Comic Books and Graphic Novels
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  1. #1
    Moderator Venerated Elder TransWarpDrive's Avatar
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    Comic Books and Graphic Novels

    This thread is for those of us who, like Kim's cousin Larry and Ned from Bueno Nacho, are comics fans. Feel free to post about your favorites, and discuss different aspects of the world of comics and graphic novels.
    My favorite comics are, of course, Batman and the Fantastic Four. I was fascinated by Frank Miller's "Dark Knight Returns" mini-series back in 1986, because it helped redefine Batman's character and gave sales of his various titles a boost. This storyline, along with his "Batman: Year One" series about a year or two later, had a profound influence on the making of some of the recent "Batman" movies. References to the fictional island of Corto Maltese, part of a sub-plot in "Dark Knight Returns," were made in the 1989 movie starring Michael Keaton. Also, characters and incidents from "Year One" were a big part in the screenplay of "Batman Begins."
    I read "Batman" comics as a kid back in the 60's and the 70's (watched the campy TV show, too); bought the magazines regularly in the 80's and 90's. Haven't been reading them lately, though; as with the F.F. mags (see below), I've been unfortunately sidetracked by this thing called "Real Life." (Does anybody know what that's all about?)
    I got into the F.F. on a regular basis in the early 70's, back when the minister of our church (the one that also sponsored Dad's Boy Scout troop) resigned and moved away to a new congregation. When they moved out, his two boys left behind several bags of comic books - Marvel, DC; Archie - that kind of stuff. I started reading the back issues of "Fantastic Four" and I was hooked - I went through those bags and claimed all those F.F.'s as mine! I still have them, stored away somewhere...*
    I read them regularly during the 70's, although, as I graduated high school and went on to college, I kind of lost track of them. I picked it up again in the 80's and 90's, only to drift away once more as the new century dawned. Maybe I'll get back to them again one day...
    Anyway, I loved the "Fantastic Four" movies - they got the individual characterizations and the F.F.'s group dynamics just right; Ben and Johnny squabbling all the time; Reed's absent-mindedness once he starts working on a project; even Sue's feeling like a beleaguered Den Mother with a pack of hyperactive Cub Scouts - the cast just nailed it! I loved Stan Lee's cameo in the first film as Willie Lumpkin, their mailman - ironically, Lee has aged to the point where he resembles Lumpkin the way Jack Kirby drew him back in the early sixties!
    I also enjoyed "Rise of the Silver Surfer," although I was disappointed by the way that film depicted Galactus. We never saw the character as a person; only as a huge cloud of dust and debris as it encircled the Earth prior to devouring all of its life energy. I really felt the filmmakers could have handled that better.
    But enough from me - let's hear from the rest of you.
    As Stan Lee used to say at the end of his columns:
    Excelsior!



    *EDIT: Our Scout troop was among the volunteers from the church who helped renovate the parsonage for the new minister and his family. That's how we got hold of those comics; Dad brought them home one night shortly after the renovation project began.

  2. #2
    Administrator Honored Elder jeriddian's Avatar
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    I collected the Silver Age comics as a youngster. The pride of my collection are near mint collections of the silver age X-MEN starting with Giant Size #1, and Issue #94 going all the way through the new international team, the introduction of Wolverine, The Dark Phoenix saga, and aftewards, until about issue #250. I stopped there because I was already well into my graduate schooling and didn't have time, plus I didn't like Bill Sienkowicz's art style at all. I have several complete collections inclduing the New Teen Titans, the actual ones the cartoon is based on, plus a few others. Today I don't do much collecting. The only ones I stay with are Spidergirl and Usagi Yojimbo. (gotta love Stan Sakai's work.)
    "Say the Word"

  3. #3
    I was more of a Marvel fan than DC. I used to collect X-Men, The Amazing Spiderman, and Wolverine comics. I'm still a fan, but I'm afraid I stopped purchasing comics about the time before I entered university, and I guess I'd been collecting for 5 years or so, trying to get all the back issues, too. I stopped collecting because I just got tired and depressed when reading them -- the main characters never seemed to achieve happiness for any length of time. Just when they reach a happy place everthing comes tumbling down - perhaps a characteristic of long running comics in order to try to keep things moving.

    I felt the plots were too soap opera-like -- I got tired of the constant emotional up and downs. At one time in Spider-man there was a "who's the clone, Peter or Ben" story. They actually had a fan vote to decide. The Peter we'd been watching forever was the clone, and the comics then focused on Ben as the "real Spiderman" while Peter lost his powers and retired on the west coast never to be seen again -- it was billed as a huge event, with whole new story-possibilites opening up, a rejuvenation of the franchise, a whole new mythology about to be created. Except that apparently Ben-as-Spiderman didn't do too well, so oops... *Ben* was really a clone, and Peter is now the original et cetera. Oh yeah, and the Peter-MJ daughter kidnapping irked me, too.

    Anywhoo, although I stopped buying comics, I'm still a big fan of the characters.
    Why is everyone who drives slower than me an idiot, and everyone who drives faster a maniac?

  4. #4
    Registered User Exalted Member kyojikasshu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by canuck31003 View Post
    I felt the plots were too soap opera-like -- I got tired of the constant emotional up and downs. At one time in Spider-man there was a "who's the clone, Peter or Ben" story. They actually had a fan vote to decide. The Peter we'd been watching forever was the clone, and the comics then focused on Ben as the "real Spiderman" while Peter lost his powers and retired on the west coast never to be seen again -- it was billed as a huge event, with whole new story-possibilites opening up, a rejuvenation of the franchise, a whole new mythology about to be created. Except that apparently Ben-as-Spiderman didn't do too well, so oops... *Ben* was really a clone, and Peter is now the original et cetera. Oh yeah, and the Peter-MJ daughter kidnapping irked me, too.
    I wonder what you'd think of "One More Day" and the subsequent reboot, then.

    My first superhero comic was Iron Man. Tony Stark was just getting back on his feet, Rhodey was wearing the classic armor, and the West Coast Avengers were just starting out. Rhodey went nuts (the result of the armor's cybernetic controls not being calibrated for him), forcing Tony to don a new prototype that externally resembled his original armor in order to stop Rhodey; they reconciled, fixed the armor, and had to deal with Dr. Demonicus, before Obadiah Stane, the man who had maneuvered Tony into the gutter, reared his ugly head again; Stane's actions caused Tony to don the newly-completed Silver Centurion armor to go after Stane, who opted to face Iron Man head-to-head as Iron Monger.

    I stuck with Iron Man for a long, long time, through the Armor Wars, Tony getting shot by a psycho girlfriend, the revival of the Mandarin, the second Armor Wars (which was unrelated), the Dragon saga (which tied the Mandarin's origin to Fin Fang Foom), Operation: Galactic Storm (which marked the second rift formed between Tony and Captain America, the first occurring during the first Armor Wars), the debut of the Variable Threat Response Battlesuit, a.k.a. War Machine, Tony's faked death and subsequent revival, and the formation of Force Works. It began to lose me with "The Crossing", and really lost me with the alternate-timeline teen Tony. (It didn't help that the art on the book became increasingly inconsistent, either.) By Onslaught and Heroes Reborn, I'd lost interest.

    I also followed Captain America for a while, but my favorite superhero book (aside from Iron Man) was Alpha Flight. It was actually because of Alpha Flight that I started following the X-Men family of books for a while, seeing as how the team had its origin in The Uncanny X-Men. Vindicator (Heather Hudson) and Box (Madison Jeffries) were my favorite characters, and I was disappointed when they resurrected James Hudson, effectively ending the relationship between Heather and Madison (and pairing Madison with ex-girlfriend and former criminal, Diamond Lil).

    But, going back, my favorite series overall were Marvel's runs on G.I. Joe and The Transformers. The Joe stories were usually pretty top-notch, and generally better than the cartoon series. There was also a strong emphasis on Snake-Eyes, who turned out to be a major focal point for the origins of both the Joe team and Cobra. I could actually go on a really long diatribe about how I prefer the comics over the cartoon, but it'd make this post ten times longer than it already is - and it's long enough already! The Transformers series was okay, but it really picked up, IMHO, when Simon Furman came on board as writer beginning with issue 56.

  5. #5
    Moderator Venerated Elder TransWarpDrive's Avatar
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    So, Rob, have you seen the new "Iron Man" movie yet? If so, how'd you like it?

  6. #6
    Moderator Venerated Elder TransWarpDrive's Avatar
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    While book shopping at Borders today, I stopped in the aisle where they stock the books related to comic book heroes. I leafed through a copy of "The Essential Fantastic Four, Vol. 6 (at least I think it was Vol.6)," which contains black & white reprints of the issues I bought back in the early 70's, when I first became a loyal F.F. fan. Seeing John Buscema's artwork in those issues reminded me how much I enjoyed buying those comics back when I was a boy; I also remembered how much of a crush I had on Sue Storm back then (what can I say? I was just entering adolescence at the time... ).

  7. #7
    Administrator Honored Elder jeriddian's Avatar
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    I've seen those reprint collections. I still have my silver age X-Men though, issues 94 to 250 from the 1970's and early 1980's.................
    "Say the Word"

  8. #8
    Moderator Venerated Elder TransWarpDrive's Avatar
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    I was a little disappointed when I saw they were just black & white reprints, but then after thinking about it, I realized that a full-color collection would get rather expensive. At least they're reprinting all the stories, dating back to the very beginning in 1961...
    Speaking of comic books, I just remembered something I read in the Chicago Tribune back in '98, when "Superman" was celebrating its 60th anniversary as a comic book. Back in 1963, DC Comics published an issue of "Superman" in which President Kennedy, who knew about Superman's dual identity for reasons of national security, was called upon to impersonate Clark Kent while the Man of Steel was off on a mission. The reason JFK was doing this was to preserve Superman's secret identity. Unfortunately, that particular issue hit the stands right about the time that Kennedy was assassinated on Nov. 22 of that year. The DC management tried to stop distribution of the issue, but it was too late. I remember the Trib article commemorating Superman's anniversary got the year wrong. They said the magazine screwup occurred in 1964, instead of '63.

  9. #9
    Registered User Exalted Member lunchmeat's Avatar
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    I used to have a lot of Donald Duck Big Little Books......
    Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto - “You cannot invade the mainland United States. There would be a rifle behind each blade of grass.”

  10. #10
    Administrator Honored Elder jeriddian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lunchmeat View Post
    I used to have a lot of Donald Duck Big Little Books......
    Bet they might be worth something nowadays.
    "Say the Word"

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