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Thursday, March 29, 2007

The Agony Of A Pull-List

Taking a page from Jason's blog, I have decided to do my own little break down of what goes into putting together a pull-list. Unlike the Jason, the process itself is a bit grueling. A lot of the titles that I used to pull have recently fallen out of favor with me. And the ones I do like are either being put out bi-annually or on the cusp of being wrapped up. There is also the waiting-for-trade factor. I could never justify to myself that purchasing a movie 15 minutes at a time is a smart thing to do, therefore, why do the same for comic books?

With that being said, here's a little insight into what I am going to pulling and why.



MUST-HAVES

  • All Star Superman: Morrison and Quietly can do no wrong. Expect that whole lateness thing. We can overlook that aspect of things.

  • Astonishing X-men: We are, what...two issues away from finishing this up? Its beyond good, but its nostalgia wank off material through and through. But dayum...... that Cassidy dude can illustrate something fierce!

  • Astro City: I finally read the first three trades this past summer. All I can say is phenomonal. Dark Age is slowly making its way out and the issue I read has still got me interested in it. Kurt Busiek is completely ruly.

  • Doctor Frankenstein: High concept all the way. Not as funny as Shaolin Cowboy, but the action is definitely there. At one point, Frank beats up a werewolf and all her pups in a sequence that was quite well done. This might be wrapped, on hiatus, taking forever, I don't remember.

  • Iron Fist: The best book to come out from Marvel last year. Finally, we have an Iron Fist comic to be proud of. Fighting off the agents of Hydra, both as Danny Rand the entrepreneur and Iron Fist, the Fist on Knonshu. Great stuff.

  • New Warriors: I have to get this. If anything, just to give me a reason to further show the world the only redeeming thing to come out of comics in '91 and '92 was New Warriors vol 1., #s 1 through 25.

  • Nova: Nova's my dawg! What?!

  • Planetary: Only one issue to go, right? Nevermind that its turned into a slow burn. Nevermind that lackluster ending. Nevermind that it Hailey's Comet has been spotted 3 times since the last issue hit the stands. Its Planetary. If you do not know what that really means, Warren Ellis hates you. More than he already did.

  • Shaolin Cowboy: Its awesome cubed. Geof Darrow is just bedazzling. That's right. I said it: bedazzling. The talent of his art combined with his humor will blow your mind. And not some Chris Sims' "Batman punching a dog" blow your mind, but jive-talking demons trying to rustle up on the Shaolin Cowboy while he is being pursued by a baby with bloody hands that keeps saying "mine!" over and over again kind of blow your mind. You have to read it to love it. It also has a talking horse. Or maybe he's a mule. Either way, talking horses/mules are the new monkey. I think its on hiatus, but when it was going, it was bi- or tri-monthly. Something aggravating like that.

  • Stray Bullets: Nevermind that it only comes out once a year. David Lapham will always rule and this book, as weird as it can get sometimes, is worth the wait. This is one of the books that I will buy monthly and then randomly pick up a TPB so I can reread it in a convenient manner. Thanks to that consumer strategy, David Lapham can afford to get cheese with that hamburger.

  • Wintermen: Hey, look! Its another semi-annual-if-you're-lucky comic book! Wintermen. Boy, do I love this comic. Trying to sum it up for those who most likely have not read it yet is hard. Ex-Cold War Russian Superhumans turned quasi-policemen/criminals, walking what's left of the Soviet beat. One issue, our protagonist is sent to Brooklyn to track down a superhuman child that was kidnapped by radioactive organ dealers, another issue its business as usual for some crooked cops trying to get by in Mother Russia. John Paul Leon's(Earth X) line heavy, photo-realistic art style is perfect for Brian Lewis's script. The dialogue reads as close to Russian-translated-into English as you can get it. None of what I just said probably made any sense, unless you have read and liked Wintermen. If so, then you too know the pain that is enjoying something so much, even if you don't really know what you just read.

  • X-men: Best X-book on the stands. I know, its crazy, but it is. Carey and crew have made me care about a bunch of X-men that I pretty much wrote off a long time ago. Even Cable! He has brought the mutant baby from the future back to his roots which is a dude with a bunch fo guns that also happens to be a mutant. That's okay with me. And Bachalo? Your confuso-vision art styles is giving me wood. Like that one scene when Northstar super-speed pummeled the Astonishing X-men? Fan-tast-ick. Let's just hope that this summer's X-crossover doesn't blow this whole thing for all of us.

MAYBES


  • Captain America: This is a solid book. But then they killed Steve Rogers. Things will be interesting, but I have this feeling that owning the trade will better choice.

  • Countdown: With Paul Dini, this could be really good. I didn't pick up 52, but I always read the weekly column over at Newsarama.

  • Daredevil: Another great book that screams "Buy The Trade!" at me. I loved the Prison arc, but I felt that it was written for the trade. If that's the case, why bother with single issues?

  • New Avengers: As much as I say I hate this book and what's it done to my sleeping habits, I still continue to pick it up. When I go a month or two without it, I feel like I finally beat Athlete's Foot. Then I see it and I get that itch again.....

    Brian Michael Bendis has some really good ideas floating around this book. Its the execution that's lacking. Punching and blasting has been replaced with quiping and blabbering. The past few issues have been a little better in that department, but we are dealing with this Ronin crap. Bendis comes up with a half-way decent idea but ends up shooting himself in the foot. Bringing the Sentry into the Marvel U.? Not a bad idea. Just make sure you get rid of him for when the ninjas show up. Introduce a mysterious ninja-Avenger and have everybody guessing? Why not. Its comics. Dumb things are SUPPOSED to happen like that. Let's try and refrain from the whole "She's a he!" for obvious reasons. Resolve this Xorn thing once and for all? Not a bad idea, but good luck. Wait, what did I just read? Its fan-fiction in the worst way. Reading it, I tend to find myself wanting to either rewrite it myself or at least explain certain things that should have been explained. If there was a way that Bendis could read this without using his message board as the gauge of whether or not its good, we might be okay. I want to like it, but he's making it so hard.

  • World War Hulk: Romita rules and Pak has been more than decent on some of the stuff I have read. But is a crossover, which will probably force into making some Get Your World War Hulk On jokes....and that's not so good, now is it.

Having typed all of that, I am coming up with one conclusion: superhero comics just ain't what they used to be. Its such a commitment that hardly pays off as much as I pay out. And the ones that do pay off, make me waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit forever and are probably further away from super hero comics that your average spandex book.

Have superhero comics abandoned me or have I abandoned superhero comics? Or am I just reading the wrong comics? Is possible that I choose the wrong side and that I might be much happier in a shared universe with multiple earths and youthful wards? Should I stop posing in front of the mirror in tights and start gazing down in that there inny/outy navel of mine? Is turning Japanese the answer? Can Manga help me hug it out with this adolescent power fantasy that hides inside of me? Should I even bother with a pull list? If I can't even commit to a monthly pull, how could I possibly commit myself to other aspects of my life? Will I die alone, with only a bunch of long boxes filled with incomplete runs of my favorite comics to my name?

If there was a soundtrack to my life, it would be playing Soul Asylum's Runaway Train on continuous loop right about now....

Runaway train never going back
Wrong way on a one way track
Seems like I should be getting somewhere
Somehow I'm neither here no there

Can you help me remember how to smile
Make it somehow all seem worthwhile
How on earth did I get so jaded
Life's mystery seems so faded.....

3 comments:

Jason said...

You had me until you went into the Soul Asylum. Anyhoo, I think part of the reason that it's harder for comics to have that same pull as it did when we were younger is the simple economics of the thing. When comics were 75 cents, if one sucked, well, it was only 75 cents and it certainly held my attention for the 20 mintues I spent reading it. But now, at $3 bucks, it's gotta be good, or else I'm bitching on the internet about it. That, and we are all cynical old men now.

Anyway, I actually looked at my pull list yesterday, and I actually left some off of my list on the blog. I may have to write up a correction tonight. Also, between your love, and the love on Kevin's forum, I'm now going to have to try X-Men.

The Fortress Keeper said...

To be honest, I find myself in much the same situation regarding Marvel and DC.

I'm turning into someone who is basically looking for books that tell stories without crossing over all over the friggin' multiverse.

That leaves titles like All-Star Superman, Dynamo 5, Invincible, The Spirit, Godland and a few others.

Spencer Carnage said...

Jason,

Yeah, I don't know where that Soul Asylum came from, but sometimes you just gotta ramble on.

Fortress Keeper,

How is Dynamo 5? I just listened to a Word Balloon podcast with Jay Faerber and it sounds like something I can get in to. And Godland, I get in trades. A lot of the good stuff I get in trades, which I left out of the post. For some reason, my mind works only in floppies when it comes to a pull list.