Culturology 056 – Talking About Comics that You’ve Probably Already Read and Don’t Really Want to Read About

Well, Await Your Reply was probably a better book than Generosity: An Enhancement. Not that I even really want to make that comparison. There you go. Shows what I know. Not that anyone reads books anymore, but if you’re going to take any book recommendation from me, I’d go ahead and say take the You Don’t Suck runner-up. There’s totally internets in it.

But now that I’m done for the moment reading novels (okay, that’s not really true (I’m still in the middle of reading a (less contemporary) novel); you can take the nerd out of the library, but you can’t take the library out of the nerd), I can get back to the other things that I like to read, namely, shampoo bottles comics that most people that read comics have already read. For instance, I finally just read Casanova, just in time for internet rumors that Fraction is finally working on the next arc. But, damn, that’s a brilliant comic. I never really read comics as a kid, or even as a college student (got into it a little bit in college, reading stuff like Akira and other sundry technical university required readings), aside from a single issue at the barber shop where I used to get my haircut, in which Superman raced The Flash. The race was refereed by some kind of floating leprechaun guy. I forget who won, but I think it made the floating leprechaun guy unhappy. It’s been a long time since I’ve been to the barber (though, full disclosure, I went to a Supercuts in December). So I’ve had a lot of catching up to do, since now that I like and read comics, I have decades and decades of catching up to do. Luckily, part of being in graduate school is having just about as much time as you’d like to have to dedicate to reading. Without getting into too much of a discussion about Casanova (because, again, I imagine that most of these conversations in the real world took place, like, a couple of years ago), I think what most impressed me about it was how it managed to feel both very unique and personal but also have a kind of broad appeal at the same time, which is a real queue (especially to a person like me, who has spent a fair amount of time here in Culturology talking about audience)). And, it probably goes without saying, but many thanks for Nick for plugging me in to just about every comic book that I’ve read.

Also just read Brubaker/Philips’ Sleeper, which, coming after Casanova, seemed much more rooted in genre, and really kind of lacking on the sci-fi side of things. Liked the atmosphere and main character, and the global black ops kind of plot, but the superpowers seemed really pretty dull. But given the genre-related sense, I’m pretty stoked to start reading Criminal, the first five issues of which are now waiting on my table as the next thing I start reading, ’cause it seems like it pretty much has to be better than Sleeper was.

And speaking of Fraction and Brubaker, I also just read the first arc of the Last Iron Fist thingy that they co-wrote, which is pretty rad. And I’m looking forward to the next sequence, since it’s apparently going to take place at a tournament, and I’ve just finished watching just about every tournament movie made in the last 40 years (look forward to some Tournament Movie March Madness here at Audioshocker, courtesy of Nick and myself).

And speaking of shit that’s out of date, John Byrne is, like, a total asshole, right? Or am I incorrectly picking up that vibe from is early ’90s Next Men effort?

Other comcis that I’m about to start reading, finally: Umbrella Academy, and Promethea.

I’ve also had the opportunity to read most of this stuff in single issues, rather than in their trade collections, which I think is also a massive bonus (especially with Casanova, since the book really works so well because of its back-matter). And maybe I’m just old fashioned, but I think it’s really important that comics don’t get sucked in to be entirely digital. Mostly because even the flimsy paper of physical comics will last longer than most digital storage mediums. And I want to be able to read comics in the case of a massive solar storm wiping out North America’s power grid!

7 Responses to “Culturology 056 – Talking About Comics that You’ve Probably Already Read and Don’t Really Want to Read About”

  1. 1 neallllll

    pete (and to an extent Nick) – I could never get into Casanova. It just really rubbed me the wrong way. different strokes perhaps.

    Umbrella Academy was drawn rather well – but also was kind of lame. or at least that’s what i think i said about it last year.

    LOVED the first arc of that Last Iron Fist book. Never got the read the tournament arc though.

    Promethea – EXCELLENTLY drawn book. Too bad Alan Moore went off his meds after the 2nd trade. I think if you will really enjoy the first half of the series, at least I did. For a less weird experience, try Top 10. It’s basically Hill Street Blues with super heroes.

  2. 2 nick marino

    the tournament arc was a little disappointing for me in Iron Fist. while it’s still exceptionally well written, it feels padded, like they really wanted to put out a certain number of issues but didn’t necessarily have another story to tell so they just extended the one they were already telling. because of that, there’re some jarring artistic shifts (handled by good artists, but jarring nonetheless). to top it off, the tournament story gets eclipsed by an Enter the Dragon-esque b-plot that distracts from the far-more-interesting tournament action. it starts off strong but takes a nosedive soon after.

    i’m surprised Sleeper didn’t do it for you. i tried issue one of Criminal but couldn’t get into it. however, most people prefer Criminal to Sleeper, so hopefully you will too.

    i have to say, in retrospect, i grabbed a nice selection of fairly literary comics to pass along to you! but i’m most interested in seeing what sort of stuff you get into next, based on what did or didn’t like from this round. i guess Criminal is one… and i’m psyched to learn about even more!!!

    AAAAND your John Byrne assessment is hilarious if only because that’s the way a lot of people feel about him based upon what he’s done outside of his stories, so it’s almost bizarre that you would pick that up just from Next Men. i actually like Byrne’s stuff a lot, and am prone to enjoying most of what he does. personally, i have no comment on him as a person cause i don’t know anything about him save for some of the ridiculous things he’s posted online. as a comic book creator, his work is, in my eyes, pretty much essential reading, from X-Men to Marvel Team-Up to Iron Man to Superman to Next Men (Next Men, BTW, was one of the first big comics i can think of where a creator was able to take their reputation from mainstream stuff and spin it into a profitable property where they retained creator rights (it could be claimed that Next Men’s success inspired Image Comics, i guess)).

  3. 3 pete

    I liked Sleeper, just not as much as Casanova.

  4. AudioShocker Shoutouts!

    Wet Moon comics

  5. 4 ross

    i haven’t read any of this stuff!!!!

  6. 5 nick marino

    i think you’d really dig Casanova

  7. 6 ross

    are there aliens in it?

  8. AudioShocker Shoutouts!

    The Illiterate Badger webcomics

  9. 7 pete


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