I think, ironically, my comics blogging time has taken the place of my comics rereading time.

§ January 24th, 2012 § Filed under collecting, grendel § 16 Comments

Thanks for all the responses to yesterday’s post about what you’re currently rereading (or would like to reread). As expected, I was reminded of several other comics I’d like to revisit, but that’s okay…I may not have time now, but it’ll give me something to do when I retire when I’m, like, 85 years old.

Chad brought up an interesting point:

“…does anyone ever find themselves doing a re-read of a series they remember being ambivalent about, just to see if it’s still worth keeping?”

That’s a good question, I think…by and large, any series I was ambivalent about at the time I tended to drop from the buy list, so I don’t have a whole lot in that category. But there are certain series that I followed through thick and thin, like Incredible Hulk or the multiple Superman titles, that have had changes in creative teams, or storylines that didn’t feel like they were up to snuff. For example, the post-Peter David issues of the original Hulk run…I suspect they were perfectly fine Hulk comics, but my general impression from my reading them at the time is that they weren’t really a patch on what David had been doing with the character. Probably not a fair judgement call, and I think if I pulled those issues back out of the Vast Mikester Comic Archives and reread them, my assessment would be more charitable.

I made a joke in the title of yesterday’s post that my rereading of the ’90s Superman comics was solely to document the impact of the “Death of Clark Kent” storyline from…’93, I think? I was actually just giving them a reread because…well, I’d reread the Byrne/Wolfman post-Crisis reboot issues plenty of times, but had only given the later issues a single reading as they were issued (aside from the Death/Return of Superman issues, which are very rereadable strong serialized superhero storytelling), and I wanted to see how it held up as a continuing narrative. …Mostly, it maintains a fairly consistent continuity, which started to slip a bit once attempts to incorporate elements from the TV shows and movies, along with attempted rollbacks to pre-Crisis status quos, began to undermine the very reason the ’80s reboot was attempted in the first place. Not that I have any particular problem with that…I just think it’s an interesting phenomenon that I was able to watch as it happened, rather than piece together after the fact by researching back issues and investigating comics industry history.

Since yesterday I had a couple of folks mention “The Death of Clark Kent” as a real nadir of the franchise, which has me tempted to go back and look at it again. My memory of it is primarily a lot of running around and shouting and things blowing up, which to be fair describes a lot of superhero comics, so that doesn’t really bring anything to the table, there. My other memory is how this seemed the most blatant of attempts at grabbing some of that “Death of Superman” attention that had long since dried up. But I don’t remember hating this story, so perhaps I’ll look at it again and see if maybe if it was a storyline I tolerated more than enjoyed (much like how I discovered what I willingly put up with in some of the Superman annuals, last time I revisited some older Superman stories).

~P~ mentioned

“Oh, and something that I re-read many, many times… the volumes of Matt Wagner’s MAGE. VOl 1 is AWESOME! I can read that any time or place.”

That’s another thing…I’ve probably reread the original Mage many, many times. The sequel series I read as it was coming out, and then again after it was completed. And that was pretty much it. …Not because I didn’t like it, but…I’m not sure why. Just, like with the rest of my comics, I never found the time, I guess. There’s also the fact that I have the original series in those beautiful Starblaze/Donning paperback editions, the only decent reprinting this series ever received, sitting on my bookshelves and easily within reach. Not to mention the fact that series has also been out for quite a bit longer, granting more time for rereading, particularly in my younger days when I had more time to read these darn funnybooks.

(Of course, in the midst of writing this I went down to the Archives and pulled that second series out of my boxes and I’ll get around to reading it again, soon.)

This sort of falls under Chad’s question, I suppose, but another Matt Wagner project, Grendel, is one of those comics where I really loved the earlier issues, but it…kind of lost me once the series got into the distant future and…well, if you read the comics, you know what I mean. I tried to keep up with the multiple Grendel Tales minis but just eventually lost track and interest (at least until the various Hunter Rose-era minis popped up years later). I think I just stopped reading halfway through one of the series. I wonder if I went back now, I’d appreciate those comics a little more? I’d like to think so. …Ah, well, just add those to the reread pile, too, I guess.

16 Responses to “I think, ironically, my comics blogging time has taken the place of my comics rereading time.”

  • Tim O'Neil says:

    I think the worst part of the DEATH OF CLARK KENT – pretty much the main source of contention with the story – is the character of Conduit / Kenny Braverman. Pretty much an attempt to give Superman his own Venom – i.e., a character with a huge personal animus towards Kent who was (at least initially) unaware of Kent’s double life as Superman. But he had the worst design of just about any character from any era, being in essence a giant robot made of . . . wait for it . . . conduits.

  • Joe V. says:

    Your Mage experience just about mirrors mine: I read the hell out of my Starblaze collections (and they are beautiful), but I only ever read vol. 2 when it came out. However, I remember being less than jazzed about the series as I was reading it, so that might be the case.

    As for Grendel, I love the original regular series run (including the Devil by the Deed graphic novel) top to bottom. I’ve actually come to appreciate it more upon re-readings. After that, though, it doesn’t do much for me. War Child was all right, never really got into Grendel Tales, and I thought the Hunter Rose minis were just rehashing stories that were better left as mysterious. I did enjoy the Batman crossovers (Wagner draws a great Batman), tho.

    Now, I want to go back and read some of those issues. But I’ve got a stack of new books I should read. Plus I stupidly started reading the 52 miniseries for the first time. Damn you!

  • Dave-El says:

    I waS an ardent follower of the Superman titles and my line in the sand for when they started going downhill was when Roger Stern left Action Comics. David Micheline may have been great on Spider-Man and Iron Man but his run on Action read like a writer doing an impression of a Superman writer whereas Roger’s work was invested with a sense that he actually cared about these characters. But with Stern gone, the other writers (Jurgens, Kesel and Simonson) also did not seem to be as good, as if they were no longer bringing their A-game to match Stern’s level. There was also a change in editorial with Mike Carlin on the way out that may have impacted things. Storylines became more decompressed and event driven. Sound familiar?

    Consider when Stern came back with the quarterly Man of Tomorrow series. These issues were dense with action, characterization and plot developments compared to the other titles.

    Roger Stern’s Superman remains for me a high point of the character.

  • Must have missed yesterday’s post!

    I’ve been rereading Chase lately, trying to decide if I want to drop coin on that collection…also, I got the first couple of trade collections of Jeff Parker & Co.’s Thunderbolts and I’ve been rereading them as well. That’s some good comickin.

  • While I absolutely LOVE the first MAGE series (and almost everything in the Matt Wagner catalogue), I found the 2nd series to be somehow…off-putting.

    The art was a little sloppier, the colors far more garish, and the supporting characters not as likeable as those from the first volume.

    It took me several years after they were released to re-read them (which I did about a year ago), and y’know what…? Not as bad as I had feared/remembered.

    I truly think the production quality of the 2nd series, while technically more advanced and superior actually HURT my entry to the comic.

    It was like the comic was PUSHING me away, it was so bright and vibrant and “energetic” (my PC term for “rushed artwork”).

    Vol 1 was a product of a simpler time, and at the fresh beginning of Wagner’s artistic blossoming.
    We got all the fresh stuff there (which he later perfected in his various works – his Batman/Grendle mini, and Batman : Faces, arcs coming to mind). The coloring and artwork of those early Mage issues was like a living thing.
    All that RAW linework and GREEN everywhere. Murky at times, moody and mysterious.

    The 2nd series was just too much of what it was.
    Bright and bold and full of itself.

    But, DO give Vol 2 a re-read. While not as good as vol 1, it is a pretty good bit of fun.

    Now if he’d only get around to vol 3 before we all die.


  • Those STARBLAZE albums are a good example of how a totally fucked up company can still do great things (at least, to judge by Colleen Doran’s reports of life there.)

    The only Grendel I reread is third third one (“The Devil Inside,” I think?) which I go back to mostly because I love Bernie Mireault’s art, and it’s so rare to see it in colour.

  • I forgot to mention that YES, I also have the STARBLAZE collections of MAGE, and they ARE a well done set of books.

    It’s odd that so many here have them, as I always hear how rare the darn things are. lol


  • Oh yeah! Mage! Have not read that yet. i distantly remember being told that the recent trades have horrible recoloring or something… is there a decent reprint of the Mage series out there???

  • Oh okay reread the post when i finally woke up. I will try to find the Starblaze/Donning reprints!

  • Mikester says:

    Aaron – I’m pretty sure I let you borrow those at one point, Mr. Memory.

  • DanielT says:

    Funny for me to read this as I recently reread the two Mage series. I didn’t care for the second series any more than I did when it came out (which is to say, not much). The big surprise was the first series, a comic I ADORED when it first came out. It did nothing for me. The story has very little momentum and that momentum is completely killed by the talky next-to-last issue. And the climax is very anti-climactic.

    The Death and Return of Superman were the last good stories of the Byrne reboot era. ’86-’93 is my favorite run in the character’s history.

  • Alex says:

    To chip in, I too have the three Starblaze Mage books. And I counted the other day – I only have 14 TPBs total. They just must not be that rare, or everyone that ever wanted them got them at some point.

  • Stewart says:

    Hey Mike, just wondering if you’ve ever put up any pics of The Archives. I have mental images of cobwebs, flaming torches and a chained up wench or two. Perhaps a guardian Apeman with a cape as well.

  • WorldbreakerGrimm says:

    Series I’ve unearthed from my own archives to see if they held-up include:

    The original GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY book, which does indeed continue to entertain about 20 years later. Which I guess it better, considering it takes place in the 31st century. The initial Jim Valentino run is wonderful, but of course it all derails towards the end with Vance Astro getting a Venom suit, etc.

    There was a NOVA book by Erik Larsen that didn’t last long, but was charming and flashy much like Savage Dragon would become in the signature Larsen style. I think it went like only nine issues, sadly, and the first five that I have are great.

    On the other side of things, I did go back and put together my complete MAXIMUM CARNAGE crossover, and my god…I know this is old news, but that was probably the first comic to straight-up embarrass me, just from the dialogue alone. Yeesh!

  • Steven E. McDonald says:

    And here’s me going back over the first five months of the Nu52. But I have reasons! (The Chronic Rift is doing a Roundtable on the restartoboot. Mikester, if you want to be a guest, let me kjow. We record this Friday, and you’ll need The Skype.)

  • NokbotsCotO says:

    Хай всем заходите на наш сайт, его так легко запомнить, на нем Вы найдете громадную коллекцию фильмов, всех жанров и направлений кино . Ежечасные обновления, старые, документальные, отечественные и зарубежные фильмы всех жанров. Рай для киноманов. Только лучшее, только для Вас!!!