I went to the comic book store on Wednesday, 5 December, as I do almost every Wednesday. I did not buy my comics the previous week (I still went to the store, because it’s fun to hang out) because I had a good-sized stack and, as it was the end of the month, I didn’t have as much money as I usually do, as we get paid on the first of the month. So I left my stash and combined it with the stuff I bought this week. It’s a very good cross-section of why comics are awesome and why we’re living in a Golden Age.
I probably buy more comics than anyone else who writes for us, even though most of us have bought comics in the past and still read them. Some of our writers are older than I am and have turned into curmudgeonly old men, ranting about how comics were better when they were kids and everyone should get off their lawn. So that’s probably one reason some of us don’t buy as many comics as they used to. Price is certainly another consideration. Marvel and DC have some nerve charging 4 dollars for their flimsy product when they’re printing money at the box office, but they don’t really care about comics except as an IP generator, so it’s not surprising they haven’t even thought about trying to reverse the ghetto-ization of the product, even with more people interested in superheroes than ever. So comics are too expensive for many people, and I wonder if that’s also a reason people here don’t buy them as much. Time to read is an issue, as is storage. All of this means that it’s hard to collect as much as we once did, and I get that. But we’re still living in a Golden Age. Yes, the stories might not have as much impact because we’ve seen it all before and DC and Marvel won’t let their IPs change at all. I get that. But the access to creating comics is greater than ever, we’re getting more and more interesting voices creating comics, and the breadth of the kinds of comics you can find is astonishing. With that in mind, I thought I’d simply list everything from the past two weeks that I bought and show why it’s such a Golden Age. It’s not just the current stuff, of course, because we’re also in the Golden Age of Reprints! Let’s check it out:
Single issues (which I still buy, even though I’ve moved away from them a lot, because it’s ridiculous when everything is collected, but I do like to support some creators through single issues and some are just one-shots, so why not?):
Albert Einstein, Time Mason #2. A goofy science fiction book starring a young Einstein as a dude trying to save the time stream from villainous villains. It’s a fun book. It’s published by Action Lab, which is usually good at collecting things, but I met the writer a few years ago at the Phoenix Con and bought issue #1, so I kind of feel the need to support the book in single issues. MSRP: $3.99
Cinema Purgatorio #16. The terrific anthology from Avatar, with Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neill telling creepy tales at a movie theater. The other three serials are excellent, too, and Kieron Gillen (who writes one of them) told me in June that they’ll keep publishing it as long as Moore wants it to go on, so here’s to Moore wanting it to go on! MSRP: $6.99
DC’s Nuclear Winter Special. A bunch of twisted Christmas stories. DC usually gets good talent for these anthologies, and they have some here, so I don’t mind plunking down the ducats for it. At least it’s good content! MSRP: $9.99.
Die #1. Kieron Gillen’s latest series, about kids playing a game that’s, I’m sure, nothing like Dungeons & Dragons at all and releasing something evil, and how they deal with it as adults. Yes, it’s been done, but Gillen is one of my favorite writers, and one of the few whose work I will buy in single issues (his independent work, that is – when he writes for the Big Two I can wait for the trade). It’s also Stephanie Hans on art, and her art is beautiful, so I don’t feel bad about picking up the singles for this. MSRP: $3.99.
Die! Die! Die! #3-5. This is Robert Kirkman’s annoying quasi-spy thriller, which is fun to read and beautifully drawn by Chris Burnham. Why is it annoying? Kirkman refuses to put it in Previews, because he wants you to have the 1980s experience, when you showed up at the comics store without knowing what was coming out and you could find a gem like this. It’s annoying because it’s not the 1980s anymore, Kirkman, and I can’t pre-order this and I don’t know when it will show up and if my retailer doesn’t get enough copies, I might miss it. So that’s why I got three issues in one week, because they hadn’t been showing up and then he went and ordered them. Stupid Kirkman! MSRP: $3.99 each.
The Green Lantern #2. I’m so in the tank for Morrison that I will pay DC’s exorbitant prices to get this in single issues. By the time it’s done, I will have paid $48 for something that will be in trade for $20-25. Yes, I’m a sucker. But I’m also a Whorrison, so that’s they way it is. Liam Sharp’s art is amazing, too. MSRP: $3.99.
House Amok #3. I’ve bought some of the Black Crown stuff in single issues and some in trade. I don’t really have a system. The art in this is by Shawn McManus, whom I dig, so maybe that’s why I got it in single issues. I do want Black Crown to succeed, though – it’s very interesting. MSRP: $3.99.
Stray Bullets: Sunshine and Roses #40. Lapham just keeps on keeping on, and it’s impressive how he can do a book in which so much happens but the characters never move forward with their lives. We’re stuck in 1982, and it looks like we’re going to be their for the rest of our lives! MSRP: $4.99.
The Umbrella Academy: Hotel Oblivion #3. I thought it was safe to write about The Umbrella Academy because I figured Gerard Way would never get off his bony butt and write another series, and what do you know – scant months later, here’s another arc! (I don’t like writing Comics You Should Own posts about things that aren’t finished yet.) Stupid Gerard Way! (I have no idea if Way has a bony butt or not. I also find it humorous that my daughter has gotten into My Chemical Romance a little bit, and she was a bit flummoxed when I told her I knew who the lead singer was. My daughter doesn’t care about being cool among her peer group – she listens to ABBA, for instance – but I do think she thought she had me stymied with that one. Little did she know!!!!) MSRP: $3.99.
The Wicked + The Divine #40. The beginning of the final arc. I don’t love WicDiv (sigh, yes, that’s what the fans call it) as much as some Gillen and McKelvie comics, but I have a feeling I will like it a lot more once I read the entire thing, because there’s a lot going on that I’m sure I’ve missed. We’ll see. MSRP: $3.99.
The Merry X-Men Holiday Special. This is fairly interesting – it’s structured like an advent calendar, with each day of December taking up one page, and various creators writing a one-page story. Some of them are simply character studies, but others are actually stories – of course, they’re one-joke stories or such, but still, it’s a neat idea. So I thought it would be fun to read. MSRP: $4.99.
Collected editions and graphic novels:
Aquaman: The Search for Mera Deluxe Edition. Steve Skeates and Jim Aparo on Aquaman, yeah! This collects issues #40-48 from 1968-69, and I imagine the plot is about Aquaman searching for Mera. HOW DID I KNOW?!?!?!? This looks great – really nice Aparo art – and I’m looking forward to reading this. MSRP: $34.99.
Cloak and Dagger: Shades of Grey. This is one of those digital-first stories that Marvel prints as a nice collection. It’s written by Dennis Hopeless and drawn by David Messina, so it’s a good team, and who doesn’t dig Cloak and Dagger? I just can’t deal with the name of it. DIDN’T WE FIGHT A REVOLUTION SO WE COULD SPELL “GRAY” AND OTHER WORDS THE WAY WE WANT TO?!?!?!?!? U! S! A!!!!!!! MSRP: $19.99.
Eternity Girl. Magdalene Visaggio has some good ideas, but I’m not yet convinced she’s a good writer. Still, Sonny Liew’s art is neat, and I figured I’d give this a shot. MSRP: $16.99.
Galaktikon. This is about a galactic hero whose life falls apart and he tries to put it back together. It’s a comedy! I got this solely because Steve Mannion draws it, but I did pick up the first issue and it was pretty good, so I waited for the trade. MSRP: $17.99.
Green Arrow volume 6: Trial of Two Cities. Benjamin Percy’s run on Green Arrow is solid – not great, but entertaining – and I think this is the final collection of it (I could check, I suppose, but I don’t feel like it right now). He’s also had some good artists on the book, beginning with Otto Schmidt, but probably the only reason I picked it up was because Juan Ferreyra drew a good amount of it. See below for another instance of that! MSRP: $16.99.
The Highest House. I’m not as jazzed by Mike Carey and Peter Gross’s collaborations as most people seem to be, but I like to give things that sound interesting a chance, and this book about a kid in a medieval kingdom sounds neat. We’ll see. MSRP: $24.99.
Kismet, Man of Fate. Kismet is widely regarded as the first Muslim superhero – he debuted in 1944 – and A. David Lewis brings him into the modern age with Noel Tuazon on art. Lewis is a very interesting writer – he doesn’t write a lot of comics, but those he does are quite good – and Tuazon is a good artist, so I’m looking forward to this. Plus, it’s published by A Wave Blue World, and its boss man, Tyler Chin-Tanner, is a hell of a nice guy. MSRP: $19.99.
Lip Hook: A Tale of Rural Unease. David Hine and Mark Stafford have done some terrific horror comics together, so when I saw they were doing this, I had to pick it up. It looks very creepy! MSRP: $22.99.
Marvel Universe by John Byrne volume 2. Lots of weird stuff in here – Marvel Chillers, Ghost Rider, Bizarre Adventures – plus the complete Byrne run on Iron Fist (which I already own) and the complete Marvel: The Lost Generation, and some issues of Star Brand, as well! I got it for everything, but I was really pleased to see the She-Hulk graphic novel, which I don’t think has ever been reprinted. This is a monster volume, checking in at over 1250 pages, but it’s quite nicely put together, and it hasn’t been recolored, which is a plus! MSRP: $125.00.
Mazeworld Collector Edition. This is a 2000AD story from the late 1990s, and I had never heard of it until I saw it offered in Previews. I like Alan Grant, though, and I like Arthur Ranson’s art, so I figured it would be a good book. It looks superb. Of course, as Diamond has trained marmosets working in their warehouses, it was packed weirdly into their box and came out with an ugly bend in the cover, but I’ll live. MARMOSETS ARE ADORABLE BUT SHOULDN’T BE WORKING IN WAREHOUSES!!!!!! MSRP: $29.99.
Old Man Logan volume 9: The Hunter and the Hunted. Ed Brisson is a pretty good writer, and for a book with cranky Wolverine, I imagine he’s perfect, but I bought this because Juan Ferreyra draws three issues in it. The first two issues actually look pretty good, too. But Marvel’s trades are getting ridiculous – this is five issues long and it’s about as thick as a communion wafer. Come on, Marvel! MSRP: $15.99.
Paper Girls volume 5. This just keeps chugging along. Gorgeous art from Cliff Chiang! MSRP: $14.99.
RoboCop: Citizens Arrest. Whatever you might think of him, Brian Wood writes good comics, and this sounds pretty neat (citizens can now use an app to make an arrest and get paid for it), plus Coelho is a good artist. I just wonder if there ought to be an apostrophe in that title. Yes, this is what I worry about. MSRP: $19.99.
Silver Surfer Omnibus. I bought the first couple of trades of the Slott/Allred run, but fell behind for some reason. I like having them all in one giant book, anyway. Marvel can still do some weird stuff when they feel like it! MSRP: $75.00.
Teen Titans: The Silver Age volume 2. Let’s look at the credits here … Bob Haney, Irv Novick, Nick Cardy, Lee Elias, Len Wein, Marv Wolfman, Mike Friedrich, Gil Kane, Wally Wood, Neal Adams … How could you not want to read this?!?!? MSRP: $34.99.
This Nightmare Kills Fascists. Another Wave Blue World book, this is an anthology that’s apparently … a horror book about politics? Okey-dokey, I’m on board! It looks pretty keen, even if I don’t know many of the contributors! MSRP: $19.99.
A Walk Through Hell volume 1: The Warehouse. It’s Garth Ennis doing his thing, with excellent art by Goran Sudzuka. Cops find creepy shit in a warehouse, mayhem ensues. You know the drill! MSRP: $14.99.
So that’s what I got. As you can see, it’s a pretty wide cross-section. Because I tend not to buy superhero single issues, people often think I’m weird, but that’s just myopia. I think buying yet another iteration of the same story in Spider-Man or Batman or Superman or Captain America is weird, man! My haul includes superheroes or superhero-esque stories, creepy horror, action-thriller, gritty noir, historical epics, and cosmic adventure. I have old-school comics with old-school superheroes, deadly serious books, and comedic books. I have all kinds of art styles, too. It’s a Golden Age!
People can complain about the state of comics all the want – that’s their right! But my point is, if you can’t find comics to read these days, you’re probably not trying hard enough. So much fun stuff is out there!!!!