My Own Private Newsstand

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So over at The Comic Reporter today, Tom Spurgeon runs the results of his latest “Five for Friday” survey. This time, he was asking readers to “Name Five Past Or Present Comics Titles You Think Should Always Be Published, Just Because It Would Please You To See Them On The Stands.”
As is often the case with me, I saw his call for entries on Friday, thought, “Hey, that looks interesting,” and then my brain didn’t kick into gear until well after the deadline (something all my editors can attest to, badump-bump!), but I realized this morning that I had some unusual choices, because where my mind went to on this wasn’t simply comics I like and want more of, but particular creative visions, writers and artists who say what they say distinctively and memorably, but more, they say it in a way that makes me want the results serialized. Where there are lots of comics and lots of comics creators where I want the results in nice book collections on my bookshelf, these are the ones where I want that 20-pages-or-so every month (or whenever), to have that particular joy of reading a chapter, a short story, whatever, and knowing the next part will be along soon, and that joy will be repeated and extended and deepened.
These are the comics I want to find a new instalment of on the spinner rack, when I bust into the eternal Colonial Pharmacy of my mind, transplanted from the corner of Mass. Ave and Waltham Street in Lexington and taking up permanent residence in my memories.
[And then after I buy my stash of comics, I want to swing by Alexander’s Subs on Bedford Street, but never mind. Sigh.]
I’m not limiting myself to five choices, because having missed Tom’s deadline, I scoff at his rules. Ha!
So here’s my list, in no particular order:

1. USAGI YOJIMBO by Stan Sakai
2. SAVAGE DRAGON by Erik Larsen
3. THOR by Walt Simonson. Doesn’t even have to be Marvel’s Thor, and might even be better if it wasn’t.
4. KAMANDI by Jack Kirby. This means we need an immortal Jack Kirby, but I ask you, is that such a bad thing?
5. TYRANT by Steve Bissette.
6. FABLES by Bill Willingham, Mark Buckingham and Steve Leialoha.
7. AMY UNBOUNDED by Rachel Hartman
8. CRIMINAL by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips
9. HOLLYWOOD SUPERSTARS by Mark Evanier and Dan Spiegle
10. SECTION ZERO by Karl Kesel and Tom Grummett
11. SHE’S JOSIE by Frank Doyle and Dan deCarlo
12. BRAVO FOR ADVENTURE by Alex Toth
13. ZOT! by Scott McCloud
14. STIG’S INFERNO by Ty Templeton
15. LEAVE IT TO CHANCE by James Robinson and Paul Smith.

Okay, that’s what’s regularly on my imaginary newsstand. I’m sure there’s plenty I’m not thinking of, and there’s stuff that might be on the list soon, like Bunn & Hurtt’s THE SIXTH GUN. And there’s stuff I could just make up, like an ongoing magical-intrigue series set in San Francisco, by Chris Claremont & Graham Nolan or an ongoing TOPPER series by Roger Stern and Bob Oksner. But I’d be pretty happy with this. So, what’s on your spinner rack?

Comics Are Great!

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After a long and frustrating day juggling the kind of things that have to be done but can get in the way of, y’know, writing, it’s nice to have my daughter come in from the garage and say, “Hey, Daddy! You got comic books!”
A new mail-order shipment arrived today, and in it was:
Walt and Skeezix vol. 4: 1927-1928 (Drawn & Quarterly) – I’m in heaven when one of these comes in. Two solid years of great comic strip storytelling that brings to life an era before my parents were born, lovingly presented in a gorgeous package. Oh, man.
Modern Masters: Mark Buckingham (TwoMorrows) – I’ve been a fan of Bucky’s for years, and I’ve been flipping through this book, full of wonderful art and a nice long and comprehensive interview, since it came in. Delightful stuff.
Captain America: Reborn hardcover (Marvel) – Ed Brubaker. Bryan Hitch. Butch Guice. Captain America. What’s not to like?
Usagi Yojimbo #127 (Dark Horse) – Stan Sakai’s wandering samurai rabbit has been a treat since I first met him in Critters, and one that’s only gotten better, deeper and richer over time.
Savage Dragon #159 (Image) – Erik Larsen’s unapologetic all-out, pedal-to-the-metal superhero series. Still bringing it, issue after issue, and leaving most of the rest of us in the dust.
Turf #1 (Image) – I love Tommy Lee Edwards’ work. Don’t know much about Jonathan Ross other than that people whose taste I trust think he’s a good guy. But mobsters, vampires and aliens in the Roaring-and-about-to-explode Twenties? I’m there.
Phonogram: The Singles Club (Image) – I didn’t think Kieron Gillen & Jamie McKelvie’s first Phonogram series fell together as well as it might have (it read a little too much like a repurposed John Constantine story, and I thought they missed the opportunity to make phonomancy—magic driven by music—distinctive and affecting), but it was very close, with interesting ideas, and they got more confident at it as they went on. So do I want to read the next round? You bet.
Jersey Gods: And This Is Home (Image) – Glenn Brunswick & Dan McDaid’s Kirby-fueled cosmic-saga-by-way-of-the-Garden-State has been an engaging winner from the first issue. I’ve read all the issues in here, but I’m glad to have ’em in book form. Which reminds me—got to write the intro for vol. 3 pretty soon…
Witchfinder: In the Service of Angels (Dark Horse) – I don’t know anything about it, really, except that it’s written by Mike Mignola and looks like spooky Victorian horror-adventure. What else do I need to know?
Grimjack: The Manx Cat (IDW) – Ostrander and Truman. And more Grimjack. Again, what more do I need to know?
Getting any of these books would be a reason to be happy. Getting all of them at once is a real pleasure, tantalizing to the mind and soothing to the soul.
Comics are great.