Monday, December 29, 2014

2014 – a Reckoning … of comic collections read

This year I decided to start tracking my reading a bit more closely.  I wanted to be able to look at trends in my reading, and possibly identify deficiencies in my habits that I could work on.  For the year, I read 100 collections-slash-graphic novels.  Not a bad number.  But what did I read?

I finally got my hands on Bendis’s Alias, which was a great series.  It tapered off a bit at the end, but still, some really great writing, and I appreciated Andreyko’s art, which helped make this book stand out even more.  This led to me re-reading Bendis’s Daredevil run with Alex Maleev.  Not as great as I remember, from my first reading, but still a strong series of issues, made all the more impressive by the fact that, with rare instances and one fill-in storyline that I can remember, this creative team was on the book for a serious run.  Now I’m halfway through the Brubaker/Lark run, and though I’m not enjoying it as much, it’s still a solid read. 

I also dipped into the Geoff Johns Green Lantern mythos this year - and wrote about it here, here, and here.  I stopped after the Sinestro Corps War, relatively underwhelmed.  There was some nice art (when it was Ethan Van Sciver), and the stories were well done, but I think the facts that Hal Jordan is now a firm fixture in the DCU and that I knew some of the twists and turns coming is what killed it for me.  I may return to see how things lead up to Blackest Night, one of my favorite Flash stories of recent years, but probably not.

I also finished up Bakuman this year, reading the last 11 volumes over the entire course of 2014.  Great stuff.  As long as you can buy into the distinct tropes of manga, then you should enjoy this.  Great drama, great characters, some really funs scenarios, and beautiful art, all revolving around two school friends who decide they want to become the biggest manga creators on Weekly Shonen Jump.  The way the creators manage to imbue their stories with drama and tension, when it revolves around creating comics, is impressive.  Worth checking out. 

I also read the full Locke & Key this year, by Joe Hill & Gabriel Rodriguez.  One of the best comic stories in years.  Amazing.  If you haven’t read this series yet, and you call yourself a comic fan, get on it.  You will not regret it. 

Some other standouts from the past year also include:

  • Ant Colony by Michael DeForge – one of the most distinct and enjoyable artists currently working in comics
  • Family Ties by Eric Hobbs & Noel Tuazon – one of my favorite artists, who does not have enough work out there, but what Tuazon does have is all stellar
  • Bumperhead by Gilbert Hernandez – on my Rushmore of comic artists.
  • Nemo: Roses of Berlin by Alan Moore & Kevin O’Neill – Alan Moore, writing god, ‘nuff said.
  • The Red Diary by Steven Seagle & Teddy Kristiansen – an incredible creative team with yet another phenomenal book.  Check out anything from them.
  • NOAH by Darren Aronofsky & Niko Henrichon – gorgeous art, great story, and not what you expect.  Get it.
  • Hip Hop Family Tree v.1 by Ed Piskor – check this out, a history of hip hop told through comics by a guy who is a signature talent.

And there were a lot more.  Going into 2015, I’m going to read through all of Gotham Central, finally, and I also plan on doing a near-complete Frank Miller re-read – I don’t know if I can take Holy Terror! but I am excited to re-read DK2 and possibly writing about it.  And whatever other great titles come across my various social feeds.  If you’ve got something to recommend, let me know.  And thanks.


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