Thursday, February 14, 2008

And still another 100 reasons I like comics.


Well, it's Valentine's Day, which means it's once again time to trot out the annual "100 Reasons I Like Comics" list, an invention of Mr. Fred Hembeck in the 80s, revived by Fred himself over on his blog a few years ago, picked up by Alan David Doane and then everyone else. It's met with diminishing returns in the few years since then, to the point where I can only remember myself, Mike Sterling, and a few others bothering to make one last year. But it's a fun exercise, and I'm continually amazed that even now, in the fourth year of doing this, I can still come up with another 100 reasons why comics are swelly keen without intentionally repeating anything from past lists. They say every comic fan's personal golden age is 12, but lately, there's a strong argument to be made for "almost 32," too. I'm not as excited as Yotsuba here, but I don't as excited about breathing as Yotsuba gets about, well, everything, so you can't go by her.

Anyway, if you're interested, here are the three previous lists. And now, here's the current one:


1. The Professor's Daughter.

2. Jaime Reyes, the current Blue Beetle.

3. The supporting cast in Blue Beetle.

4. Okay, pretty much everything about Blue Beetle.

5. Dr. Thirteen: Architecture and Morality.

6. Traci 13, quite possibly destined to be the Kitty Pryde of the next young generation of
fanboys.

7. Cliff Chiang.

8. Dr. Strange: The Oath.

9. Brian K. Vaughn.

10. Marcos Martin.

11. Ed Brubaker's Captain America. I was a bit slow to catch on, but I totally get it now.

12. Brubaker and Matt Fraction's The Immortal Iron Fist. The best Marvel book publishes today.

13. Devil Dinosaur - probably the lamest of Kirby's Marvel creations, but also one of the most fun.

14. The Queen and Country Definitive Editions - I'm sad it has taken me this long to discover this book, but I inadvertently waited for the perfect format in which to read it. So that's pretty cool.

15. Joss Whedon and Fabio Moon's Sugarshock!

16. Gerard Way and Gabriel Ba's The Umbrella Academy.

17. The theme to The Batman... cool techno surf rock with a hint of the old Neal Hefti theme running in the background. Even if I decide to not watch a whole episode, I always watch the opening. And, of course, I can't find a video of the current opening anywhere. I can get the older one with the awful theme written by the Edge, but not the great one they use now. So this Saturday, sit down in front of your TV and watch the show at least through the opening credits to see what I mean. Thanks.

18. Gray Morrow.

19. Jim Steranko - I gave props to his Captain America run a few years back, but honestly, the man's entirely body of work is incredible.

20. The Brave and the Bold by Waid, Perez, and Co. - everything I want a mainstream DC book to be.

21. Gail Simone's All New Atom, especially when drawn by Mike Norton.

22. Yotsuba&! - if you can't laugh at this, you have no soul. None.

23. Mononymic Norwegian cartoonist Jason...

24. and his book, The Left Bank Gang...

25. and I Killed Adolph Hitler.

26. Jeff Parker's X-Men: First Class...

27. especially the Collen Coover back-up strips.

28. And while we're at it, Colleen Coover.

29. Action Philosophers by Fred Van Lente and Ryan Dunlavey.

30. Johnny Hiro by Fred Chao.

31. The upcoming Nearly Complete Essential Hembeck Archives Omnibus.

32. Katie Cook.

33. Black Panther by Priest and Co.

34. Anticipation for the New Frontier movie.

35. Paul Sizer's Little White Mouse.

36. Liam's excitement whenever I pop in the Adam West Batman movie.

37. The "I dare you to figure out what the hell is going on here" storytelling of the original Omega the Unknown.

38. Going back to #17, the Neal Hefti Batman theme. Simplistic, sure, but EVERYONE knows it, don't they?

39. Dinosaurs fighting anything - soldiers, superheroes, other monsters, whatever.

40. Jim Shooter's return to Legion of Super-Heroes (so far).

41. The sheer amount of excellent reprint collections and original graphic novels floating around throughout the Rhode Island public library system.

42. Superman: Up, Up, and Away by Busiek, Johns, and Co. - as good a reintroduction to the core concepts of Superman as you'll ever read.

43. The Unremarkable Tree Frog by Joey Weiser.

44. New York Comic Con getting moved to April this year - I'm sorry that it conflicts with Passover, but it should theoretically be a much nicer weekend to be in the city.

45. MySpace Dark Horse Presents - almost makes dealing with the spammers worthwhile.

46. In Search of Steve Ditko, what I've seen of it, anyway. I really need to track this down sometime.

47. Tintin et moi, the excellent documentary about the life and career of Georges Remi, A.K.A. Herge.

48. Alex Toth, the man who could make even a tie-in book for the 60s Hot Wheels cartoon look like a thing of beauty.

49. Mid-to-late career Gil Kane, when his work got more stylized.

50. The more oddball character illos in DC's Who's Who - Jaime Hernandez on some Legionnaires, Bill Sienkiewicz on Monsieur Mallah, etc.

51. The logos in Who's Who; every single character got their own specific logo design. I appreciate that level of effort and detail.

52. The "Giant Size" collections of family friendly Marvel books sold at Target - a great format at a great price.

53. The X-Men line-up of Storm, Wolverine, Colossus, Rogue, Nightcrawler and Kitty Pryde. For me, this is the team's highpoint, character-wise.

54. Real life political figures in comics - sure, it dates the story, but who doesn't dig seeing Superman (and later Superboy) undertake a mission for JFK, or Henry Kissinger putting Captain America and the Falcon through the wringer?

55. The giant books by Les Daniels on the history of both Marvel and DC. The Marvel book is the better of the two, but they're both fun to look at to this day.

56. Tom Gauld.

57. Simone Lia.

58. Characters breaking the fourth wall on the cover.

59. The Krypton Crawl.

60. The Challengers of the Unknown

61. Annihilation - the first two-thirds, anyway. I have high hopes for the last part, though.

62. OMAC: One Man Army Corps - Kirby at his unfettered craziest. In a good way. Mostly.

63. Don Martin sound effects. SHKLIZZORTCH!

64. The sheer insanity of a Fletcher Hanks comic book. Any of 'em.

65. Smilin' Galactus! ("I'ma eat your planet all up!")

66. Beryl Hutchinson, the Squire. Let's see her more often, DC, especially if Grant is writing her.

67. While we're on the subject, the Club of Heroes story from Batman.

68. The Order, even if it did take the announcement of its cancellation to get me to go back and give it a fair shake.

69. Jeff Smith's Shazam: Monster Society of Evil - even if it wasn't quite everything I hoped for, it was still quite good.

70. The Prisoner of White Agony Creek by Don Rosa, probably my favorite Scrooge McDuck story ever.

71. Goofy looking Marvel aliens - Skrulls, Rigellans, Ovoids, those broccoli people that Phoenix killed... I could go on and on.

72. Mysterio - easily the greatest of the under-appreciated Spider-Man villains.

73. Light from Death Note = the evil Encyclopedia Brown.

74. The fact that they were able to bring back Bucky in a way that actually made sense (for a comic book, anyway).

75. The Mr. A parody in Ambush Bug Stocking Stuffer #1.

76. Unsubtle aliases from the Batman show, like P.N. Gwynn, A.L. Fred, and Miss KITKA (okay, so a name as long as Kitanya Irenya Tatanya Kerenska Alisoff would potentially throw someone off the trail, but I'd think the acronym nickname would tip the hat, even for the befuddled, lovestruck Adam West Batman.).

77. Ben Grimm in a Beatle wig.

78. The movie parody covers from The Loners.

79. Johnny Hiro's girlfriend Mayumi - you'd be hard pressed to find a cuter, more endearing love interest in comics today.

80. Dave Stevens.

81. Jef Czekaj's Hypertruck (A.K.A. R2-D2 is an Indie Rocker).

82. Pia Guerra.

83. Stan Lee's hairpiece.

84. Monter Blog's Kirby Monsters Never Reprinted.

85. Steve Gerber (R.I.P.).

86. Clumsy Batman, a game I play with Liam involving his Batman figure and two cannisters of Play-Doh he can never seem to carry without tripping over something. In our house, Batman falls down a lot.

87. The Giant Green Star Wars Rabbit.

88. Roy Crane's Wash Tubbs & Captain Easy.

89. The Ten Doctors.

90. Torchwood Babiez.

91. Church & Birdie's The Rack.

92. Danielle Corsetto's Girls With Slingshots (the character of Jamie in particular).

93. David Willis's Shortpacked! (the character of Amber in particular).

94. That Alan Moore looks like the villain from a particularly nasty grindhouse movie, but sounds like he'd offer you a cuppa while talking about his begonias.

95. Peter Parker: Spider-Man #33, "Maybe Next Year" - a wonderful story about dads and baseball.

96. The oversized Marvel Super Heroes card game I had as a kid. I think it played like Old Maid (with a Doctor Doom card subbing for ye aged spinster, which is pretty funny, now that I think about it), but I hardly ever played it. I looked at the artwork on the cards for hours on end, though. Great stuff, and my introduction to a good chunk of the Marvel Universe.

97. All the freebies the DC booth gives out at cons. I cleaned up at NYCC last year - posters, bookmarks, previews, and a John Stewart MiniMate. The DC booth always has the best swag.

98. Gert Yorkes from Runaways.

99. The giant Popeye books from Fantagraphics.

100. The TV ad for G.I. Joe #1... the commercial that created a generation of comic book fans.
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