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OldAle1
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The comic book/comic strip/comix/manga/etc lounge

#1

Post by OldAle1 »

Call them what you will, comics are a huge influence on culture today, so it's surprising that we don't have a thread dedicated to them, so here it is. Discuss comics you love or hate, argue for or against comics as "art" or "great art", talk about the history and future of the medium, the differences between American, French, Japanese, etc examples. Discuss collecting and buying and selling - a huge part of the comics culture in America for sure. Discuss comics adaptations of other works, and adaptations of comics (but please don't make this whole thread all about anime, there are other places for that). Etc, etc. And make lists of course, that's what we do.
Last edited by OldAle1 on December 29th, 2020, 7:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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#2

Post by OldAle1 »

So like a lot of American kids of my generation, I got occasional comics throughout childhood - my grandfather used to give my brother and I western comics when we were elementary school age - early 70s. Later on in that decade I started to buy them myself and of course gravitated to superheroes - one's choices at that time were the dudes in tights, horror comics, Archie, and a few funny animal hangers-on; superheroes already dominated the market heavily but not as much as today I think. Marvel and DC were the only publishers most comic book geeks cared about, at least ones like me who didn't have access to the more "sophisticated" underground comix that had emerged a decade earlier.

By the time I got to college in the early 80s I had discovered some of the alternative and underground scene and by the end of the decade I'd pretty much left superheroes behind, at least in terms of actual reading; I still collected, but that was in part due to the mania developing over investing in collectibles, something that has stuck with me to this day, though I've done far more collecting than selling up to this point. Superhero stuff that had the most appeal to me included the various titles starring Thor, Green Lantern, Doctor Strange and Batman, and to some extent the X-Men; the indie stuff I got into first that stands out were Love and Rockets, Journey (very obscure frontier/wilderness/existential philosophy comic set in Michigan in 1812) Acme Novelty Library, and American Splendor. I also accumulated a lot of stuff that, going over my collection as I have been lately, I wonder at - why did I get all that Ninja Turtles shit? Not that I'm complaining, those are some of the few comics I have that I could sell instantly if I needed the dough - but I never read any of them and thought they were stupid generally. Weird. I do like the fact that superhero comics did grow up to some extent in the 80s, in particular with the work of Frank Miller (Daredevil, The Dark Knight Returns) and Alan Moore (V for Vendetta, Swamp Thing, Marvelman/Miracleman, Watchmen), but I kind of feel like a lot of such efforts are diluted within the realm of the big corporate-owned companies; Miller can do something different with Batman, but at the end of the day Warner Brothers, sorry AT&T, isn't going to let the main title stray too much from whatever it takes to keep the mainstream audience interested. And a lot of the best creators, like Moore, have largely stayed away from the big companies over the years for this reason and others; for my money, most of what is at all interesting in American comics has been in the smaller independent companies for a couple of generations now, though you do get good individual stories or runs even in the most mainstream titles occasionally.

I certainly liked a fair number of newspaper comics - Peanuts, Alley Oop, The Far Side, Doonesbury among them. Never a big Calvin and Hobbes reader for some reason. Would love to collect some of them but they can be massive undertakings and expensive; I do have the complete Little Nemo (just a bit before my time) but I've only sampled a bit of it.

Have read very little in the way of non American/Canadian/British work, unfortunately. A bit of Asterix when learning German - it was and probably still is common to use Asterix and/or Tintin in language classes in the US. Not much manga either - some Lone Wolf and Cub, that might be it.

As I've gotten a little back into the medium I've wondered where to start again in reading; my local library thankfully has a fair amount of stuff, and that's an easy and painless way to explore some of this (comics are fucking expensive in the USA, with prices rising at several multiples over inflation since the 70s). Right now I have out Lady Killer by Joëlle Jones, one of two 5-issue mini-series from the last few years about a young, pretty housewife ca 1960 in Florida who moonlights as a paid assassin; it's fun and I like Jones' art an awful lot - it's clear that apart from her interest in midcentury modern style she also has an affinity for a slightly later period in comics illustration, particularly the work of 70s Batman artists Neal Adams and Marshall Rogers, so it's no surprise that she's gone on to write and draw Catwoman and draw Batman in the last couple of years. I'll have to check those out too if this story holds up.
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#3

Post by OldAle1 »

Here's maybe the best cover from Lady Killer, to give you an idea of the style. Tupperware, sexy maid outfit, sunflowers and bloody murder.

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#4

Post by Knaldskalle »

I grew up with the European style comics, so mostly the Belgians (Franquin et al.) and Herge. I still enjoy those and have started buying them for my kids, so they know a little about European non-superhero comics. You know, Lucky Luke, Asterix, Tintin, Fantasio & Spirou, the Smurfs, Yakari and so on...

In my teens I discovered Enki Bilal and Moebius (Jean Girard) and their works, which led me to Alejandro Jodorowski (so I knew Jodorowski as a writer long before encountering him as a film maker) and the likes of Alan Moore. I just bought my oldest daughter the first volume in the Complete Valerian series.

Like OldAle I'm not at all in touch with what's going on in the world of comics, so I hope someone will be able to chime in with more current stuff, but I recommend all the ones I've mentioned above in case anyone's curious. Bilal, Moebius, Jodorowski and Moore are all in the European "art house" vein, so don't expect their work to be suitable for kids.
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#5

Post by Onderhond »

Though I'm quite taken with Japanese culture/media, I've never really gotten into manga. Like Knaldskalle I was brought up on Belgian strips (as a Belgian, that's not too weird), though I lost interest in those when I was about 15-16 I think.

The one comic that does stand out for me is a manga though, written/illustrated by Tsutomu Nihei (a former architect). Blame! is probably the most cyberpunk thing I've ever seen/read, a completely chaotic mess of biotech madness set in an ever-expanding city (spanning planets). There is an feature film anime adaptation, but while great it obviously doesn't approximate the insanity of the manga. There's also a more experimental 6-episode short series (5 minutes each), but that one suffers from lack of funding.

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The dream would be Netflix giving a big lump sum of money to Shinya Tsukamoto to adapt the manga into a live-action film, but that'll never happen :D
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#6

Post by hurluberlu »

I also grew up with French and Belgian bandes dessinées (BD) and have continued to collect hundreds over the years, building a fairly eclectic taste. European production is so rich that it is hard to keep up nowadays although I must say I am probably old school when it comes to drawing and stay away from the industrial, computer-based stuff. I have also a lot of one-shot graphic novels that are a good way to prolong thematic experience from other art forms
I am not really into US comics, never had real interest for super heroes or ultra-violence/horror: the few that I have and like are Moore's Watchmen, Fables, Fatale, Maus and Burns' Toxic series.

I will try to post what I am reading here.

Just finished
Spirou et Fantasio par... Le journal d'un ingénu (Emile Bravo, 2008) 7+

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Now busy with
L'Œuvre hermétique (Moebius, 2019 (1974-1987 re-editions))

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#7

Post by 3eyes »

I discovered Sunday newspaper comic strips in WW II -- 1942, to be precise. (Dick Tracy, Little Orphan Annie, etc.) My cousin and I would decide what our favorite comic strip was only to see it discontinued because the artist/author had been drafted. Every Sunday we'd discuss the latest casualties by phone. That's when Brenda Starr, who I think for a long time was the only syndicated strip written by a woman, got a start.

As for comic books (which cost 10 cents), I was only allowed stuff like Loonie Tunes, Disney, Little Lulu and the like.

I was a devoted reader of newspaper comics into maybe the 1980s or so. All time favorites: Pogo (Walt Kelly, 50s & 60s, very political) and the short-lived King Aroo (Jack Kent, 50s).

A year or two ago I got some Asterix & Obelix books in English - would love to see what the French do with all those punning names, like the Roman commandant Crismus Bonus.

Dunno how many of you have heard of any of these, but oh well. I also read my son's Tintin books. (A few years back when he was trying to learn some Indonesian, his teacher gave him Indonesian Tintin book -- I guess so he could say "Thundering typhoons!" in the vernacular.)
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#8

Post by OldAle1 »

Time to re-activate this, at least for a moment, as I just finished reading this

Image

Like a Velvet Glove Cast in Iron by Dan Clowes, first serialized in his solo-anthology title "Eightball", 1989-92. Clowes is from Chicago and did a fair amount of zine and small press work there, and I remember seeing a lot of his stuff when I was still fairly into comics in the late 80s-early 90s. I wish I'd picked it up then, especially Eightball - a complete set of the 23 issues is currently on eBay for $500, which is actually a really good price. Sigh. Oh well, the serialized graphic novel portions, which also include a title many here will be familiar with from it's film adaptation, Ghost World, are considerably easier to come by.

Anyway, LAVGCII (the title is taken from a line in Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! is described by one critic as a predecessor to Twin Peaks, which isn't too far off the mark, though I'd say it's probably closer to Lynch's more surreal Eraserhead and Inland Empire, albeit set mostly in small-town and rural surroundings reminiscent of the TV series and Blue Velvet. If you hadn't guessed, this is very very weird and pretty indescribable, at least in one reading. It seems to be a series of nightmares, dreams, fragments, which take off when lead character Clay Loudermilk sees a very weird porno flick in a shady theater and recognizes somebody, and goes on a quest...

It's weirdness doesn't come from the stylization of the art, like, say, Steve Ditko's stranger stuff, or a lot of the more expressionist European work of people like Moebius - the pages are all laid out as below, and the individual panels are clear and what's going on in them is usually simple - instead it's the narrative elisions and the refusal of nearly every bit of the story to adhere either to reality or to what we think of as "dreamlike"; I suppose in a sense it feels like a kind of magical realism, but a very unpleasant and scary kind.

Image

I can't say I quite LOVED it on one reading, but it was sure something, and I definitely want to check out more of Clowes' work. And I think anybody into the weirder, darker side of comics owes it to themselves to have a look at this, which in the USA at least can probably be found in most libraries.
It was the truth, vivid and monstrous, that all the while he had waited the wait was itself his portion..
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#9

Post by matthewscott8 »

OldAle1 wrote: December 29th, 2020, 8:51 pm Here's maybe the best cover from Lady Killer, to give you an idea of the style. Tupperware, sexy maid outfit, sunflowers and bloody murder.

Image
Heheh, I found this to be quite an overwhelming visual, so I giggled a lot. I have not really had any exposure to comics since I was a child. At that point I was a devotee of Tintin, and earlier had read comic books such as The Dandy and The Beano fairly religiously. I am really completely ignorant of the artform other than that. I think, apart from having a huge amount of films to watch, and books to read, and music to listen to, and so really not at all needing another art form, I intentionally avoided comics. Part of that I think is the guy from the Simpsons, the odious Android Dungeon comic book seller, a personification of preconceptions about the artform, I worried that the superhero stuff was quite right wing / pro-vigilante, pro violence, and that sexism was going to be a general issue. I think I've always had enough problems fitting in, so I didn't want to feel prejudice from being a comic book guy. I've come to your thread to learn basically, from that very ignorant base.
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#10

Post by OldAle1 »

matthewscott8 wrote: May 12th, 2022, 8:27 pm
Heheh, I found this to be quite an overwhelming visual, so I giggled a lot. I have not really had any exposure to comics since I was a child. At that point I was a devotee of Tintin, and earlier had read comic books such as The Dandy and The Beano fairly religiously. I am really completely ignorant of the artform other than that. I think, apart from having a huge amount of films to watch, and books to read, and music to listen to, and so really not at all needing another art form, I intentionally avoided comics. Part of that I think is the guy from the Simpsons, the odious Android Dungeon comic book seller, a personification of preconceptions about the artform, I worried that the superhero stuff was quite right wing / pro-vigilante, pro violence, and that sexism was going to be a general issue. I think I've always had enough problems fitting in, so I didn't want to feel prejudice from being a comic book guy. I've come to your thread to learn basically, from that very ignorant base.
Well I don't have time to respond in great detail, but the one thing that stuck out to me was the comment about superhero stuff - not about it being rightwing, which is debatable of course and sometimes true, sometimes not - but that you seem to have the same misperception that a lot of people probably have, particularly people whose exposure is primarily to western comics, and the movies based on them. Even today with the huge dominance of superheroes in mainstream American comic books, they are really only a tiny bit of the medium. I did grow up on superhero comics - which did dominate what was on newsstands in the late 70s - but I was lucky enough to be in on the beginning of the independent boom that started around 1977 and peaked in the mid-80s, and which tended to mostly highlight other kinds of comics. My favorite of all comics, Love and Rockets, began in 1981, and while there are some superhero elements in early issues, it's mostly about the Chicano punk scene, about relationships, about a sort of Marquez-ian village in Mexico, and all kinds of other stuff. And my next-favorite comic is probably Journey, which alas has been almost totally forgotten, a 28-issue series from the early 80s about a fur trapper and sort of mystic in the wilds of the Michigan territory circa 1810. And I'm increasingly interested in the early history of American comics, which goes back for several decades before Superman, the first superhero, debuted in 1938. Not much graphic art of any time is more inventive than Little Nemo, which started in 1905.

In short, superheroes are only the most visible and highest-profile genre, but in terms of sheer numbers of what's available they probably don't have much larger a place in comics than they do in movies. And much less so I'm guessing in Japan, Belgium/France, and elsewhere (though I suppose it could be argued that Asterix and Obelix are superheroes of a sort).
It was the truth, vivid and monstrous, that all the while he had waited the wait was itself his portion..
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#11

Post by OldAle1 »

I will also add that issues of representation - female artists, minority artists, themes that exist outside the purview of white American suburbia - are also something that comics does as well at, or better, than film. And there's a lot of cultural overlap - the underground comics movement began in the 60s alongside the beginnings of punk rock and the New American cinema, the 80s independent movement mirrors filmmakers like Jarmusch and bands like Nirvana. Etc. But of course as with film, music or any popular artform, you have to actually look for the most interesting stuff most of the time. And the collectible aspect of comics can put stuff out of reach sometimes unless you want to shell out a lot of money, though reprints are much more common (and often in many formats) than they were when I was a kid, and a lot of people read comics digitally now (I'm still a holdout myself on that, at least until I find something I badly want to read that can't be had for less than a shitload of money in physical format).
It was the truth, vivid and monstrous, that all the while he had waited the wait was itself his portion..
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#12

Post by zuma »

OldAle1 wrote: May 12th, 2022, 8:17 pm Time to re-activate this, at least for a moment, as I just finished reading this

Image

Like a Velvet Glove Cast in Iron by Dan Clowes, first serialized in his solo-anthology title "Eightball", 1989-92. Clowes is from Chicago and did a fair amount of zine and small press work there, and I remember seeing a lot of his stuff when I was still fairly into comics in the late 80s-early 90s. I wish I'd picked it up then, especially Eightball - a complete set of the 23 issues is currently on eBay for $500, which is actually a really good price. Sigh. Oh well, the serialized graphic novel portions, which also include a title many here will be familiar with from it's film adaptation, Ghost World, are considerably easier to come by.

Anyway, LAVGCII (the title is taken from a line in Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! is described by one critic as a predecessor to Twin Peaks, which isn't too far off the mark, though I'd say it's probably closer to Lynch's more surreal Eraserhead and Inland Empire, albeit set mostly in small-town and rural surroundings reminiscent of the TV series and Blue Velvet. If you hadn't guessed, this is very very weird and pretty indescribable, at least in one reading. It seems to be a series of nightmares, dreams, fragments, which take off when lead character Clay Loudermilk sees a very weird porno flick in a shady theater and recognizes somebody, and goes on a quest...

It's weirdness doesn't come from the stylization of the art, like, say, Steve Ditko's stranger stuff, or a lot of the more expressionist European work of people like Moebius - the pages are all laid out as below, and the individual panels are clear and what's going on in them is usually simple - instead it's the narrative elisions and the refusal of nearly every bit of the story to adhere either to reality or to what we think of as "dreamlike"; I suppose in a sense it feels like a kind of magical realism, but a very unpleasant and scary kind.

Image

I can't say I quite LOVED it on one reading, but it was sure something, and I definitely want to check out more of Clowes' work. And I think anybody into the weirder, darker side of comics owes it to themselves to have a look at this, which in the USA at least can probably be found in most libraries.
You can get the complete eightball in softcover on Amazon for $50 if you want to check out the rest of the series.
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#13

Post by OldAle1 »

zuma wrote: May 12th, 2022, 8:57 pm

You can get the complete eightball in softcover on Amazon for $50 if you want to check out the rest of the series.
Whoa, that's new, hadn't seen that. Oh, it's actually a pre-order. Cool, I may have to consider it.

BUUUUUUUTTT it's not complete. Complete through #18 as it says I suppose, but Eightball ran 23 issues. Also I have issues 8-10 and a couple of others so I'm more likely to try to hunt down the whole series individually, which will undoubtedly cost more but maybe not a break the bank amount, especially if I'm willing to get later printings or lower-grade copies. Hmmm, something to think about. Thanks in any case!
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#14

Post by zuma »

Shit. I did not notice the 1-18. Thought it was just a reprint of the hardcover complete series which is also shockingly at $500.

Sorry for getting your hopes up.
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#15

Post by OldAle1 »

zuma wrote: May 12th, 2022, 9:20 pm Shit. I did not notice the 1-18. Thought it was just a reprint of the hardcover complete series which is also shockingly at $500.

Sorry for getting your hopes up.
Yeah it is a direct reprint, because the HC is also just 1-18. I don't know if it was originally published when there were only 18 issues of if there's another reason; some of the later issues are larger format so that may have something to do with it, and Clowes is apparently pretty obsessive about printing quality and presentation. I've also read that the original 2 volume HC set has some problems - poor binding - so I'm reluctant to go that route, certainly at that price. Actually the copy of LAVGCII that I just finished is from the library, and while the printing is good and the size is nice (about 9"x12"), I can tell that the binding would start to get weak after a few perusals - alas it was only published in hardcover in a limited 1st edition and that goes for lots of dough. Sigh. Why can't nice things be cheaper?
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#16

Post by zuma »

As a person who owns a signed copy of the HC LAVGCII that makes me happy, but it really is no different than the one you picked up at the library
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#17

Post by gunnar »

Journey was created by Bill Messner-Loebs who still lives here in Metro Detroit. I see him from time to time at the mini-comic cons that run in the area pretty regularly. He has a table and signs autographs or does sketches (for money of course).

It was cool to read people's history in relation to comics. Here's mine:

Back in 1977, I was a bored 7 year old during summer vacation. My older brother decided to introduce me to his comic book collection. He collected Richie Rich comics and had around 800 different issues. I read through his entire collection in about two weeks (which pissed him off). After that, I was hooked and we both collected Richie Rich comics, trying to get two copies of every issue. The local store that we frequented would call us whenever they got a new batch of back issues in and our parents would drive us up there to go through them. We kept track on special collectors index cards. We would take the cards with us on trips as well. I can remember during our family vacation to California in 1979 looking at the spinners at any stores we visited that had comics to see if we needed them. I had a superpower of my own back then in that I could tell by the front cover and first page whether we had the issue or not, without having to look at the index cards.

I soon added Archies to my collecting habits, Superman, Batman, and other DC titles in 1980, and many others during the 1980s and beyond. In 1986, I got a job at the comic store I mentioned earlier and kept working there through high school, college, and on a part time basis until the store closed in 1986. The owner was nice and let employees by comics at cost so my collecting habits expanded rapidly. I started collecting Marvel titles in 1987, but was never as into them as I was with DC, Harvey, Archie, etc. I also bought lots of independent titles such as Mage, Jonny Quest, Bone, Strangers in Paradise, etc. I recommend anything that Terry Moore creates.

I still collect comics today, though the number of titles that I regularly purchase and read has dwindled. I have every Richie Rich issue and love a lot of the humor titles. I have long runs of Looney Tunes, New Funnies, etc. and have ventured into the various Dell western titles also. I also collect the DC superhero and war comics, but have most of what I want back to the early 1960s. I've started to sell off comics I'm no longer interested in, which includes a lot of stuff from the last 20-30 years.

I've also been reading manga since the 1980s and still buy around 200-300 volumes every year. However, I don't keep many of those. Most are soon resold to a friend of mine who collects them for what I paid for them. There are a lot of really good manga books in a variety of genres from science fiction like Battle Angel Alita to romance and comedy. I'm not really into anime very much other than Studio Ghibli movies and the like, though I did grow up watching Kimba the White Lion, G-Force, Johnny Sokko and his Flying Robot (live action , but fun) I also watched some anime during the 1990s/early 2000s such as Maison Ikkoku, Moldiver, and Serial Experiments Lain.

I've also had an interest in European graphic novels dating back to the 1980s with Thorgal, Enki Bilal books, Moebius, Asterix, Valerian, and many more. I enjoy a lot of the books from Cinebook these days and just received vol.4 and 5 of the Lucky Luke hardcover collections.

As for comic strips, I grew up reading Peanuts, Dondi, Beetle Bailey, For Better or For Worse, and many other strips. I buy each of the Phantom comic strip collections as they come out from Hermes Press. I also get other collections like the Disney and DC comic strip collections plus Steve Canyon, Rip Kirby, Mandrake, and others.

I'm kind of behind on my comic reading these days since I've been watching so many movies over the last year or two, but it will get back into balance eventually.
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#18

Post by 3eyes »

I have a friend who is into manga and she recently told me that Umimachi Diary started life as a manga. I know that Barefoot Gen did, because I catalogued it for the Quaker library. I suppose there are lots ofJapanese anime films that are also manga (mangas? mangae?) . A bunch of lists on LB, and I just found this:
https://letterboxd.com/warped/list/live ... -on-manga/

Oh yeah: my son got me a French Asterix comic for Christmas. One Roman character is called Pampelmus.
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#19

Post by Onderhond »

3eyes wrote: May 13th, 2022, 12:20 pm I suppose there are lots ofJapanese anime films that are also manga (mangas? mangae?) .
Yeah, the list is (almost) endless. Also plenty of dramas and other genres. To the point where it has lost a lot of meaning as a way of categorizing things (i.e. comic book adaptation).
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#20

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Cool stuff gunnar, thanks for posting all that. I met Mr. Messner-Loebs at a con once and got a copy of Journey #1 signed; don't remember much about the experience anymore, and really should go back and re-read the comics actually, and read Wardrums which I'm sure I never did when it came out. Never got much into the humor titles when I was younger but I'm sort of interested in exploring the world of Archie now, though it's enormous and I'm not really sure where to start; mostly I just pick up issues with cool covers if I see them cheap. I haven't yet gotten back to going to a comic shop regularly or buying any regular monthly titles again but I plan to do that before long if only to keep up with Love and Rockets, since I plan to go back and read that whole series from the beginning. Glad to see a mention of Strangers in Paradise, I title I've only looked at casually but which looks interesting for sure. But there is just SO MUCH out there, it feels like another world just as big as film, and I don't have the time or resources to get to more than a tiny drop of it.

The Euro stuff - I'm especially interested in reading Valerian, and I think I can get some or all of those through my library system. I've started collecting Heavy Metal which reprinted a lot of European stuff, but many issues of that are expensive now so not sure what direction to go for more Moebius and such.

And you remind me of fond memories of daily strips. I'm there with you on Peanuts and FBOFW; other favorites for me included Alley Oop and Doonesbury.
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#21

Post by OldAle1 »

Onderhond wrote: May 13th, 2022, 12:26 pm
3eyes wrote: May 13th, 2022, 12:20 pm I suppose there are lots ofJapanese anime films that are also manga (mangas? mangae?) .
Yeah, the list is (almost) endless. Also plenty of dramas and other genres. To the point where it has lost a lot of meaning as a way of categorizing things (i.e. comic book adaptation).
This points to one of the huge differences between the Japanese film - and comic - industry and the American one. In Japan comics are still seen as something for everyone, with all kinds of stories being popular, and that translates directly into both live action and animated films, whereas in America there is still this notion in the general public that comics are just for kids/adolescents, and while there is just as much variety in our comics as in any other country, the film industry doesn't reflect this at all, with nearly all of the adaptations being superhero stuff, and most of the big-screen stuff being live-action until recently. And even when other kinds of works get adapted, e.g. Ghost World and A History of Violence, the comics origins of the stories are frequently left out, and this seems to have little effect on the industry.

I actually just saw a story - forget where, it might have been a YT video - that claims that Japanese-origin manga now outsell American comics in the USA by several multiples. Certainly if you go into many bookstores you see more space devoted to manga these days than American comics, but I would never have guessed this to be the case until quite recently. It's strange that in the midst of the biggest boom for superhero movies ever, little movement is being seen in reviving the financial health of the superhero comics that spawned so much of our current pop culture. Maybe it's simply that the people watching the movies and playing the games have zero interest in reading? That was not the case for JK Rowling or Tolkien, who saw massive increases in sales as the movies based on their works were released. Are we becoming sub-literate so quickly or is there another explanation?
It was the truth, vivid and monstrous, that all the while he had waited the wait was itself his portion..
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#22

Post by gunnar »

In regard to manga sales, Comicsbeat has an interesting article looking at the state of the industry in the U.S. in 2021 based on BookScan data. This doesn't cover traditional comic books, but does include collected editions. The biggest seller is Dog Man which had huge sales last year. Manga does very well and there are extensive sections on that segment of the market. There are so many traditional comics titles published these days that they easily outpace manga on a unit basis, but it is much closer on a dollar basis, though I think comics still come out on top. Sales exploded last year and Viz alone accounted for around $200 million in sales.

There are so many manga titles listed every month that it can be difficult to figure out what to get. I look at the cover art, sample pages (if any), and story description to decide whether to get new titles. There are so many more books in Japan that never make it over here, though some have been released digitally. I'd love to see Space Brothers get a physical release.

The manga that I read or have enjoyed in the past include manga about jazz (Blue Giant), cycling (Yowamushi Pedal), basketball (Real, Slam Dunk, Kuroko's Basketball), football (Eyeshield 21), baseball (Cross Game), soccer (Whistle), Go (Hikaru no Go), cooking (Oishinbo, Yakitate Japan, Food Wars), wine (Drops of God). There are tons of manga in historical settings, fantasy, science fiction, humor, romance, and so on. I do love the variety.
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#23

Post by matthewscott8 »

I liked the Moebius visual style so much that I have dived in, from tomorrow I will be reading The World of Edena. Wish me luck. Feels exciting to do something for the first time.
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#24

Post by matthewscott8 »

So I wolfed The World Of Edena down pretty quickly, read it in an evening. I think what's nice about it, is that you can come back to the book later and just enjoy the visuals. With a text-based book I liked I wouldn't pick it up again later and open it at random and enjoy a piece, but you can do that with Edena.

Moebius' work reminded me a lot of Philip K Dick's writing, the entire perspective of the character or what the story means can just change page by page, and it feels like you're reading something by someone with mental health issues who is just about managing to keep it together.

I think what I valued the most is that it was pure escapism. I got sucked into the politics of the day yesterday, our glorious prime minister was on tv lying as usual, I picked this book up and it whooshed away. I'm pretty shattered now, got tired reading the book last night.
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#25

Post by gunnar »

I'm glad that you got into the Moebius book you tried and that you liked it. I first got interested in Moebius back in the 1980s when Marvel/Epic published a series of graphic novels collecting his work.

Image

I also really enjoyed the Blueberry westerns from Moebius.

Image

I upgraded from the trade paperbacks that Marvel published to the hardcover collections from Graphitti Designs. I also have the Graphitti Designs books for Akira, which they sadly didn't finish publishing.

Image

In more recent years, I picked up some of the Moebius Library books from Dark Horse, including the World of Edena book which I also enjoyed.
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#26

Post by flavo5000 »

gunnar wrote: May 26th, 2022, 11:11 am I'm glad that you got into the Moebius book you tried and that you liked it. I first got interested in Moebius back in the 1980s when Marvel/Epic published a series of graphic novels collecting his work.

Image

I also really enjoyed the Blueberry westerns from Moebius.

Image

I upgraded from the trade paperbacks that Marvel published to the hardcover collections from Graphitti Designs. I also have the Graphitti Designs books for Akira, which they sadly didn't finish publishing.

Image

In more recent years, I picked up some of the Moebius Library books from Dark Horse, including the World of Edena book which I also enjoyed.
The Incal is an interesting one, a collaboration between Alejandro Jodorowsky and Moebius:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Incal
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#27

Post by matthewscott8 »

gunnar wrote: May 26th, 2022, 11:11 am I'm glad that you got into the Moebius book you tried and that you liked it. I first got interested in Moebius back in the 1980s when Marvel/Epic published a series of graphic novels collecting his work.
I've been thinking about it a lot today, one thing I liked is how aware the characters are of the difficulties of decision making. This manifests itself when Stel and Atan have to deal with Pool Ball but also their experiences on Edena. Every decision they make has not much foundation, and they always make counterpoints again these have little foundation.

Later on the cycle deals with the Paternum and the Nest. The best answer for most people when facing decisions, is "what is everyone else doing". Also when the Nesters run across "Outnesters", the simple solution is to kill them, remove the variable from the equation.

I also liked the scene where Atan comes across a magnificent forest, straight out of a Higashiyama Kai painting, and expresses annoyance because of its sameness. Humans are more complex than our ideals.

Sometimes I felt Moebius was a bit unhinged, his caricaturing of taxation for example (totem bots), his raw food deal and his first sex scene, amongst many examples. However the safety of the space he creates is really great, it gives you a chance to rethink your beliefs and to live outside of your social self for a few hours. He's never insisting on anything he's just riffing with fundaments. The fact that he makes is clear how difficult decision is and how perilous experiment kind of balances out the kookery.
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#28

Post by flavo5000 »

So I've read comics since I was a kid. Back then I was really into What If in particular because while a lot of superhero comics felt fairly predictable, What If frequently had grim, nihilistic endings and really had an "anything goes" feel to them. Of course as I've gotten older I've expanded my scope of what I read to encompass all kinds from manga to mature graphic novels to independent comics, etc. I tend to not collect individual issues because I usually like reading a full story arc at a time, so I own a LOT more graphic novels and collected editions than I do individual issues. I probably have an equal amount of DC/Marvel vs non-major publishers. In particular I've been a big fan of what Vertigo was doing back in its heyday. Stuff like Sandman, Fables, Y the Last Man, Preacher just felt so fresh compared to the super hero stuff in the more public consciousness. I dig the more slice of life or less fantastical work too from guys like Clowes, Charles Burns, Chris Ware, Craig Thompson, etc. +1 to Strangers in Paradise. That was a really good one. I have these six softcover pocket book editions that collected the whole series. Definitely worth getting if you like stuff like Love & Rockets (which oddly has never really grabbed me as much as some other similar ones).

Speaking of which on the subject of non-superhero comic adaptations getting attention, I think that's been changing in recent years but more so in TV than on the big screen. There have been lots of acclaimed series based on non-superhero works like Preacher and Y the Last Man and more adult satiric takes on superheroes like The Boys, Invincible and Watchmen.
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#29

Post by matthewscott8 »

It's kind of crazy that Time Masters is one of my favourite films of all time, and I was reading Edena and thinking, oh there's a lot of similarities here, I wonder if Moebius knew Laloux. Yeah so obviously I'm a complete nincompoop, I had never realized that the creative genius behind one of my top 10 all time films was fucking Moebius.
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#30

Post by 3eyes »

Just out of curiosity: have any of you read, or even heard of, Pogo? Difficult for non-English speakers as it's in a weird Southern dialect. As I said, it has its political / topical aspects (Simple J. Malarkey = Joe McCarthy, some sort of carnivore), with sidekicks Wiley Catt and Sarcophagus Macabre (a vulture), assisted by Deacon Mushrat (who talks in Old English/German script) and his Audible Boy Birdwatchers, three bats named Bewitched, Bothered and Bemildred....) Pogo, a possum, is the only sane voice in a whirl of much ado about nothing (well, his dour friend Porkypine often commiserates). My favorite Pogo lines: "I is in the extreme middle!" and "We is met the enemy and they is us."
:run: STILL the Gaffer!
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#31

Post by gunnar »

I own three Pogo comics - Four Color #105, Four Color #148, and Pogo Parade. I helped a friend of mine put together a set of the regular Pogo comic book, which lasted for 16 issues. Pogo also appeared in a number of issues of Animal Comics.

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Pogo never really appealed to me for whatever reason, but I did read the ones I have.
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#32

Post by flavo5000 »

I've read a little Pogo but it's never really grabbed me.
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#33

Post by OldAle1 »

I think Pogo was still running in the daily newspaper when I was a kid - Wiki says it ended in 1975, so when I was 9 or 10. I definitely have some dim memories of reading it then, and probably bits and pieces later. It's one of those things that has lurked in the back of my mind forever that occasionally bubbles up, and I'll think "I should check this out" but I haven't, so far. Should see if there's any at the library, probably a good place to start.
It was the truth, vivid and monstrous, that all the while he had waited the wait was itself his portion..
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#34

Post by outdoorcats »

I'm currently going through Buffy: Season 8. It's interesting that even though I've been a fan for about 15 years, I've never read the comic continuation of Buffy. It's pretty enjoyable! Though, you also see a lot of 'here's what it looks like when there are less other writers who would otherwise check Joss Whedon's bad ideas.' (but on the plus side, also a bit of "what if Buffy had an unlimited budget")

It also seems to have completely abandoned the whole "story/monsters as a metaphor for coming of age" thing. But I guess that started to happen in the final season of Buffy as well (where the show started to resemble Angel a bit more).

Of what I've read, the Drew Goddard-penned "Wolves at the Gate" was the best by far.

A lie ain't a 'side of the story.' It's just a lie.
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#35

Post by matthewscott8 »

flavo5000 wrote: May 26th, 2022, 5:40 pm
gunnar wrote: May 26th, 2022, 11:11 am I'm glad that you got into the Moebius book you tried and that you liked it. I first got interested in Moebius back in the 1980s when Marvel/Epic published a series of graphic novels collecting his work.

Image

I also really enjoyed the Blueberry westerns from Moebius.

Image

I upgraded from the trade paperbacks that Marvel published to the hardcover collections from Graphitti Designs. I also have the Graphitti Designs books for Akira, which they sadly didn't finish publishing.

Image

In more recent years, I picked up some of the Moebius Library books from Dark Horse, including the World of Edena book which I also enjoyed.
The Incal is an interesting one, a collaboration between Alejandro Jodorowsky and Moebius:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Incal
I'm halfway through The Incal and it seems pretty clearly to be the source of The Fifth Element, although the lawsuit failed. I thought this independently, and when I googled Incal and Firth Element found out I am not the only one who thought so.
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#36

Post by outdoorcats »

outdoorcats wrote: June 26th, 2022, 12:16 am I'm currently going through Buffy: Season 8. It's interesting that even though I've been a fan for about 15 years, I've never read the comic continuation of Buffy. It's pretty enjoyable! Though, you also see a lot of 'here's what it looks like when there are less other writers who would otherwise check Joss Whedon's bad ideas.' (but on the plus side, also a bit of "what if Buffy had an unlimited budget")

It also seems to have completely abandoned the whole "story/monsters as a metaphor for coming of age" thing. But I guess that started to happen in the final season of Buffy as well (where the show started to resemble Angel a bit more).

Of what I've read, the Drew Goddard-penned "Wolves at the Gate" was the best by far.
There was some eyebrow raising stuff in "Buffy: Season 8" and a lot of the plot was a mixed bag. But it was still, overall, very enjoyable, and I'm liking what I've read of "Buffy: Season 9" a lot more.

"Angel: After the Fall" though...is awful. On one hand, I want to read the canonical story that apparently (roughly) is what would have been Angel Season 6. On the other hand, the writing is so bad, and the art is so bad, that it's retroactively making the show seem worse. (Why were the writing duties solely handed over to Brian Lynch, the guy who wrote Puss in Boots and Minions?)

Angel had one of the best series finales ever. In my head canon that's still the canonical ending. Because this...this isn't it. :shrug:

A lie ain't a 'side of the story.' It's just a lie.
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#37

Post by flavo5000 »

outdoorcats wrote: July 3rd, 2022, 12:05 pm
outdoorcats wrote: June 26th, 2022, 12:16 am I'm currently going through Buffy: Season 8. It's interesting that even though I've been a fan for about 15 years, I've never read the comic continuation of Buffy. It's pretty enjoyable! Though, you also see a lot of 'here's what it looks like when there are less other writers who would otherwise check Joss Whedon's bad ideas.' (but on the plus side, also a bit of "what if Buffy had an unlimited budget")

It also seems to have completely abandoned the whole "story/monsters as a metaphor for coming of age" thing. But I guess that started to happen in the final season of Buffy as well (where the show started to resemble Angel a bit more).

Of what I've read, the Drew Goddard-penned "Wolves at the Gate" was the best by far.
There was some eyebrow raising stuff in "Buffy: Season 8" and a lot of the plot was a mixed bag. But it was still, overall, very enjoyable, and I'm liking what I've read of "Buffy: Season 9" a lot more.

"Angel: After the Fall" though...is awful. On one hand, I want to read the canonical story that apparently (roughly) is what would have been Angel Season 6. On the other hand, the writing is so bad, and the art is so bad, that it's retroactively making the show seem worse. (Why were the writing duties solely handed over to Brian Lynch, the guy who wrote Puss in Boots and Minions?)

Angel had one of the best series finales ever. In my head canon that's still the canonical ending. Because this...this isn't it. :shrug:
I have those post-TV Buffy/Angel series but haven't read any of them since I haven't finished either of the series yet (I got about halfway through both and got distracted by other stuff).

Lately, I've been making my way through an omnibus of original Dr. Strange comics from when he was a co-feature in Strange Tales. They aren't bad any certainly have a lot of imagination for the time, but like a lot of these Silver Age comics, they tend to get a little repetitive when you read like 20 of them in a row.
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#38

Post by Torgo »

I've had an amusing read with this article:
The 40 Worst Rob Liefeld Drawings
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#39

Post by OldAle1 »

Torgo wrote: July 21st, 2022, 1:52 pm I've had an amusing read with this article:
The 40 Worst Rob Liefeld Drawings
Ha! Liefeld's career got going just exactly at the moment I was abandoning comics - at least, all new/mainstream comics - altogether, around 1990-92. So missed him and a lot of the others who became big right around the same time, like Jim Lee and Todd McFarlane (both of them vastly better than Liefeld but still IMO pretty overrated). I had no idea until I started getting slowly back into the medium a few years ago that he was a thing, and in particular that hating him was a thing. He deserves it! I find it impossible to look at anything of his without wanting to tear it up. Exaggerated or unrealistic anatomy can be OK in comics - look at Kirby or Simonson for examples of how to do it but make it interesting. But Kirby and Simonson and any competent artist doing superhero stuff or anything that mandated at least occasional "realism" COULD draw human bodies that might exist in the real world, and did when they were needed. Liefeld doesn't seem capable of it, or is completely uninterested. His women in particular are incel's dreams and kind of represent everything bad about the comics patriarchy and the flood of "bad girl" comics in the 90s.

Liefeld woman (view at your own risk)
Spoiler
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It was the truth, vivid and monstrous, that all the while he had waited the wait was itself his portion..
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