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#52331 - 07/25/01 01:10 PM Re: Best comic books
Strega
Ching Shih


Registered: 06/01/00
Posts: 106
Loc: Maryland, USA

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I think most of the Sandman run is pretty typical – there are exceptions, like Ramadan, but most of the issues are not things I'd look at for the art. It seems as if during World's End it seemed as if they started making an effort, because it, Kindly Ones and The Wake are much better.

I don't think it was bad in the sense of being totally incompetent, but it wasn't attractive – does that make sense? As far as illustrating the story, it's fine, but I'd like it if the art could be appreciated on its own.

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#52332 - 07/27/01 01:03 PM Re: Best comic books
JohnConstantine
Ching Shih


Registered: 10/13/00
Posts: 520
Loc: Minneapolis, MN

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 Quote:
Originally posted by Strega:
I don't think it was bad in the sense of being totally incompetent, but it wasn't attractive – does that make sense? As far as illustrating the story, it's fine, but I'd like it if the art could be appreciated on its own.


What did you think of Kingdom Come and/or Marvels, by Alex Ross?

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#52333 - 07/29/01 11:20 AM Re: Best comic books
Snacky
Ching Shih


Registered: 10/22/00
Posts: 33
Loc: Worcester, MA USA

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 Quote:
Originally posted by JohnConstantine:
What did you think of Kingdom Come and/or Marvels, by Alex Ross?


Oh, man I love me some Alex Ross! Both Kingdom Come and Marvels are beautiful, but I'd have to pick Kingdom Come as having the best combination of story and art. Some of the illustrations Ross did for that are simply amazing.

re: Sandman art. Yup, "Ramadan" is gorgeous, and my favorite Death ever is Dringenberg's from "The Sound of Her Wings," but I have to agree with Strega that most of the earlier art is just okay, although I think Brief Lives, rather than World's End, is the turning point, with Jill Thompson's work. It may not be her best, but she did a wonderful job with all the Endless in that one, especially Delirium. And for a perfect combination of art and story, you can't do much better than World's End, with the different artists' styles matching the story being told. I particularly love Mike Allred's art for "The Golden Boy."

Bad art? JohnConstantine, word on Rob Liefeld. If he never picked up a pen again, I'd be happy. And how about Frank Quitely? Do you think he's doing them that ugly on purpose?

Where to start with X-Men? Almeda suggested the "Essential" books, and these are really good.Essential X-Men #1 starts with the relaunch of the New X-Men (Storm, Wolverine, Nightcrawler, Banshee and Colossus) back in 1975, and goes on from there. They're inexpensive for the amount of story you get, but they're black and white reprints on cheap paper, so they're more about the story than the artwork. If you want the see the full color artwork, you're better off with the TP, or buying up the back issues. If you decide to start with a trade, I agree with JohnConstantine, Dark Phoenix is a good one. I also like Inferno, or if you want to start in the 90s, try the "Age of Apocalypse" collections.

Now's a good time to start reading the X-Books, actually. Marvel's at a sort of relaunch point, and they've split up the characters into 3 books, killed off some of the others, and tied up some old storylines. The three main X-books are Uncanny X-Men, X-treme X-Men, and New X-Men. There's also Ultimate X-Men, which takes all the same characters, and starts them over again, without all the years of continuity.

And if you have history questions, here's a handy FAQ for the X-Men:
http://www.enteract.com/~katew/faqs/racmxFAQ/

And finally, bringing it back to the point, two great books to try: The Authority and Planetary. Both were created by Warren Ellis, although he's no longer writing The Authority.

Planetary is about "mystery archeologists" who go all over the world, exploring strange and fantastic stuff. The Authority is a superhero book for the new millenium - sort of "what would superheroes be like if they existed in the real world?" They'd smoke, and have drug problems and have a gay couple on the team, just to start. Both books are great stories, with lots of intense action.

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#52334 - 07/29/01 01:27 PM Re: Best comic books
sunflow
Ching Shih


Registered: 09/12/00
Posts: 1156
Loc: Brighton, UK

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I finally found Preludes and Nocturnes. I enjoyed it, but I also felt a little bit like the entire purpose was to set up the future story. It just wasn't very satisfying on its own.

And I think I am missing about 3/4 of the references. I was very proud of myself for a minute, thinking I'd found the origin of your name, John -- then I went to the bookstore and found a whole separate series for John Constantine. And now I read this thread and see that there is an Arkham Asylum that has nothing to do with Sandman. Sheesh. I appreciate a good in-joke, but I feel like I'm being left out of the party.

That didn't stop me from picking up the next book, as well as the first Preacher book. That one intrigued me -- it looks really warped, in the best way possible.

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#52335 - 07/29/01 07:27 PM Re: Best comic books
Snacky
Ching Shih


Registered: 10/22/00
Posts: 33
Loc: Worcester, MA USA

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 Quote:
Originally posted by sunflow:
I finally found Preludes and Nocturnes. I enjoyed it, but I also felt a little bit like the entire purpose was to set up the future story. It just wasn't very satisfying on its own.

And I think I am missing about 3/4 of the references. I was very proud of myself for a minute, thinking I'd found the origin of your name, John -- then I went to the bookstore and found a whole separate series for John Constantine. And now I read this thread and see that there is an Arkham Asylum that has nothing to do with Sandman. Sheesh. I appreciate a good in-joke, but I feel like I'm being left out of the party.

That didn't stop me from picking up the next book, as well as the first Preacher book. That one intrigued me -- it looks really warped, in the best way possible.



sunflow, keep going with Sandman. I promise, it's worth it. Yes, the first arc is a settling in, and "setting up" period, both for Gaiman and the artists, but it gets better, much better, from there.

As for the comic book references, at the time DC hadn't launched its Vertigo imprint, and since Sandman was a makeover of an old comic book hero from the 40s, they wanted the stories to be part of the "mainstream" DC Universe. So that's why all the other DC characters, like John Constantine and Martian Manhunter, and places like Arkham Asylum, pop up in these stories. After this, Gaiman doesn't really use them anymore, except at the very end.

And yes, Preacher is very twisted. You'll love it!

[This message has been edited by Snacky (edited July 29, 2001).]

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#52336 - 07/29/01 10:16 PM Re: Best comic books
Strega
Ching Shih


Registered: 06/01/00
Posts: 106
Loc: Maryland, USA

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Kingdom Come was nice -- I wasn't completely satisfied by the story, but the art is lovely.

For Warren Ellis, I'd recommend Transmetropolitan to someone who hasn't read a lot of comics. I'm catching up on Planetary and enjoy it, but (as sunflow mentioned with Sandman) there are lots of comic references and I know I'm not getting all of them.

Preacher is a complete riot; I loved it. It's not for the easily offended, though. Or the easily disgusted, for that matter.

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#52337 - 07/30/01 12:48 PM Re: Best comic books
JohnConstantine
Ching Shih


Registered: 10/13/00
Posts: 520
Loc: Minneapolis, MN

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 Quote:
Originally posted by Snacky:
Bad art? JohnConstantine, word on Rob Liefeld. If he never picked up a pen again, I'd be happy. And how about Frank Quitely? Do you think he's doing them that ugly on purpose?

Where to start with X-Men? Almeda suggested the "Essential" books, and these are really good.Essential X-Men #1 starts with the relaunch of the New X-Men (Storm, Wolverine, Nightcrawler, Banshee and Colossus) back in 1975, and goes on from there. They're inexpensive for the amount of story you get, but they're black and white reprints on cheap paper, so they're more about the story than the artwork. If you want the see the full color artwork, you're better off with the TP, or buying up the back issues. If you decide to start with a trade, I agree with JohnConstantine, Dark Phoenix is a good one. I also like Inferno, or if you want to start in the 90s, try the "Age of Apocalypse" collections.


I'm not minding Quitely all that much. His Beast reditions are interesting, and at least Cyclops is "Slim" again. It's kind of nice to see some different body types for a change. However, I will admit Quitely's style is a little strange.

I've got to disagree with any recommendation of "Inferno" as an X-Men storyline to read. One of the real low points in the series, and proof that not every summer should have a massive X-over. Sure, it tied up some loose ends, but I'd say it tried to do way too much. (it also had a major art flub at the end that was just embarrassing. of course, Bob Harras was the editor then, and he's proven himself to be quite shame-free).

sunflow done said:
 Quote:
I finally found Preludes and Nocturnes. I enjoyed it, but I also felt a little bit like the entire purpose was to set up the future story. It just wasn't very satisfying on its own.
And I think I am missing about 3/4 of the references. I was very proud of myself for a minute, thinking I'd found the origin of your name, John -- then I went to the bookstore and found a whole separate series for John Constantine. And now I read this thread and see that there is an Arkham Asylum that has nothing to do with Sandman. Sheesh. I appreciate a good in-joke, but I feel like I'm being left out of the party.


FYI: Constantine first showed up as part of Alan Moore's run on Swamp Thing, so the character goes back even further...

A Season of Mists is probably my favorite Sandman storyline. Creepy Kelley Jones art, a nasty little story, a bunch of old gods, and Lucifer's vengeance. (I actually turned that sucker into a short play, once upon a writing class...)

I'm also enjoying Judd Winick's [Barry Ween, Boy Genius[/i]. Very funny, if you're not easily offended, and enjoy potty-mouth humor. It helps if you can blot out The Real World: San Francisco from you memory...

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#52338 - 07/30/01 01:25 PM Re: Best comic books
Midnight Creeper
Gráinne ni Mhaille


Registered: 07/30/01
Posts: 3

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 Quote:
Originally posted by Strega:
For Warren Ellis, I'd recommend Transmetropolitan to someone who hasn't read a lot of comics. I'm catching up on Planetary and enjoy it, but (as sunflow mentioned with Sandman) there are lots of comic references and I know I'm not getting all of them.

Preacher is a complete riot; I loved it. It's not for the easily offended, though. Or the easily disgusted, for that matter.


Planetary is indeed good stuff. It is, however, perhaps more rewarding to longtime DC/Marvel readers, since it makes references to characters, settings, or objects from titles in those comic book universes. Which is to say, the Planetary team runs across stuff such as analogues of the Fantastic Four or the Hulk. Not the "real" thing, mind you, but rather the Planetary version.

As for Preacher, I found it to be vile and offensive and far too fond of artwork that glories in depictions of blown-apart heads. It's one thing to try to be shocking and provocative if you have a point; this title, in my opinion, simply likes being smug, crude, and loud. I know I'm in the minority on this one, though.

Strangehaven is a book that has excellent artwork and some intriguing characters, but it is produced so slowly and erratically that it's hard to follow the story. Something to do with an eccentric "Northern Exposure" type of English village with a sinister secret and a bunch of crypto-Masons running amuck. Also, there's a dead woman in a fish tank.

The Authority has a lot of the look and feel of Planetary and is apparently a successor to the earlier Stormwatch. Good art, interesting characters, lotsa graphic violence. People get slaughtered by the thousands, and even the heroes can and do die. However, the villains tend to be simply Eeevil (and also usually Republicans or Tories) and one-dimensional (at least in the first two collections). This works fine in some cases where the bad guys simply enjoy the power of unadulterated naughtiness, but not so fine in other cases. Villainy needs a nice mixture of motivations, for the sake of variety of nothing else.

Also, I'm getting hooked on Sam & Twitch, a spinoff from Spawn. I've never read an issue of the parent series in my life, but I'm a sucker for detective/police stories. This title focuses on two homicide detectives that investigate the usual strange stuff. The artwork is kinda murky sometimes, but the dialogue is vivid and (expletive deleted) forceful.

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#52339 - 07/30/01 02:02 PM Re: Best comic books
fullmoon
Ching Shih


Registered: 03/09/01
Posts: 53
Loc: Davis, CA, US

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 Quote:
Originally posted by Snacky:

sunflow, keep going with Sandman. I promise, it's worth it. Yes, the first arc is a settling in, and "setting up" period, both for Gaiman and the artists, but it gets better, much better, from there.


Right. Doll's House is what sold me on the series. It's still my favorite.

Ironically, I must be the one person here who preferred virtually every other artist to the work in The Kindly Ones. I just preferred detail to utter simplicity, I guess *sigh*

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#52340 - 07/30/01 04:37 PM Re: Best comic books
Snacky
Ching Shih


Registered: 10/22/00
Posts: 33
Loc: Worcester, MA USA

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 Quote:
Originally posted by JohnConstantine:
I'm not minding Quitely all that much. His Beast reditions are interesting, and at least Cyclops is "Slim" again. It's kind of nice to see some different body types for a change. However, I will admit Quitely's style is a little strange.


It's not the bodies, it's the faces. Just too lumpy for me, especially Jean and Wolverine. But I do like the change in Beast.

 Quote:
I've got to disagree with any recommendation of "Inferno" as an X-Men storyline to read. One of the real low points in the series, and proof that not every summer should have a massive X-over. Sure, it tied up some loose ends, but I'd say it tried to do way too much. (it also had a major art flub at the end that was just embarrassing. of course, Bob Harras was the editor then, and he's proven himself to be quite shame-free).
[/B]


See, to me, it was one of the better X-overs. Not quite as many teams to worry about then, and I thought it tied up the Madelyne Pryor story quite well. Plus, I love the way Silvestri drew the X-Men. The story is not without its flaws, and the less said about Bob Harras, the better, but I still think it was a good arc, with Sinister used to great effect, before he became a cliche. Of course, this could just be my nostalgia talking - I became an X-Men fan back in the 80s, so those teams (Aussie X-Men and the New Mutants, not so much X-Factor) have a place in my heart.

But then again, I have actually admitted to liking the "Fatal Attractions" X-over in public, (there, I did it again!) so my taste in storylines is probably questionable, at best.

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