What I'm Reading (Comic Books)

Since this blog recently took a sharp turn away from Chuck reviews and into lengthy diatribes on comic book related matters, I figured it might be a good time to delve into what it is I'm actually reading these days, comics-wise.

This is actually a surprisingly short list, to the point where I'm wondering if I'm forgetting anything.  There are also some noticeable absences, which I'll address later.

Here we go:

The 6th Gun (ongoing, Oni Press)

A kind of random discovery, I only even picked this up off the shelves because someone I follow on Twitter mentioned buying it.  Once I flipped through it, I was intrigued enough to give it a shot, and I was really glad that I did.  I grew up mostly on superhero comics (delving into alternative/underground books when I went to college, naturally) and they make up the majority of what I still buy.  This book is a nice pallet cleanser and, really, just a well done comic with an interesting hook.  It's also made me realize that I used to buy a decent amount of Oni's output, and that maybe I should be looking into their other books.

Godland (formerly ongoing, Image Comics)

I more or less check out everything Joe Casey writes.  Not all of it hooks me, but his batting average is pretty high.  Godland is completely insane which is why I read it.  I dare you to find me a comic book with better dialogue -- it doesn't exist.  Godland is a space opera in the classic sense, but littered with modern sensibilities.  Sadly, it's ending soon, but I'm thrilled that it ever existed.  And, again, just as with Oni, I realized that perhaps I should be reading more Image books, as the house ads in Godland are always really interesting.

Batman and Robin (ongoing, DC)

While I check out everything Joe Casey writes, I buy everything Grant Morrison writes.  His batting average is so high that I'm willing to risk the three to four dollars to try something I might not be sure about.  That clearly wasn't the case with this book, as it was part of Morrison's epic Batman story.  I absolutely love Dick Grayson as Batman and I couldn't be more thrilled that he's sticking with that role.  I also like his dynamic with Damien, the new Robin.  I enjoy the dynamic so much, in fact, that I'm actually going to stick with this book after Morrison leaves.  We'll see how long that lasts.

Legion of Superheroes (ongoing, DC)

Anyone who reads comics and isn't fooling themselves will admit that a substantial portion of the industry is ruled by nostalgia.  This can be infuriating when it directly effects the forward momentum of stories, particularly given the vast backlog of comics out there that have yet to reprinted.  I own a good number of Batman Archives -- I have no desire to see Batman return to the stories told in the 50's.  All that said, the Legion is a book I read purely out of nostalgia.  I have a soft spot for these characters and I've been buying this book for six months now even though it hasn't been particularly good.  Granted, it hasn't been particularly bad, either.  I'm hoping the first arc was just a warm-up and I really wish a new artist would come on board.

Adventure Comics (ongoing, DC)

If I'm so middle of the road on the Legion book, how can I explain reading two of them?  Well, I'm not actually reading two of them...yet.  But I will start picking up Adventure when it begins focusing on the Legion Academy.  And while nostalgia plays a part, this book has an advantage over the Legion book: Phil Jimenez.  I can't wait to see a Legion book that actually looks good.

First Wave (limited series, DC)

A few months ago, I illegally downloaded the first issue of this series.  You heard me.  And I really liked it.  I liked the pulp feel.  I liked the art.  So I went to Meltdown and I got the first issue (which I'd already read but now paid for) and the second issue, which was already out.  The story has kind of gone all over the place, but the art is still great and I'm still getting my dose of pulp.  I'll be interested to see if it can tie everything together in a satisfactory manner, because it seems like that's going to be hard.

Joe the Barbarian (limited series, Vertigo)

I almost didn't put this on here since there's only a single issue left in the series.  Again, it's Grant Morrison, so I bought it, but the art alone probably would have given it a chance.  It took a few issues for me to really start getting into this, but now that I have, I really enjoy it.  It falls from this list in only a month, though, when the last issue comes out.

Batman, Inc. (ongoing, DC)

Strangely enough, there's a part of me that isn't interested in this.  I know that Morrison will make it engaging, but his initial Batman storyline was so epic that I don't see how he can possibly match it.  I suppose it would also be safe to say that I've lost interest in Bruce Wayne, as the last few years of Batman have been about anything but Bruce.  Again, though, I have faith in Morrison to make this good, but consider me guarded.

Dungeons and Dragons (ongoing, IDW)

You know, I'm kind of surprised I just typed that out.  I've been going through a big fantasy fiction phase again, taking me back to my youth.  I don't read any IDW books and the price point is a bit much, but it's a small publisher, so at least I know they're not just gouging me because they can.  I enjoyed the #0 issue, so I'm willing to give this a shot.  We'll see how long my sense of nostalgia lasts, though (at least six months, if the Legion is any indication).

Ex Machina (trade, DC)

Yes, I'm something of a trade waiter, although not nearly as much as I used to be, which surprised me when I was making this list.  I have never read Ex Machina in any other form than this, so while the series is over for anyone who read it monthly, it's still going on for me.  It seems like it ended long enough ago for this to be the final collection, but for some reason I think there's actually one more after this.  Again, though, this is another title that will soon fall from my list.

The Walking Dead (trade, Image)

Image is actually really good at cranking out the collected editions of this series, possibly because they know how many people got on board by getting the cheaply priced first trade paperback.  Now that the television series is doing well, I would expect Image to maintain their schedule, since anyone looking to read the comics will probably do so at a bookstore.  This title has too many cliffhangers for me to read it monthly.

But What Does It All Mean?

This isn't to say that the above are the only comic book related items I spend money on.  I'm still picking up the trades of Sandman Mystery Theatre, but that's a book that is finished and generally only seems published once a year.  I'm also a big fan of both the DC Archives (which are apparently not too popular with DC) and Marvel Masterworks, as well as the late, lamented EC Archives.  Books like that can put a fairly big tent in your wallet.  At some point I'd also like to finish getting all the collected editions of Sandman, since my individual issues are in storage aka my parents' house.

There is one fairly bold absence from my list: I don't read anything published by Marvel.  Just a few years ago, that would have been incomprehensible.  These days, nothing Marvel publishes interests me, and the few things that do catch my eye are overpriced.  The last Marvel book I read was Atlas, and as much as I enjoy the work that Jeff Parker and Gabriel Hardman do, I have zero interest in reading about the Red Hulk (which is the book they're currently working on).  Perhaps I'm getting old (as evidenced by the number of times I've used the word "nostalgia" in this blog), but Marvel doesn't offer me anything that I'm interested in.

Also notable is the rather low number of Vertigo books I read.  This is kind of surprising, given that I'm willing to buy OGN's from Vertigo, yet seem unwilling to read much less expensive comics.  There's not a lot that Vertigo puts out in comic book form that I'm really interested in, and the last book I did enjoy I fell behind on and never manages to catch up, although I'll probably get the trades.

It's strange to think that I'm only buying 7 ongoing books, given that there was a point in my life that I probably bought 7 comics a week.  But I'm losing 2 limited series (3, if I were to count the one that ends tomorrow) and an ongoing soon, so I'm open to suggestions.