Saturday, January 02, 2010

The Year in Comics: 2009

Until 2009 I pretty well eschewed reading comics. Oh, I gave Joss Whedon’s X-Men books a spin, dipped into Sandman, tried Star Wars: Legacy, and read Buffy: Season Eight, but those were notable exceptions. This year was different. My comic reading in January and February was fairly light since I was just dipping my toes into the world of comics, but starting in March things began to get heavy.

In March I started three major series: Fables, Girl Genius, and Queen & Country. This began my comic obsession. I read as much as I could get my hands on and when I ran out of those first three, I dipped into Y: The Last Man, Preacher, and Transmetropolitan.

Now, at the end of the year, I have finished or caught up with the following:
Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season Eight
Ex Machina
Girl Genius
Jack of Fables
Queen & Country
Star Wars: Legacy
Uptown Girl
Y: The Last Man

I’ve read such short-run work as:
The Arrival
The Bottomless Belly Button
Locke and Key
Mouse Guard
Pride of Baghdad

Now, there are a few series I’m working on right now: 100 Bullets, Bone, and Scalped. But, I’m looking for some new series to try out in 2010.

I’m using Paul Cornell’s Hugo list to get some ideas, and that’s where I discovered quite a few books I read last year.

Books I plan on trying are:
Air, by G. Willow Wilson
Fear Agent, by Rick Remender
I Kill Giants, by Joe Kelly
Incognito, by Ed Brubaker
Madame Xanadu, by Matt Wagner
Rasl, by Jeff Smith
The Umbrella Academy, by Gerard Way
Unknown Soldier, by Joshua Dysart
The Unwritten, by Mike Carey
The Walking Dead, by Robert Kirkman

The only problem that I have here is that I’m limited to what my library has (and my library is awesome, mind you) because I have no budget for purchasing individual issues or collections, with a related problem being that most of the comics I just listed are very early in their runs and that means I will probably only have one collection to read and then wait.

What I need is something that has been out for long enough to have accumulated five or more collections. Hellblazer is an option, that’s something that’s been recommended to me. Greg Rucka is only just beginning his new title Stumptown, so no matter how awesome I think it will be, we’ve only got an issue or two, not even a collection. Once I finish Bone and 100 Bullets, I really need to have something awesome to step up and ready to roll (and even if I wasn’t caught up with Ex Machina, it isn’t awesome).


arkib said...

You could try out The Goon by Eric Powell. That's got quite a few collections out. There's also Criminal by Brubaker and Phillips (same team that worked on Incognito) and that has about 4 collections out.

There's a distinct lack of Peter David books on that list. I think some of his stuff is worth trying out even if you're not into the capes stuff (which you don't seem to be). For starters I'd recommend X-Factor (the current series not the older one), which starts with a very nice mini-series that gives you a taste of what you can expect (and made me subsequently gobble up the rest of the series). It's called "Madrox: Multiple Choice" IIRC and you don't need much knowledge really of the continuity. I suppose anything you do lack can be made up for using wikipedia. There's also his series called Fallen Angel (which I think has some links with the Buffyverse).

You could try out Powers by Bendis and Oeming, which is what a cop show would be like with an ex-superhero investigating superhero or powers-related cases as they're called.

Something that might help you find more books is a number of articles on sites like CBR: or

You could perhaps look at trying some manga too. There's a lot of series out there with more than 5+ volumes collected. Some notable ones include 20th Century Boys, Monster, NANA, Pluto, Mushishi, Honey & Clover, Yotsuba&! and Aria. If you're feeling really adventurous you might want to try One Piece, but unlike the ones above it's not really as adult-orientated. However, it's still a personal favourite of mine, even though I'm not really in the target age group, because it's just so fun and imaginative.

Oh and just remembered some more comics from smaller publishers: Wasteland from Oni Press and Atomic Robo. However they don't quite match the 5 or more collected volumes criteria, but in most cases are close enough (4 and 3 volumes collected respectively).

Hope that helps some. There's some good stuff out there, even some of the "capes" books are worth a shot IMO.

Joe said...

Yeah, not so much into the superhero stuff - to the point that otherwise regarded stuff that offers an alternate spin on superhero or supervillains is still tough to pick up.

Ever since I tried to read one of Peter David's Battlestar Galactica novels I've avoided stuff with his name on it. It was wretched. Maybe he does better in comics (or in ideas). Dunno.

Buuuuuut....thank you VERY much for those two links. I really like the looks of what the writers / editors came up with - and since it references a bunch of stuff I've heard of / seen listed elsewhere - I think those two links might jive well with my tastes.

I thought about mentioning Criminal in the post. I definitely need to check that out.

Forgot about Wasteland. Antony Johnston did some work one of the Queen & Country: Declassified volumes and that speaks well of him. I might have to check that one out if my library has it.


Unknown said...

Hmmm...interesting. I've not read any of his novels yet but I've heard mostly good stuff about them. Particularly his Star Trek ones and some of his own creations. Although to be fair I've not really read up on the general feeling about his Battelstar ones (I'm not really that interested in that universe). But, yeah, I've mainly read his comics work which I think is also quite well regarded (maybe even morseo?). I plan to read some of his own creations like Sir Apropos of Nothing novels which sound like a bit of fun to balance out the perhaps overly dramatic stuff that I normally tend to read.

Glad I could help.

Unknown said...

Oops. Hadn't realized I wasn't signed in when I made the first comment. Might have been to do with being in an internet cafe.

Just to clear any confusion arkib = sg4 = me. I tend to use different aliases depending on where I am. Strange, I know.

Hmm you can probably delete this comment. Just wanted to clear up any confusion