Report what comic books you have read today--and tell us a little something about it while you're here!

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I read the first trade and loved it--I immediately ordered the second one. I thought it was okay, so I never went back. Your mileage will most likely vary. I'm a history buff, so I think the divergence most likely strayed a little too far for me.

Travis Herrick (Modular Mod) said:

I read the first trade and I really dug it. Eventually, I'll get back to it.

Doomsday Clock #3: I'm really loving this series. Sorry, Alan Moore!

Southern Bastards #19: This is a great series too, but I really wish I had waited for the trade for this story, because it's coming out at about the pace of Afterlife With Archie right now.

Vinegar Teeth #1: From Dark Horse, this looked exactly like something I would have loved. For whatever reason, it didn't resonate with me.

Richard Willis said:

I've been getting Manifest Destiny in TPB form.

Same here. Great book. I'd love to see a TV series.

POGO: Animal Comics #12 was the last appearance on Bumbazine. #13 is the first appearance of both Howland Owl and Churchy La Femme. (Love that name!) #14 introduced a pig character that didn’t catch on: Francis Ferdinand van de Dandy. #15 introduced a one-off wolf character, Dr. Legerdemain Z. Presto and also a skunk character, Cousin Downwind. #16 introduces a character I know will last, but he appears in only three panels here, Porkypine.

When I was a pre-schooler, I used to sit in my mom’s lap and point to the Sunday funnies in the St. Louis Globe-Democrat I wanted her to read aloud. I remember Pogo and Li’l Abner and Smokey Stover were all favorites of mine at the time. I also remember having bubble bath bottles in the shape of Pogo characters. I think I had Churchy and Howland.

Kelley’s work in Animal Comics is simple and entertaining, and it’s interesting watching his style develop, knowing that he will become one of the best cartoonists of his day.

SKY MASTERS OF THE SPACE FORCE: The collections I’m reading contains 11 continuities. The second story introduces Sgt. Will Riot, a Ben Grimm prototype. It deals with a saboteur who bears a striking resemblance to Kirby’s Loki. The third story introduces a female character, Mayday Shannon. Her pose in the character sheet looks quite similar to a much later character from Kirby’s Silver Star. As I mentioned last week, the quality of the reproduction is inconsistent. Most of the strips inked by Wally Wood look pretty good; it’s mostly the later ones by Dick Ayers that are murky. It’s hard to imagine these strips are pre-Fantastic Four. I can see now why some consider Wally Wood to be Kirby’s best inker. There are a few errors in physics on display here, but in comparison to Gould’s fanciful “Moon Era” strips, it’s a textbook.

TOMB OF DRACULA #46 & 48: I started a comprehensive reading project twice before. the first time I got only through issue #30 or so, the second time only through #20. I’m considering putting this one back in the near future.

GIANT-SIZE X-MEN FOREVER #1: Dave Cockrum was a former Legion of Super-Heroes artist who went on to draw the X-Men. While there, he introduced the Imperial Guard, visually based on the LSH. Mike Grell was a LSH artist who never had the opportunity to draw either the X-Men or the Imperial Guard… until now. It is also interesting to see Grell’s work here because he once followed Neal Adams on Green Lantern/Green Arrow, and now he’s “following” Adams on X-Men.

A second story features the Avengers of the time when these stories are set (circa ealy ‘90s continuity) and sets up X-Men Forever 2. This issue also reprints Uncanny X-Men #108 (with art by John Byrne), which also features the Imperial Guard.

SAGA OF THE SWAMP THING: I started reading Swamp Thing with the first issue, but not in 1973. I read it when it was reprinted in the Roots of the Swamp Thing mini-series in 1986. Similarly, I did not read Alan Moore’s Swamp Thing when it first started, either. I had been aware of the reputation he had been building, though, so after I started reading the Wein/Wrightson version, I sought out the Alan Moore material. The first issue I bought was #34, which was a (recent) back issue even then, attracted by the cover.

Once I decided I liked it, I collected all of the Moore back issues and continued reading the rest of Moore’s tenure. The early issues of the series were pretty cheap then, so I bought them as well, but until the recent omnibus collecting them I had never read them. I’m honestly surprised at how good they really are. The main association I have of writer Martin Pasko is the execrable version of E-Man he did for First Comics. It’s been a while since I read the “America Gothic” arc, but I’m pretty sure Alan Moore revisits the town of Rosewood, IL Pasko introduced in SOTST #33. I’ll have more to say about that when I get to that point.

Umami #3 (Ken Niimura)

The third issue of Niimura's Panel Syndicate e-comic nicely resolves the cliff-hanger he left us with at the end of the previous installment. The two cooks seem to finally be bonding, which is a good thing because their trip to the capital may take awhile.

The Black Incal (Jodorowsky & Moebius)

A European classic I've always intended to read. This is the first part of the series, a free Kindle download a few months back. Surprisingly humorous: there's a lot of detective noir parody, despite the rather crazy dystopian future setting. I may try to get one of the series compilations in book form through Interlibrary Loan.

I get a bit behind on my reading even on the titles I try to follow. I can't remember if this was mentioned and thought to start a thread about it but I don't know how many of you read Peter Parker the Spectacular Spider-Man #6 (the issue before its Legacy renumbering) and know about its truly shock ending! 

(Yes I know it was done before but still...)

I don't want to give it away!

AVENGERS #678: I was caught up in the mystery of Voyager for the first two parts of this storyline, but the plot has moved away from that for now. The third part was delayed reaching my LCS due to a highway in another state closed by a snowstorm, and by the time I got to my LCS (on Saturday) that week’s issue had been sold out and I scrambled to find it. This week, although I was at my LCS by 12:30, it had already been sold out, forcing me to scramble again. This weekly storyline is difficult on retailers because they have to place orders for the first several issues before they know how well they are likely to sell. As popular (and as hard to find) as this story has proven to be, many customers at my LCS have added it to their pull & hold, leaving fewer copies for the shelf. I have now added it to my P&H as well for the duration of the story.

Having done that, I realize I’m not really enjoying this story very much. When I read the recap of #677 in #678 I found myself asking, “Is that what happened last issue?” Until now my main focus has become simply the finding of these issues rather than the reading of them. I’m not a big fan of this art style. I find it murky and confusing, not at all what I prefer in a superhero comic book. The heroes have changed so much since the last time I encountered them, plus this story has introduced so many new characters, I can’t tell the heroes from the villains. I have nothing else to say, really.

JLA DOOM PATROL SPECIAL #1: Unlike that of Avengers #678, I really like the art on display here. I wish I could say the same for the story. First of all, I have always objected to the kind of story I have previously (and perhaps unfairly?) classified as “weirdness for weirdness’ sake.” That what I see on display here. It’s one thing when Grant Morrison does it, but this reads like a pale imitation of his work (…to me). Worse, though, is that, despite this being marketed as “Part One,” it obviously picks up from somewhere. “Milkman Man” is actually Superman, and the other members of the JLA have similar such identities as well, with no explanation of how they got that way or even a footnote or editorial explanation of where this story is continued from. DC is playing to their base (the “Young Animal” crowd) and the assumption seems to be that anyone buying this crossover is already hip. My mistake. If a basic tenant of storytelling is to have a beginning, a middle and an end, the story told here (in “Part One”) has no beginning.

PHOENIX RESURRECTION: RETURN OF JEAN GREY #5: This is the conclusion of the mini-series which reintroduces Jean Grey to the Marvel Universe. The story is so decompressed that there’s not enough meat in any given chapter to make it enjoyable. I would recommend it only in collected form or for all five parts to be read in a single sitting.

So, at work I did wrap up the final volume of Y: The Last Man, and I loved it. Once I started thinking about it, it was kind of like binge watching a TV show, as I burned through all 5 volumes of the series in what a little over 2 weeks? It was really good, and I highly recommend it. 

 PLUS, a few people asked about it, and one of co-workers even asked to borrow the first volume.

Travis Herrick (Modular Mod) said:

So, at work I did wrap up the final volume of Y: The Last Man, and I loved it. Once I started thinking about it, it was kind of like binge watching a TV show, as I burned through all 5 volumes of the series in what a little over 2 weeks? It was really good, and I highly recommend it. 

 PLUS, a few people asked about it, and one of co-workers even asked to borrow the first volume.

I read Y, The Last Man a long while ago via borrowing all the trades from the library. I liked a lot of things about it. I found the premise intriguing, I liked that there was a steady writer and artist team throughout the entire run, which helped it hang together better, and I liked Agent 355 and many of the other characters.

The one weak link in the whole thing? Yorick. I couldn't stand him. It's amazing I stuck with the book all the way to the end not liking the lead character, but I found him nothing but irritating. 

Beginning  my roughly yearly catch-up of The Walking Dead with The Walking Dead, Vol. 26: Call to Arms. The differences from the TV show seem to require more mental adjustment each time.

I finally read the last three issues of Letter 44. Soule and Albuquerque wrap up the storyline well, with an operatic penultimate issue, and then a big jump forward in time for the final issue. It's a good run, though I never really warmed to Albuquerque's art -- the action is always clear, but I find his people a little odd-looking. 

I would have read this sooner, but my LCS for some reason shorted me on the penultimate issue, and it never came in on a reorder. (And I kept forgetting which issue I was missing, so I wasn't much help in that regard.) So I finally bought it on Comixology. The next time IDW has a sale on Comixology, the whole series should be pretty affordable.  

TALES OF SUSPENSE #101: This is developing into a fairly decent “buddy” book, although the creative team are trying a little two hard to be the next DeMattheis/Giffen/McGuire. The dialogue is often clever, but the artist just doesn’t have the chops to pull off McGuire-esque facial expressions.

POGO: I have read through Animal Comics #21. #19 introduces a “hep” mosquito from New Jersey named Citronella Jones. Pogo’s full name is Ponce de Leon Montgomery County Alabama Georgia Beauregard Possum. In #20, Pogo is on the “Chambah of Commas”. The story introduces Hip-Skitch de hop-frawg and Bowl Weevil. From time to time, when Albert becomes aggressive, Kelley draws him in a more realistic, less anthropomorphic style.

NANCY: When I was in junior high and high school, I thought Ernie Bushmiller’s Nancy was pretty corny. It was, but that was the point. Bushmiller never got the respect he deserved while he was alive, even from his fellow cartoonists. Fantagraphics has released three collections of Nancy dailies from Bushmiller’s peak in the 1940s. I’ve been stuck in the middle of the third volume for nearly four years now, but finished it off this weekend. Because it’s been so long since the last volume, I wonder if that means the end of the series. I hope not.

SKY MASTERS: I’ve read two more stories, which has taken me to the end of 1959. In the first, Sky and a romantic rival are “rescued” by a group of headhunters. The second, pure fantasy, deals with an astronaut who “channels” a jewel thief for 15 minutes every time the space station passes over Great Britain. The strip is now well into the Ayers period. It is still top notch, but no longer magical.

BEAUTIFUL STORIES FOR UGLY CHILDREN: This series written by Dave Louapre and illustrated by Dan Sweetman, began in 1989 and was described as “shock therapy on paper.” Each issue featured “tales from the very edge, forcing you to decide for yourself which parts are beautiful and which parts are ugly.” First up: “A Cotton Candy Autopsy,” a story about “a gang of desperate clowns on a joyride. Along the way they find brutality, madness, death and love.” I was never frightened of clowns before… until Donal Trump was elected President.

NEXT UP: Swamp Thing.

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