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Archive for the tag “Graphic novels”

Wednesday Whimsy: My Latest Obsession

By @hmsbeefnuts

 

As a child, I was never into comics. Sure I knew who all the main guys were, from Captain America to Wonder Woman, I watched all the TV shows and cartoons, played with the toys, but I never really read comic books. As I grew a little older, I was introduced to Batman and Superman comics with Knightfall and The Death and Return of Superman, which I enjoyed, but I didn’t really have the ready cash to really get into comics in a big way. It wasn’t until after university that I really began to collect graphic novels, and my tastes were, shall we say, rather limited.

As a huge Batman fan, I delved into the most renowned adventures of the Caped Crusader, Year One, The Long Halloween, The Dark Knight Returns, loving them all I began to delve deeper, and right now, I have quite a large collection of Batman adventures, with a few stragglers here and there from Marvel or other properties. However, recently, things have changed, and my tastes have become far more eclectic. It started with a random visit to a budget book shop, where I found three Marvel Pocket Books. At first I dismissed them, but on closer inspection I realised that they were small page versions of the comic books, around half size, they reprint original runs of the most famous Marvel Characters. The shop had a Spider-Man and two Fantastic Four books, and the best thing was, they cost £1.99 each, make mine Marvel.

I devoured the first two Fantastic Four books which collected comic runs. It was interesting to read them in this way, as in normal graphic novels, the story is somewhat separated, but reading an extended run of the comics is very interesting. With the FF done, I reached for the Spider-Man one, The Night Captain Stacy Died, which was quite apt with the new movie coming out and everything. Out of comics, I turned to Amazon, and umm, well, lets just say, my credit card took another hit.

Searching on Amazon is very dangerous, they had around 20 more of these Pocket Books, including Spider-Man, Silver Surfer, X-Men, Iron Man, Captain America, Avengers, I was in hog heaven. I now have a very extended run of original Amazing Spider-Man comics to delve into, and all for under £4.00 each. The paper quality is good in these books, the covers nice, and although smaller than regular comics, it isn’t a disadvantage that they are, certainly not when one considers the price. However, these things often start small, but have a way of expanding a little out of control.

£3.99 is not very much money to spend on 6 + issues of a comic series, but £3.99’s add up, and even then I wasn’t finished. I had wanted to find out who the mysterious villain at the end of The Avengers movie was, was I added The Infinity Gauntlet to my basket, then Civil War, Platinum Avengers, a Wolverine novel, and a few Batman ones, just to prove I had never forgotten my first true love. Things were getting sillier. The comic podcasts I listened to had mentioned a Wolverine G.N. (graphic novel) called Old Man Logan, everyone raved about it, it was added to my basket. By this time, and remember, this was a virtual basket, the thing could barely contain the comic awesomeness contained within, I clicked buy, and thought, I’ll worry about the consequences later.

Now obviously, I haven’t even looked at some of the things Mr. Amazon sent me, but I am working my way through them. Currently I’m reading Captain America, and really loving it. It seems an odd time for someone to get heavily into comics, at the age of 31, but it feels right. The atmosphere is crackling with comic energy, the film world is obsessed, and to be honest, so am I. Recent Comic Con news hasn’t helped matters, it has just added petrol to a fire that was already burning way out of control.

But I think sometimes it does one good to indulge in a new obsession. It feels good, and doesn’t feel like I have wasted money, at least not yet. We can all geek out about stuff from time to time, at least I hope you can, you are reading this on a website called All Geek To Me. At the moment, I’m into all things comic book, and wouldn’t have it any other way.

As I type this, we are 3 days away from The Dark Knight Rises, and I am very excited to see how Chris Nolan has rounded off his trilogy. I’m sure it will be great, but until I finally get to see it Friday morning, I shall have to sate my desires by plunging into more and more comics. These things won’t read themselves you know. Till next Wednesday, so long folks.

SUMMER KNIGHTS: BEST BATMAN GRAPHIC NOVELS: PART TWO

By @hmsbeefnuts

Hello Bat fans and welcome to part two of my look at the greatest Batman stories ever told. Last time we looked at the beginnings of The Caped Crusader, this time, we shall look at his end, at least for a time, and his return after a few years in retirement. The Bat fun continues here at All Geek To Me, as we build up to The most exciting film of the Summer, The Dark Knight Rises.

THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS

This was truly a line in the sand for not only Batman, but comics as a whole. Frank Miller wrote a story set in the future, where Gotham has once more been dragged into a crime spree, with criminal gangs and worse, making things hard for the good people of Gotham City. Time then for Batman to come out of retirement, older, thicker around the middle, but still the hardest and most dangerous man in the city. Add a female Robin, shades of ‘the god-damn Batman’ and this dark comic master piece is an absolute must read. Along with Watchmen, this transformed the comics landscape. It was the prime reason that the dark Batman Movie was made by Tim Burton in 1989, and the better Nolan ones in more recent times. This is the Batman we all know and love. Don’t bother with The Dark Knight Strikes Back though, I wish I hadn’t.

KNIGHTFALL/KNIGHTS END

This is the first Batman Story I ever read, thanks to my best friend, and regular commenter, Greeny. He was into comics long before I was, and lent me the Knighfall Saga. Very much in a similar vein as The Death and Return of Superman, this is the story of the Bane, a new threat to Batman, who comes to Gotham to challenge Batman, and succeeds in a devious scheme. He tires Batman out, using almost the entire rogues gallery, before finally facing off against the Dark Knight himself, and breaking his back. Batman retires, a new Batman replaces him, a more violent Batman, not afraid to maim or kill. Bruce rehabilitates himself, and eventually comes back, but who will rule the night?. Kinghtfall is not really considered a classic story, in the same way that The Long Halloween, or Batman: Year One is, but will always have a special place on my shelf as my first graphic novel.

BATMAN/DRACULA

Another Elseworlds tale, this time, what would happen if The Dark Knight came into contact with The King of Vampires, Dracula himself? A dark Gothic tale that fits in with the Batman mythos perfectly. Blood Reign is a great read.

ALL STAR BATMAN AND ROBIN

Frank Miller is not the talent he used to be, I think we can all agree on that, however, whilst most people hated his new take on Batman and Robin, I quite liked it. It was different, and wasn’t classic Batman, but I did like the new take on a Dark Knight who enjoyed his job. The God-damned Batman isn’t for everyone, but I laughed all the way through, especially his way of keeping Hal Jordan out of his business. The art work helps a lot too, absolutely beautiful. The story will probably never be finished now, but the first part was an enjoyable, if different take on the Caped Crusader.

ARKHAM ASYLUM: A SERIOUS HOUSE ON SERIOUS EARTH

A dark and disturbed journey into the heart of madness, with art work to match. This is an interesting and demanding graphic novel, and I will admit, I didn’t much like it on my first read through, but I gave it another go, and over time, I have grown to appreciate it and like it. It is unlike the other books on this list, but is defiantly worth your time.

BATMAN: A DEATH IN THE FAMILY

An important turning point in Batman’s history, and a change in tone from the fluffier camper 60’s and 70’s Batman, to a more serious and darker Dark Knight of the 80’s. What starts as a bit of a ridiculous story, The Joker becoming important in the government of a Middle Eastern State, becomes deadly serious, with The Joker killing and important member of The Bat Family. One that was killed by fans vote. I’m trying my best not to spoil things here, just read it.

SUMMER KNIGHTS: MY FAVOURITE BATMAN GRAPHIC NOVELS: PART 1

By @hmsbeefnuts

I am kicking my Summer Knights series off today, and have decided to give you a run down of my personal favourite Bat based graphic novels. There are quite a few, so I shall not procrastinate here, except to say, Batman is my favourite super hero, and as such, I read more of his comics/graphic novels, than any other character.

BATMAN: YEAR ONE

Frank Miller tells the tale of the first year of Batman’s war on crime, and also Gordon’s first year in the GCPD. A gritty, dark, more realistic tale, this is the story of a man’s war for revenge on the criminal underworld that took his parents. The art work is stark and bold, but fits the tone perfectly. Any body looking to jump into the Batman mythos, would do well to look at this first, it is the perfect introduction to the character.

THE LONG HALLOWEEN

My personal favourite Bat story, this is set chronologically after Year One. Batman is now established, and his war on crime continues, with a serial killer on the loose who kills on holidays. The Holiday Killer is not The Dark Knights only problem, his continuing war on Gotham’s Mob families and super villians is also a large part of the story, and Harvey Dent is also becoming a problem. The Long Halloween has great artwork and is a great read, I urge you to check it out.

DARK VICTORY

Dark Victory picks up where The Long Halloween left off. The Holiday Killer has been put away, but Gotham’s problems aren’t so easily solved. This is also a Robin origin story, and is probably the best one I have read. Usually I’m not a fan of Robin, but Jeph Loeb manages to create a narrative that fits in very well with Year One and Long Halloween, and doesn’t make the character of Robin too ridiculous. Great art again, this book is well worth a read.

GOTHAM BY GASLIGHT

The first Else-world book I ever read, Gotham By Gaslight is set in Victorian era Gotham City. A city that has been visited by the most notorious serial killer of them all, Jack the Ripper. Batman, in a vintage awesome costume, must face the Ripper and protect the ladies of the night that populate Gotham. This really opened my eyes to what Batman could be when I first read it. The Batman mythos is so strong, he can be placed in different eras and situations, and still work, and still be awesome. The fact I’m kind of fascinated by the mystery of Jack the Ripper was the cherry on top of the Batman sundae.

HUSH

I was drawn to Hush by Jim Lee’s outstanding amazing art work. It’s been said time and time again, but Jim Lee is the best at what he does, I simply love his art work. Hush is a story about a character from Bruce Wayne’s past coming back to cause Bruce, and Batman problems. To be honest the story isn’t that great, it’s not bad, but there are better Bat stories out there. But when you turn each page and are faced with art work of this awesomeness, sometimes, the story doesn’t matter so much. Hush is a work of art.

THE KILLING JOKE

I’ve always been more of a fan of Frank Miller than Alan Moore, but it must be said, The Killing Joke is phenomenal. At it’s heart it is an origin story for the Joker, but is so much more. We get to see a glimpse at the complicated relationship between the greatest hero and villain in comic books, and a surprising last few panels. The Killing Joke is an important book in the Bat library, that I don’t want to spoil here, just check it out, you won’t be sorry.

So that’s it for part one, I will be concluding my look at the best Bat Graphic Novels later this week, I hope you will come back and check them out.

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