That’s one of the biggest gripes we’ve been hearing at Inveterate Media Junkies… For years. Some fans have been saying it for a very long time, others are just recent converts. Lots and lots of people are simply fed up with grim ‘n gritty comic books– they’re ready for their heroes to be heroic again. And that’s great… People who spend their money on something should definitely have the right to say how they feel about said product (Yay, Internet!)… As long as, you know, their criticism or praise falls somewhere above a Sixth-Grader’s ability to critique something. (Fuck the fuck off, Internet!)
Me? I don’t give a rat’s ass whether something is lighthearted or fun or dark and serious… As long as it’s good, and the creators involved put their backs into a project to make the best comic they could make. But given that a majority of our readers seem to be yearning for some heroes– I thought I would highlight two great comic book collections I’ve recently read that don’t feature panel after panel of evisceration and degradation.
But before I start, I have a question (and a slight admonition) for all of you: If most of you truly want more fun adventure comics– then why are the comics I’m about to review not selling better? Why are these titles languishing, while the 97th Avengers or Batman title consistently tops the sales chart? You know, if you don’t buy these fun, not-so-dark comics– the publishers aren’t going to print them.
Supply and Demand… It’s the basic cog in any free market system. Remember that next time you automatically buy a copy of Avengers: Who Gives A Fuck?! #1 (with 3 variant covers)– instead of giving a deserving non-grim, non-ultra violent comic a chance.
So, yeah… Jeff Parker is a big IMJ Favorite™. We really like his stuff. It’s not that he can do no wrong– it’s just that he mostly does right… And his Kings Watch (featuring the sturdy trio of Flash Gordon, The Phantom and Mandrake The Magician) is the best Dynamite “hero” comic I have ever read. I opened this trade late one night (around 3am) and didn’t put it down until I was completely finished. That’s what happens when I read something I really like– no matter how tired/stressed I may be… I read it all the way through.
It should be more than obvious by now that most graphic novels don’t capture my interest anywhere near this much. The art by Marc Laming is also exquisite– again some of the best I have ever seen from Dynamite, a company that often publishes mediocre licensed comics… Made even more mediocre by their mediocre artwork.
Next on my delight list: Tom Strong and the Planet of Peril. This trade, notably, is published by Vertigo Comics… You know, the cool imprint put out to pasture by the current Powers That Be at DC– when they decided to go “whole-hog” on their ridiculous New 52 rehash. (Why publish a grand comic like Hellblazer, when you can print a shitty abomination like Constantine?) Anyway, this Tom Strong tale is written by Peter Hogan— who, if memory serves (and I’m sure someone will immediately correct me if I’m wrong), was essentially handpicked by Alan Moore to write the series when DC swallowed Jim Lee’s Wildstorm (which used to publish Moore’s “America’s Best Comics” line).
What makes this graphic novel a must buy? The way things don’t transpire in the story. I’ll give you a prime example: Tom travels to Terra Obscura (think alternate Earth), only to find the once vibrant planet ravaged by disease and in the throes of worldwide anarchy. He’s in search of a hero who may possess a strengthening potion for his daughter Tesla… And runs afoul of a biker gang– desperate for food and medicine– that attacks a supply convoy. As the violence intensifies, what does Tom Strong do? Well, if this was a “normal” 21st Century comic, the “hero” would obliterate the gang– maybe sparing one to spread the news that this type of behavior will no longer be tolerated.
But Tom doesn’t do that. Seeing both sides suffering unnecessary casualties, he throws up a white flag and negotiates with the gang leader– eventually giving them 3 truckloads of supplies to halt the hostilities. This series is FILLED with moments like this– where humans cease acting like the self-centered jerkwads so popular in comics today, instead choosing to reclaim their HUMANITY.
Now I know these are only two comic books. But amid the morass of bullshit that sees print every month, there are still great books to be found. They may require you getting off your asses to find them… But trust me, my friends– they are out there. And if you want more comics like these, at some point you have to put your money where your bitching is.
Adventure Time Marceline And The Scream Queens Mathematical Edition HC
Age Of License
Archie Archives Vol 10 HC
Art Of Princess Mononoke HC
Avengers Undercover Vol 1 Descent
Charley’s War Omnibus Vol 1 – Bought it and I own ALL the Hardcovers!
Conan Vol 16 The Song Of Belit HC
Courtney Crumrin Special Edition Vol 6 The Final Spell HC
DC Universe vs The Masters Of The Universe
Deadpool vs Carnage
Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Tarzan The Sunday Comics Vol 2 1934-1936 HC
Even More Bad Parenting Advice
Fables Vol 20 Camelot – My love for Fables is well documented…
Fantastic Four Vol 1 The Fall Of The Fantastic Four
Fuse Vol 1 The Russia Shift
Grace Randolph’s Supurbia Vol 4
Green Lantern New Guardians Vol 4 Gods And Monsters
Heart Of The Beast 20th Anniversary Signed Edition HC
Jessica Jones The Pulse Complete Collection – Read it already
Johnny Hazard Complete Newspaper Dailies Vol 3 1947-1949 HC
Lady Rawhide Vol 1 – A Western + Fan Service?! C’mon!
Magic The Gathering Complete Collection Oversized HC
Mars Attacks Deluxe Edition HC – Recommended
Marvel Masterworks Atlas Era Tales Of Suspense Vol 1
Marvel Masterworks Marvel Rarities Volume 1 HC
New Warriors Vol 1 The Kids Are All Fight
Oz Dorothy And The Wizard In Oz – Own the Hardcover
Saint The Man Who Wouldn’t Die
Secret Service Kingsman HC – Mediocre at best…
Sonic The Hedgehog Vol 1 Countdown To Chaos
Star Wars Legacy II Vol 3 Wanted Ania Solo
Talent Deluxe Edition – Read it as a digest. It’s “ok”.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles The Works Volume 3 HC
Turok Dinosaur Hunter Vol 1 Conquest
Walt Disney’s Don Rosa Library Vol 1 The Son Of The Sun HC
White Death HC – Looks interesting…
X-Force By Craig Kyle And Chris Yost The Complete Collection Vol 2
X-Force Vol 1 Dirty Tricks
Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland And Through The Looking Glass
Attack On Titan Vol 13 – Manga Pick of the Week!
Black Butler Vol 1 (New Print)
Blood Blockade Battlefront Vol 6
BTOOOM Vol 7
Cage Of Eden Vol 15
Hatsune Miku Unofficial Hatsune Mix
High School DXD Vol 2
Maximum Ride Vol 8
No. 6 Vol 8
Sankarea Vol 8
Say I Love You Vol 3
Spice and Wolf Novel Vol 12
Sword Art Online Novel Vol 2 Aincrad
Triage X Vol 7
Wallflower Vol 33