Monthly Archives: December 2015

My Top Ten Comic Books Part Five: The Winner Is…

  We’ve covered my nine of my Top Ten Favorite Comic Book Series and twelve runner ups. It is time to reveal my favorite comic book series! It is a critically acclaimed creator owned independent comic book that has been around since 1983 yet it is one a lot of people might not have heard of before. 

My favorite comic book series is Grendel by Matt Wagner! 

  
Grendel is not your typical comic book. For starters the primary character is a ruthless villain whose death prior to the main series launched a succession of desperate hero/villains who carried on his name and tainted legacy. 

  
Grendel started with Hunter Rose: the stylish assassin who rose to be the kingpin of crime. He was a ruthless genius whose early love and loss catapulted him to the heights of criminal activity and his one weakness, the only additional love that he allowed in his life, caused his downfall. 

 However the death of Hunter Rose did not stop the idea of Grendel. Grendel was carried on through various incarnations through many people until finally Grendel became something greater. And emperor. An empire. A world. 

  
Grendel is very rough around the edges. It is ultimately Matt Wagner’s study on rage and humanity. To me it is the greatest comic book created. It is a timeless story that is epic in nature as it sweeps down through the centuries. It can be brutal and beautiful. I have been amazed by this comic book since I first encountered it. Also he had a brief crossover with Batman! 

  

 
I hope you’ve enjoyed my Top Ten Comic Book Series posts. They’ve been a lot of fun to create. I hope I’ve given you a few new series to try out! 

Advertisements

My Top Ten Comic Books Part Four: Ranking 5-2

We have worked through my twelve runners up and then the lower five of my Top Ten Comic Book Series. My favorite comic book series will have its own feature following this one. Now it is time to reveal numbers Five through Two!

Five: The Massive by Brian Wood

  
The Massive by Brian Wood drew me back into comic books when I had stepped away from them. It is a magical tale of humanity on the edge of extinction following an ecological catastrophe. They’ve used different artists but all have captured the same feel the author has created. This is one story I wish you would read. 

Four: Thieves & Kings by Mark Oakley

  
Thieves & Kings is one of the most beautiful comic books I’ve encountered and the story it encompasses is amazing. Truly a work of art and literature. Magical story of a thief and his imp as they fight to save their city. 

Three: Mind MGMT by Matt Kindt

  
Mind MGMT is Matt Kindt’s crowning achievement of a spectacular career! Of course I expect him to keep progressing in achievement and look forward to anything he does but stop me in a bookstore and I’ll go on endlessly about how amazing this story is. Even the billboards in the background art have meaning within this story. This comic book is perhaps the most engrossing comic book I’ve ever encountered. Totally eclipses everything around you as you start to read it. 

Two: Solar Man Of The Atom by Valiant Comics

  
A man gains all the power of energy and destroys the world. That is the start of this incredibly human superhero tale. Solar is the smartest, most powerful superhero I’ve ever read. He’s the superhero I wish I was able to be! Outside of having billions of deaths weighing on my heart. That wouldn’t be cool. But simply stated: The Valiant Universe of the 90’s would not have existed if not for Solar. 

Solar almost won first place! But that belongs to only one comic book series and that one will be featured in my next post! 

My Top Ten Comic Books Part Three: Ranking 6-10

We have been over the twelve runners up to my top ten comic book series of all time, and many wondered what comic books I could consider better than Watchmen or Sin City. Well the time has come to reveal my Top Ten Comic Book Series! We’ll start at Ten and work our way up to Six in this feature, Five to Two in the next, and give One its own feature. 

Introducing Ten through Six of my Top Ten Comic Book Series:

Ten: Invincible by Robert Kirkman, Ryan Ottley, and Cory Walker

  
I can hear objections already. A superhero comic book? And one that’s not even one of the big name superheroes? But this isn’t just another superhero comic book: it redefines superhero comic books! A coming of age tale of the son of Earth’s greatest superhero with battle scenes that most comic book creators can only dream of writing and illustrating. Yet that’s only the surface of this deep story of family, love, betrayal, trust, and alternate dimensions. Invincible hooked me from the first issue and now 120 issues into this series I find myself more amazed at this story than ever before. 

Nine: Saga by Brian K Vaughan and Fiona Staples

   

 Saga is relatively new on the scene but it shows you what a comic book is capable of. A thrilling SciFi tale that shatters societal norms and captures timeless truths of human nature within its pages. And the Lying Cat alone would have made it worthy of being on this list. 

Eight: Dark Horse Presents (Volume One) by Dark Horse Comics 

  In the comic boom of the 80’s a small publishing company was founded and chose to run a black and white anthology as its primary book. That publishing company went on to challenge the Big Two and to produce some of the edgiest, most inventive creator owned work ever in the industry. DHP is quite simply the best comic book anthology ever created. Watch for our weekly review as we work through the series. 

Seven: The Walking Dead by Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard

  Better than the TV show will ever be. I love zombie movies and in this very creative story the creators asked themselves What Then? What happens after the movies end? What happens in a post apocalyptic world? A day later, a year later, a generation later…. 

Six: John Byrne’s Next Men by John Byrne

  John Byrne is one of my favorite writer/artists to ever work on a comic book and in JBNM he creates the ultimate ensemble superhero tale that challenges the very concept of superhero teams. JBNM is also a very smart SciFi and political thriller. You’d be hard pressed to find a comic book creator than John Byrne and this is his greatest work.   

Next up we’ll feature 5-2 and then we’ll reveal the best comic book series ever!

My Top Ten Comic Books Part Two: The (First) Runners Up!

In the last post I told you of the Second Runners Up to my Top Ten Comic Book Series: Cerebus, Watchmen, Revival, Locke & Key, Trees, and Sin City. All of which are excellent comic books, and I think highly of. Next up are the First Runners Up:
  
Namor! The John Byrne reboot followed closely the Jae Lee artwork on the story captured and held my attention back in the days when the world was primarily reading only the comic books that started with an X! Byrne is one of my favorite creators/writers/artists and I didn’t expect Jae Lee to surpass him but Jae’s art was perfect for the emotions of Namor. 

  
Hellboy by Mike Mignola I still remember the first time I saw Mignola’s artwork. I didn’t appreciate it properly. I was young and thought all artists had to draw the same way. However Mignola taught me otherwise and opened my eyes to how art was integral to the story telling process of comic books. His work on Hellboy is work worthy to be read through the ages. 

  

Aliens Versus Predator published by Dark Horse Comics combined the monsters of my childhood together into one long before the movies did. Dark Horse kept the stories tense with action and suspense, while also filling them with stimulating debates. 

  
Rai by Matt Kindt and Clayton Crain is a rare case of a total reboot eclipsing the original! Valiant Comics were some of my favorite comic books back in the 90’s. I was excited when their line was restored and have been impressed with the quality of story and art. Matt Kindt and Clayton Crain took a favorite story of mine and made it better than the original. 

  
Hard Corps by Valiant Comics was incredible. In a world filled with superheroes Hard Corps took a team of normal people and equipped them with superpowers, but only one superpower at a time. The interactions and stress the team members experience make for excellent storylines. Oh and all the team members are technically dead. The organization they work for has resuscitated them and enabled them to have these powers and as a result they rule them with an iron fist… at first…. Great series. 

  
The Red Star by Christian Gossett was one of the best SciFi comic books created. Set in an alternative dimension USSR at first the heroes think they are fighting an earthly war only to discover that they are truly fighting the very gods themselves. 

This concludes the runners up! Next we will feature the top ten comic book series! 

My Top Ten Comic Books Part One: The (Second) Runners Up! 

While creating my Top Ten Comic Books list I had quite a few runners up (twelve) so I decided to split my posts up a little and introduce the winners and almost winners separately. The runners up weren’t really in a particular order as it was more how they fit together well in the photos of six, but they sort of ended up in the two groupings I would have placed them into so we’ll pretend it is intentional. 

  
  
Trees by Warren Ellis and Jason Howard is a beautifully told SciFi story about humanity set against the backdrop of alien life slowly revealing itself to us. 

  
Revival by Tim Seely and Mike Norton is an intriguing tale of the dead returned to life in a rural Wisconsin town and how that would affect the citizens within that area. It does an incredible job of maintaining mystery without becoming dull, unlike the second season of Lost. Thankfully Lost picked things back up later on, but more thankfully Revival has yet to let up on the quality! 

  
Locke & Key by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez is quite simply phenomenal. It is perhaps one of the greatest horror/mystery comic books ever created. The story and artwork combine seem lesson to weave a spell over the reader and draw you deeper and deeper into its pages, but be careful or you may never escape. 

  
Watchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons would probably be on anyone’s top ten list and rightfully so. This is one of the comic books that all modern comic books are judged by and I enjoy and appreciate it. Just not as much as the top ten I’ve already chosen 😉

  
Cerebus by Dave Sim and Gerhard is a controversial masterpiece of a lifetime’s work by the creators. I have only read a third of the 300 issues and one year I intend to read the entire series but until then it is safe to add this work up here for what I’ve already appreciated from it. The concept of a comic book series that maintains its continuity for 300 issues is amazing to me. 

  
Sin City by Frank Miller is without a doubt the height of crime fiction in comic book history. Dark. Gritty. Vicious. And artfully done. 

Next post will feature the First Runners Up to my Top Ten Comic Books of all time! 

Vintage SciFi Month: Starting The New Reading Year Right

A few years back a fellow book reviewer (@redhead5318 on Twitter) nominated January to be #VintageSciFiMonth and I agree with this marvelously fun idea!   
What is Vintage SciFi Month? Well it is a month (January) in which we read and review SciFi books that were written prior to the year you were born in. 

  
It is an excellent time to attack your TBR pile and read a few of those classic SciFi books you have been meaning to read or even read again! It gives you a chance to explore some of the Titans of the genre like Herbert, Heinlein, Asimov, Bradbury, Clarke, Haldeman, Silverberg, or any number of SciFi authors. I used last year as a chance to read some of the Gordon R Dickson books that fill my TBR shelves. It gives you an opportunity to reflect on what SciFi was, see what it might have inspired, realize how it has changed, and appreciate those who went before all while reading some quality work. Maybe you could even read the authors who inspired the authors you love such as David Drake’s inspiration: Henry Kuttner

  
For me it is a lot of fun as I truly enjoy older SciFi, I just rarely make the time for it. January is my chance to read through a few more books that I’ve been meaning to read for a while and I tend to purchase Vintage SciFi Books throughout the year with this month in mind. Like the book Mindbridge by Joe Haldeman

  
I hope you’ll join in and enjoy Vintage SciFi Month this January! If you’re on Twitter or Instagram be sure to hashtag your posts on it and join in on the conversations. 

Trees: A Unique And Intriguing Story

Trees (Vol 1) by Warren Ellis and Jason Howard is a moving, emotional, and intriguing story. It tells the tale of a near future earth on which obscure alien lifeforms that appear as ginormous Trees have landed and ignored our existence for the past ten years. Trees is the story of what happens next.   
I think this first volume containing the first eight issues of the comic book series, did an incredible job of painting the picture of the world and the characters within. The emotional stage is set and you, the reader, are fully engaged and eager for the next volume. 

This story also contains the unique beauty of various lives trying to reach an understanding of who they are in this world that surrounds them. All of this creates and maintains a strong ensemble cast, while keeping the tense action moving forward. 

Many stories try to create an intriguing and mysterious environment but few succeed. Trees succeeds marvelously.