age stories that inspired Grant Morrison for his take on Batman. The quality of these stories varies, but it is nonetheless a very interesting background study, the same way when you love a band, and then you go back and listen to the artists who influenced that band, and they're even more pure yet not quite what you loved originally than what you loved. (Yes, I teach writing as a fifth grade teacher, and I know that last sentence was horrible, but I'm going to trust you all to decipher it for me.)

It's well past time I responded to this. I've been trying to think of stories about headquarters I've really enjoyed. , since that seems to be the focus of The Super-Key to Fort Superman.

Something Old: I'll recommend Superboy Starring the Legion of Super-Heroes #203, which begins with several masked intruders breaking into Legion headquarters. It was one of the first Legion stories I ever read (read at a friend's house -- I've no idea how he got it since it came out when he was 5. Older sister, I guess), and the opening scene pulled me in immediately. Of course it's best know for the end of the story, as Validus ends the life of a Legionnaire. Written by Cary Bates with art by Mike Grell, this story has style and stakes. It's no wonder I became a lifelong Legion fan, with this as part of my introduction.

Something New: The newest Superman storyline, "Truth," has Clark breaking into the Batcave -- a reverse of the Super-Key to Fort Superman. Of course, he doesn't see the presumed-dead Bruce there, but he does see Alfred. I'm really impressed by how much this outed-Superman storyline is working for me -- I really want to see what's going to happen next. Gimmick or not, that's good comics. So far, it's been in one issue each of Action Comics and Batman/Superman. 

Something Related: Maybe I should change with the times, since even Border Mutt hasn't been abiding by the rules for this one he laid down at the beginning here, but I really like the original intention of this category, as it gives me the opportunity to dig into a creator's back catalog, rather than recommending one more similar story. In this case, I'm recommending 1982's All-Star Squadron Annual #3, by Roy Thomas and various artists, including a section by Fort Superman's artist Wayne Boring. It's the untold JSA tale in which they fight sorcerer Ian Karkull, the conclusion of which explaining why they age much more slowly than their contemporaries -- a continuity issue even 33 years ago.

Something Batman: And here's one more superhero team-up focusing on a headquarters... once again, the Batcave. In Batman: Gotham Knights #19 (written by Devin Grayson, drawn by Roger Robinson), Aquaman helps Batman retrieve the giant penny from an underground lake, where it landed after Gotham's earthquake in Cataclysm. A very cool, low-key team-up, with the kind of personal touches Grayson excelled at.

Oh, wow, I completely forgot about that issue. I loved it. The whole issue is mainly just their conversation while Aquaman is retrieving it, isn't it? It was pretty novel at the time, especially, to see Aquaman guest star in a Batman book as well.

Rob Staeger (Grodd Mod) said:

Something Batman: And here's one more superhero team-up focusing on a headquarters... once again, the Batcave. In Batman: Gotham Knights #19 (written by Devin Grayson, drawn by Roger Robinson), Aquaman helps Batman retrieve the giant penny from an underground lake, where it landed after Gotham's earthquake in Cataclysm. A very cool, low-key team-up, with the kind of personal touches Grayson excelled at.

Yeah, the Bat titles were pretty segregated at the time from the rest of the JLA. To see Aquaman giving him a hand was a welcome surprise.

Oh, and Sensei, I'll definitely have to check out What Lies Beneath. I've heard nothing but good things about Pak's run, and the little taste of it I got these past two weeks has me wanting to read more.

Shall we do another one? Who wants to recommend something?

Yeah, you will love it, Rob. If you want to see some Aaron Kuder art at its absolute finest, check out Action #40, which is hopefully somewhere on the stands still. Never has Bizarro's world looked so beautiful and detailed.

I'm going to bite on the next topic book.

Detective Comics #604-607 was a four-part arc called The Mudpack. It was a Batman story which featured all four versions of Clayface, plus Looker from the Outsiders. This was written by Alan Grant and drawn by Norm Breyfogle. This book made Norm Breyfogle solidified as my definitive Batman artist. I realized a few years ago that it also solidified Alan Grant as one of the greatest Batman writers (as well as Lobo and L.E.G.I.O.N.) ever. 

During this arc, Secret Origins also did its "crossover" issue with such talent as Grant, Tom Grummett, Keith Giffen, and Bernie Mirault.

Okay, people, I've given you the facts...now give your recommendations!

Fantastic choice! One category comes to mind immediately for me, but I'll wait until I nail down all four.

Thank you. I still have yet to churn out my own recommendations, but it's one of my favorite Batman stories ever.

Rob Staeger (Grodd Mod) said:

Fantastic choice! One category comes to mind immediately for me, but I'll wait until I nail down all four.

Something Old: Written by Alan Grant, The Batman/Judge Dredd Collection collects older material where the two characters have met. This collects material from throughout the 1990's. The art is by Simon Bisley, Glenn Fabry, Val Semeiks, Cam Kennedy, and has a really nice cover by Mike Mignola. My copy is a hardcover, and it's a really sweet volume of senseless violence and angry characters with a smattering of British-style humor.

Something New: The current Batman series is fantastic. The newest arc, which began about a week ago, seems like it's going to be a lot of fun.

Something Related: Brian K. Vaughan wrote a smattering of Batman stories, and they were collected in a book called Batman: False Faces. This book collected a three part story which is one of my favorite Batman stories of all time, where Batman and Nightwing fight False Face. Also collected in this volume is a two-part Wonder Woman story where she battled none other than Clayface. This is worth if, even if only for the Batman story.

Something Batman: Well, it's not hard to come up with something for this one. I'm going to plug a Batman story that I don't think very many people read. Batman: The Chalice was written by Chuck Dixon and drawn by John Van Fleet. This is a great story where Batman comes into possession of the Holy Grail. It involves a Catwoman/Alfred team-up that I thought was awesome. Great self contained OGN.

Something Old: Batman & the Outsiders #14-15, a two-parter where the Looker's future team fights Maxie Zeus and some Olympian-flavored villains at the Olympics. The first issue features guest art by Bill Willingham, and the second issue's fill-in artist was Trevor Von Eeden. Two great tastes that have no business being on the same story, but deadlines are deadlines, right? 

Something New: Another two-parter, Batman 19-20 from a couple of years ago. Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo serve up a fun Clayface story, in which Clayface has taken over Bruce's identity. 

Something Related: The Mud Pack's Norm Breyfogle also drew Flashpoint -- no, not that one -- a 3-part 1999 Elseworlds written by Pat McGreal in which Barry Allen was the Flash once, but now he's paralyzed from the neck down when he took a bullet to save President Kennedy. Now, how can he defeat Vandal Savage?

And Something Batman: Another Breyfogle Elseworlds gem, this one written by the great Alan Brennert: Batman: Holy Terror. This is one of the best Elseworlds ever, as Bruce Wayne is an agent of the church in a futuristic theocracy. Lots of other heroes make cameos in this prestige one-shot. If you haven't read it, definitely seek this out. 

Something Old: JLA 33 was a fill in issue by Mark Waid set during the time of No Man's Land.  Batman assembles a team of the newbies to go after the purported cause of No Man's Land, Bruce Wayne.  Now, since Batman is obviously not sending them after himself, could this be a shapeshifter?  Hmmm....

Something New: They're Not Like Us, has the whole assembling of outsiders thing going on.  Unlike the Mudpack, the group coming together aren't out and out crazy villains, but they're not really good guys either.  Their newest recruit might have more of a moral compass than the others, but she is an unstable telepath.  Nothing could go wrong there.

Something Related: Clay, from LOTDK 89-90, came out in the second great run of stories in LOTDK.  For about a two year period, LOTDK again started putting out consistently great stories like it had in the beginning and this story of the second Clayface stood high among them.

Something Batman: Like the finale of the Mudpack, Gotham Emergency in LOTDK 200 is another bad day at Gotham General.  In this issue, the hospital staff must deal with the Joker being admitted.

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