Post by coke & comics on Dec 22, 2020 1:28:29 GMT -5
It apparently needs to be said. I love Spider-Man. Favorite comic character. I've read somewhere between 3 and 4 thousand Spider-Man comics. Hated a few. Liked most. Loved several.
Amazing Spider-Man #1-250 + annuals. Spectacular Spider-Man magazine. Giant-Size Spider-Man. Spectacular Spider-Man by Mantlo, David, or DeMatteis. Marvel Team-Up by Claremont or DeMatteis. Superman vs. Amazing Spider-Man. Kraven's Last Hunt. Spider-Man: Hooky. Spider-Man: Spirits of the Earth. Spider-Man 2099 by David and Leonardi. Untold Tales of Spider-Man by Busiek and Oliffe. Spider-Girl by DeFalco and Oliffe. Peter Parker Spider-Man by Jenkins and Buckingham. Ultimate Spider-Man. Ultimate Team-Up. Sensational Spider-Man by Dezago and Wieringo. Spider-Man's Tangled Web. Webspinners: Tales of Spider-Man. Spider-Man loves Mary Jane. Brand New Day. Dan Slott's work. Paul Tobin's work on Marvel Adventures: Spider-Man. Superior Foes of Spider-Man by Spencer. Astonishing Spider-Man and Wolverine by Aaron.
Those are the good ones. Go read.
Plus many of the other runs I didn't name have a few great stories in them; what's above is the most consistently good work. And I'm sure I'm forgetting a few. Also been falling a little behind on the recent stuff.
Post by M. W. Gallaher on Dec 24, 2020 7:53:13 GMT -5
5. Alan Moore I was glad I was sampling almost everything when Alan Moore arrived in American comics, making the dramatic impact he did. Swamp Thing's "The Anatomy Lesson" made a radical change in one of my favorite characters and for once, I didn't have the slightest twinge of resentment. There are few comics creators that have won me over as instantly as Alan Moore did--only Bill Watterson and Matt Groening come immediately to mind. While we often compliment writers for doing a fine job with the usual expected job requirements: strong plots, well-developed characters, ingenuity, originality, convincing dialog, emotional resonance, Alan Moore brought all that and more that comics readers hadn't expected, like the unique integration of time, space and plot via innovation union of setting and page layout that permitted him to tell four interwoven narratives over four decades on four floors of the same apartment building in Tomorrow Stories #2, told in reverse chronological order, just to be that much more impressive in its success:
And would we readers have ever dreamed of an entire comic book that was a single panel, as Moore did with an issue of Promethea? Moore was able to envision the unique capabilities the comics format offered, creating stories that didn't just use the format to imitate movies, or radio, or pulps, but to do things that simply couldn't be done in a different format, most memorably in Watchmen, with its visual motifs synchronized with panel-to-panel transitions and with the captions and with the dialog, or the substitution of panels from the in-story comic book "Tales of the Black Freighter" over the captions and dialog of his main story. Moore also knew better than to succumb to the temptation to always spell everything out for the reader. One of the most memorable of my reading moments came in an issue of Miracleman/Marvelman when Miracleman is describing his discovery of the corpse of "Miracleman Family" member Young Miracleman: "The blast hit me...and it hurt. Nothing had ever hurt me before. As I fell I started to black out, but before I did I caught sight of Dicky. Dick with the stupid name...There were two of him. Two bodies crushed into one. And he was screaming. I couldn't hear him, but he was screaming." It sends chills up my spine as I remember reading that, and slowly realizing what Moore was leaving us for the reader to figure out: we know exactly what Dicky Dauntless was screaming, why he was screaming it, and the horrible consequence of screaming it a half-second too late.
In the mid-1980s, I had a huge pull list at O'Leary's Comics, consisting of huge chunks of the DC and Marvel lines, plus titles from First, WaRP, Gladstone, Comico, Fantagraphics, Eclipse, Aardvark-Vanaheim, and others. I also would buy first issues of new books to see if I wanted to add them to my list. This was how I first encountered the work of
5. Mark Evanier
The comic was the newly revived Blackhawk, a book I'd loved back in its Haney-Dillin era for its sheer stupidity, and it blew me away. I recognized Evanier's name from old letters pages and knew he wrote animated stuff for Gold Key but I was unprepared for what a great storyteller he was. His version of Blackhawk was both gritty and fun, striking a delicate balance between the bravura action of the Golden Age original and a more realistic, at times fatalistic depiction of war. I followed Mark to Eclipse and DNAgents, an entertaining take on the teenage mutant super-team sub-genre, and from there to Crossfire, which reunited him with Blackhawk artist Dan Spiegle. Crossfire, which made extensive use of Evanier's insider knowledge of Hollywood, is one of my favorite titles of the '80s, not least for the show-biz tidbits he shared in the text pages. And then there's the dozens of Groo stories he's done with Sergio Aragones, a series which never fails to make me laugh. Mark is a versatile and underappreciated craftsman who doesn't write nearly as many comics these days as I'd like.
Cei-U once wrote that Cary Bates was DC’s Bill Mantlo--or maybe that Bill Mantlo was Marvel’s Cary Bates. I don’t remember anymore and that particular post was wiped out in Crisis on Comic Book Resources. Either way, I thought it apt then and I still do. And this may be the only place in the world where that’s not an insult.
Their differences: Mantlo tended charge straight ahead toward his planned conclusion while Bates was more interested in a plot twist or two along the way, at least early in their careers. At their core, though, both men seemed to have the same mantra: Anything to please your editor. That meant if Murray Boltinoff wanted a 10-page crap Supergirl story, Bates would bang out another mad scientist with an invention ridiculous by even comic book standards, mini skirmishes would ensue, and Kara would sweep in on the last page and haul him off to jail. Or if orders came down saying “Introduce the Supermobile,” Bates would turn to Marty Pasko (the other Superman writer at the time) and say, “Don’t worry, I’ll do it.” Please the Editor. But when Boltinoff handed Bates the Legion of Super-Heroes and said, “A 10-pager here, an 8-pager there,” well, that was in his wheelhouse. The 30th Century was made for his style of plotting. It showed.
Same with The Flash. Colorful villains and gimmicks galore. I enjoyed his Superman and Justice League work too but it was with The Flash that he excelled. You could tell he was having fun and as a result, so were we. And yet that mantra. Please the Editor. When Ross Andru became editor of The Flash and he wanted to produce a more Marvel-style comic, Bates excelled at that too. It turned out the real Cary Bates was somewhere between the two styles. There came a point where DC was going through editors left and right and rather than keep handing The Flash off, they told Bates, “Go ahead, run the title yourself.” Finally he got to please himself. With Len Wein having already brought back original artist Carmine Infantino, Bates was able to bring the title full circle.
And he understood what The Flash meant to the history of comics. With the title cancelled so that Barry Allen could sacrifice himself in the upcoming Crisis on Infinite Earths, Bates gave The Flash the happiest of possible happy endings. It may have been temporary but for loyal readers, we could not ask for more. Left to his own devices, he would always respect and entertain his readers.
It’s why Cary Bates regularly ended up at the top of my comic stack.
Last Edit: Dec 26, 2020 11:39:27 GMT -5 by Calamas
Astro City is enough to put him here on my list. But he also wrote some of the best Conan comics, and JLA/Avengers, and Marvels. Autumnlands is too new to be considered here but everyone should go read it.
-- Rob Allen
I'm finally on Facebook. Friend requests from CCFers are welcome.
Post by Prince Hal on Dec 31, 2020 11:51:34 GMT -5
5. Arnold Drake
Challengers of the Unknown
Stanley and his Monster
The only Bob Hope comics I ever read were at my rat-bastard cousin’s house, but I loved them: Super-Hip; the monster parodies; the spineless Hope. I knew from nothing about the guys who wrote comics, but I knew I loved the sense of humor that ran through every page of Bob Hope.
Later on I discovered Challengers and Doom Patrol, titles from the borderlands of DC, and again, was drawn to the interesting combination of weirdness and humanity that made these titles so different from DC’s varsity team. Characters argued, froze each other out, even split from the team, but those events weren’t gimmicky so much as natural. The villains all had a touch of humanity, too. They weren’t simply “super-villains,” but sad, mistreated victims of circumstance, and in the case of the Doom Patrol in particular, that description applied to them as well.
And they were such unique characters. Robotman was a wise-ass, Negative Man (no hero was ever so perfectly named) was a cynical pessimist, the Chief was an insufferable know-it-all, and Rita Farr was the exact opposite of Sue Storm, a gigantic presence in the lives of her teammates who often was the voice of reason and the pillar of strength. And she was never hesitant about letting her petty male teammates know how childish they were.
The Challengers were a little more straight-shooting than the DP, but their adventures were just as out there, and there was always an undercurrent of resentment from Red and Rocky, who definitely didn’t feel the love as the brawny dray horses of the team compared to the slick, smooth Ace and genius-level Prof.
Both titles had fun with the superhero genre and the conventions of comics while still maintaining the suspense and excitement you plunked down your 12 cents for to begin with.
Arnold Drake, I found out later, was the writer of all these titles, and I always regretted that he pretty much left comics just as I realized that I was a big fan of his unique ability to be satirical of and affectionate for comics. I’m glad that as overdue as it was, recognition came to him for all he gave to comics.
Last Edit: Dec 31, 2020 18:02:10 GMT -5 by Prince Hal
"The rarer action is In virtue than in vengeance." -- The Tempest, 5.1
(these last few entries will be very brief for now, just to get them in before the deadline. I might try to add a few words later on.)
I can understand some of the criticism directed against Ennis - sophomoric toilet humour, taking satirical potshots at easy targets - but his work has a lot of heart, almost flirting with sentimentalism at some moments.
The first three or four storylines in The Boys are up there with the most rivetting comics reads I've ever experienced, and the latter parts of that series are still very good, though perhaps it might have been editied down a little, as I think after a while it was driving home the same point that had already been made earier. Perhaps also Ennis kind of painted himself into a corner, so the dénouement wasn't quite up to the standard of earlier parts of the series. Still, possibly rhe best superhero satire ever done.
Preacher was more up and down for me, but at its best it was among the best-written series of its time. I haven't read the war comics, though I'll have to try smething one of these days. Most of his other Big 2 work doesn't interest me.
Why he's a favorite of mine: scripted Secret Six #2-7 (1968 series)
I'm including him here because one of my favorite DC series was short-lived Secret Six, which ran for 7 issues. I was hooked after the first issue; it quickly became one of my must-buys (though back then I only managed to read the first 4 or 5 issues. I'm glad to say I have all 7 issues now!). I loved the Frank Springer art--not pretty or glossy at all, kind of scratchy in fact but boy it suited the gritty, often seamy world of the characters and the action. The premise/plots--a sort of combination of elements from Christie's And Then There Were None* with Mission Impossible**--may have been conceived by E. Nelson Bridwell, but with issue #2 Charlton alum Joe Gill was doing the scripting. Gill gave them all had very distinct personalities and voices. He had them each play to their strengths: King, Mike and Crimson did most of the good old-fashioned fighting; Dr. Durant was the brains; Lili and Carlo pitched in too.
*An after-the-fact realization; at the time I had not read the Christie book or seen any of the movie versions
** I never watched Mission Impossible, but many readers wrote in applauding the similar premise and feel
Each character was running from something and there were often unsavory details in the mix. Here in #4 the focus was on King's backstory.
God, I just loved this book. It's a shame it was bi-monthly and then I couldn't find it anywhere and then I realized it had been canceled. It was one of my favorite series, so it earns Gill a place on my list.