Sunday, August 31, 2008

50 (and then some) Duly Compartmentalized Things I Love About Comics

I've done versions "100 Things I Love About Comics" list (as inspired by two of Fred Hembeck's memorable Dateline: @#$% columns) the past four years (and, knowing my willingness to beat a long-dead horse, probably will again next February), but this new, categorized "50 Things..." variation, as pioneered by David Brothers and expanded upon by Jeff Lester, Graeme McMillan, and Brad Curran, is too much fun to pass up. And the format change makes it less problematic if I duplicate entries from past lists, so it takes a lot of pressure off. Gotta love that. So here are my 50:

5 Characters/Concepts That Sound Funky When You Apply Logic but are Actually Really Good in Execution:
1. The Winter Soldier (Not-dead Bucky as Cold War Cyborg Secret Weapon? Brubaker was a genius to pull that off so well.)
2. The Club of Heroes (A group of International Batman knock-offs were a concept best left in the 50s, but Morrison made them pretty awesome. Also, more of The Squire is always a good thing.)
3. Devil Dinosaur (Well, okay, DD actually IS pretty terrible, but even Terrible Kirby is still mind-blowingly entertaining somehow.)
4. Spider-Man's black costume from the Secret Wars planet is alive (Very silly idea, and it eventually led to a million bad Venom stories, but that initial alien costume story has some great moments of mystery and tension. Plus, eventually you get Spidey dressed like this).
5. Super heroes with human failings (Cliched now, but seemed pretty outlandish until Marvel proved it could work!)

5 Favorite Lesser Spider-Man Villains
6. The White Rabbit
7. Chtylok the Che-K'n Kau ("Did he say 'Chicken Cow?'")
8. The Spot (Funky power! Cool visual! C'mon, people!)
9. Screwball, the World's First Live-Streaming Super-Villain (and the first Parkour-based character I can think of, which is just rad).
10. Video-Man (from Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends; lame, to be sure, but you had to admire the lengths the producers went to to try and put VM over)

5 Creators Whose Worst Work Is/Was Still Better Than Most Folks' Best (IMHO)
11. Jack Kirby
12. Will Eisner
13. Darwyn Cooke
14. Mike Wieringo
15. Charles Schulz

5 Comics I'm Glad to See Back In Print (or Soon to Be)
16. Zot!
17. Herbie
18. Little Lulu
19. Tales of the Beanworld
20. The works of Fletcher Hanks

5 Comics They Still Need to Reprint
21. Sugar & Spike
22. Barnaby
23. Micronauts
24. Scribbly/Red Tornado (they're in the same little side pocket of the DCU, so I count 'em together)
25. The first few years' worth of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

5 Books from the 90s That Weren't Nearly the Rest of That Decade's More Infamous Output Would Lead You To Expect
26. Bone
27. Starman
28. Firearm
29. Black Panther (Priest's series)
30. Alan Moore's Supreme

5 Marvel or DC Superhero Books Aimed at Kids (Whether Spun-off From a Cartoon or Not) That Are Better Than Their "Adult" Counterparts
31. The Batman Adventures
32. Marvel Adventures Avengers
33. X-Men: First Class (esp. the Colleen Coover back-up strips)
34. Justice League Unlimited
35. Billy Batson and the Magic of Shazam (probably too soon to call, really, but that first issue was damn good.)

5 Favorite Members of the Legion of Super-Heroes, and the Version of the Team in Which They Appeared
36. Wildfire, original LSH (cool visual, up until his Quislet makeover, anyway, which just looked dumb, and I liked that he was never terribly impressed by the "big" Legionnaires like Superboy)
37. Kinetix, post Zero Hour LSH (I've talked about why I like Zoe before)
38. Shrinking Violet, animated LSH (Kinda gothy and perky at the same time, and the occasional snort when she'd laugh was endearing)
39. Brainiac 5, post Infinite Crisis LSH (could be a real dick at times, but I enjoyed the frustration he had from trying to think down to a level where people could relate to him; also enjoyed his relationship with that Legion's Dream Girl)
40. Bouncing Boy, animated LSH (who doesn't enjoy the entertaining big lug pilot guy?)

5 Favorite Stories from the 60s Batman TV series
41. The Joker's Utility Belt
42. Penguin runs for Mayor of Gotham City
43. Any Riddler story (except the John Astin one - no offense to John, but he was no Frank Gorshin.) (and yes, I realize this is technically cheating, but it's my list.)
44. The Green Hornet crossover, even if the villain was pretty lame.
45. Catwoman steals the golden cat statues and traps Batman and Robin in her Cat-acombs (probably because I had the View-Master reel for this one)

5 Character Reboots/Reimaginings that Truly Worked
46. The current Blue Beetle, Jaime Reyes
47. Tim Drake as Robin
48. The analogues of the Charlton characters used in Watchmen (that counts, right?)
49. John Byrne's 80s Superman work (though I'm happy to see Silver Age stuff return over time, it was what the Man of Steel needed back then).
50. Wally West becoming the Flash

Bonus 5: 5 Comics Related TV Shows/Films That Need Proper DVD Releases Already
The extremely limited-animation Marvel Super-Heroes cartoons
Jonthan Ross' "In Search of Steve Ditko" documentary
The 60s Hanna-Barberra Fantastic Four Cartoon
Tintin et moi
BATMAN!!!
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