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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Re: Anyone here read American or European comics?

Post by llj »

Yeah, I remember the Punisher - Archie crossover. Never picked it up, but I remember reading it on the newsstands before the store owner told me to stop.

Little Archie was pretty interesting. Bob Bolling was the main artist on most of those. I remember some of the stories resembled adventure comics more than your typical kids' humour. Sometimes they got pretty violent too. I remember one where Little Archie was fighting with some thug in a car and the whole story was rendered in a "realistic" art style, with lots of moody shadows and the like.

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Re: Anyone here read American or European comics?

Post by davemerrill »

Hal Lindsey really tapped into this 1970s energy crisis malaise apocalypse mindset. I was a kid then and remember seeing his film THE LATE GREAT PLANET EARTH in theaters, narrated by Orson Welles, which pretty much guaranteed that we were the Last Generation. We'd get Chick tracts all about the coming Rapture with our Halloween candy. Lindsey is still in action, using the Bible to predict bad news for modern man with the end coming ANY DAY NOW! Hartley swallowed Lindsey's BS hook, line, and sinker and managed to convince the Goldwaters to allow him to use the Archie characters. The Goldwaters never saw a publicity gimmick they didn't like - hence "Archie Vs The Punisher", the "new-look" Betty & Veronica, etc. They certainly know how to sell comics, they've been one of the few publishers to still be in the game for going on 75 years.

Carl Barks drew Donald Duck and Uncle Scrooge comics for Western (licensed from Disney) for 25 years and they're some of the best comics ever made anywhere by anybody, in my opinion.

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Re: Anyone here read American or European comics?

Post by greg »

Ha! Jack Chick certainly has played his own weird, morbid part in American comics with his creepy "OMG, IF YOU DIED RIGHT NOW, WOULD YOU GO TO HELL? ROFLMAO, ETC." comics. I was just talking about Jack Chick with a coworker a week or so ago. The first time I saw one of those comics, I was in high school and I cannot remember what for, but I was visiting Prescott, Arizona with my dad and my friend. I think there was some local festival going on. Some weirdos came up and gave us some of those little, legendary Jack Chick comics. It turns out that they were from the Potter's House, which is a cult in that area. So, I always associated Jack Chick with cults. I guess he isn't really associated with any cults, but he sure has played his part in fearmongering. Hal Lindsey sure has made a living off of fearmongering. He's never crossed the line into cults (7th Day Adventists, Jehova's Witnesses, etc) by actually predicting when exactly the "rapture" will happen (heck, is the so-called "rapture" even in the bible? I don't even know), but he sure likes to push against that boundary for sure.
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Ben
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Re: Anyone here read American or European comics?

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I thought I'd throw a recommendation out there, especially since hanging around comic stores in the early 90's was what led me to discover anime and manga anyway. My favorite independent comic that has really fallen out of the public consciousness is Xenozoic Tales, an indie series by Mark Schultz that most people know as Cadillacs and Dinosaurs (due to a cartoon and games that didn't do the comics justice). It's a throwback to classic EC comics and 1950's pulp fiction, about a dystopian future where humans are nearly extinct and giant fauna and dinosaurs have reappeared on the Earth. It's been collected in a really nice (and cheap!) volume that is well worth the $30 price tag. http://www.amazon.com/Xenozoic-Mark-Sch ... zoic+tales

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Re: Anyone here read American or European comics?

Post by _D_ »

How about undergrounds? I still have a lot of these indie books hanging around here but I sold a lot over the past 20 years to make ends meet sometimes. Still have lots of works by Crumb, Wilson, Spain, Shelton, Corben, etc. Omaha The Cat Dancer recently ended. I want to get the entire collected run of the books but that will have to wait it seems. Saw a recent interview with Reed Waller. Glad he's still with us. I also have a whole bunch of the collected EC Comics that Russ Cochrane published years ago but I never got a chance to look at them. I was supposed to give them back to their owner but he moved over a thousand miles away and they are too heavy to ship. I may crack them open though as I need to replace the bookshelf they are in.

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Re: Anyone here read American or European comics?

Post by llj »

Richard Corben's stuff has really grown on me in recent years. I used to find his figures a bit lumpy looking or slightly cutesy but I've come to appreciate his distinctiveness.

I have a few Crumb comics but I wouldn't say he's a personal favorite of mine.

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Re: Anyone here read American or European comics?

Post by davemerrill »

I love UG comics, or comix, or whatever. I have a lot of Crumb's work, a big book of TRASHMAN strips by Spain, a lot of Freak Brothers by Shelton/Sheridan/Mavrides. A lot of the stupider, druggier hippy/dippy late 60s early 70s stuff doesn't hold a lot of appeal to me (I'm looking at you, Dopin' Dan), the Peter Max-y work by Victor Moscoco and to a lesser extent Skip Williamson is a little too slick, and of course a lot of material was just junk. S. Clay Wilson's work is always disturbing. I have anthologies containing his stuff but I don't know if I'd buy a solo book of his work. Armstrong's Mickey Rat is a favorite, he's a real low-life. Mickey Rat, I mean. Armstrong is a funny and talented guy who invented the whole "Couch Potato" craze that took America by storm in 1980.

Justin Green's stuff autobiographical stuff set the template for most of the similar work in the 80s and 90s, but I really like the music-oriented work he started doing later. There's a record store in Cincinnati that has some originals of the strips he was doing for Tower Records' in-house magazine in the 90s, and they're lovely to see. His wife Carol Tyler also does great work.

Some of my absolute favorite comics are the Mavrides/Kinney pieces in YOUNG LUST and ANARCHY COMICS -a wild blend of corporate mascots, political figures, Hollywood legends, religious icons, all interacting with each other in nutty stories about the collapse of civilization and/or the end of the world. There's a strip they did about Bette Page being kidnapped by Kim Il-Sung that's a masterpiece. Mavrides has a great ability to mimic any style.

It took me years to get into Zippy the Pinhead - Bill Griffith is really a talented draftsman, but it hardly ever shows in the strips, and the strips themselves need to be read in big chunks to get the brain properly aligned. His "Griffith Observatory" strips from the 70s and 80s are funny and eerily prescient of cultural trends to come. His wife Diane Noomin does terrific work and there's darn too little of it.

Art Spiegelman I think is more of a mannerist than a cartoonist, like Scott McCloud he seems a lot more interested in theory and process than in crankin' out comics. When he DOES do comics, they're great.

The 1960s guys I like kept working and worked alongside some of my favorite cartoonists of the 70s and 80s in places like RAW and WEIRDO, so it's hard for me to draw that line between 'underground comix' and 'alternative comics', which is what they called anything that wasn't Marvel or DC in the 80s, and what was later called 'art comics' or 'indy comics' in the 90s.

There's an awareness in these comics - both in the UG comix of the 60s and the "alt" comics of the 80s and 90s and beyond - of the wider world, of culture and politics and society in general - that you simply were not getting from the "mainstream" comics - and may still not be getting, I haven't read a Marvel or DC book in years. And that was certainly something I was looking for in comics; I like SF/F fine but a steady diet of fantastical otherworldly nonsense gets a bit thin.

Certainly there was (and still is) a time when I'd go to a comic shop and anything that wasn't a super-hero book would automatically get my attention. I guess that's how I learned about manga, I suppose - thanks to alternative comics publisher Edu-Comics and their edition of Keiji Nakazawa's "I Saw It."

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Re: Anyone here read American or European comics?

Post by _D_ »

Yeah, I like Bill Griffith's Claude Funston over Zippy though. Hard On A Fella in Young Lust is classic. Also like Kim Dietch stuff. Wildly imaginative. Ditto with Robert Armstrong. Did they ever find out what caused Wilson's brain injury? He is certainly living up to the blurb from Felch "S. Clay Wilson will suffer eternal damnation for drawing this comic book"...

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Re: Anyone here read American or European comics?

Post by llj »

So I splurged on numerous comics with my Christmas bonuses.

First up is the Complete SHIELD by Jim Steranko. I'm not a huge fan of Nick Fury, but I like him well enough to see his appeal and potential. I always felt Steranko got it right with his James Bond crossed with Jack Kirby take on Nick Fury, and of course there are his stylishly trippy 60s layouts. It's kind of sad to see Marvel flounder with their handling of him after Steranko...didn't they also kill him off a few years back? Steranko's writing...I wouldn't say it's bad, but they were probably a lot more wordy than they should have been. You can tell he was a young guy with not much comics writing experience here. The plots themselves were appropriately pulpy and comic booky, but he probably spent way more time on trying to explain it all when he should have just went with it.

The Heart of Juliet Jones, volume 4: I always wanted to get into this old soap opera comic strip series drawn by Stan Drake, but the earlier volumes didn't have the best reproduction. This volume reprints some of the early Sunday strips, which seems to have come from better sources. Some of that may be the fault of Drake himself who didn't keep his original art in good condition and often cut them up to reuse old artwork in later strips. There's some beautifully drawn soap opera stuff here. I have to think that if today's American comics had artists who could draw like this they wouldn't have such a hard time trying to penetrate the female comics romance market. Judging by the popularity of shoujo manga, the market for female-centric comics is obviously there. But female readers have a much more particular tastes when it comes to artwork. You can't just get any mediocre slumming superhero artist or some watered down mangaka wannabe to attract female readers. You've got to get GOOD artists to really sell a glamourous sort of escapism in this genre, and a lot of comic artists today are much more used to drawing in a minimalist "Bruce Timm" style or a punchy macho "ugly" style for superheroes and crime books. When I look at some of Marvel and DC's lame attempts at trying to re-ignite the romance comics genre, I can't help but see that they've got the wrong idea both in terms of stories and artwork.

Adventures into the Unknown volume 3: This collection of ACG Golden Age comics from PS Artbooks has a lot of artwork from artists I've never heard of. Some of them are quite good and distinctive, maybe even more interesting than some of the artists working at DC and Marvel around the same time. But once the Comics Code came, a lot of them disappeared to other vocations or went on to become inkers, and this seems especially true of ACG's stable of comic artists during the early 50s.

Herbie volume 1: Always wanted to read those old Herbie comics and now I finally got around to them. Herbie was a "superhero" created late in ACG's life (they folded in the 1960s) about a fat, seemingly unmotivated boy with a love for lollipops and a shitty father who considered Herbie a "good for nothing", but unbeknownst to everyone he knew, he had god-like powers. It's ostensibly presented as a humor comic, but it's not so much haha-funny as it is weird and off kilter. It's really a wish fulfillment series for geeky and fat kids everywhere that's sustained by the imaginatively weird scenarios Herbie gets himself into and the idiosyncratic dialogue by Shane O'Shea/Richard E Hughes. There rarely is any real threat to Herbie--he's unflappable and basically nigh-invincible. Ogden Whitney's deadpan, slightly stiff, and extremely technically skilled art is utterly sincere in its straightness. Anyone who thinks this comic is "mocking" fat kids would be totally wrong just because of Ogden himself. Ogden Whitney was by all reports a fat man with glasses who modelled Herbie after himself as a child. Whitney seemed to have a lot of personal demons and was an alcoholic so he may have been channeling some sort of childhood wish fulfillment here. Of course, that's just my dime store psychology. :lol: But he drew every single Herbie comic except for a few covers near the end of the run, so he obviously had some personal claim on the character at the company.

Here's an example of some of the weirdness and humor of Herbie:


Image

I also have hardcover collections of The Adventures of Jodelle and Wally Wood's Cannon coming in the mail soon.

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Re: Anyone here read American or European comics?

Post by _D_ »

Herbie! Glad to know they are reprinting these! Herbie could do it all...magic powers, travel through time, survive underwater, etc. Great stuff! Still have some of my 60's Herbie comics around here...

Fat Fury Forever!!

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