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NZA's comic backlog


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there's a number of books i've let pile up over the years, thought i'd finally get around to reading some of em &; post short impressions here, as well as what's next up! here's what i've read fairly recently:


Kabuki - so i finally read Circle of Blood &; started a bit of Dreams..it's his early work so the style's not the abstract kind he's known for now (and what actually got my attention back in his Echo run on Daredevil), it's a pretty cool weaboo-y assassin story with a slight touch of the Crow for good measure. this first volume will probably feel more dated for some, but i dig the cyberpunk + ninja type stuff, definitely gonna keep going with this one.


The Authority - i feel like i've read tons of Ellis' bigger works, enough so that even current stuff like Injection] feels full of the usual tropes i've seen since at least Global Frequency, if not earlier. i can definitely see where this was huge at the time, but yeah, after Supergod and countless team books he's done in this vein since, it's enjoyable but obviously not as groundbreaking as the late 90's/early aughts must've been for a book having Bats &; Supes make out.


i thought i'd bail after Ellis left - i know better than to usually follow Millar too deeply - but his arc with Quietely on an evil Jack Kirby &; marvel was enjoyable too.


Green Lantern - i went back &; read a bunch of random Hal Jorden vol 2 stuff, but this reminds me i still meant to read Mosaic with John Stewart, i feel like i've never given dude a chance beyond the animated universe.


Iron Fist - read his original stuff before the nextflix show, the Roy Thomas stuff was fun (despite the 2nd person "YOU ARE THE IRON FIST.." narrative), but Byrne/Cleremont was of course the better team.


Nameless - woof, this is Grant Morrison on some lovecraftian Event Horizon shit. it gets dark real fast, recommended if you're down for that kinda ride but there's still debate as to how things played out in the end.


Elektra: Assassin - i'd been saving this one, as it's the last of Miller's DD work i'd not read, and Sienkiewicz's art is always a treat too. this was...a really really weird book. mild spoilers if you care:


her ninja shit being exaggerated was fine here, but Elektra having fairly high-level psionic powers of control &; such was pretty off-putting. it was like reading that Amano book with her &; wolvy that felt like entirely different characters.



also, Frank could not tell a story in this era that didn't involve a president.


Martha Washington: Give Me Liberty - been on a slight Miller kick &; this was high on the list of recommended books i'd not read. it's all things Miller, but back when his crazy stuff on gov't, society &; such was more enjoyable, even if they all tend to go in weird directions. you genuinely feel for Martha coming up &; his take on the future for strong black women holds up, nevermind how very much worse it could've been.

I know there's at least 2 more volumes, thinking of hitting up Goes to War soon.


Jonathan Hickman's Fantastic Four run - Hickman's absence has been one of the biggest losses for me in All New All Different Marvel, as i enjoyed damn near every book he wrote for them &; most of his big events too.

I'd read this one up to "3" back when it went down, but i finally tied it up &; am early on in the FF/Future Foundation book now and i'd forgotten how much i can enjoy this book in the right hands. related: just grabbed the whole of Mark Waid &; John Byrne's runs, so those are in queue now too.


Amazing Spider-Man - so i went back to re-read some classics i'd either not finished or read in forever - Kraven's Last Hunt, the Death of Jean Dewulff/Sin Eater etc - and i went back &; read the Carrion Saga &; some other Stern/etc issues of that era, and goddamn if spidey isn't just the most enjoyable read in Marvel throughout the ages. ive got a lotta single issues &; weird arcs like War of the Roses to read one day but ill get to em.


Prometheus -I'd been wanting to read more of Moore's stuff, but 2 issues in &; this one's feeling particularly dated. i think i'm gonna give it a go again sometime after reading his other stuff.


Priest's Black Panther run - man, just like the rest of wave 1 of Marvel Knights, you get the feeling why this was important stuff (most of these cult classic characters were dead in the water at the time) but it's late 90s as hell. I enjoyed a few arcs but there's bits/jokes where i can literally hear the theme to Friends going in the background.




so here's what i'm looking at in the near future:


Alan Moore - Swamp Thing has been on my list for ages, so that's coming up. I need to sort out if you're supposed to read the title proper or Saga Of first.

I also need to read/hear more on Supreme &; Top Ten and if they should be higher on said list!


Kamandi: The Last Boy - i should prolly have prefaced much of this by saying so many of these books are ones i saw Wizard pushing for years of reading that, but the link there is to Baytor's thread that really got me to take notice. I need more Kirby in my life. related:


The Fourth Wall/New Gods/Mister Miracle/Forever People - i realized i only know of these characters because of Justice League/DCAU, so i should remedy that.


Grant Morrison's Animal Man - another one Wizard/everyone swears by, i think i read that one issue from a dolphin's perspective or something? but nothing else.


Moon Knight - passing on most of West Coast Avengers, but I need to get back to the '82 series with Bill S, seems like some of the best stuff up till the modern era.


Kurt Busiek - I've read neither Astro City nor his run on Avengers, and i got the latter in trade recently too. what i saw of the Avenger book looks like that late 90s era when i was enjoying Dan Jurgens' run on Thor so i'm hopefully it's along those lines!


Books of Magic - just the Gaimin mini, holy shit it's just 4 books but ive still never finished it


Ed Brubaker - I should really try Criminal sometime, Marvels Project as well. he's got another of his own right now called Kill or Be Killed too.


Rick Remender - I dug the first 2 issues of Black Science, and his Punisher arc has been recommended all over. i forget: baytor his his the one with the lady-cop &; eyepatch or was that Rucka's?


Frank Miller - after Martha, i think it's down to Big Guy &; Rusty Robot and maybe Robocop one day. oh! i never read that last Sin City book either.


Grant Morrison - i should make peace with the fact that i'm never really gonna finish The Filth or pick up Invisibles at this point.


Westerns - Scalped, vol 2 (Palmiotti) of Jonah Hex, Man with No Name and a Lone Ranger book. i just gotta be in that mood.


Iron Man - read the Demon in a Bottle issue but never the Armor Wars arcs!


Jupiter's Legacy/Circle - i know, i should toss Millar in the bushes but ive heard good things! please feel free to dispel those.


Jonathan Hickman - just picked up Paper Girls &; East of West, because Hickman.


Planetary - ive read the first few issues but stopped...honestly i did Authority fairly recently so it's gonna be a bit for this one.


Greg Rucka - I read enough of Whiteout/Queen &; Country to wanna check them out more, plus his Punisher run.


Stray Bullets - fuck you, loggins


Suicide Squad - yeah i meant to read the Ostrander run before the movie, but i'm still interested here


Sam &; Twitch - i hear this was the better side of Bendis' work, and ive read &; enjoyed much of that. plus, fuck, i read Spawn sometimes in 2017 so i can't front like i'm better than this


The Flash - ive not read any of Mark Waid's run, but i hear that's the go-to for when this character wasn't so broken


The Spectre - ive read nothing here. Ostrander's mid 90s run seems to be the winning bet.


Will Eisner - i don't think ive read a single issue of The Spirit, and i don't really know where to start


American Splendor - i mean, that was a great movie


Manga - I should really tie up Vagabond &; Blade of the Immortal one day, and by then there's bound to be more Berserk too if i'm lucky




...that's about it, went a bit overboard but it's as much a list for me as anything. feel free to push certain books up in queue!

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First of all, skip out on John Stewart. There's a reason he was off the map pre-Justice League animated series. This is a quote from his voice actor Phil Lamarr (AKA that black guy from the first few seasons of Mad TV/AKA Samurai Jack/AKA the guy Travolta shoots in the face in Pulp Fiction) "The character never really tickled my fancy. I couldn’t really relate to him. And I certainly couldn’t relate to the comic-book version of John Stewart. 'Okay, you’re an angry black architect who wears a vest but no shirt? What?'" His turn as Green Lantern is even more cringeworthy than early Hal Jordan and there's a lot of unintentional racist stuff. I personally ignore all Lantern before Rebirth but you should just pretend it started with Rayner and went on from there.


And I'm sure you already know this but I'll warn anyway. Kamandi and The Fourth World/New Gods Saga are peak Jack Kirby silliness, but they're some of his best work.


And you can never go wrong with Ostrander. His Suicide Squad run is his crown jewel (be sure to pick up the 2000s era mini he did as it's a continuation of his original book, it has the monster general that J.K. Simmons played in that episode of Justice League Unlimited with the parade. Also the version of the Suicide Squad in that show was very closely based on his. His run on The Spectre is fantastic, the character is the very definition of overpowered so Ostrander writes it like an EC comics book. (You should check out Gotham By Midnight for another good Spectre book) I've heard good things about his run on Martian Manhunter as well. And while not a superhero book you owe it to yourself to read Grimjack at some point.


Rick Remender - I dug the first 2 issues of Black Science, and his Punisher arc has been recommended all over. i forget: baytor his his the one with the lady-cop & eyepatch or was that Rucka's?


Ladycop/Eyepatch/Morgan Freeman detective was all Rucka, the BEST Punisher book and I'm not saying that to shit on Ennis (admittedly my hatred of Punisher MAX is well noted), it's a wonderful fucking read that manages to take the character seriously and find a way to place this ultra-serious human vigilante in a world of gods and superheroes. Remender's run is the one before it, it's a lot more silly but still a good read, it's mostly notable for becoming Frankencastle in the penultimate storyarc but I swear to you that's a great arc and while it starts slow it all comes together in the end. Just remember to read In the Blood after Remender's run and War Zone after Rucka's, the ending of Warzone is retconned by the All-New All-Edgy Thunderbolts (and FUCK that book) but it's a great read. The Nathan Edmunson run that follows Rucka's story is also pretty solid but not as good or memorable as either Rucka or Remender's and the new one by Becky Cloonan is pretty good but a bit to MAXy for my taste.


TLDR the order is:

1. Garth Ennis' Marvel Knights Punisher

2. Punisher Warzone - The Return of Ma Gnucci

3. Rick Remender's Punisher

4. Frankencastle

5. Punisher: In the Blood

6. Greg Rucka's Punisher

7. Rucka's Punisher War Zone

8. Nathan Edmunson's Punisher

9. Becky Cloonan's Punisher


And I'll say again, go for Jonah Hex. Grey and Palmiotti are one of the most consistently great writing teams out there and it's worth it. It starts out as just disjointed one-off stories that slowly congeal into something more serialized and then it backs off once the book becomes New 52 All-Star western and then takes a weird turn where Hex goes into the future (the "present" DC universe) and gets his face fixed but it comes in in the final hour with maybe one of the best goddamn endings of any comic book ever. Though before you get to that point you'll want to do some research on the character and find out how he dies in continuity and who kills him, it's important.

Edited by Iambaytor
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yeah i think i'm gonna pace out the kirby madness a bit. and i've managed to enjoy a few volume 2 Hal arcs but admittedly, nothing's been as exciting for me as Emerald Twilight was.


looking forward to Ostrander stuff, didn't know Gotham by Gaslight was Spectre but ive had that about for a while too, so up it goes.


pretty high praise for Rucka's Punisher! i think i only saw him when he crossed over into waid's DD book so i'm looking forward to it. also, meant to tell you i went back & read Cage's Thunderbolts team on your say-so and it was indeed one of the more enjoyable lineups, however brief.


totally gonna refer back to your post when i get around to Jonah Hex, but yeah, sell me on Grimjack (if you didn't prior?)

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Gotham by Midnight not Gotham by Gaslight or Gotham AFTER Midnight, it's confusing but it was a book that came out a few weeks into the New 52. But yeah, it's a Spectre book which managed to change my opinion of Ben Templesmith's art (though the second volume where Juan Ferreyra takes over art duties is one of the best looking comics I've ever seen.)


Did you finish out that run of the Thunderbolts, because enjoyable as Cage's team is the book really cooks once Fear Itself happens and it switches over into the B-team (the coda in the revived Dark Avengers book is pretty great as well.)



Grimjack - From wikipedia: "Grimjack is the street name of John Gaunt, a sword-for-hire, ex-paramilitary, war veteran and former child gladiator. He operates from Munden's Bar in the Pit, a slum area of Cynosure, a pan-dimensional city to which all dimensions connect." Cynosure was a city used fairly often in most of the First Comics books, I'm pretty sure Nexus took place there and Badger popped in from time to time. It was a gritty sci-fi future that kind of worked on Saga logic, where whatever sounded cool was real. It's kind of a detective book, kind of a space pirate deal, it has elements of old serialized novels like Doc Savage but with more modern (80s and 90s sensibilities) it holds up better than a lot of indie-ish comics from the era. It's really hard to explain what's so great about it, just download a few issues and give them a read and you'll likely be hooked.

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ohhh okay, yeah i had the wrong gotham book in mind then. and ill check to see where i left thunderbolts at, i admittedly dropped a bunch of stuff once Fear Itself was on deck because that looked forgettable as hell.


and thinking on it, i wanna say my buddy that pushes The Goon has been a Grimjack fan as well, into the pile that one goes.


also saw this recommendation online:


Marvel Super Heroes 377-388, Daredevils 1-11, and Mighty World of Marvel 7-13.


Moore & Alan Davis UK Marvel stuff i'm pretty sure i've not seen before

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  • 11 months later...

okay, so i'd had some time at work & was catching up on older marvel runs - 


Steven Englehart's Captain America was great, Sal Buscema was fantastic here as well.  it's dated but you get the initial run of the book being his & sam's (they rename it to Cap & Falcon), which delves into the usual blaxploitation of the era but thankfully not too often.  it really piques at Secret Empire (the original one) which has its hokey moments but man


it's pretty clear the leader was Nixon, and dude offs himself in the white house in front of cap.  that's a hell of a way to get him to drop the shield


Nomad's costume is....something, but i feel like this run is where Cap clearly went beyond "peak human" after that bump early on.  


Doug Moench's Moon Knight - god i love Bill Sienkiewicz's art.  by the end you seem him start to get more abstract with it too, and he's amazing at both styles.  


this run was was so cool, cause yeah you get Werewolf by Night & such, but Morpehus, Brother Voodoo, Arsenal and a host of other solid ones, the best being Black Specter in #25 - someone told me the first season if the inevitable Netflix series should be about him, and i think it'd work & be great if done right, cause man was that a cool story.  


gonna re-read Thanos Quest & finally do some Warlock before the movie next month, then get back to a few more on my original list. 


oh yeah, K Vaughn's Paper Girls is cool but man does it go into Deus Ex Machina territory early on! 

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  • 1 year later...

so my post at one job is bit slower these days, finally had time to get back to some of this pile!  here's what i've recently finished or am working on:


Kabuki - just made a thread after finally finishing it, so go read that


Hickman's Fantastic Four run - okay so turns out i'd read this, but not Future Foundation.  really got me back on board with the team & hyped up for their return this year, Slott's book isn't quite that caliber but it's been fun 

speaking of stuff in that vein:


Black Science - so i did about 7 or 8 issues this time and it's very clearly a dark take on the FF & all the ways things could have gone wrong.  i'm enjoying it so far but it's one of those books i need to know that it ends before say, 50 issues or something (really not interested in a seemingly never-ending Walking Dead type book here) 


Brubaker stuff - goddamn, Criminal is so good it needs its own thread.  i'm a few volumes behind there and am now reading Kill or Be Killed and i just love the shit out of his noir stuff, especially with sean phillips on the pencils.  ive grabbed scene of the crime and basically any other crime book bru's done, he's just fantastic here.  


Swamp Thing - finally sat down with this one today and i'm about 10 issues into what i think is a 30 or so issue arc...you really don't need to know much going into it, which is cool.  cooler still is that i somehow forgot Constantine's literal intro is here - ill post back when finishing this one. 


East of West - actually started this one a year or so back on a trip to puerto rico and goddamn, it's post-apocalyptic grimdark shit in a somewhat refreshing way.  id originally just bit because it'd been years since i read anything by hickman but i'm about 20 issues in and have no idea how much further they can take this shit. 


Iron Man - i know i'm forgetting some other classic marvel runs but i spent a bit at my old job reading Bob Layton's run in its entirety, and it really makes you fall for the character more - especially seeing tony before his persona was pretty much full-on dickhead anyway.   i mean the roots of that are here, but there's something about this run that Ellis, Slott, Bendis et al really didn't manage to come close to in their various takes. 


Tomb of Dracula - oh man, this book is always stupid-fun.  i just love Wolfman's stuff and the art makes such a great spooky atmosphere, it's like the perfect book to read in a dimly lit room with the rain going.  Blade showing up doesn't hurt either! gotta get back to this one sometime. 


more to come - ive a solid queue folder that i took notes off this thread with, so once i tie up some of these, ill finally hit up more DC Kirby, Kamandi and others. 

crap i also gotta finish Adam Warlock & that Dr. Strange run newt gave me, those were both dope 

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If you're looking for anything outside the norm, my three favorite titles this year are:


  • American Carnage (Vertigo)- Collects #1-9. "Richard Wright is a white-passing African-American former FBI agent offered a chance to right the wrongs of his past as his old mentor sends him deep undercover to infiltrate a radical and dangerous white supremacist group believed to be responsible for the death of a fellow agent. For Richard, this is his last shot to turn his life around. With the ghosts of the past constantly reminding him of the man he once was, he will have to not only find the redemption he seeks in the eyes of others, but within himself." - WorldCat - ISBN 9781401291457 - (forthcoming, October 2019)

Faithless (possibly NSFW) - https://www.horrordna.com/comics/faithless-1


Die - THE WICKED + THE DIVINE writer KIERON GILLEN teams up with artist supernova STEPHANIE HANS (THE WICKED + THE DIVINE 1831, Journey Into Mystery) for her first ongoing comic! DIE is a pitch-black fantasy where a group of forty-something adults have to deal with the returning unearthly horror they barely survived as teenage role-players. If Kieron’s in a rush, he describes it as “Goth Jumanji.” That only captures a sliver of what you’ll find in oversized debut issue—where fantasy gets all too real. 


Die is a story basically about the 80s DnD cartoon and how fucked up the reality of what happened in it was. 

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