Monday, August 16, 2010

Future graphic novel selections January - April

Hey all, we need to narrow this list down to four that we want to read for the January, February, March, and April book clubs. Here are some that I came up with, feel free to suggest others and/or weigh in on which of these you would like to read or not read.

Kingdom Come by Waid

A Watchmen-esque post apocalypse story that dissects and analyzes the role and the importance of superheroes like Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman.

Ghostopolis by TenNapel

Garth Hale has traveled into the spirit world and must enlist the help of a few apparitions to escape.

Johnny the Homicidal Maniac by Vasquez

Invader Zim creator Jhonen Vasquez gives us a comic look into the world of Johnny the Homicidal Maniac, who gleefully tortures his victims and terrifies a young boy named Squee.

Stitches by Small

A memoir on children's author David Small that chronicles his troubled life with his parents and the partial loss of his vocal cords.

Planetes vol. 1 by Yukimura

A hard science fiction comic that follows a spaceship crew whose job it is to collect space junk.

Akira vol. 1 by Otomo

The work that inspired the anime, Akira is a six part epic that involves psychic children being used as weapons of mass destruction.

Swamp Thing vol. 1: Saga of Swamp Thing by Moore

A famous 1980s run of Swamp Thing that brought horror comics and mature comics to the forefront.

Blankets by Craig Thompson

Thompson's semi-autobiographical sometimes tragic, sometimes comic tale of first love.

Superman: Red Son by Millar

A highly acclaimed alternate universe tale in which Superman was not born in Smallville, Kansas, but in Soviet Russia.

Demo: The Collected Edition by Wood

A collection of stories chronicling the various occurrences in the lives of teenagers.

So, you have the power! Let me know what sounds interesting or what I picked that sounds totally lame in the comments. Thanks, all!


  1. Great selections. Half of this is stuff I've read before but would love to discuss with a group as intrepid as ours. The other half, I would probably have not read otherwise, but that's how I've found some of the most enjoyable reads I've had in the past. Either way, should make for some good times!

    Can't wait for the upcoming months - especially Kingdom Come. I've been wanting an excuse to read that again.

  2. I'm thinking Red Son and Kingdom Come would both be pretty good selections and a departure from my usual but not purposeful no-superheroes slant. Ghostopolis looks cool (haven't read yet), I'll have to see if there's enough content for a full club there. I only neglected Scott Pilgrim because I worry that people would have trouble getting a hold of copies in time.

  3. I'll look at the above selections later.

    I don't know if this will complicate matters more with some new suggestions, although the two superhero genre stories listed above are both DC and the last two superhero genre stories we read were also DC:

    --Will Eisner's Contract with God or Heart of the Storm
    Although we're reading mostly contemporary stuff, I thought it might be nice to read the creator of the terms used today (graphic novel and sequential art). Both good stories and timeless. I heard a rumor that Contract With God is a planned movie.

    --Kurt Busiek's Marvels or Astro City.
    Whereas Frank Miller's Dark Knight Returns and Alan Moore's Watchmen embody the gritty, dark side of the superhero genre, Kurt Busiek probably created the modern paradigm shift but didn't have the same gritty, pessimistic tone. His stories did have their drama, their conflict and their grit, but they were, in general, just good stories that were told well. When Marvels came out, it was spectacular, well received and reviewed, well bought and traded, not only for Alex Ross's painted art but also for its adult and human perspective. I'm curious about its lack of permanence in the modern discussion of comic classics and have four possible and main reasons: Marvel's lack of promotion and reprints (it took forever to become a trade), Busiek's lack of star power (Miller and Moore are icons), the subject matter isn't universal (like how Jeremiah of Nick said he doesn't like a lot of superhero books because he doesn't want to know the entire history of a character, readers of Marvels need to be familiar with a 40-year history of an entire company), and it's not gritty enough for critics of "realism" who think something that's "real" has to be pessimistic and depressing with poor moral characters.
    In Busiek's other creation, Astro City, the heroes are good, just ordinary and quixotic. Watchmen, they were impotent, while Miller thinks super heroes are crazy. (Busiek also created Thunderbolts, the original bad team gone good, but they fell into the Hollywood characterization of either being totally evil like Baron Zemo or completely redeemed good.) He does get into the gritty, especially with Astro City: The Dark Age, but it's more a reflection of humanity being the dark and flawed characters than the heroes.
    (On a similar note, Chris Claremont didn't go as far and isn't remembered as much now, but his work on X-Men was uncanny for its focus on characters and development. For instance, he gave Magneto, who was at that time one of the most powerful Marvel villains, an origin and character dimension.)

    --Ed Brubaker's Incognito or Criminal
    I've read Criminal but I haven't read Incognito yet. I usually don't like noir, but I think Brubaker is a great storyteller and would like to have a discussion with others and questions about the book. And if others don't like him or his style, I like hearing that perspective. I wouldn't have thought that we could explore space without traveling before our Orbiter discussion.

    --Brian Michael Bendis's Powers
    Like most of the others I listed above, it's an atypical superhero book, in this case a murder mystery. Each trade is a different theme and a different investigation. One problem may be that there are 12 volumes. Also, it's Bendis, and I don't want to give the impression that I like anything else that he's put his name on.

  4. Ghostopolis, Johnny the Homicidal Maniac, and Kingdom Come all sound really interesting. Akira would be nice to see how the graphic novel compares to the anime. I can't wait to discuss them all with you guys.

    I do have one recommendation, The Vinyl Underground by Si Spencer- it's an ongoing crime-noir series featuring a random quartet of self appointed occult detectives in a modern London setting. Currently there are only two volumes and I think they would make for great discussions.

  5. Okay all, I'm thinking our selections will be:

    Kingdom Come by Mark Waid

    A Contract with God by Will Eisner

    Superman: Red Son by Mark Millar

    Johnny the Homicidal Maniac by Jhonen Vasquez

    Marvels by Busiek was considered, but we should give Alex Ross a break from Kingdom Come. I was also thinking Incognito in place of A Contract with God, but we should get back to our graphic novel roots and Josh has been lobbying for Eisner for a while.

    Erika, maybe we'll do The Vinyl Underground next time, I just wanna give Vertigo titles a break for a bit.

    I'm up for Powers in the future, I just feel bad for making people read upwards of 13 volumes to catch up.

    So, other than the selections being kind of Superman and DC-heavy, does everyone like them?

  6. That all sounds great to me - I'll have to check out Vinyl Underground as it sounds delicious. I'm also stoked (that right, STOKED) to read me some Eisner. I've heard great things, but never actually partaken.