Tag Archives: 30 day comic book challenge

Most touching comic book/comic book scene.

*This entire post is a spoiler.*

I get emotionally invested in stories very easily, whether a song, movie, essay or comic, & with a variety of subject matter. There are scenes & stories that have great universal appeal. This isn’t one of those.

I was coming to the end of Seth’s George Sprott 1894-1975. It had been a sentimental read, from fictional Sprott’s youthful arrogance to his pensive & ever-sleepy elder years. I had just turned from the Epilogue, where a devoted fan & memorabiliaist lamented:

“I googled George the other day & got only one hit. Nobody under 40 even knows his name any longer.”

…& was met with a spread announcing ‘The End’ as a graphic design element that seemed more glamorous than anything that had come before, as is common, IMO, with old films.

I don’t know what I had expected with one more page-turn, but the penultimate spread of the book was a comic strip version of the end of broadcast day footage, called Sign Off; every Canadian TV station had their own. From the opening “This concludes…” to the first line of O, Canada, I heard that fatherly, gently authoritarian voice read to me. Powerful stuff.

I skipped right past the final credits spread & was again blown away when met with the interior back cover – SMPTE colour bars!

The sign off & colour bars together took me right back to being a kid in pre-cable small town Ontario. It was an incredible comics moment that I’ll never forget.

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Favourite comic couple.

Children of the Atom - Franklin-Boy and Jim-Jam GirlThis is easy – the wonderfully child-like Franklin-Boy and Jim-Jam Girl by Dave Lapp.

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Most annoying character.

(New OpinioNations are coming. In the meantime…)

I could have cheated with this one – easily. The immediate possibilities were: any DC character inside canon; any character in an X-title in the 90s; anyone drawn by Rob Liefield.I told you cheating would be easy.

Instead, I’m going to go with a title that was not only a favourite of mine, but is still huge in fandom. And its main protagonist. The thing is, it’s not the character’s fault – it’s the writer’s, & he, too, is one I respect. Here we go.

Kirkman. The Walking Dead. Rick Grimes.

The annoyance & my resulting disillusionment came during TWD’s third TPB collection, Safety Behind Bars. Keep in mind I’ve only read it once, & it might flow better with another reading, though I suspect I’d expect the irritation & forgive it.

Grimes got overly talkative, & he was kinda lame when he did. Frex, this is his soliloquy from a single panel:

“So I guess it’s not an isolated thing – coming back without being bitten. I thought it might be. Julie turned pretty quick, but it took us hours to get you into the ground. So many damn questions. When I realized you might be at the bottom of that hole, alive – or whatever – I couldn’t stop thinking about it.
“I couldn’t sleep – knowing you were down there. Would you have left me? You were a good man, Shane. I don’t know why you did what you did… but you were a good man.”

Kinda kicks the shit out of the 25 (or Moore’s 29) words per panel rule. It’s a standard that I break, too – sometimes you need to have your say – but the dialogue’s out of control throughout the book.

Such a shame, too; the story is excellent. But I haven’t picked up the 4th installment, & it’s been… damn, I think it’s been three years or so since Alice-Ann at The Blue Beetle got me hooked on the title. Just flipping through this comic has me itching to read the further adventures of Grimes et al, so I suppose I will.

This concludes my criticism of IGN’s 2011 selection for 26th Greatest Comic Book Hero of All Time.

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A comic that is underrated, plus a “guilty pleasure” comic.

Underrated

Children of the Atom, by Dave LappI usually have a hard time judging this. Some books (albums, films, etc) sell many but review badly, others review well but sell few; how to judge?

Then I remembered overhearing a conversation at TCAF about how a book that had greatly impressed me was having trouble gaining traction.

That Dave Lapp’s Children of the Atom, a collection of strip comics originally published in Western University’s The Gazette & Vancouver’s Georgia Straight, isn’t in every indie comics fan’s collection is a crime.

I mean, if your favourite characters are Wolverine & Deadpool, don’t bother. But if Calvin (of & Hobbes) or Linus are to your taste, then the innocence & child-like wisdom Lapp harnesses here are certain to engage. An excerpt from the above link:

Franklin Boy and Jim Jam Girl live in an absurdist world of their own making, exchanging philosophies, dancing around any possible love story… Lapp has created his own tightly concieved (sic) but loosely rendered world through poetic language, simple lines and shapes, and surreal settings.

Here’s the way I put it to Dave when I had the good fortune to meet him recently: It is so good & the innocence so compelling that I still haven’t finished it. I only read three, maybe a half-dozen, strips at a time, then I put it down so I have more to enjoy later. I’ve never read anything like it.

Guilty pleasure

Ultimates vol1 by Millar, HitchAs a lifetime (obscure) artist who has embraced the indie side of comics, after realizing the autobiographies of Chester Brown & Adrian Tomine are much more compelling than any fiction, I still check in on superheroes. I stick to what I hear are the outstanding examples – Miller, Millar, Moore, Bendis, Morrison, etc. – not out of snobbery, but because life is too short to read shit.

That’s where The Ultimates comes in. Marvel’s reimagining of the MU as Marvel Ultimate Universe can be dismissed as a marketing ploy, but I believe it was time to update the characters I grew up with. I mean, I can’t read those old comics – they’re so corny! The dialogue is painful!

This treatment is like hearing a great cover version of an old favourite song; Mark Millar’s The Ultimates is to The MU Avengers as Marilyn Manson’s gritty, scary Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This) is to The Eurythmics’ safe pop stylings. Captain America is a true man of the 50s, uncomfortable with contemporary notions of romance. The Hulk, Dr. Banner’s Mr. Hyde, is a cannibalistic rapist – a true modern monster worthy of the cultural standards indicated by Cloverfield & Hostel. And Thor is a European pacifist hippy cult leader. Seriously – how can I resist?

When my budget permits (&/or my library gives me access), I plan to consume everything the MUU had to offer while it lasted.

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Day 1 + Day 2 – 30 Day Comic Book Challenge

I’m not a regular blogger, so I may not have the fortitude to post daily, but I’ll give this a shot. If you haven’t heard of this ego-centric exercise, several blogging comic fans are doing it (I’m a joiner!). I first learned about it from this Facebook group.

Day 1 – Your First Comic Book

1978 - For Me, the Year It All Began

1978 – For Me, the Year It All Began

It was my 8th birthday when my Mom blessed me with two a grocery store multipacks of comic books. This was 1978 & I was THRILLED! One issue each of Thor, Green Lantern/Green Arrow, The Amazing Spider-Man & The Human Fly. Spidey & HF lost their covers soon thereafter; Thor got coloured on with ballpoint pen (the great expanses of space on the giant T-H-O-R were begging for graffiti).

GL/GA inspired my longstanding dislike of the DCU. It was incomprehensible (keep in mind I had an undiagnosed, recognized-in-retrospect learning disability); I remember scouring the text for indications of character names & couldn’t match anything up. Hell, I read the cover with the typical English convention of L-R, & so, for years, it was Green Green Lantern Arrow. And trashed & discarded quickly, & memorable for it.

Day 2 – Your Favourite Comic Book Character

American Splendor - Another Dollar

Excerpt from American Splendor – Another Dollar

Wow – that’s a toughy. So, so many; it changes often, depending on what I’ve read lately.

With a library copy of American Splendor: Another Dollar recently enjoyed, I have to go with the young lady who helped Harvey Pekar – a stranger – get his car boosted.  She displays an ideology & openness I try to live up to.

FYI – The 30 Day Comic Challenge challenges, as they will come:

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