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Hope you all enjoy my possibly daily thoughts. Comments? E-mail them to me or IM me, that way I dont get ads.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

I've been reading a lot of graphic novels for a project I'm working on. I'll do a few reviews at a time instead of a lot of small ones:

Conan: The Frost Giant’s Daughter and other stories by Kurt Busiek
Conan is more than just the muscle bound barbarian that only thinks of women and riches, which I think is the opinion many who have not actually read a Conan book believe. He has a sense of honor and loyalty to his friends, even those he just met. Granted, he does get to indulge in the pleasures of life, but only after great suffering. He is a man that wants to have his food, drink and women and be left alone. But when the times come that he needs to step up, he will, and you’ll regret waking the barbarian within.

Cryptozoo Crew Volume 1 by Allan Gross and Jerry Carr
This book is a cute read, quick but cute. It’s really just filler with a couple of funny ideas along the way. There’s not too much depth to it. This idea would be good as a daily comic strip but is too close to a one trick pony to last the length of a graphic novel.

Common Grounds by Troy Hickman
Phenomenal book! I’ve been quoting and explaining scenes from this book to friends all week. In five pages these characters are given more depth than many new characters have in 5 years. Many twists, different genres of story telling. This is more than just a superhero book, it’s a great book, period. Every story (or chapter) has a different artist as well, which gives each character their own feel. Each character could support their own book. Sometimes when many heroes are introduced quickly like this, the stories fall apart soon after (Ultraverse, early Image); but these characters are so well rounded you actually care and can’t wait for the next issue.

Thor: Lord of Asgard by Dan Jergens
This is a good attempt to do something different with Thor, but ultimately a boring book. There are two ways to tell a Thor story, either have it happen on Earth, or in Asgard. It sounds like a good idea to do both at the same time, but even two Thor’s don’t make one good story.

Livewires: Clockwork Thugs ‘Yo by Adam Warren
Marvel attempts to do manga. It’s not a bad idea, a robot special-ops team, but then that’s when the good idea stops. The characters have a ton of potential, and the art is pretty good too. But, it seems like the story was written before there were any characters created. “Hey, here’s a cool story, now I need to come up with some characters to put in there. Hmm, who can I create to further my story’s plot?” I do look forward to seeing more of these characters, but only if there is some character development along the way.

Amazing Spider Man:
Coming Home
Until the Stars Turn Cold
The Life and Death of Spiders
Happy Birthday
All by J Michael Straczynski
Through reading these and other recent Spider-Man books (25 issues worth) one thing comes to mind: even through bad stories, Spider-Man is still the man. It may be controversial but I like the idea of Ezekiel, Morlun, the Spider totem, all of it. Spider-Man has to be changed up every once in awhile and this is a much better way to do it then killing people off, or a new costume. As Straczynski’s run goes on he shows a new side to Spider-Man/Peter Parker, MJ, Aunt May, even Uncle Ben. Spider-Man is firmly in the Marvel Universe in this series, with random comings and goings from other heroes. On the other hand, Peter Parker is firmly in the real world during this run. Peter Parker in college has been tried before, but Peter Parker (as an adult of course) in high school? Well, that’s different and incredibly entertaining. The new villains are memorable and the older cast reminds you why you loved them to begin with.

Many more to come later...


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