Comic Challenge, Part 6 (21-24)

For the first 5 in this series, check out: 1 & 2 & & 4 & 5.

21. Comic That Changed the Way You See the World

spawn-1

Spawn #1

Yeah, I know. It’s a weird one to put as the answer to this question. A query which deserves some great piece of art as its answer. Something that truly stupefied me when I read it for the first time.

Before Spawn I didn’t know who created my comics. Obviously I knew Marvel or DC or occasionally Dark Horse, but I didn’t know who the creators were that were writing or drawing (or inking or coloring or editing or… you get the point) my favorite comic books. I never spent all that long on the credits page – get me to the MEAT!

Even when Todd McFarlane was drawing Spider-man, I didn’t really notice anything special (yes, I am the only one). But even I got caught up in the hype of Image Comics and the big name artists who were leaving Marvel in order to start their own company. Suddenly I knew at least 6 names of artists – and suddenly I realized how much I dug McFarlane’s art. So when he launched Spawn, well… it was the first time I was reading something because of who was doing it rather than the character they were writing or drawing.

22. Underrated Comic Book Series

Annihilation_Prologue_Vol_1_1_Textless

Annihilation

For the longest time the Marvel Cosmic Universe was this thing that got shoved to the side. No one really mentioned it other than an occasional Silver Surfer appearance in some random comic here or there. Which was a little annoying since I was always a fan of those stories. For some reason they felt like anything could happen because they weren’t confined to make sure New York appeared the same issue after issue. This was a place where alien races, some we’d known from the 1960s and some we were just discovering ruled and schemed…

And all that came apart at the seems with Annihilation. A wave of destruction that sought to wipe out all life throughout the universe.

It was a mini series that was left to tell its own story (again, not worrying about what was happening this month in X-Men). And the characters were not the ones you might expect. Nova, Silver Surfer, Super-Skrull… heck Star Lord made his “modern” debut.

Without this comic series I’m pretty sure that no one would know who Star Lord or Groot or Rocket or Gamora or Drax were. This is where things got started again for those who lived in the cosmos.

23. Old Comic You Love

what if

What If?

All those movies about alternate worlds, all those episodes of Sliders, all that thought after watching Twilight Zone or Star Trek’s Mirror, Mirror episode… what if a comic did that monthly for their own stories they were telling?

Well you’d get a comic book that is right in this guy’s wheelhouse.

And it’s not so much the stories themselves. Sure I’ve often wondered what might have happened if Gwen Stacy hadn’t died, or if the Fantastic Four had different powers, but the key thing was taking these ideas into very dark places the writers didn’t have a chance to do normally. You think that hero would probably die now due to X thing? Well, then he’s probably dying.

I still haven’t read all the ones from the original series, but I do have an older trade which collects a bunch of them, and then I have a bunch of the run from the 90s… but if you wanted a series where you might not legitimately be able to figure out the ending, then this was the one.

24. Comic Series that makes me smile.

Starman_Vol_2_57

Starman

Legacy character in the DC Universe. Check.

Reluctant hero. Check.

Once a year talks to his dead brother and gets advice. Check!

Starman was one of those comics that shouldn’t have really worked all that well. I mean, Starman had a comic in the 80s, a failed experiment in the 70s, and he was typically one of those characters who was just “around”. But James Robinson pulled together a family legacy of the surviving son doing his best to live up to the ideals of his father, while still retaining his own personality.

What really amazed me about the book is that nothing feels wasted. Nothing is really a throw away issue. Everything builds on itself, not just continuity, but the feel of the book. Maybe Robinson was getting more confident as time went on. Maybe those early seeds he plants in the comic are growing in just the right way. I don’t know the why, but I do know I devoured it each and every month. It is currently on my list of comics I need to reread (just as soon as I catch up on my current stack).

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John McGuire

John McGuire is the author of the supernatural thriller The Dark That Follows, the steampunk comic The Gilded Age, and the novella There’s Something About Mac through the Amazon Kindle Worlds program.

His second novel, Hollow Empire, is now complete. The first episode is now FREE!

He also has a short story in the recently released anthology Beyond the Gate, which is free on most platforms!

He can also be found at www.johnrmcguire.com.

Comic Challenge, Part 2 (5-8)

I’m taking another stab at a few more of these Comic Book Challenges. You can check out my first batch of 4 here.

5- Comic that made you cry

I contend that this one did not actually make me cry… it was just something in my eyes, I swear.

We3_2

WE3 is made for sappy people like myself who can’t watch most of the animal related things on the internet lest they cause me to feel like balling (and forget leaving the channel on when the “Arms of an Angel” commercial comes on – I just can’t deal with that one).

But WE3 is about 3 animals, a dog, a rabbit, and a cat who has been outfitted by the government to be able to go into combat zones and take out the enemy with little loss of friendlies. A true modern retelling of The Incredible Journey. It really takes that whole idea of animal testing to the ultimate end game. But these animals only have one goal… to get home. So it becomes an journey of these three critters who didn’t ask to be tested on… to be made into weapons.

Describing it above makes me realize that this is one of those stories that can only really exist in comic books. But Grant Morrison makes it work. And when you get to the ending… well, again, I think there was too much dust in my house on that day.

Really.

6 – A Comic that I would hate to leave off any list

Bone.

Bone-complete

Bone carries the distinction of one of the few comic books that I actually got my wife to read that I did not write. Granted it was just one Christmas issue, that they were giving away for free, but she enjoyed it.

I was introduced to Bone by my friend Egg, who lent me the first couple of trades. And then I did not read it again for a decade. Which seems weird to even say. I wanted to read it, but I really just wanted one complete thing to get. And Jeff Smith kept coming out with more and more volumes of the book, and the potential price tag kept creeping up and creeping up, because if I was going to get the trades, then I’d end up getting them all.

And those bad boys were never in the 1/2 off trade bins at any of the cons I was going to.

But I never could pull the trigger… I’m stingy that way. And then word came down… a full Omnibus of everything would be available for $60. Done and done!

So when the omnibus came out I journeyed out to a random comic store and bought it on the spot. You could have killed a large animal (you pick the one, this tome would have brought it down). I brought it home and began reading… and reading… and then I slept before I went back to reading… until, finally I turned the last page.

I don’t know if there is another comic that has as many funny moments, as many goofy situations, while telling one of the most epic fantasy stories you’ll ever read.

I think that is the secret. It sucks you in with the comedy and makes you stay for everything else.

7 – A Comic You Wish They Would Make Into A Movie (TV Show)

A few years ago this would have been The Walking Dead… and it would have been a tv show on HBO.

Many years ago I wouldn’t have believed they were doing an Avengers movie, even though I liked Avengers way before everyone else thought they were cool.

But the problem with comics going to movies is as much about the serialized nature of them as anything else. The current superhero movies (the better ones, at least) try to focus on a particular story from the books… and it works pretty well.

That said, I’d rather see some of the comics turned into tv shows. The Walking Dead has shown us that it is possible to not only follow the comic books, but use the TV version to take things down a different path than we might have expected.

And I know they are going to do a Preacher show, so I don’t want to choose that…

y-the-last-man-comic(1)

How about Y, The Last Man? Yes, it is post-apocalypse, but isn’t everything these days. Y stands for Yorrick, the last man left alive after a virus wipes out all those souls who had the misfortune of carrying that old Y-chromosone.

The comic is more than that. It is about love, as Yorrick’s goal is to find his girlfriend… somewhere out there in a world where all those people who wished that women ruled the planet… well, they get to see that people are people no matter their gender. There are good ones and there are bad ones.

The comic lasted 60 issues and tells a full complete story. The roadmap is there, they only need to do it.

8. Current or Most-Recent Comic Book Related Wallpaper

Sadly this one is well outdated, and the movie attached to it has some problems, but I love this poster, and had it as my wallpaper on my work computer before the movie came out.

SPIDER-MAN 3

I love the black costume, maybe because when I started reading comics that’s what Spidey was wearing and even though I knew him from the various cartoons in the Red and Blue, the simpleness of the black and white sold me. And to see it in a movie was not something I’d have expected.

 

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John McGuire

John McGuire is the author of the supernatural thriller The Dark That Follows, the steampunk comic The Gilded Age, and the novella There’s Something About Mac through the Amazon Kindle Worlds program.

His second novel, Hollow Empire, is now complete. The first episode is now FREE!

He also has a short story in the recently released anthology Beyond the Gate, which is free on most platforms!

He can also be found at www.johnrmcguire.com.

4 Steps to a Comic Challenge

I came across this list which is supposed to be a 30 day challenge where every day you post something relating to comics (maybe an image, maybe something else). I’d like to do that, but if I did one a week it would take more than half the year and that’s a long time to be writing about the same thing (as I do tend to bounce around a fair bit on this here blog).

But I would like to do a few now, and then maybe return to the list every so often until I have the thing knocked out.

1 – Your First Comic Book

I could give you the first comic I ever bought, Transformers #4. I remember grabbing a copy of it in the gift shop of the hospital where my mom worked. But that’s kinda a cheat, because it didn’t start the obsession.

transformers-comic-4

Nor did another comic book – Fantastic Four #277 which could predate the Transformers issue. I picked this one up at my elementary book fair, though I have no idea why I did it. Nor why I didn’t get into comics at that point in time.

FF 277

No, my answer always comes back to the 4 comics I bought while waiting for my step-father to come pick me up after I had gotten my hair cut. He’d supplied $10 for me to get a coke and a snack at the 7-11 next door and somehow I got drawn to wanting to read something. And these four books stared back at me:

west-coast-avengers 20

xmen 217

Avengers_Vol_1_279

Amazing_Spider-Man_Vol_1_287

And my wallet has never been the same.

2 – Your Favorite Character

The Flash!

Spider-Man!

Doctor Doom!

There are so many to choose from it seems a shame to narrow it down to one singular one, but I think I’d have to go with:

Flash1

 

3- A Comic That is Underrated.

H.E.R.O.

hero1

There was a Silver Age comic book (that’s the late 50s and 60s to you and me) where this kid had a telephone dial (yes, a dial). Anyway, when he dialed up the word HERO he’d randomly become some whacky and crazy super hero with equally weird powers for the issue. And then we’d do it all over again in the next issue.

Very kiddie. Pure dumb fun.

Enter Will Pfeifer and Kano and a book simply called HERO. The dial did the same thing, but in this series it found its way into different people’s hands, causing them weird and wonderful outcomes. It allowed Pfeifer to tell these smaller stories all the while still building to an epic conclusion that I did not see coming at the time.

A perfect example of how to update an old concept and breathe new life into it. It’s one of those I need to dig out of my long boxes and reread.

4- Your Guilty Pleasure comic or character

Knights of the Dinner Table

kotdt-strip

There will be many who don’t understand this strip. Those who do really understand it.

I think this qualifies, even if I’m not sad or upset that I read this comic. It has provided me more laughs than any other “funny-book” I have in my collection, and by this point (200+ issues in) I know the characters like they were a part of my own DnD group. And since I haven’t roleplayed in many years, they are my connection to a gaming experience I loved.

Oh, and I actually co-wrote a 4 page story in an issue, so there is that too.

***

John McGuire

John McGuire is the author of the supernatural thriller The Dark That Follows, the steampunk comic The Gilded Age, and the novella There’s Something About Mac through the Amazon Kindle Worlds program.

His second novel, Hollow Empire, is now complete. The first episode is now FREE!

He also has a short story in the recently released anthology Beyond the Gate, which is free on most platforms!

He can also be found at www.johnrmcguire.com.