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

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Travis Herrick said:
The Steranko one had two issues he drew in X-men, but it was a 3-parter so I didn' t get to read the concluding issue. I will just assume that Magneto killed the X-Men and they were never seen again.

I like it. Certainly simplifies things, doesn't it?
Last night, before going to bed, I started reading the first Sweet Tooth trade. I had only intended to start on the first issue, but it was such a quick and interesting read that I wound up reading the whole thing. I hadn't heard of this book — a post-apocalyptic story about a world where a plague is wiping out humanity, except for the mutant children who are being born with animal attributes (antlers, pig noses, etc.) — until a month or two ago. Narratively, I don't know that it did anything particularly new, but it has solidly-written characters, and the art is very compelling. I'll be looking forward to future volumes.
Justice Society of America 80-Page Giant 2010
Strange Tales II
#1 of 3
Just read Garth Ennis' Crossed.
Not bad but even reading it in Graphic Novel format I got confused at one point because the story doesn't flow in a linear fashion. It bounces around with a lot of flashbacks but even the flashbacks aren't done in any order. That's just bad storytelling IMO.
That being said, Crossed certainly gives us a new take on the "End of Civilization"-type story and I may just get the Crossed: Family Values GN when it comes out.
I read The Marvels Project. I got about half the issues in the 50 cent bins, but it took me a while to find the other half. It's a re-telling of the origins of Captain America and the Human Torch, punctuated with a minor Timely hero, The Angel, investigating the murders of another "mystery man" and a private detective who run afoul of a cabal of Nazis operating in the U.S. Nick Fury also appears -- he and another soldier help Professor Erskine escape from Germany and defect to America to start the Super Soldier project -- and there are a couple of epic battles between the Human Torch and the Sub-Mariner.

Interesting reading, with fabulous art by Steve Epting.
Here's a link to the Marvels Project discussion if you're interested in reading it while the story's still fresh in your mind.
Began B.P.R.D.: 1947, the prequel story illustrated by the brothers Ba & Moon. The BPRD squad that Professor Bruttenholm sends to Europe gets in over their heads very quickly. Baron Konig (the vampire from the 1946 miniseries) has been slaughtering people. Bruttenholm thinks that an infamous party hosted by Konig in 1771 might provide clues, so he sends the team to investigate the French mansion where it took place. One team member visits the site at night, where he finds the mansion intact, and joins an enchanted company as they are transported to a secret site for an annual ritual invoking the goddess Hecate. When the rest of the team comes to the mansion the next morning, they find a burned-out ruin. But their investigations disturb a crowd of angry undead, and only one of the team escapes alive. Looking forward to seeing how it all turns out.

Back in 1993, Vertigo published the first Jonah Hex miniseries, Jonah Hex: Two-Gun Mojo by Joe Lansdale, Timothy Truman, and Sam Glanzman. It's considerably grittier than the current series, but it doesn't go out of its way to earn the "Mature Readers" tag. Strong characterization in both writing and art, for the supporting characters as well as Hex. In the first two of the five parts the horror elements have only been hinted at: it's mostly a Western so far. Vertigo really went all out for this one. The issues have 30 pages of story, no ads, and they're printed on heavy paper stock, with cover illustrations front and back. There's even a letter column, starting with the first issue (that one includes a short Jonah Hex history, as well as a letter requesting the return of the character, from the "Inside DC" column that used to run in all DC titles).
1947 ends with a partial win for the BPRD team. Agent Stegner and his armed force find the Brezina sisters with Agent Anders in their Austrian estate. Anders sees the sisters as alive and beautiful, the estate as sumptuous, much like the night scene at the French estate when he first encountered the supernatural. Stegner and his men see a decrepit place with two ugly vampires, and they stake the sisters. The Professor calls on an exorcist named Ota to free Anders. Ota is not able to exorcise the sisters, but finds a way to trap them inside Anders, who then appears fully recovered. But his demonic guests are a time bomb with could go off at any time: more on this in a later series, perhaps. The last couple issues also feature regular appearances by the young Hellboy, who is in Bruttenholm's care. Hellboy provides a bit of comic relief, playing baseball and eating pancakes. I enjoyed the art very much, and the sketches and commentary in the back provide some insight on how the brothers divided the art chores. One thing I realized while reading this collection: the original miniseries covers appear, but they are reproduced in monotone. It's a cool design element for the book, but I wish they had also included a full color cover gallery. Can't get too much Mignola!

Jonah Hex takes a supernatural turn as Hex is captured by the sideshow he has been pursuing for the murder of Slow Go Smith. Doc Williams had spent time in Haiti and New Orleans, learning voodoo and the art of zombification. Hex escapes before suffering the same fate, and resumes tracking the strange band. He finally catches up to them by accident while on the run from some Apaches, and joins them (plus the cavalry troop that was trying to protect them) in an epic battle. Hex and Doc both get away--with Apaches in pursuit--and Hex has his final revenge, leaving Doc alive so the Apaches can torture and kill him. So in the end the horror elements were fairly minor. It's an excellent Western comic, successful enough to spawn two sequels, which I look forward to getting to as I work my way up to the present.
Ah, those Vertigo Jonah Hex series were pretty good. I remember reading one issue out loud to my friends as we were on a road trip to Austin. I don't think that would be necessary in today's high-tech world.
"The Steranko one had two issues he drew in X-men, but it was a 3-parter so I didn' t get to read the concluding issue. I will just assume that Magneto killed the X-Men and they were never seen again."

Get "Essential Classic X-Men, Vol. 2," for the conclusion.
Started Locke & Key Vol. 1: Welcome To Lovecraft by Joe Hill & Gabriel Rodriguez, which I'd been meaning to get to for awhile. Very enjoyable suspense/horror storytelling. Rodriquez's style is a bit on the cartoony YA side (some manga influence there, I think), but it works.

Back with Vertigo in 1993, I read the first two issues of John Smith & Scot Eaton's Scarab, one of the odder early Vertigo titles. It's a superhero/horror blend, a bit like the early issues of The Sandman: the Phantom Stranger makes a prominent appearance in the second issue. It was originally announced as an ongoing series, then cut back to an 8-issue miniseries as a trial. Apparently it didn't do well enough to get any sequels. It really piles on the mystical elements, including a bunch of gibberish about ancient gods and fate. The Stranger says stuff like "The world-skin is diseased; the wheels of Chance are turning too fast." There are some abstract sequences similar to ones in Swamp Thing when the artist was trying to portray transitions to the Green or the spirit world (Eaton had worked on Swamp Thing recently at the time). It's actually better than I'm making it sound, enough so that I expect to finish it. But it's kind of ugly visually, including muddy coloring, and also has the ugliest Glenn Fabry covers ever.
Mark Sullivan said:
Started Locke & Key Vol. 1: Welcome To Lovecraft by Joe Hill & Gabriel Rodriguez, which I'd been meaning to get to for awhile. Very enjoyable suspense/horror storytelling. Rodriquez's style is a bit on the cartoony YA side (some manga influence there, I think), but it works.

That one took me a while to get into, even though it is, as you say, enjoyable suspense/horror storytelling. I think the art had something to do with it. Even though I like the look of Rodriguez's art, it served as a barrier to entry for me at points, just because you expect a more muted, scratchy, and/or realistic style for horror.

The other night I read the second Madame Xanadu volume, Exodus Noir. The series continues to be excellent (there was one moment in the book that I felt was a little comic book cliché, but I can't remember what it was now, which shows how fleeting that moment was), but I have to say, I didn't enjoy the art as much. Not that there's anything wrong with Michael William Kaluta's art, of course, but I had become so enchanted by Amy Reeder Hadley's airy, manga-esque art in the first book, that Kaluta's was a surprising gear shift.

I also read Batman: Cacophony. I opined to Jen earlier that, the more of his work I encounter, the less I enjoy Kevin Smith, and this one wasn't an exception. The thing is, I can't point to anything exactly horrendously bad about it, but the tone of the story — the characters' voices, particularly — were just off enough to me that I couldn't quite reconcile this with the Batman universe I'm used to, and didn't care enough about it to accept it as its own little universe. (Also, if it were as easy as pumping him full of drugs to make the Joker more-or-less lucid, why would they not have been doing that non-stop as soon as he passed through the doors of Arkham?)

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