Anyone here read American or European comics?

Non-anime/manga-related TV, movies, books, and comics, especially but not limited to pre-2000 titles
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llj
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Anyone here read American or European comics?

Post by llj »

If so, which genre do you prefer? And what are you reading now?

I've stopped reading superhero comics, by and large. But I still pick up the occasional superhero reprint or back issue here and there if I'm looking for the work of a specific artist or (less likely) writer. I usually prefer to buy comics drawn by artists I like, but only borrow comics from the library for writers I like. I think stories date faster than art when it comes to comics.

I'm currently reading the Locas II omnibus by Jaime Hernandez. I've never been a huge fan of Love and Rockets, but I've read enough over the years to be familiar with the general setup. This omnibus collects Jaime's Locas stuff from 1997-2007. Yup, he's still going at it to this day. And he's still a really, really, good artist.

I've been collecting Classic Comics Press' Mary Perkins On Stage comic strip reprints. I've got all 11 volumes released so far and there's only about 4 to go before the entire run is finished. Really recommend this strip. Fantastic art and entertaining stories.

I also picked up some reprints of Roy Crane' Captain Easy strip recently.

For newer stuff, I do read most of Seth's comics whenever he comes out with a new book. I'm hot and cold on Daniel Clowes and Chris Ware. Chester Brown is a fascinating person but I tend to read his stuff from the library rather than buy them.

I'm still discovering Euro comics. I know the heavy hitters like Milo Manara and Moebius, but some of the lesser knowns get little attention by publishers in the west. I really want to get my hands on a cheap copy of Guy Peellaert's Adventures of Jodelle that Fantagraphics released last year.

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Re: Anyone here read American or European comics?

Post by danth »

Never cared for superheroes. The only American comic I read is GI Joe. The old Marvel one. Mainly because I've always loved A Real American Hero. I just recently bought most of issues 1-40 due to a lucky find; my local comic shop had them all for $2 each. Not all in the best condition, but most in fine shape.

Now I wouldn't mind reading some Mobius comics. AKA Jean Giraud.

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Re: Anyone here read American or European comics?

Post by yusaku »

Glad someone brought this up. I am a huge fan of the independent comics that came out around 2000. I am a fan of Adrian Tommie, Daniel Clowes, Jaime Hernandez, Ted Rall, Peter Bagge, Dave Sim, Harvey Pekar and a few others.

Most of what I was into at the time was trying to decipher the human experience. So I stayed away from the superhero stuff. What drew me into the independent comics were the everyday simple characters and the unusual situations they would end up in. What is life like when you are in your 40's, broke, and live with mom? Peter Bagge had an ample dose of characters too down and out to be believed at times. Since my Christian sensibilities will not allow me be a libertine, I always wanted to know what it was like. So, I kept turning the pages of "Hate" and watching the main character, Buddy, go girlfriend to girlfriend, flat to flat, and job to job. You ever met a guy that had six jobs in one year? It happens. It happened to me. I consider Buddy and me to be fellow libertines. Only he does it on purpose. Or maybe he can't help it either? The cast of "Hate" is filled with people who actually could be my friends. Ever find your coffeehouse buddy wearing women's clothes at night and you pretend you do not recognized him? That happened to me in real life which makes the characters of Hate so appealing. In the pages of "Hate" you see failure, human frailty, and outrageous human stupidity; and people can be really stupid. You are guaranteed plenty of laughs.

For the more dramatic side of life I look to Daniel Clowes, Adrian Tommie, Harvey Pekar, and Dave Sim. It is the simple story line and the line art that draws me into Adrian and Dan's work. Most of their stories their are normal people in odd situations. The two artists have a similar drawing style. Everyone has kind of a 1950's style of dress; the visual affect make the people and scenery more appealing to me. Ted Rall is a reporter, artist, and writer. His books are about current events in politics and life in general. I have Ted Rall's "My War with Bryan", "2024", "To Afghanistan and Back". All these titles make commentary about life, politics, and relationships. Very good reads. It made for interesting reading. Dave Sim's are very dramatic sometimes even misogynist. Sim's writings is mostly about politics, relationships, death, and redemption. Dave Sim is a brilliant writer and artist. I have Melmoth which is about a dying artist and his addiction. We see the unpleasantries that creep up with dealing with funeral directors, bill collectors, city officials, and family when death happens. Melmoth is a book in the "Cerebus" story. Harvey Pekar is a writer that gets other artists to illustrate his writings. All of his writings are based on his life and people he knows about. I read his book "Our Cancer Year" which is about Harvey Pekar's battle with prostate cancer. Now of course he beat the cancer. Yet, it was a real battle. Worth the read.

Now there are many other independent American comics out there. I have a hodgepodge of trade paper backs from artists I can not remember right now. There are good comics out there that do not get published often. Some titles include "The Plain Janes" or "The Lost Girl". Every wonder what it would be like to do that mail order bride thing? Read "Mail Order Wife". Yes someone did a comic on that very topic. Good read. You will love the ending or just plain hate it.

These American artists make made me want to do my own comics. Got a lot of libertine ways for me to be so square at times. I think my stuff may end up more life Peter Bagge's stuff than Harvey Pekar's more serious themes. Not a lot of comic artists out there right now. There is a vacuum of material; and I want to help fill that void.
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Re: Anyone here read American or European comics?

Post by davemerrill »

I spent a lot of time reading superhero comics when I was a kid; the rise of 'alternative comics' coincided with my teenage years so I spent my teens reading Flaming Carrot, Cerebus, Love & Rockets, Pete Bagge's Neat Stuff and later Hate, Daniel Clowes' Lloyd Llewellyn and later Eightball, Chris Ware's Acme Novelty Company, whatever undergrounds I could get my hands on, which was mostly the Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers and Robert Crumb. Crumb edited "Weirdo", of which I have a full set and which includes a lot of drek but also amazing, never-published-elsewhere work by Clowes, Bagge, Spain, S. Clay Wilson, and a host of new wave/ug artists. Newer artists I followed included Terry Laban, Sam Henderson, and the always offensive Johnny Ryan.

Working on the Stupid Comics feature with my wife has exposed me to a ton of comics I wouldn't otherwise read. A lot of them are terrible direct-market junk from the 80s, but researching the feature has meant I've read tons of comics not normally on my radar, like romance books, horror comics, and kids' stuff, all from the 1940s, 50s, 60s, and 70s. A lot of them are actually really good and never make it into "Stupid Comics". Older comics I'm always looking for include Harvey kids' comics, Simon & Kirby romance books (actually anything by Kirby, I'll be honest), and the teen books from Tower (Tippy Teen, Go-Go).

Love & Rockets is published as a yearly book nowadays, and I always pick that up. Anything Clowes does I'll get. My favorite "new" cartoonists are people like Lisa Hanawalt and Kate Beaton; there's so much great cartooning available via the internet nowadays that it's easy to find great stuff without having to leave the house. I tend to make a lot of purchases at shows like TCAF, rather than a weekly appointment at the local comic book store.

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Re: Anyone here read American or European comics?

Post by llj »

yusaku--I've always wanted to start into Dave Sim, despite his politics. I think it's possible that during the Cerebus run he went a little crazy...and when you look at how dense the series is and how he managed to still keep his goal of 300 issues...I can see how he might go a little crazy getting wrapped up in his thoughts for so long while busting his hump for so long.

Adrian Tomine is a very good artist...but he targets a certain audience I'm not necessarily a part of--that twenty something hipster crowd. I don't have anything against slice of life type of comics as a lot of what I read are in that genre too...but I generally still like genre comics more.

Dave--I'm still exploring a lot of the humour comics from the 50s and 60s also. John Stanley's stuff from Dell is usually a cut above. I'd also like to give a shout out to the Dennis the Menace comics drawn by Al Wiseman. Generic kids comics but superior cartooning there. We're seeing reprints left and right these days of all sorts of obscure horror and westerns from the 40s and 50s, but other than Little Lulu, there haven't been many reprints of comics in the humour genre. Where are the Millie the Model reprints, Marvel?

By the way, I still follow Alan Moore on occasion, also. I think he usually picks good artists to work with and he's not someone who values dialogue over visuals like some modern comic writers...although his comics can sometimes be very wordy in a narrative sense.

I think the internet has made it both easier and tougher for talented comic artists to find an audience. On one hand, with the right marketing and word of mouth, anyone can get lucky now and create a "Homestuck" (which I'd never heard of until last year, but apparently millions of others have known about it for a long time), but there are also hundreds of others just plowing away doing good work and posting stuff that's barely seen. And there are SO MANY budding artists out there that would love a book deal, and nowadays you may not get one until you've proven you have an audience, which is of course success online.

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Re: Anyone here read American or European comics?

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I do read some American comics off and on, but a lot less than what I used to. I still have some of my old comics/graphic novels, and I occasionally pick up more if they interest me. I have some of the old, old Sandman collected books from when I was in JR HIGH, lol (Preludes & Nocturnes and A Doll's House are still my favorite ones, I'm pretty sure, as well as the Death mini-series), The Dark Knight Returns, Watchmen, The Killing Joke, I have a good chunk of the Bone collections (I really should finish that), some Fable, some The Walking Dead, Tank Girl, some of the old Sam & Max comics, some Usagi Yojimbo and old TMNT, some old X-men, Generation X, Rouge, Gambit, and Spider-Man, too. I think I have a couple of Calvin & Hobbes collections, too.

I used to have most of Strangers in Paradise, but I ended up giving them to a friend when I moved because I was trying to cut down on stuff to pack and I thought she'd like em (saved me getting her a b-day gift, at least :lol: ) I wouldn't mind picking those back up eventually. I think I also have a few random Gen13 issues (I mostly got into that one because a few artists I liked back in the day were working on it), and some comics that had obvious "anime/manga" influences, like the old American Bubblegum Crisis, Ninja High School, Reality Check!, etc. XD

I have some fanzines and indie comics, too, as well as some webcomic collected volumes. I've always thought comics were fun, so I don't limit myself to just manga.
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llj
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Re: Anyone here read American or European comics?

Post by llj »

Gen13...ahahaha...I admit I was into the whole Image craze in the 90s too. "More lines = BETTER!" Jim Lee, Todd McFarlane, Whilce Portacio...I was into that whole lot. J Scott Campbell was basically born during this era. To be honest, when I look at his stuff today I really don't think he's as bad as some fans today make him out to be. Yes, his style does fall into that uncomfortable marriage of Manga + Image, but when flipping through his Danger Girl stuff, I think he's got a pretty good sense for laying out action scenes and I do see more appeal to his page construction than most artists today. Certainly he's more fun to look at then a lot of the "photo realistic" artists that are taking over the superhero comics today. There's a trashy, bubblegum pop feel to J Scott Campbell's art that I think is utterly appropriate to the comics he draws. Too bad he barely draws anymore, because his style probably deserves a second look by comic art bloggers, and I don't mean in the "Rob Liefeld is AWESOME" ironic sense. If I had a blog, I could probably mount a decent defence for why his stuff is more technically impressive than most think it is.

By the way, most superhero comics since the 70s aren't worth jack now. You can't get much for them these days. I remember seeing a guy go to a comic store recently to sell maybe 50 or 60 comics--most of them superhero ones from the 80s and 90s...and all they would give him for that bunch was about $5.

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Re: Anyone here read American or European comics?

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llj wrote:By the way, most superhero comics since the 70s aren't worth jack now. You can't get much for them these days. I remember seeing a guy go to a comic store recently to sell maybe 50 or 60 comics--most of them superhero ones from the 80s and 90s...and all they would give him for that bunch was about $5.
That was the "collector" years, when everyone was buying comics as an "investment" thinking they'd get rich and American companies were happy to feed the frenzy with "limited edition"/special variant/holographic covered issues. I think my favorite incident from that time is when "Spiderman" (not "Amazing" or "Spectacular" or whatever other Spiderman books there already were) came out as rendered by McFarlane and Marvel put out like 6 different versions. The one that price guides noted as the most valuable only had like 100 printed or something, but the SECOND most valuable was the regular newsstand version, because NO ONE bought that one because it wasn't "special" and theoretically wasn't "collectible".

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Re: Anyone here read American or European comics?

Post by llj »

Heero wrote:
llj wrote:By the way, most superhero comics since the 70s aren't worth jack now. You can't get much for them these days. I remember seeing a guy go to a comic store recently to sell maybe 50 or 60 comics--most of them superhero ones from the 80s and 90s...and all they would give him for that bunch was about $5.
That was the "collector" years, when everyone was buying comics as an "investment" thinking they'd get rich and American companies were happy to feed the frenzy with "limited edition"/special variant/holographic covered issues. I think my favorite incident from that time is when "Spiderman" (not "Amazing" or "Spectacular" or whatever other Spiderman books there already were) came out as rendered by McFarlane and Marvel put out like 6 different versions. The one that price guides noted as the most valuable only had like 100 printed or something, but the SECOND most valuable was the regular newsstand version, because NO ONE bought that one because it wasn't "special" and theoretically wasn't "collectible".
The 90s no doubt have the lowest value of any era, but the 70s and 80s aren't worth so much either. Basically, ever since comic shops came out and began preserving comics, the value of comics in general has gone to crap.

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Re: Anyone here read American or European comics?

Post by usamimi »

Yeah, people who think there's any value in comic collecting is either a fanboy or just ignorant, I think. I can't tell you how many times I've seen my local Goodwill put ratty, falling-apart comics from the 70s or 80s in one of their display cases and priced them at $10-20. I tried to tell them at one point that no one in their right mind would ever pay that much for crappy comics in such terrible condition with rolled spines and everything, but I guess the joke was on me because someone DID buy them a week later. :roll: I looked up the same comics on ebay when I got home and people where selling higher grade ones for $1 a piece.
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