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 went through Batman: White Knight #1-8 and thought that it was a provocative read that raised a lot of questions about the Bat-mythos.

It clearly takes place in a world very similar to the Batman: The Animated Series with all its designs and homages. It's one of those "Batman-Is-Out-Of-Control" stories where the Dark Knight appears to do whatever he wants, no matter who gets hurt or, more to the story's point, how much property damage he does!

Its other focus is on a now-cured Joker or Jack Napier (definitely NOT the movie version) who wants to save Gotham from Batman and its very real corruption. This Joker differs significantly from every other Joker as we must believe that:

  1. He's not disfigured
  2. He has a chemical imbalance thus the Joker is more like Mister Hyde
  3. Harley Quinn has been a calming influence on him (the first one anyway!)
  4. And most importantly, the Joker never officially killed anyone. Ever. There were suspicions but no proof!

It's a well-crafted story set in a world that I might want to see revisited but not too often.

...That's too bad about Dave"s condition, Jeff:-(.

  I also liked what I saw then of his " 1970s fan and early pro stuff " CEREBUS ARCHIVES anthology, and found out recently that there were considerably more issues of it than I thought.



Jeff of Earth-J said:

“I picked up an issue of something called Glamourpuss from the 10-cent bin, and I didn't know what to make of it.”

I didn’t know quite what to make of it, either, but I read every issue. It started out as a cross between fashion magazine parody and comic strip scholarship. Eventually, the “comic book scholarship” piece of it morphed into a deep dive into the death of Alex Raymond which, for me, was fascinating in its minutia. As you point out, it didn’t sell very well. Since then, Dave Sim has developed some sort of condition which renders him unable to draw. A shame, really.

His current work (a series of one-shots with comic book parody cover I will refer to generally as “Cerebus in Hell?”) is the story of paste-ups of Cerebus walking through Dante’s Inferno with Dante and Virgil as illustrated by Gustav Dore. I don’t know quite what to make of that, either (but, again, I’ve read every issue).

I bought several issue of Cerebus Archives but dropped it because I didn't consider it a good value.

I think I stopped just an issue or three shy of completing the run.

LITTLE ORPHAN ANNIE –APRIL/MAY 1932:

April 3rd is a Sunday, so Trixie makes another attempt on Sandy’s life. This time, she catches him unawares and pushes him off the roof of the penthouse. (How I hate that woman!) Luckily, he falls onto an awning on the floor below and, as it rips, is deposited right back inside. The next Sunday she tries to poison him. But Annie sees the tempting piece and, not knowing it’s been poisoned, throws it away. Then she gets to thinking and decides Sandy should be broken of the habit of filching candy, so she takes a different piece, fills it with Mexican hot pepper sauce and places it on top. Of course, Trixie eats it and is convinced she’s dying.

The next day, “Daddy” and Annie overhear Trixie explain to Dr. Lens why she thinks she’s been poisoned. Later, she claims to have been delirious. “Daddy” believes her, but Annie retrieves the poisoned piece and takes it to Dr. Lens who confirms it had enough poison to kill a herd of elephants.

“Daddy gets wise to Trixie’s feelings about his friends, but thinks she dotes on Annie. Trixie hires Miss Pish ad Mr. Twiddle to redecorate the apartment. She goes too far when she allows them to redecorate Warbucks’ study.

After the redecorating fiasco, “Daddy” decides Trixie needs something to keep her occupied, so he buys a country estate. A week is spent showing all the time, money and effort he put into getting it in shape. When she sees it, she doesn’t appreciate it. After spending another week of her complaining, they move back to the city.

Next she throws a big party. Warbucks is not impressed by the “geniuses” who attend. They spend their time running down money and the wealthy, while alternately hitting Warbucks up for financing. Then Trixie becomes interested in Warbuck’s will. He’s as healthy as a horse and may well live another 30 years, yet when she finds out that he has left half his money to her (which would still amount to billions) and half to Annie, she becomes jealous of Annie’s half.

PRINCE VALIANT: Val and Arn come upon a black knight and ask to borrow equipment so that they may continue their fight. “You can help yourself to anything of mine you need if either of you be man enough to take it,” comes the reply. Arn wins the toss and soon unseats the knight. Arn and Val begin a duel to the death for the hand of Ilene. They fight on ad on until they are interrupted by a Viking raiding party. Val and Arn and the black knight scatter the raiders. One of the Vikings’ freed prosoners tells them that Ilene has been kidnapped.

The black knight rides off to Camelot for help while Valiant and Arn ride to rescue Ilene. They confront a group of Vikings at the bridge at Dundorn Glen. Val’s horse is mortally wounded. To buy time, Val volunteers to hold off the Vikings while Arn continues the quest to rescue Ilene. Before Arn leaves (#70), he give Val the legendary “Singing Sword.” In strip #71, Val holds off 50 Viking warriors as they attempt to cross the narrow bridge.

Eventually, Val succumbs to fatigue. The Viking leader reckons Val is the son of a king and decides to hold him for ransom. Back at the Vikings’ camp, Val bargains for his life with Thagnar, the Vikings’ leader, in his father’s language. Thagnar allows Val to fight for his life against his executioner, a giant. Weary, Val nevertheless wins by using his opponent’s weight against him. For his prize, he asks for Ilene’s life. Thagnar is impressed and wants Val as one of his captains.

Just then, a band of raiders arrives with Ilene. Val is able to leave a message for Arn on a rock. Arn finds the message and sets out in pursuit in one of his father’s ships. Val sees them coming and directs the Vikings’ attention away from the pursuing craft. Eventually, Val’s ruse is discovered. One of the Viking ships stop to battle Arn’s, while Thagnar’s, the one carrying Val and Ilene goes on. Rather than sacrifice his own life needlessly, Val swims to Arn’s ship to help with that battle.

After losing Thagnar at sea, Val and Arn continue their pursuit on land, on foot, alone. Eventually they reach King Sligon in Val’s father’s castle. Val is recognized. Val talks himself out of being hanged. He and Arn proceed to Thagnar’s village, but he has not yet returned. Tracing the shore, they eventually find the wreckage of Thagnar’s ship and evidence that Ilene has drowned. They build a shire to Ilene, then set about finding a way across the sea back to Britain.

Last week I pointed out that a single 12-page installment of Captain Marvel Adventures has more story than an average “decompressed story of today; so does a one single page of Hal Foster’s Prince Valiant!

I finished the Hellboy Omnibus volume 2 yesterday, and man, is it a good read. It brought me through to where I'd dropped the monthlies, expecting to pick up the trade paperbacks and never getting around to it. So I've got about 1,000 more pages of Hellboy goodness that I've never seen before in volumes 3 & 4 and the Collected Short Stories volume 2 to look forward to. 

Now that I have a decent place to relax and read comics, I feel like I can finally put a dent into my pile.

What I've read the past couple of days:

Oblivion Song #2-4: Not everyone is able to readjust to normal life when the return from Oblivion, and Nathan continues to make trips there to tray an find his brother. I wish more happened in each issue, and the art for Oblivion is great. As it is, this series is closed to getting the axe from me. 

Old Man Hawkeye #4-6: I enjoy alternate future storylines like this as you get some neat ideas going on, and you don't have to worry about ruining someone else's plans for whatever characters. Issue 3 gave us the reason for Hawkeye's mission, he is hunting down the members of the Thunderbolts for betraying the heroes. Here fights the Beetle, is pursued by Venom the Multiple Man, and hunted by Bullseye. Venom pursues him to Kate Bishop's sanctuary, and this causes both of them to flee. She isn't happy about it. Bullseye just wants a chance to take out another superhero, even going so far as to ignore the orders of the Red Skull.  Oh, and Hawkeye misses a lot now, because he is going blind. 

My biggest problem with this storyline is that it take place 45 years in the future which, to me, puts most of these characters at 75 or older. But whatever its a fun ride.

Star Wars: Thrawn #3-6: The final issues of the mini-series, and I liked it a lot. We get to see Thrawn and his aide Eli Vanto rise through the ranks of the Imperial Navy. Just about each issue was a complete story on its own, and still telling an overarching tale as well. This series does a really good job of once again showcasing Thrawn's strategic capabilities, and being able to outwit his opponents. As well as showing his weakness in the political game, luckily he has allies to help him with that.

Stray Bullets #34-38: I noticed when I was at my LCS on Saturday that this series is now a 5 dollar book, so I needed to decide if I wanted to continue with the series. As of now I think so, this is still a really good book, and I rather drop a couple of other mediocre books and keep this one. This included an Amy Racecar issue, which I always find kind of a beating. Here though we see a lot of players slowly coming back together, and an unexpected ally for Annie, Orson, and the others, mainly because I thought he died. 

PRINCE VALIANT:

Val and Arn spot a ship in trouble and guide it to safety. It is one of Arthur’s ships, carrying Sirs Kay, Percival, Negarth, Tristram, Vriens and Ector to fetch Sir Launcelot. The Angles have been driven to the coast, and Arthur is going to hold the “greatest tournament in history” in celebration of the victory. Lancelot tells Val and Arn that if Ilene had lived and one had killed the other for her hand, it would have been a worse outcome. Next: the tournament.

LITTLE ORPHAN ANNIE – JUNE 1932:

Wun Wey left a priceless Chinese idol in Warbucks’ hands for safekeeping while he left town. Trixie shatters it, then blames Annie. Annie denies it, and Warbucks can’t figure it out. Annie later tells Trixie that she saw her break it. “Aw, don’t start runnin’ a feverover it. I’m no tattle-tale and I’m no buck-passer, either. And I’m no fibber.” Trixie later tells Wun wey that Annie broke it, but Wun Wey knows she’s lying. The look he gives her scares Trixie into spending the weekend (and the next several weekends) at the country estate with “Daddy” and Annie because she’s afraid to stay alone.

Trixie has a department store clerk fired just for meanness. Annie is witness and gets the woman a job at Jake’s store. Jake is doing a little better than breaking even. He has the opportunity to expand, but doesn’t have the capital. Annie puts a bug in “Daddy’s” ear and, after thinking it over, Warbuck’s offers to become Jake’s business partner. He tells Jake, “Call it dreams or imagination, it’s a gift. If you can’t see what you’re shooting at, you can’t hit it very often.” Warbucks invests in a department store building and Jake begins to advertise.

Trixie is intrigued by this new store, but Warbucks has kept her in the dark. When she finds out she is furious. She contacts her lawyer, Timothy J. Jackal. Together they hope to prove him non compos mentos and gain control of his millions. Additionally, Jackal is close to being disbarred and plans to double-cross Trixie.

House Amok #1: From Christopher Sebela and Shawn McManus, this book is...really strange, but it's also really good. A girl lives with her loving nuclear family, but they also happen to be evil. They are very caring toward each other ("weirdly close", she calls them), but they can't seem to understand why this one girl--one of a set of twins--is a little uncomfortable with what they do.

I think I will continue reading this, just because it's so different from anything else I'm currently enjoying. The art won't be for everyone, but if you're in to kind of twisty, almost light-hearted with a dark side books, give this one a try.

"This included an Amy Racecar issue, which I always find kind of a beating."

I read #38 over the weekend. I'm always a bit disappointed when I see an issue tells an Amy Racecar story, but I usually end up enjoying it more than I expected to. It's always fun trying to figure out which real world elements carry over, like analyzing a dream. Not so much this time, though. The lines between reality and fantasy are blurring and the "Amy Racecar" stories aren't as much fun as they once were. Now more than ever, whenever I see one I wich he'd just get on with the main story.

I dropped Stray Bullets some time ago, as too much effort for too little reward. I much prefer Lapham's shorter stores like Murder Me Dead. And I guess I kinda half-intended to read a bunch of Stray Bullets at a sitting to see if it was easier going, but never got around to it. And Amy Racecar was one of the reasons I tired of it.

I didn't mention it here, as I didn't want to be stoned to death.  photo tongue.gif

More comics:

ADVENTURES OF SUPER SONS #1-2: I don't know why DC had to re-start this series, as nothing has really changed. (It's really very Marvel of them.) And I enjoy this series just as much as the old one. These two, who would never admit to being friends, are the best of friends and their stark differences is what makes it all fun.

Currently they're battling a group of aliens who ape our worst villains, but they're the same age as our Super Sons, which makes it fair-ish. If you're curious, the group comprises Rex Luthor, Joker Jr., Ice Princess, Shaggy Lad and Brainiac 6. Fun stuff.

ARCHIE 1941 #1: Oddly, this is a rather wistful, almost sad, book. not very funny at all. The jokes are few and far between, as it follows Archie through the summer of his high school graduation -- which also happens to be the wartime summer of 1941. The U.S. isn't in the war yet -- that won't happen until Pearl Harbor, in December -- but clearly the war is having an effect on him. Especially when everybody keeps asking him what he's going to do with his life. I think we can guess, and I'm looking forward to issue #2 to see if I'm right.

The art is pitch perfect for the period, which is always a joy to see.

ARCHIE #699: This issue, which follows from the rebooted, Mark-Waid written Archie, is essentially a summary of that series. If you've read that, you don't need this. Next issue, #700, will debut the new Waidless Archie.

BRITTANIA: LOST EAGLES OF ROME #1-2: I love this series, which features the first detective in history. Trained by the Vestal Virgins (who are much more than they seem), our hero is called a "detectioner," who rejects all gods and only respects what can be objectively proved. He works for the crazy and impulsive Emperor Nero, who needs to be avoided at all costs, but is sorta fun, in his lethal way.

This is the third Brittania series, and I've only read the first. I plan to re-read it, and read the second, in the near future.

THE SEEDS #1-2: Strike one was when the lead character said "Journalism school teaches you there are two sides to every story." Not the one in Texas I attended. Not the one I taught at in Tennessee. None that I know of, because that is just a dumb-as-dirt idea. Strike two was when the lead character said "No matter where you go, there you are," which is 34-year-old joke. I soldiered on anyway and ... meh.

Set in a dystopic future (aren't they all?), Earth may be dying, as some aliens have come to gather seeds of various plants and animals which they can sell for great riches once our planet is extinct. But our lead character is our cliched journalist, who works for an editor who encourages fake stories. Our Hero evidently has some sort of ideals, though, as she apparently agrees to do one crap story for every story she really wants to do -- the latest one being a trip into "B sector," which has rejected all technology, and about which little is known.

In the meantime, one of the aliens has become enamored of a human girl (who is on crutches/in a wheelchair for some reason) with whom he is having an affair. (The aliens look like Grays, and are apparently sexually compatible.) The aliens are an odd lot, especially the leader, who likes to watch human VR in the nude and yell strange things.

Also, there are a lot of bees, and a lot of bee imagery. I don't know why, and there are only two issues left. Are the aliens like bees, pollinating other worlds with our seeds? Not a very good metaphor, since bees don't kill the plants they take pollen from.

I'm not really impressed. I find the story disjointed and pretentious. The David Aja art is reason enough to keep plodding along, especially since it's for only two more issues.

DEATH ORB #1: Another dystopic future, but farther into the future (I guess), where I don't really know what's going on. There's a guy, who is some sort of superhuman hand-to-hand fighter (and whose face we never see), and who is searching for his pregnant wife in a world run by "Father" and the "The Lords." One guy he fights is sightless but can project or induce visions, and Our Hero decides that's useful to him and he takes the guy's head, which he seems to think will continue working those visions despite having no body. I don't know if he's right, and we are given not clue either way.

We see Father once, and he's lecturing some flunky on eliminating any people in stasis that aren't perfect. He also seems to think the world is ending, or something similar, and he is ... preserving people? Not sure. Also, the word "orb" is mentioned once, but I don't know what it is. And that's all I know, so, uh ....

I'll give it one or two more issues, but this feels like tired material.

NEIL GAIMAN'S ONLY THE END OF THE WORLD AGAIN: I usually like evertything Neil Gaiman does, but I glanced off this one without really "getting" it.

I think that it's maybe Gaiman's stab at an H.P. Lovecraft-type story. There are ancient alien gods in a northeast (Maine? Massachusetts?) fishing village, which are stymied in the end by our protagonist. Sorry, spoiler. But I have to mention it because our hero is a werewolf, so it's kinda bait and switch when we realize he's the good guy late in the story, after believing all along that he's a killer. (He isn't; he hunts deer.) Everyone in the story is an oddball and slightly sinister, and one guy might be based on Sidney Greenstreet, and there are people watching the progatonist who aren't explained. In fact, his whole schtick isn't explained; he appears to be new in town (I think?), opens some sort of detective agency, and now he'll move on. Maybe the implication is that he goes to where ancient gods are doing bad things? Unexplained.

Maybe I'd have liked it better if I didn't absolutely despise the art. The credits tell me P. Craig Russell did layouts, but I don't see any of that -- I just see Troy Nixey's ugly, slapdash, cartoonish art where everybody's nose looks like a potato.

Someone explain to me what I missed with this book. Given its provenance, it must be better than it seems.

I've never been a fan of Troy Nixey. I tried to like it, but I just don't see what others see.

I know the same goes for others with a lot of artists I really like, so it's all subjective.

Captain Comics said:

Maybe I'd have liked it better if I didn't absolutely despise the art. The credits tell me P. Craig Russell did layouts, but I don't see any of that -- I just see Troy Nixey's ugly, slapdash, cartoonish art where everybody's nose looks like a potato.

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