Tuesday, October 08, 2002

fanboy confession - comics I buy regularly (1 of 5)

There was time when I used to get a ton of new comics each week; everything that tickled my fancy was there. However, after losing my collection twice (once to moving and too much untraceable lending out to friends, the other time to termites) I decided to just get the compiled editions (called trade paperbacks or TPBs) or original graphic novels. The advantage was I could read an entire story in one collection, rather than on an issue-per-issue basis. The disadvantages were 1) not everything is collected; 2) I still needed my regular fix (like a classic junkie); and 3) in terms of expense, the trades seemed more expensive as one-shot purchases (although they’re really not) because I’d buy several at a time.

So I had to cut down on my TPBs as well (but only when my multi-shelved bookshelf could take no more – that’s the collector in me), and reduced my weekly comics (I will never call them “pamphlets” – feh) to a mere ten.

Here are the first two I get:

JSA – Justice Society of America. This book is a throwback to the old style of superhero stories I like to read. Nothing trendy or deep or “significant” about it, except for what it means to me. These heroes are cut wholesale from the cloth of adventure and derring-do and, though the title is the latest version, were the first superhero group to hit the comic book page. Four-color goodness permeates the storylines. This is the place to read up on old characters like Captain Marvel ("Shazam!"), Dr. Fate, the Golden Age Flash and other redone oldies-but-goodies. Written by Geof Johns (occasionally with David Goyer, James Robinson - who wrote my beloved "Starman") and published monthly by DC Comics.

Age of Bronze – This is a finite series (with around 9 years to go) that details the Trojan War sans the Greek gods and goddesses. The storytelling is solid and it’s a treat to see how the author recreates each episode from various source materials. The level of research is impressive - even if you've read the "Iliad" and know what will happen, it's the characterization and pacing that make this book shine. It reads better as a collected TPB, but I can't stand the waiting (so I actually spend twice the amount since I end up getting both versions). Skillfully written and illustrated by Eric Shanower and published quarterly (with the infrequent special issue) by Image Comics.


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