Friday, September 17, 2004


"I'm dismantling my Comics Activism."-- Warren Ellis (In a Bad Signal mailing last year I think)

"You're re-mantling your comics activism!"-- Me to ADD when CBG most recently re-launched.

"My GOD, this thing is a pain in my ass!"-- Me to myself when thinking about ditching this column over the last few days.

Those three quotes have nothing to do with each other, well, the second one plays off the first, but I like the sequence, and it's how I'm feeling this week, back from my brief convention stop in Baltimore. I'm thinking of ditching my half-plan to visit SPX, although there are some things there I'd like to pick up (but can pick up after the show from Atomic Books where I popped in for shopping and beers with the proprietors/friends before the Balti-Con.) and people I'd like to see, but I am burned right the fuck out from traveling to comic book conventions. We'll see what happens. I may attend this instead.

As far as this little exercise? I was gonna bail on it this week, but I've never been a quitter, so why start now?

We've got two winners this week - Nevin will be adding Invincible Book 1 to his very own stack and I'm going to shoot Logan the PVP TPB. Look for details below on the next give-away from my mighty stack.

Here's what left the stack this week, and where it's going (I'm shaking things up this week!):

Chronicles of Conan 2, 3, 4 (Thomas/Windsor-Smith/Kane/Buscema): I think I'm giving up (and I did not like the coloring on these at all to begin with). I'll probably dump the set of 4 on eBay at some point, assuming I can find my copy of #1.

Adrian Tomine Scrapbook: Uncollected Works 1990-2004 (Tomine, duh!): The piece I own is not in here, but a lot of wonderful comics and art are! Essential stuff for Tomine fans, and fans of more "quiet" comics. Heading to the self with my Optic Nerve collections.

Michael Chabon Presents The Amazing Adventures of the Escapist #3 (various): Competent Comics Featuring the Escapist. Any other thoughts on this are long gone -- make of that what you will. I'll be shuffling this off to the stacks in the basement.

Queen and Country: Operation Storm Front (Rucka/McNeil): This is an excellent series that suffers from inappropriate art. Except for Volume 1, I have not clicked with any of the art choices. This is heading to the basement...

Queen and Country: Operation Dandelion (Rucka/McNeil): Another well-written collection, suffering, IMO, from weak art. This is heading to the basement...

Dark Days (Niles/Templesmith): This was a decent follow-up to 30 Days, but lightning rarely strikes twice, right? This is heading to the basement...

I am Legion (Nury/Cassaday): Cool stuff, looking forward to reading more in this (3 issue?) series. This is heading to the basement...

B.R.P.D. The Soul of Venice and Other Stories (Mignola/various): This series is a high watermark for anthologies -- excellent stuff from the Hellboy corner of the Universe. This is heading to the shelf next to the other Hellboy TPB's

Brit: Red White Black and Blue (Kirkman/Rathburn): Walking Dead is my favorite Kirkman book. This felt forced, what do you think? Haven't read it you say? Well, how about I give it to you?


Batman: Death and the Maidens TPB (Rucka/Janson: They didn't fuck it up. A good Ra's Al Ghul that actually had impact in the Batman Universe. Non-essential, but enjoyable. This is heading to the basement, to be shuffled out of my life at some point...

The Filth (Morrison/Weston): This prompted a lot of thought, and I've shared those thoughts with a select few, but don't have the energy to digest it here. This is essential Morrison, but not essential comics Make of that what you will and disagree with me here. This is heading to the basement, to be shuffled out of my life at some point...

Weird Secret Origins (various): So many more interesting things have been done with these characters since their creation, but still, one has to have a sense of history, right? This is heading to the basement, to be shuffled out of my life at some point...

The Batman/Judge Dredd Files (various): The first cross-over is really all you need. The rest are diminishing returns, but the first one still holds up as a nice bit of x-over fluff, with fan-tastic Bisley art.. This is heading to the basement, to be shuffled out of my life at some point...

Popbot #6 (Wood): I have NO IDEA what is going on, but it looks damn good. Heading to my shelf, racked right next to Stray Toasters ;)

Illustration Magazine #10: This, Comic Art and the Journal are essential reading. This issue devotes more space to one artist than previous issues I've read, but that one guy was responsible for a HUGE chunk of work from the '40s until the '70s (Rafael DeSoto). Heading to the rack with my issues of Comic Art and the Journal, told you they were essential.

Help (Kurtzman, various): I picked up two of these paperback collections in Baltimore, and thoroughly enjoyed reading this one, though it is incredibly dated. This is heading to the basement...

The Pocket Book of Esquire Cartoons (various): Another purchase from the Baltimore show, and who knew Esquire used to run such racy cartoons? Sexist and out of date, this was still an enjoyable read, with some amazing color pieces scattered throughout. This is heading to the basement...

A smattering of floppies were consumed these past two weeks, including: Fables #28,29Not the best this series has offered up (the fill-in art could have been stronger), but a pleasant sidetrack before the next arc. Challengers of the Unknown #2, 3: At the Baltimore Con last weekend, I got to have dinner with Howard (and Jim Starlin, Michael Avon Oeming and Walter and Louise Simonson) so how could I say anything bad about this? Hellblazer #197 & 198: Another arc with John caught by an old foe. I'll be sticking with this through #200 at the very least, but I'm not feeling this series so much anymore. She-Hulk #7: The breeziest -- I mean that in a good way -- comic out there; not sure if I'm sticking around once Bobillo leaves though. District X #5: This issue lost me, I'm all done with this. Walking Dead: The best zombie movie never made? Excellent stuff, you're reading this, right? Demo #9: I hope this series exorcizes all of Wood's relationship demons, for they seem mighty. The Goon #8: I LUV THE GOON! One of my favorite titles. Powers #4 I mentioned Oeming was at that table, right? Seriously, good stuff, but let's get down to some consequence of all this set-up. Ex Machina #3: A strong new series on all counts. This has legs. Captain America #31: This issue: Someone Dies! Plus: The Red Skull! We3 #1: Spinning out from my discussion on The Filth, I would've liked to see Morrison present this theme in a different format. As it is though, it's a good first issue, and I'll finish the series. These are all heading to the basement, to be shuffled out of my life at some point...

Here's the unread stack as it stands today:

Essential Iron Fist (Claremont, Byrne): No movement.

Essential Super Villain Team Up (Various): New to the stack. Marvel saw me coming a mile away when they offered this...

In the Shadow of No Towers (Spiegelman): A must-read after I finish...

Persepolis 2 (Satrapi): I'm not sure why there's backlash again this book; The first volume enlightened me to a situation on which I had no real perspective, and this, so far, is an engrossing, compelling read.

Second Help-ing (Kurtzman, various): I picked up two of these paperback collections in Baltimore, thoroughly enjoyed reading one, and now have a second to look forward to.

The Unorthodox Corpse (Brown): "Al Wheeler and a school full of sexy coeds play hide and seek with a corpse who just won't stay dead." What am I, made of stone? ;) This is smut from 1957, and if you could see the cover, you'd know what sold me (plus it was a buck at Atomic).

Invincible: Eight is Enough TPB (Kirkman, Walker): Handed to me by Robert Kirkman (after I'd asked) in Baltimore. I'm filling up on the name-drops, no?

The White Lama (Jodorowsky, Bess): Oh good, more Humanoids to let sit idle on my stack! Like...

Deicide #1: Path of the Dead (Portella/Pastoras): No movement.

Townscapes (Chrisitn/Bilal): No Movement.

The Horde (Baranko): No Movement.

The Hollow Ground (Schuiten)): No Movement.

Superman: The Man of Steel Volume 3 TPB (Byrne, Wolfman): I never followed this iteration of Superman during its original run, so it's all new to me!

The Bible Eden (Giffen, Elliott, Hampton): Fully-painted smut taken from the Bible! Excellent!

Bad Mojo (Harms, Morris): I just read the sell copy on the back, and it doesn't inspire me. We'll see...

100 Bullets: Samurai TPB: I ditched my collection of Bullets trades last year, and was going to drop the series, but I'm curious to see where it's going, Azzarello's a decent guy and I love Risso's art. So here I am with this.

The Fortress of Solitude (Lethem): No pictures, just words? This doesn't stand a chance of being cracked anytime soon.

Comics Prose (various): Handed to me (after I asked) by Nat Gertler. See above for when I'm gong to get around to this. Or just ask Palahniuk ;)

Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind 3,4, 5, 6, 7 (Miyazaki): Stalled, no movement.

Romance Without Tears (various): No movement.

No More Shaves (Greenberger): No movement.

Playboy: 50 Years of the Cartoons (various): No movement.

The Future Dictionary of America (various): No Movement. Kerry/Edwards in '04!

The Tomb (Weir/DeFilippis/Mitten): No movement.

The Kid Firechief (Steven Weissman): No movement.

The Last American (Grant/McMahon/Wagner): No movement.

The Ballad of Halo Jones Books 1, 2 and 3 (Moore/Gibson): Mo movement.

Stranger Than Fiction (Chuck Palahniuk): Heh...

Exterminator 17 (Bilal/Dionnet)/Gods in Chaos (Bilal): No movement.

The Incal 1, 2 (Moebius/Jodorwsky): No movement.

Found (Rothbart): No movement.

Lone Wolf and Cub #3,4 (Koike/Kojima): Stalled, No movement.

Joseph Rybandt has been working "professionally" in the comics "business" for close to 14 years. He lives in the mountains of Northern PA with his wife, daughter and companion Cosmo. His thoughts and opinions are, mercifully, his own.