Thursday, May 31, 2007

100 things SUBZERO loves about comics

Sometimes writing a posting on a comicblog can come back to haunt you. You have to pay for it sooner or later. And I don´t mean the fact that at first you think " I´m just going to post something quick, that doesn´t need much work. Just a lot of links and in 30 minutes I´m done. Tops. " only to find out later that you just worked on this " quick " post for two and a half hour straight.

I´m also not talking about the fact that writing a comicblog is a thankless vocation. Everybody and his brother will come to you and ask you why are you wasting your time writing this crap that nobody is reading. You will get no recognition even if you are writing Germany´s best comicblog.

Someday you will find out that all the achievements you have made in the field of comics have all been for naught. Forget that you are the only person that has successfully translated WÜTTNER into spanish, a feat nobody ( even the writer of the comic himself ) thought possible. Forget that you produced and self published a comic like POWER FREAKS with only two guys : you and your brother. Forget that POWER FREAKS totally proved that it is possible to make superhero comics in Germany. Forget that POWER FREAKS totally changed the german comic market ( like we promised ) and that our research helped the independent comic publishers to print comics in color for a reasonable price. Forget all the helpful, funny, intellectually stimulating or outright brilliant postings you wrote on comic message boards. No, the only thing you will be known for is the one time you did someone a favor because he was desperate for help and you caved in and it didn´t work out. You went out of your way to help someone and now you are forever branded for it. But I´m not talking about that either.

What I´m really talking about is when you are writing a post in the middle of the night only to spend the rest of the day thinking about your own list of 100 things you love about comics. Thinking about it all the time when you are lying in your bed and trying your hardest to get some sleep.

Starting to dream about it and finally getting up and writing another post about it while you should wrap up the first day of your visit to the comic convention in Barcelona. So without more introduction ( you already had enough of that ) here are my 100 reasons why I love comics. Like it is the tradition they are in no order whatsoever, but I hope that I have included some very unique reasons as someone who not only reads the American comics but also knows the translated versions in Germany and Spain - as well as the comics that are unique to both countries. So here is my list :

1 - Robi. Better known as Rochus Hahn this guy is the best writer in Germany. Not only the best writer of comics but the best writer - period.

He writes for tv and the movies. He is the real mastermind behind DAS WUNDER VON BERN who wrote the original script and who got none of the credit for it. While all the others were parading on the telly and congratulating themselves he never was in any of the interviews....not even on the DVD extras. He wrote most of the stories for the legendary relaunch of MENSCHENBLUT ( men´s blood ) getting comic prizes every year that comic was published. He is still writing a pletora of comics and one of the pillars of SCHWARZER TURM. To top all that he is still a nice guy who will talk to the most unknown striving comic artist and give him information and tips for free. And you couldn´t pay for his advice.

Listening to Robi talk about how to write comics for five minutes teaches you more than a two week workshop or whole books. I know it because I have made the experience. On top of that he always has a cooler t shirt than me at comic conventions and was the famous television presenter Horst Brack, der Bestrafer ( Horst Brack, the Punisher - do I have to say more ? ) on the even more famous wrestling show CATCH UP. I could go on and on with my list but let me say as my final comment that he also invites such has beens like myself to the Comic Action in Essen turning a boring and nervewrecking experience into a comic summer camp full of fun, excitement and camaderie. It´s just reassuring that there are also guys like him in the comic field not only freaks like me.

2 - Blogger. That there is a website where you can start your very own comicblog. In five minutes you are done and can start blogging. How great is that ?

3 - the Manga factor. The fact that while comics still suck ( but are slowly loosing some of its geekfactor because of the flood of comic movies and all the celebrities that come out of the closet with their comic geekness ) Mangas are hip and cool and totally rock. Because Mangas are not comics. They are from Japan. Pay attention, dude.

4 - comicbloggers. I just love it that there are so many comic fans out there for whom it was not enough to write on comic message boards. No. They had to go out and do their own thing. And while most of them are funnier, much more original than me or at least know how to use their scanner I´m glad for every one of them. No matter if I absolutely love them like DAVE´s LONGBOX or hate them or just found something to entertain me for five minutes. Keep on blogging.

5 - Comic message boards. Despite all the flame wars, all the spam and bashing and all the unnecessary hyperbole and hype I still love it. The fact that no matter how unknown a comic is there is always one die hard fan of it. And all the hard work that goes into providing a platform where all comic lovers can come to share their love for comics - or tear each other a new one. Thanks to my dogs at Elfenbeinturm, Paniniforum, digital webbing and Bernd Glasstetter at Comicforum.

6 - Bizarroworld. Like many of the ideas of the Silver Age you just can´t fathom how someone came up with the idea of a reverse Superman on whose world " Yes " means " No " and " Hello " means " Goodbye ". The idea can be presented as ridiculous or totally cool depending who is the creative team. I loved Bizarro ( and Batzarro ) during Jeph Loeb´s run on Superman / Batman and I´m just bursting to read what Grant Morrison has planned for Bizarro in ALL STAR SUPERMAN.

7 - Ed McGuiness. Since his beginnings at Marvel providing pencils for the really awful DEADPOOL comic this artist has really evolved - blending Manga and traditional US comic visuals into his own style. I just love to see something new from him no matter if it´s just a cover or a whole comic. I can´t wait to read his ULTIMATE issues.

8 - Comic podcasts. Like the comic bloggers this crazy cats have a thankless job. Nevertheless they enrichen our live with hundreds of hours of commentary and interviews related to our favorite hobby. They talk to the movers and shakers someone like us never meets ( although I once got a nice e - mail from Alan Davis himself ). No matter if it´s in the states or in El Salvador. Thanks to all the guys at ComicGeekSpeak, Meanwhile, ComicGeekos, fanboy radio and the countless others. And to the crazy dudes at ComicGeekos : " Voten, voten, hijo de puu.... "

9 - Big comic smackdowns. Let´s tell it like it is. You don´t read comics for all the soul searching or the political or social commentary or to read about heroes whining about their problems. What you really want to know is : who´s stronger - Superman ot the Hulk ? Who would win Hulk or the Thing ? Who is faster - Flash or Quicksilver ? I just love to see heroes beating the crap out of each other...may it be in such comic megabrawls like CIVIL WAR or in one shots. You have to write a good story with a good reasons why they lay the smack down - but smacking they have to be. The day Hulk and Wolverine go at it is a good day.

10 - The big mega crossover. The bigger the better. Hundreds of heroes fighting to save their universe ? Impossible odds to fight against ? Worlds will live, worlds will die and the universe will never be the same again ? Count me in. CRISIS ON INFINTE WORLDS, INFINITE CRISIS, IDENTITY CRISIS, CIVIL WAR, FINAL NIGHT or FALL OF THE MUTANTS ? I´m there dude.

11 - New Mutants. One of the best team books Marvel ever had or will have. When I was starting my comic reading a new issue of New Mutants was a prized possesion. Before the days of internet, online comic shops and comic shops that sold US comics buying comics was a constant fight.

It was more like one big comic scavenger hunt to build a comic collection. I came onboard before the INFERNO crossover and while I knew there was such a thing like regulare artists I didn´t think New Mutants had one. I didn´t get the issues in chronological order and there was a different artist in each issue.

And it didn´t matter because.....yes....the stories were THAT good. I bought the issues without looking who did the art. And I never had to regret it. But those were different times. If you were lucky you could buy more than six comics a month and because they were 1 buck each you could afford it.

12 - John Byrne. No, don´t laugh. I can´t count the hours I spend enjoying the works of this comic veteran. No matter if it was SUPERMAN, NAMOR, FANTASTIC FOUR, AVENGERS, SPIDER - MAN, ALPHA FLIGHT, NEXT MEN, SHE HULK, LEGENDS, etc or the most recent series of BLOOD OF THE DEMON, DOOM PATROL or the JLA run with Jerry Ordway I enjoyed most of them. And while it may be the case that he´s not really trying now ( which I don´t believe ) John Byrne not trying is still better than many other artists giving their best effort.

13 - Kamandi. Since all things Jack Kirby are the topic of my visit to the comic convention in Barcelona I want to mention that I just recently had the opportunity to read this comic book gem. Because of the new edition by DC this series seems to finally get the recognition it deserves. The apocalyptic story of a world where animals are the dominant race and men are mere cattle is a captivating read.

14 - new comic book day. Now there is no specific day when the new comics arrive in German comic shops since that always depends on shipping dates. Nevertheless I just get a special feeling whenever I´m in my favorite comic shop browsing through all the new issues. I just love to get home and decide in which order I´m going to read them.

15 - convention sketches. What´s better than having a comic done by your favorite artist ? Having a signed comic. And what´s even better than that ? Getting a sketch done exclusively for you while having the chance to chat with your favorite artist. No matter if you want to ask him about his next project, what his dream project was ( or would be ) or just thank him for his work - that´s something you can cherish for years to come.

16 - talking comics. While we´re on the subject of comic conventions - what´s better than meeting freaks of your own kind ? There´s no better place to meet and greet the usual suspects or make new acquaintances with comic fans from Leipzig. After long hours standing in a line to get some sketches ( or sometimes while you´re at it ) nothing´s better than discussing the ups and downs of Adamantium or why Gambit is not gay ( he is, too ) with total strangers. Sometimes a person you have never met understands you better than your own family. True story.

17 - comic pop culture. After decades of living in the ghetto of pop culture limbo parts of the comic culture have finally arrived in real live. Everybody knows such catchphrases like " Face it, Tiger. You have just hit the jackpot. " or " With great power comes great responsibility. " thanks to years of comic exposure.

18 - Moebius. Not so much for his work as Jean Giraud on Lieutenant Blueberry than for his work as Moebius. He truly changed the way I looked at comics. Reading SCHWERMETALL ( the german version of METAL HURLANT, better known as HEAVY METAL in the states ) while going through puberty not only awakened my interest in hot, naked chicks in comics but introduced me to the trippy world of french adult comics. And I learned that you won´t die just because you saw a barenaked lady ( which at that time was not a bearded member of a band ) in the pages of a comic. I didn´t like the intellectual exercises like THE AIRTIGHT GARAGE very much but THE INCAL is still a classic in my eyes.

19 - Milo Manara. Just the fact that there is an artist where you can´t define if it is porn or art says a lot of the possibilities of comics. And I also like that his women are not the usual, bigbreasted kind but much more feminine and still erotic.

20 - Spidey´s black suit. As someone who has lived the experience I can say that it was really exciting when Petey first donned the white and black. As a young comic reader without a lot of experience I thought the change was permanent ( yes, I once was that naiive ) and was hooked. Sadly he later returned to the original costume but some of the best stories are connected to the black costume like KRAVEN´S LAST HUNT. And since he´s now back in black let´s hope he stays in it a little while.

21 - Neil Gaiman. I´m not sure if there would have been a VERTIGO line at DC without Neil Gaiman and SANDMAN. A pletora of book reading generations were introduced to comics through the adventures of Morpheus and the Endless. The first title to end at the convienience of the creator this book paved the way for other VERTIGO milestones like PREACHER, 100 BULLETS or FABLES.

22 - Walt Simonson. The best example that just because you invented a character doesn´t mean noone else can write a definite version is Walt Simonson´s run on THE MIGHTY THOR.

In my opinion this is still the best there is, the best there was and the best there ever will be.

The storytelling weaved a seamless tapestry of super heroes and a story of the gods that really deserved the name " saga " while the layout was exceptional like the splashpage fight of Thor against the Midgard Serpent.

And while I later discovered other great comics by Simonson like the award winning MANHUNTER, STAR JAMMERS, his work on MICHAEL MOORCOCK´s MULTIVERSE and much more the SAGA OF BETA RAY BILL will always have a special place in my comic collection.

If you want to read a special issue just get the Fantastic Four issue where Reed Richards has a timebattle with Dr. Doom.

23 - John Buscema and Tom Palmer. While John Buscema deserves being mentioned on his own I really enjoyed him more when he teamed up with Tom Palmer. Together they had two memorable runs on AVENGERS delivering such milestones in Avengers lore like the definite run - in with the MASTERS OF EVIL. Which in turn was the origin of the THUNDERBOLTS. And who could ever forget the war against the greek gods ? Reading that issues was more like watching a television show than reading a comic. You got the impression that any moment the characters could step out of the pages of the book you were reading.

24 - EC comics. As a fan of horror comics you just can go without having read famous comics like THE HAUNT OF FEAR, CAULDRON OF HORROR or TALES FROM THE CRYPT. While the comics are more than a few decades old some are still unsurpassed by today´s comics. Like the story told from the reader´s point of view. Breaking all the comic rules these magazines let loose an avalanche of imitators thus creating a boom of horror comics and influencing comic creator generations for decades to come. The books were so successful that it took the combined efforts of the congress, Dr. Frederic Wertham and the assembled selfcensoring comic industry to put them out of business.

25 - the German Legion. Before discovering American comics I spent all my comic reading days reading the German translations. Of course that means that for many years I only knew the German names and to this day I still think that some of the names sound better in German than the original names. For me Eisengesicht, Waldwolf, Winzwanda, Wildfeuer and Allesesserboy still have a better ring than Ferro Lad, Timber Wolf, Shrinking Violett, Wildfire and Matter Eating Lad. Lang lebe die Legion der Superhelden.

26 - la patrulla X . Like the German names I first discovered John Byrne´s UNCANNY X - MEN in the pages of the Spanish translation. So I first met them as TORMENTA, CYCLOPE, RONDADOR NOCTURNO, LOBEZNO and KAOS.

27 - Uncanny X - Men. Deserving a list all by themselves ( 100 reasons why I love the X - Men ) this is one series that accompanied me through many years.

First reading the Spanish John Byrne issues I really begun reading in earnest when I first discovered the Marc Silvestri issues of the Genosha saga in Stuttgart.

Some time later my brother bought me the brood issues from the comic shop in Erlangen

and I started subscribing to the Silvestri run which still hasn´t come out in German.

The series had it´s ups and downs and I followed it through the stints of John Romita Jr., Whilce Portaccio

and especially Joe Madureiras.

When I started I remember that I read the issues ten or twenty times. Something that I only did again on the Madureireas issues. I even started to buy two copies because they almost fell apart because I read them so many times. Yes, to be young and in the money !

It should not be a surprise that the issue I read more than any other issue is the Psylocke versus Sabretooth issue.

28 - The Great Lake Avengers. Created by John Byrne during his run on AVENGERS WEST COAST this is one of the more original super hero teams.

Because of the recent mini series by Dan Slott they have now reached a little fame but they still are not as cool as when Byrne wrote them. I´m just glad that there are some minis and specials coming out every now and then.

29 - Frank Cho. While his ability to draw everything is always overshadowed by his knack for drawing absolutely hor babes he is still enjoyed by millions world wide.

One of the few comic pros who used his success in syndicate comic strips to break into comic books he is as good delivering the often censored LIBERTY MEADOWS

than doing the Spider - Woman issues of NEW AVENGERS or taking on MIGHTY AVENGERS.

30 - the return of Hal Jordan. After years of having to listen to Kyle Rayner fans going on about how interesting Kyle is and how all Green Lantern fans who don´t like him are just crybabies who only liked Hal better because they grew up with him.....well, let it just be said that it was very satisfying for me to see them getting a taste of their own medicine. Now they were the ones who were stubborn and unable to let go and give new things a chance. Now they were the ones to experience how it is when they rip your heart out and crap right onto it. Bwahahahaha. How do you like them apples ?

No. Really. And I wasn´t even a Hal Jordan fan. Because Guy Gardner is the greatest Green Lantern of all time. But all the nonsense of Green Lantern : Rebirth was worth it. If only to see how pissed off all the Kyle fans got. It´s not as easy when you´re on the receiving end.

31 - Usagi Yojimbo. Rabbits in comics rule. Like monkeys they make everything better. Especially rabbits with swords. So it´s no surprise that this tale about a ronin samurai rabbit in feudal Japan is one of my favorite comics. Surpassing his 100th issue this saga is only comparable with great Manga sagas like LONE WOLF AND CUB.

32 - CrossGen comics. From all the smaller comic companies that went bankrupt in the last years this is the saddest. Because they really had it all. Good writing, good art, diversity beyond simple super heroes. Affordable comics and paperbacks that always shipped on time. Selfcontained issues. And every new wave of books was better than the one before. This makes me sad.

33 - John Buscema on Conan. I think I already mentioned that one of my earliest exposure to American comics came from an uncle who was an G. I and gave us a big pile of comics. Mostly Conan. And all done by John Buscema. I could not read them at that time but I feverishly went over every page - which in turn ruined me forever. I think this is the main reason why I could not enjoy the new series from Dark Horse. Because everything pales in comparision to John Buscema´s excellence.

34 - once an Avenger. I just love the fact that while the Avengers have always been more like an all star team that only meets for the big games - once you become a member it´s a lifetime membership. You can enjoy the rich history of the Avengers especially when someone like George Perez does the art and just goes crazy.

35 - like unto a thing of iron. There was a time when Marvel was very quick to react to trends and whenever there was a new movement they had the appropiate comic. So when Bruce Lee was big in the movies Marvel released various series with urban kung fu heroes - like Iron Fist. I always loved the look and the second person narrator. " You are Daniel Rand. The Iron Fist. " But above all I loved it when Danny used his powers. I was getting all giddy just waiting to read the phrase " until his fist becomes like unto a thing of iron. " Whew. Still works.

36 - comic hospitality. Comic readers are like one big family and when someone says " If you are in Essen for the Comic Action you can bunk in my place. " they totally mean it. And speaking as someone who could not always afford to go to a Hotel I want to say thanks. All comic fans are practicers of the motto my casa es su casa.

37 - Shang Chi. Talking about Iron Fist I also have to mention THE DEADLY HANDS OF SHANG CHI MASTER OF KUNG FU. This is one of the series I whish I had more of.

I only own some spanish issues and a few american issues but I know that this is one of the best series Marvel put out. Not only top notch stories but also art by Mike Zeck who´s at the top of his game.

38 - Power Girl. I know, I know. You´ve been waiting for this one. Of all the comic book heroines Power Girl is special. As is....

39 - Boom Boom. Like I already mentioned in my post about my own X - Team she is a close second to Power Girl.

40 - the Giffen League. Of all the numerous incarnations of the Justice League of America this one was the best. The humor. The gruesome battles and the death. The Blue Beetle and Booster Gold team. Power Girl. Bart Sears drawing Power Girl.

Adam Hughes. Adam Hughes drawing Power Girl.

The yellow cat issue. The JLA casino on Kooeykooeykooey island. Batman punching out Guy with one punch. The fight against Despero and the funeral of Mr. Miracle. This series is still the benchmark for me.

41 - Lone Wolf and Cub. I have not read many Mangas put Lone Wolf and Cub is one of them. Probably one of the best Mangas ever written this book heavily influenced Frank Miller and Quentin Tarrantino. Not only is Lone Wolf one of the toughest bastiches in comics ever and embarks on a mission of vengeance with his tyke in tow. The comic also depicts the period of feudal Japan when the samurais were reaching their extinction. If you only read one Manga in your whole life it better be the granddaddy of them all.

42 - She Hulk. What can I say ? She´s hot, she´s fun ( at least when Dan Slott has a good day ) and paired with the right artist the jade giantess is the hottest looking Marvel female. Her current series is getting worse by the issue but the Byrne run was fantastic. Especially the graphic novel. Someday Marvel will give her a good costume. Maybe the same day when someone who can draw women as good as Paul Pelletier is the regular artist.

43 - Will Eisner´s SPIRIT. Sadly Will Eisner has passed away. Luckily he leaves behind a huge body of work. For me the first comics I read from him was THE SPIRIT. Which in turn led me to check out his other work. But it all started wit Danny Colt.

44 - Detective Chimp. That´s just one of the most brilliant ideas ever. A chimp as an detective. Thanks to INFINITE CRISIS tie in mini series DAY OF VENGEANCE this hard drinking master detective has come to the forefront again. Monkeys and comics. It always works.

45 - Alternate realities where everybody dies. Dave did a whole week of " alternate realities were everybody dies " because we just love to see our heroes die. And where better to kill them all off than an alternate reality. Kind of like keeping you cake and eating it, too. That´s one of the reasons why WHAT IFs and ELSEWORLDS are such successes. Anyone can die at any moment. Nobody is save.

46 - Masamune Shirow. Another artist whose women are rather skinny than big breasted but still highly erotic. Not only does this guy draw mechas and other technical things like nobody´s business. With GHOST IN THE SHELL he created one of the most famous animes with a spin off series.

47 - The Phantom. Before discovering super heroes I spend a lot of my youth reading the exploits of comic strip heroes like Rip Kirby, Prince Valiant and The Phantom. More than a single hero The Phantom, the ghost who walks is a legacy that is handed down from father to son since the 17th century. The Phantom is many men. And he fights against Pirates !

48 - Superman history. Yes, I mean all of it. Warts and all. Phantomzone, bottlecity and multicolored Kryptonite. That crazy flying contraption with the metal fists Superman used when he lost his powers. Jimmy Olsen desecrating viking cadavers and travelling to the past with a time bomb. Parallel universes and Krypto. Kneel before Zod !

49 - Horror comics. As you can see from the title I´m a big horror comic fan. And if it crosses over into super hero comics even more. Ghost Rider, Werewolf at Night or SPAWN. And horror comics based on famous horror movies like FRIDAY 13th, NIGHTMARE ON ELMSTREET or HALLOWEEN. WALKING DEAD or TERROR Inc. Zombies, Vampires or Werewolfes. The freakier the better. Especially when Richard Corben does Edgar Allen Poe.

50 - Spidergirl. For me this is the best comic of the whole Spiderfranchise. Always two heartbeats away from cancellation this little book that could shows why Marvel became one of the top publishers in the comic industry on a continuous basis. Good storytelling that´s suitable for kids but can still entertain grown ups this is one title that uses continuity. Instead of contradicting it or just ignoring it.

51 - The JSA. Not only because of Power Girl this series has quickly become on of my favorite series. Bridging three generations the book is all about history and legacy. While it is thickly interwoven with DC continuity it still is accessible to new readers.

When I started out I didn´t know most of the characters or their history but within the pages of the comics I quickly learned to appreciate them. Being a little older myself I can totally dig the old veterans showing the rookies the ropes.

52 - 52. Of course this number had to go to the weekly series that bridged INFINITE CRISIS with ONE YEAR LATER. A risky gamble that quickly turned into a success story this book gave weekly comics another chance. With Countdown DC is trying to find out if it is possible to do a weekly comic series without being a tie in to big events. I sure hope this will work.

53 - Leave it to Chance. One of my favorite series that ended to soon. Even if the main character is a girl you can easily relate to Chance Falconer who only wants to follow in the footsteps of her father. Too bad he insists that the family legacy of becoming the magic protector of the town can only be handed down from father to son. Of course that doesn´t stop her trying to earn her father´s respect. On top of that the book has lots of monsters, giant toads, a pet dragon and sewers.

54 - Catwoman. From all the Gotham City bad girls this femme fatale is one of the few who has won over the heart of Batman.

As a favorite of the readers she even had her own series which was in big part done by Jim Balent best known for giving special attention to the more bouncy part of the female anatomy. Changing her costume now and then I posted a picture of one of her better costumes ( instead of her flying jumpsuit that only works with an open zipper ).

55 - Catwoman´s movie costume. Okay, it was not the greatest comic movie. But it was not because of the costume.

Halle Berry is hot and she was even hotter in this costume ( Massitta ).

Normally I´m against Hollywood studios changing things but this time they changed it for the better with a black Catwoman.

This was payback for the catholic Storm costume Halle had to wear.

I think it would have helped if she would have fallen out of the costume on screen - and not during the screen test. Why wasn´t that on the DVDs extras ? Holy motorboat puppies, Batman, what I´d like to do to her....

56 - Carlos Pacheco. Not only one of the best artists in the field but also a paisano he has delivered fantastic runs on Flash, Fantastic Four and now Superman ( which I should start to read ). He also did outstanding work on the miniseries and specials AVENGERS FOREVER, JLA / JSA and the OBEY OR DIE story for SUPERMAN / BATMAN. One of the few artists who knows how to draw Power Girl I can´t wait to see what he´s up to after his Superman run. If he´s reading this : Muchas gracias por el excellente dibujo de Wonder Woman. And if DC is reading this : Put the man on a Power Girl mini series.

57 - JMS resurrection of Spider - Man. Now I know he got a lot of flack for the " Osborn banged Gwen " story and I have no idea why Marvel changed it from Peter being the father. But before JMS started writing Spidey the franchise was deader than a doornail. The first storyarc with Morlun and Ezekiel was fantastic as was the whole Spidertotem idea.

58 - the Spider - Man movies. I remember the Spider - Man movies from the 70s with Spidey´s web being a black fisherman´s net. Compared to that the new movies are oscar material. What I like best about the movies is that while they change a lot of things they stay true to the general idea. They present the old motto : With great power comes great responsibility ! - without coming off corny or geeky.

59 - continuity. There are a lot of comic readers who don´t like continuity. Which to me sounds crazy because the same thing happens in real life. You read your first Batman comic and while it´s the first time you see him squaring off against the Joker it has already happened a lot of times. And when you go shopping with your father he meets an old pal while for you it is the first time you see him. Now in real life you do not expect your father to behave like he hasn´t met this guy in his whole life. But in comics this is exactly what some readers want.

I never understood why it hurts a story if you don´t have all the pieces of the puzzle and get the impression to enter a rich history. Whenever I read something like " So, we meet again Scarlet Scavenger. I should have guessed you didn´t die in Kalkutta. " I was compelled to find out what happened in Kalkutta and not turned off because they talked about something I didn´t know. I know continuity can be difficult if you are new on a title or read only a few issues. But when you follow a title over a long period of time or you return to a title after a long absence it can be very comforting to encounter familiar elements. And for me it is always more interesting if the villains have a large history with the hero.

And I always find it irritating when heroes have difficulties beating villains they should just finish in one minute because the writer doesn´t know his continuity. For me a writer who doesn´t want to work with the continuity of a character is just too lazy to do his homework.

60 - cool sound effects. More than just big letters that block the art sound effects are an integral part of the comic. A good sound effect can help you to " hear " the sound, know the substance that made the sound and can also depict things like movement, dispersion rate, direction and intensity. Even things like mood or emotion can be expressed through soundwords. It´s one thing that can´t be reproduced in art, literature or movies and is unique to comics.

61 - Adam Hughes. The guy has done a gazillion covers and is known in the whole world. Even though he is best known for his hot massitaas this perfectionist is a master at design, storytelling and composition. He doesn´t do a lot of inside work but whenever ha does it´s worth it like on JLA. At the moment he´s working on ALL STAR WONDER WOMAN which should come out in a few years.

62 - the Legion of substitute superheroes. As a big fan of the Legion of Super Heroes one of the things I always loved was the whole idea of a Legion of Substitute Super Heroes. First because it sounds too crazy that all the teenagers who were not approved got a flight belt as a consolation price. That´s like handing out speakerboxes to the losers of american idol. " You´re not fit to be a super hero but it´s okay to fly around town. " Yeah, right.

To me the Ersatzlegion always was like the super hero team of MYSTERY MEN ( the best super hero movie ever made ) they do the jobs nobody else wants and get no respect. Instead of going home like all the other losers Polar Boy just started his own team - which might have something to do with the fact that he was trying to score with Night Lass. I still don´t know why it is better to have only one super power at one time than to be superstrong at night. The team was like the Great Lake Avengers but in the future. One day I´m going to write a story with Arm - Fall - Off Boy as the main character.

63 - the flash legacy. I started reading FLASH with the BORN TO RUN trilogy and the following RETURN OF BARRY ALLEN milestone. Everytime one story concluded I said : " If the next one sucks I´m off the title. " Which did not happen. Aside from the Scott Kolins issues ( that I like to call Dark Time ) this was one of DCs best written titles. Okay, the current version sucks big time but the whole Flash legacy with Max Mercury and the Speed Force is just three ways of cool. The whole Flash Museum, cosmic threadmill thing...and the Rogues. Let´s not forget the Rogues. I just loved it when one of the Rogues said " Fighting super heroes outside of Keystone is like fighting in slow motion. "

64 - Arthur Adams. I wish that we could get more work from Arthur Adams. I wish he was not such a perfectionists. And I wish that when Arthur Adams asked Alan Moore why they weren´t making straight porn in JONNI FUTURE Alan Moore would have said : " You know what ? You´re right. Let´s make porn. "

Ahh, the possibilities, the possibilities. But the only thing left for us is to wait and enjoy the few projects he does.

65 - the Authority. The book that prepared Brian Hitch for his later work and took super hero comics to the next level. More action, more realism, more gore. The continuation of Stormwatch offered a more mature super team that took decisions into their own hands. It laid the groudwork for PLANETARY and ULTIMATES.

66 - Joe Madureiras. It may seem strange but I just had to include him since he illustrated one of my favorite periods on Uncanny X - Men. And I´m still waiting for Battle Chasers to continue. He is working on the next Ultimates season but who knows when he is finished. I always was hoping for a Red Monika / Power Girl team up drawn by him where they have to go undercover to a wet t shirt contest. What ? I can hope, can´t I ?

67 - Mike Grell´s Green Arrow. Now even though I discovered this run very late in my comic collecting career this is still one of my favorite books. Like Fran Miller´s DARK KNIGHT this series was supposed to reinvent the Green Arrow franchise. I don´t know why it didn´t work - it can´t be because of the quality of the series.

68 - Astro City. Everytime somebody says that it´s all said and done in super hero comics a book like ASTRO CITY arrives that shows how wrong that is. Chronicling the events in a city overcrowded with heroes but with a focus on the non meta population these tales paint a landscape of superheroes, the comic world and life in America. With sensational art by Brent Anderson and covers by Alex Ross you can´t beat this.

69 - Alex Ross. One of the best cover artists he still does fantastic interior work. He has worked on such groundbreaking series like MARVELS, KINGDOM COME and the DC oversized books. At the moment he is embellishing the definite JLA story. I just like to look at his stuff and I don´t know how often I´ve read Kingdom Come.

70 - Modok. I know. I hate it. I love it. I love to hate it. It´s like a train wreck. You don´t want to look but you just can´t keep your eyes from it. Modok is Marvel´s first superdeformed villain and you just have to love an issue in which the Avengers get transformed into modok versions.

71 - Gene Colan and Tom Palmer on Tomb of Dracula. Thank you Marvel for bringing out THE ESSENTIAL TOMB OF DRACULA. And thank you for bringing it out at a time when I was rediscovering Gene Colan. Now while Gene Colan is brilliant in his own right the combination with the inks of Tom Palmer made comic book history. If you only read one horror title by Marvel let it be this one. And if you can get the Biblioteka Marvel version do it because they have even better paper.

72 - Horror comics with scantily clad females. Now what´s better than horror comics from top artists like Mark Texeira ? Horror comics featuring scantily clad females done by Mark Texeira. Harris properties like Vampirella and Pantha were infused with new popularity thanks to his work on the books. And let´s please ignore the Vampi manga nonsense.

73 - the Justic League cartoons. Talk about making the JLA look cool. And it looks so easy. This is the best version of the JLA franchise and it even can be enjoyed by kids. No matter how obscure the character they make you interested in him. And they made THE QUESTION popular again which in my mind was the main reason he was brought into 52.

74 - not Avengers. I have to say I was sceptical about the whole deal with Avengers Disassembled ( which totally sucked ) and the following New Avengers which I still like to call Not Avengers. I don´t know but back in the day when I started reading Avengers during John Buscema´s second run on the title when they needed to change the line up they just had them arguing with each other and then quitting the team. And they sure as hell didn´t have to kill Hawkeye to do it. Damn you. But the title has evolved to a good book, especially where Spidey is concerned. Not only the Frank Cho issues were cool I was especially impressed with the CIVIL WAR stand alone issues. Meaning the Luke Cage issue. Now I still have the feeling that this is more the Secret Defenders than New Avengers ( both Dr. Strange and Spidey being on the team ) but since I like Iron Fist and Luke Cage I like everything that gives them more exposure.

75 - standalone issues. Some of the best stories I read are standalone issues. A forgotten art by all but a few comic writers like Stan Sakai I remember when stories like THE BOY WHO COLLECTED SPIDER - MAN were the norm. Maybe that´s one of the reasons why it is so difficult for new readers to start reading today´s decompressed stories.

76 - Jim Aparo. For me this guy was the definite Batman artist. Whenever I think of Batman the first image that comes to mind is a picture of Batman done by Jim Aparo. Not only did he draw the character for decades he also did the issues of such highlights like BATMAN UNTER MORDVERDACHT ( I have no idea what the original title was ), A DEATH IN THE FAMILY or KNIGHTFALL. He also did tons of other books like AQUAMAN or BATMAN AND THE OUTSIDERS which thankfully will be released as a SHOWCASE PRESENTS soon. He also did the art on the relaunch of THE SPECTRE as a horror comic giving him a new direction. It has been released as a trade which is one of the highlights of my comic collection right next to the SHOWCASE PRESENTS THE PHANTOM STRANGER with lots of wonderful Jim Aparo art.

77 - the Green Lantern Corps. Cops. Cops in space. Alien cops in space. Alien cops in space with magic rings that can grant them any wish. That is the concept of the Green Lantern Corps. After the dark age of Kyle Rayner the corps is finally back with a few changes. While I like the idea to partner a veteran with a rookie for each spacesector - and turning the comic into a buddy movie I´m not so keen of the idea that the rings are invulnerable against long as the bearer has no fear. To me that sounds too much like trying to keep the cake while eating it. Despite that I really dig the relauch.

I always liked the wacky things of the corps : the squirrell lantern ( who was turned into roadkill by a truck ), the lantern that is a planet, Gnort, Guy Gardner, Siniestro, Arisia who used the ring to give herself the body of an adult woman to score with Hal ( take that Paris Hilton ), the guardians, Hal´s oath, Alan Scott´s oath...etc.

78 - Paolo Eleuteri Serpieri. This artist is best known for his ability to draw the female backside and the comic Druuna. The story in the first album was very controversial. The pope was not amused and the vatican bought the entire Italian print run. Soon afterwards masturbation was allowed by the catholic church. Coincidence ? I like to believe in the power of comics.

79 - Calvin and Hobbes. There are very few comic strips I read. One is Liberty Meadows, another one is SINFEST. Calvin and Hobbes is the third.

80 - Hellboy. Mike Mignola always was an artists artist but nevertheless he only really hit his stride when he decided to put all his energy into his own creation : Hellboy. Combining elements of super hero and horror this is one of my favorite comics. Now Hellboy is a multi media franchise with a live action movie and an animated version but back in the day it was quite a gamble Mike Mignola took.

81 - Frank Miller . This artist alone has chaged how comics are seen. More than once. First he gave super hero comics a facelift with his realistic Daredevil issues sporting new widescreen panels. Some consider it the definite Daredevil run containing such storylines like BORN AGAIN. Than he did ELEKTRA LIVES a graphic novel that showed where he was headed : SIN CITY. This crime noir fiction changed not only the face of black and white comics, it´s visuals becoming so well known that it had uncountable imitators. It also made it´s way to Hollywood as one of the best comic movies ever made soon to be followed by 300.

On top of that, I don´t know what I like most of ALL STAR BATMAN AND ROBIN THE BOY WONDER : the fact that I can enjoy it so much - or that it pisses off so many other people. Well, like THE DARK KNIGHT STRIKES BACK you have to understand it to enjoy it.

82 - Courtney Crumrin . This comic book combines elements of Harry Potter, Charmed and Jessica Drew. And while Courtney is a difficult character you can´t help but starting to like this tough as nails magician in training.

It also doesn´t hurt that the art is deceivingly simple with a superb design. And the stories are part fairy tale, part poetry with a little murder mystery on the side.

83 - Milk and Cheese. There are some ideas in comics that are just so original that they are well beyond good or evil. Either you are a fan of Evan Dorkin´s creations or you just don´t know them. Social satire + over the top violence = comic book gold. Merv Griffin !

84 - comics to go. Unlike a computer, a playstation or the television you can use comics where ever you go. They are portable. And I´m not only talking about reading on the crapper. You can read them on the train, on the bus, on the beach, in a cafe...just don´t read them while driving. Don´t read and drive.

85 - Bruce Timm. The mastermind behind SUPERMAN ADVENTURES, BATMAN ADVENTURES, BATMAN AND ROBIN ADVENTURES and JUSTICE LEAGUE not only forever changed the world of cartoons with a new look that was immediately copied by everybody. He is also one of the best comic artists and thanks to the success of the cartoon shows initiated numerous series like BATMAN ADVENTURES. One of the first books that came out in the single issue comic book format in Germany edited by DINO it was mainly responsible for the comic book boom in Germany, being the best Bat - title at that time - much better than the regular comic books.

86 - the Alpha Primitives. One of the best ideas of Jack Kirby. The comic untermenschen who live beneath the earth and keep the machines of the Inhumans utopia Attilan working have a lot in common with unemployed people. They don´t receive Hartz IV but they are shunned by the rest of the populace and are only spoken to when they are needed to do the dirty work nobody else wants to do. I can relate.

87 - Horrorschocker. Germany´s best comic is mainly a one man show. Writer / artist / publisher / editor Levin Kurio is the main person behind one of the comics that profited from our experiences with POWER FREAKS. Every three months another issue comes out that offers a nice cocktail of short stories reminiscent of TALES FROM THE CRYPT. And since it has a lot of guest artists who read like a who´s who of the German comic scene it´s always worth the money.

88 - Jim Woodring. There are few comics that you will encounter in your live that are truly unique. With others you can speculate which other comics influenced it but there are a few where there are no influences. FRANK is one of these and on top of it all the stories are easily understandable even if they are all done without words. Jim Woodring is the only artist that can bring dreams onto the comic page.

89 - the independent comic community. When we started out with POWER FREAKS we didn´t know very much about the business side and the workings of comics. And I have to say that whoever we asked was very open and helpful. No matter if it´s the ZWERCHFELL or SCHWARZER TURM it´s like one big family. For a short time we were a part of it and we still have good relations with many.

90 - NARUTO. Another one of my favorite Mangas. I have to say that when I read my first Naruto story I wasn´t very impressed. To me the main character seemed like your run - of - the - mill spoiled child that is super talented. But I have grown fond of Naruto Uzumaki.

He´s not the best ninja in history ( in fact he may be the worst ) but what makes him special is that like Spider - Man he never quits. He has cojones as big as trucks and he always keeps his promises. And he never let´s a friend down. Mostly he wins his battles through a mix of determination, luck and sheer will power.

And the anime is even better because of the cool soundtrack.

91 - DEATHNOTE. Speaking about Mangas I should mention Deathnote since I haven´t written about it in my posts. Still a little behind to comment on all my reading material this is one of the few series that´s on the same quality level as LONE WOLF AND CUB. I plan to write an extensive post so I only want to say that the story is like THE DEPARTED. The only difference is that the two contrahents are like Batman intelligencewise and work in the same taskforce. One of the most brilliant Mangas I´ve read in the last years.

92 - Alan Davis. One of my all - time favorite artists. What makes him so unique is that he can draw everything- really. And he makes it look good. Not only a good artist he took over the writing reigns of EXCALIBUR. I´m always anxious to check out his new work which is always exceptional. Not only did he such wonderful series like SUPERBOY´S LEGION, THE NAIL, ANOTHER NAIL or KILLRAVEN he also did a pletora of covers like for JSA.

93 - Dr. Doom. One of Marvel´s best villains ( together with Magneto ) the leader of Latveria was so popular he inspired the look of Darth Vader. Because of his ruthlessness and his arrogance he is high on the fanboys top list and a guy that has invented a time machine can´t be all that bad. Additionally he´s never afraid of a fight and takes on all comers. He won against the Silver Surfer and even the Beyonder.

94 - Rocket Racoon. One of the comic fans that grew up in the 80s there are some characters I just love like ROM SPACEKNIGHT or ROCKET RACOON. I first encountered him in the pages of THE INCREDIBLE HULK and soon followed him into his own miniseries. Lastly it has become quiet for the spaceways premiere racoon but thanks to ANNIHILATION he could become popular again. And who knows ? A new series may just be on the horizon.

95 - George Perez. One of the great comic veterans he still shows the young generation how it is done. He did legendary runs on TEEN TITANS, WONDER WOMAN or SUPERMAN. He also has returned in recent years to titles like AVENGERS where he did another breathtaking run and worked on the mega - fan - event JLA / AVENGERS where he drew like a gazillion characters on each page - one of his trademarks. You could get the impression this guy gets paid per hero. He also is a master storyteller and you can learn a lot about perspective or page composition only by looking at his pages. Sadly his series SOLUS ended when CROSSGEN went bankrupt but at the moment he is providing the art for BRAVE AND THE BOLD DCs new tag team title. And I love every minute of it.

96 - GON. When I got a convention sketch from Tanaka I didn´t know who he was. Which happens a lot. Afterwards I found out which comic he did. GON is one of the funniest comics that works without using any words. Whenever I have to pick a present for a non comic reader this is high on my list because the adventures of this little dinosaur who terrorizes any animal he encounters are universal.

97 - Erik Larsen. After becoming famous following Todd Mc Farlane on Spider - Man he helped found IMAGE and was one of the few who delivered comics on a regular basis. From all the founding members he is the only one who is still writing, drawing, inking, lettering and coloring the book he started with. Although SAVAGE DRAGON has become a little lacking where naked chicks and violence are concerned he still delivers the best super hero book nobody reads. Due to his work as the chief of IMAGE there have been some gaps in the publishing schedule but whenever a new issue comes out it´s totally worth it. And I also want to mention that nobody does as many special issues that are 50 pages or 100 pages or 150 pages. The writing is always surprising putting twist endings on known comic book cliches. And the art is always evolving, changing and experimenting. Together with the letter pages that in the beginning where sometimes ten pages or more and the tons of comics by other artists he features in his mag like Savage Dragonbert or Comic Bits this is one of the best comics you can read.

98 - Blade of the Immortal. Another of the few Mangas I read ( I also wanted to mention ONE PIECE and CASE CLOSED but than the list would be too long ) is also a Samurai Manga. The main characters are a young girl who wants to get revenge on a sword school that murdered her father and the guy she hired who is infected with worms that heal any wound and can only die if he kills 1000 evil men. The highlights of the book are the gory fights and the exotic weapons the fighters use. In Germany there was some trouble since most Mangas are " mirrored " which means to change the reading direction from the Japanese to the European the page is reversed. The only problem was that the main character wears a big buddhistic sunrheel - which was used by the Nazis as the infamous " Hakenkreuz " by reversing it. So they had to paint a square over it since it is prohibited by law to show it in comics in Germany.

99 - Michael Allred. I first encountered this independent comic star when MADMAN COMICS was relaunched through THUNDRA. I fell in love with MADMAN which since then has been published through many comic companies and is currently starting again. Mike Allred has a unique 50s style that he polished on such series as ATOMICS or the controversial X - STATIX at Marvel where he also did the miniseries DEADGIRL. One of his comics has been turned into a movie G - MEN FROM HELL who debuted in the Madman comics.

100 - monkeys in comics. Like I said earlier they make everything better. It´s a known fact that comics with monkeys on the cover sell better than others. Which is one of the reasons that Arthur Adams started MONKEYMAN & O´BRIAN.

And that´s the end of my list. There are many things I forgot to mention but this post is long enough as it is. Especially since I tried to post some pictures to make the reading less stressful.

New to the blog ? Everything you need to know about TALES FROM THE KRYPTONIAN : top ten posts / more posts of interest

There is no spoon.

1 comment:

SUBZERO said...

Dude, can you please stop spamming my post ? It doesn´t work, okay ? Don´t you have anything better to do ?