By Kelly Harrass
Note- Find the first part of this article here: http://wp.me/p1spxr-20
While the summer isn’t officially over, it’s over for me. I’m back in school and the mountains of free time I had were all blown to smithereens. In the first chunk of summer I spent a lot of time reading novels, in the second half I read a lot more comics. I obviously won’t list off all of the comics I pick up weekly because that would take me an absurd amount of time and that’s something I know you don’t want to read. If you do want to read something like that, follow me on Twitter. I talk about every comic I read on there. I’ll stop babbling now, onto the reads. By the way, this isn’t everything I read, just the most memorable stuff.
Parker: The Hunter by Darwyn Cooke- As far as adaptations go, this one was very faithful. That was both good and bad in my mind. It was good because it’s a great story and the Darwyn Cooke art looked amazing with it. It was bad in the sense that Cooke didn’t really take any creative chances on this, like we saw in The Outfit, the second book in Cooke’s adaptations of the Parker series. By no means was this not a good read, it was great and you should pick it up, but I think The Outfit was a better book.
Casanova: Luxuria by Matt Fraction and Gabriel Ba- If you know me, you know that in recent months I can’t stop talking about this book. Casanova has quickly become one of my favorite comics ever. On its surface it’s a psychedelic spy series. Look below that and you’ll find a hyper-dense commentary on the comic medium (I’ve spoken about this before here: http://wp.me/p1spxr-E). It’s a fun series that I never get bored of reading because I find something new every time I read through it. I will say that Casanova isn’t for everybody, but you should at least give it a try. I haven’t been grabbed this hard by a series since I first picked up Criminal.
Jinx by Brian Bendis- This is another book that I talked about earlier this summer, but at the time I hadn’t actually read it yet. Jinx is one of Bendis’ earliest comics and it’s pretty good. The script is solid, but I was hoping for a happier ending. After reading this I’d like to see Bendis do some more art (like he has time for that). If you’re a fan of Bendis’ superhero comics, pick this up and see what he does with the crime genre.
Gotham Central Volumes 1 and 2 by Ed Brubaker, Greg Rucka, and Michael Lark- Take note every cop show on TV: this is how you do it! This is how you take a big cast of characters and make them all distinct and stand out. Gotham Central tells the stories of the Gotham Police Department and the cases that they have to deal with. The series really shined in the story with the Joker from the second volume. I can’t wait to read the rest of the series, but I’m waiting until they’re released in softcover.
Batman: Year One by Frank Miller and David Mazzucchelli- This was one of those comics that I’ve been meaning to read for a while. I finally got the opportunity when I found the trade in a 50% Off bin at work (if you’re new to the program I work at a comic shop). I feel like this was a much better Jim Gordon story than it was a good Batman story. I liked this a lot, but I really didn’t care for how this story altered Catwoman’s origin. I clearly see why this is one of the top Batman stories of all time, but I have to say that it wasn’t what I was expecting.
Supergods by Grant Morrison- This is the only prose book on this list. Supergods was part history of superhero comics, part autobiography, and part whatever the hell Morrison felt like talking about. Even if you don’t like Morrison’s comics, you should give this a read if you get the chance. His story is an interesting one and he brings a bit of a different perspective to the history of comics. It’s a dense read, so if you do buy it, set aside a good amount of time to get through this.
All Star Superman by Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely- After reading Supergods I had the urge to read more Grant Morrison comics. I picked up the two All Star Superman trades from my work and I was blown away by them. I’m not a Superman fan at all, but this was great. Morrison understands what is cool about Superman. Not a panel of this was boring. It was smartly written and the art is the best Quitely that I’ve seen.
Batman and Robin issue 1-16 by Grant Morrison and various artists- I decided to give this a re-read after I finished Supergods. This run really shined in the first arc, which was extremely fun. It slowed down a little in the middle when they go to England, but picked up again in the last three issues. Reading it in one straight shot improved the quality of it for me. It was a lot easier to see the puzzle pieces fit into place reading it in one day instead of over the course of two years. If you liked it the first time you read it, give it another read through.
Umbrella Academy: Apocalypse Suite and Dallas by Gerard Way and Gabriel Ba- After realizing I’m a fan of My Chemical Romance (which I talk about here: http://wp.me/p1spxr-3l (Just call me the Plugger today… no, wait, don’t do that)) I decided to give these two miniseries, written by MCR lead singer Gerard Way, another read. These ended up being better than I remembered. Way’s writing doesn’t come off as somebody who is writing their first comic. It reads like it was written by a seasoned veteran. The characters feel like they’ve been around for years instead of being new creations. Rereading this also solidified Gabriel Ba as one of my favorite artists in comics now. I think I may have to buy these books in trade to make them more readily available for me to read.
Well that’s what I read this summer, what about you? If you read anything good this summer post a comment about it.