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

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Most of what I have to say today is about various reading “projects” (which I hope to get around to posting later today), but here are my thoughts on a few new comics from last week.

SILVER SURFER #14: I’ve already chosen this as my “Pick of the Week”. It’s the last issue in the Dan Slott / Mike Allred series (actually the 29th issue). Taken as a whole, this series is a great interpretation of an old character, and this issue caps the series off perfectly. I’d recommend this series to anyone on the board, but if you haven’t read it before don’t start here.

RUFF & REDDY SHOW #1: In this series, Howard chaykin posits a world populated by both humans and beings called “celimates” which are flesh & blood but also “animated” (think Who Framed Roger Rabbit?). I recommend this to anyone who is interested in the late ‘50s/early ‘60s television era (Chaykin certainly is) and who likes Chaykin’s stories but want to avoid the excesses such as, say, The United States of Hysteria.

KONG: GODS OF SKULL ISLAND: I think this takes place in the same continuity as the recent movie (as opposed to the recent comic book series), but it really doesn’t matter one way or the other because it’s entirely self-contained. It’s basically a reimagining of the familiar story told in beautiful watercolor.

SHAZAM!: I finished up Archive v3. I think I’ll take a break from this series for a while.

CLASSICS ILLUSTRATED: FRANKENSTEIN (Attn: Luke): My issue is #26, but the back cover features an ad for the first 165 issues. The cover art is by Norman Saunders (as I mentioned), and the idicia reads December 1945. The LCS wrote “12th” on the price tag, which I take to mean 12th printing.

FANTASTIC FOUR #81: The Wizard… again. Again, nothing new. Crystal joins the team replacing Sue, on maternity leave.

EC LIBRARY: I finished up Came the Dawn, the Wally Wood volume (one of them, anyway). Wood is (arguably) primarily known for his science fiction work. This volume contains his “shock” and “suspense” work in chronological order. One story in particular, “In Gratitude” (which I had never read before), was particularly effective. I anticipated the ending, but when I got there it nevertheless brought a lump to my throat.

I’ll share more of me weekend reading tomorrow.

Jeff of Earth-J said:

SHAZAM!: I finished up Archive v3. I think I’ll take a break from this series for a while.

There's only one more volume.

There's one more volume of Shazam archives, followed by one of Shazam Family. afer that, I had planned to read the Monster Society of Evil collection which starts around the same time. I'm just taking [what hope ends up being] a short break. I'll resume with v4.

DEADMAN #1: The first issue of a new mini-series written and illustrated by Neal Adams. Adams may not be the best scripter or plotter in the business, but he approaches his series with such energy and enthusiasm that I always find them entertaining. If you read his recent mini-series featuring Batman and Superman you have a pretty good idea of what to expect. They’re a hoot!

CAPTAIN AMERICA #695: I’ve already posted elsewhere that this is my “pick of the week.” I bought onlyt four comics this week, but it would likely have been my pick regardless of how many I bought. This is the Captain America series I have been waiting for! If you’ve been looking for a super-hero series in which the hero is truly heroic, you owe it to yourself to check this one out.

PAPER GIRLS #17: This series has moved pretty far beyond four girls and their paper routes. This issue starts to explain the mechanics of the time travel being used in this series. If you haven’t been reading it, don’t start here. Buy the first TPB.

STRAY BULLETS #29: The structure of this series is really quite remarkable. Every issue is a chapter of an ongoing crime noir story with a rotating and ever-changing cast of characters yet, amazingly, every issue tells its own self-contained story. I think anyone could pick up any issue and be able to follow along, but you’ll be doing yourself a favor if you read it in context of the entire tapestry. Every single month I get so caught up in the story that the end of the issue kind of sneaks up on me. Every month I try to be cognizant of the fact I’m reading a comic book with a finite number of pages, and every month I fail.

FANTASTIC FOUR #82-83: Features the Inhumans. Kirby is still playing with the toys already in the box.

FANTASTIC FOUR #84-87: The FF are trapped in Latveria in a story obviously modeled after the cult TV show The Prisoner. I say “obviously,” but I didn’t pick up on it for a long time. I first read this series of Lee/Kirby stories (reprinted in Marvel’s Greatest Comics) during my freshman year in college. A few years later, still in college, I discovered The Prisoner. A few years after that, I acquired the whole series on VHS, but I still hadn’t put two and two together. It was probably the next time reading the Lee/Kirby FFs after that that (probably circa 1994) I finally figured it out. (This story features what is probably the loopiest depiction of Doctor Doom ever.) I wouldn’t say these issues are derivative of The Prisoner, merely inspired by it.

FANTASTIC FOUR #88-89: Every person who buys a house for the first time should watch The Money Pit. Every person who buys a house for the first time should also read this two-parter, which starts with “A House There Was!” Somehow, I acquired a copy of FF #88 when I was in junior high school, but I wasn’t able to read the conclusion (from MGC) until college. The Kirby family would have been in the midst of moving from the East to the West Coast when these issues were produced, which I’m sure served as partial inspiration.

FANTASTIC FOUR #90-93: If #84-87 were inspired by The Prisoner, then #90-93 were surely inspired by Star Trek (“A {Piece of the Action” mainly, but also “The Gamesters of Triskileon” and, to a much lesser degree for the design of the weapons, “Amok Time”). This story mainly concerns the Skrulls, but Kirby did design one new character for this story, Torgo, who has popped up a time or two since).

A couple of days ago I finished reading the TPB collection titled Superman: Kryptonite, written by the late great Darwyn Cooke, with art by Tim Sale.

It wasn't a version of the talking kryptonite stories from the Weisinger era. Instead, it has an entity who was studying the world of Krypton and was trapped, at the time of Krypton's destruction, in a huge meteor which winds up as kryptonite on Earth with the entity still inside. We then discover that it is very early in Superman's career and that he isn't really sure he's indestructible. I found this to be a very original idea. I would recommend this to anyone who likes the character.

SWAMP THING: I read the Wein/Wrightson Swamp Thing for the first time in 1986 when DC reprinted it in the Roots of the Swamp Thing series. I’ ve read it several times over the years, most recently in 2009 as part of the late lamented DC Classic Comics Library series. My wife read the Wein/Wrightson and the Moore/Bissette/Totleben issues shortly after we were married. She got into enough that she continued to buy/read beyond that as back issues. (Tracy has read more issues of Swamp Thing than I have.)

Shortly after I discovered the Alan Moore issues in college I bought the Pasko/Yeates issues, but I have yet to this day to read them. When my wife was going through her Swamp Thing phase, I bought up the rest of the original run, but I haven’t read those yet, either. A couple of weeks ago, I bought the Swamp Thing Omnibus which collects every issue prior to Alan Moore’s run. I don’t know if Tracy is going to read it or not, but I’ve started it. So far I haven’t read anything I haven’t read before. If I continue beyond the Moore issues to the ones Tracy collected years ago, this could well become my big reading project of 2018.

EC LIBRARY: After finishing “Came the Dawn” (a Wally Wood volume), I moved on to “Child of Tomorrow” (an Al Feldstein volume).

HAUNTED HORROR / WEIRD LOVE: Even though these are reprint series, a year or so ago I numbered these two from Yoe Books among my favorites. I took them for granted, though, and allowed myself to fall behind. Startting now, I’m going to make a concentrated effort to get caught up. (Should make an interesting counterpoint to the EC Library series.)

I bought all of the Alan Moore Swamp Thing TPBs but so far have only read the first volume.

I enjoyed the Wein/Wrightson Swamp Thing back in the day. When Wrightson* left I also enjoyed the Nestor Redondo art and the David Michelinie writing following Wein.

* His dog-like leg on a werewolf was the first time I saw this. I'm pretty sure he originated this look, which has been used in comics and movies ever since.

I have read the early Moore stuff multiple times, but the issues comprising "American Gothic" and beyond ony once. I'm looking forward to reading those for a second time, but it'll take me a while to get there.

I am recalling so much detail of the Wein Wrigthson issues I had forgotten.

I read the Wein/Redondo stuff, once, back in 2009; I've never read the Michelinie stuff.

On thing about the omnibus collection: it includes Annual #1 (the movie adaptation), but I wish it included the Swamp Thing/Deadman issues of Challengers of the Unknown. As it is, the first series leaves off with Alex Holland restored to humanity, and the second series picks up with him a monster again, seemingly inexplicably.

JIM APARO BATMAN: Earlier this year the thought occurred to me that I hadn’t read any Batman in a while, and I decided to read the the-two-and-soon-to-be-three collections of stories drawn by “my” Batman artist, Jim Aparo. Most of his early DC work was done for The Brave & the Bold, so I decided to back up a bit prior to Aparo’s run and read another recent acquisition, the Brave & Bold Omnibus: The Bronze Age, which focuses on Batman team-ups. The end of that volume went 10 or so issues into Aparo’s run, but by the time I finished it, I was ready to take a break.

That was several weeks ago, and I’m ready to resume with Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight: Jim Aparo Vols. 1-3. Although it has been only weeks since I last read issues #98-109 (the duplicated issues), I decided to read them a second time, from an “Aparo” rather than a “Batman” POV. These are pretty good stories, and reading them again in such quick succession helps reinforce them in my memory. Soon I will move on to issues I have never before read.

Zomnibus Vol. 2

IDW Publishing, 2011

Continuing with the IDW omnibus horror collections I picked up at HeroesCon a couple of years ago: the Halloween season seemed a good time to finally dip into them. Got to love the title! Didn't see how I could go wrong at $5, so I bought both volumes on the same day.

"Everybody's Dead" (written by Brian Lynch, art by Dave Crosland, colors by Leonard O'Grady) is the five-issue miniseries that opens the collection. Most of the action takes place at a Halloween party hosted by a questionable college fraternity. The second page has the caption "This is the story of the last, best night on Earth," so Spoiler Alert: things do not turn out well. This is a real B-movie story, with fairly stereotypical character types: the nerd, the jock, an older guy who has been an eternal college student, and so on. Crosland draws the series in a simple cartoon style, prioritizing energy over detail. The cause of the zombie outbreak is unusual. What looks like some sort of meteor strike turns out to be a bomb, possibly military in origin. That is one story thread that remains unresolved at the end, but the action covers for it unless you really stop to think about it.

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