The Amazing Colossal Pile of Graphic Novels

I’m not really much for Black Friday shopping, but when my friendly local comics retailer (Bridge City Comics in Portland) announced that they would be extending some very generous discounts to subscription box customers on Black Friday, I decided to take the opportunity to pick up a few books that I had been reluctant to pay full price for. Needless to say, I went a little crazy…

I came home with a sizable stack of hardcovers and trade paperbacks:

Almost Silent and What I Did by Jason. I’m a recent fan of the Norwegian cartoonist Jason, and over the past year I have managed to pick up most of the volumes of his work that Fantagraphics has published. However, two early titles, Tell Me Something and The Iron Wagon, have gone out of print and I’ve had a tough time finding them. Fantagraphics eventually reprinted them, but in collected editions, each book I needed collected with several that I already had. This is the sort of thing that drives collectors crazy. But the sale managed to restore a little of my sanity as now I have picked up both collected editions, which in any case are much nicer hardcovers, as opposed to the original slim paperback printings.

The Incredible Hulk Volume 1 and 2 hardcovers. Marvel continues its utterly bewildering numbering system for their hardcover collections, as The Incredible Hulk Volume 1 starts with issue 34 of the Hulk series that started in 2000. I read some of this material when it came out as single issues and I remember enjoying it, so it’ll be nice to read the entire storyline. Plus, a fair amount of it is drawn by John Romita Jr, who is one of my favorite artists, and Volume 1 also includes a great Hulk story by Brian Azzarello and Richard Corben.

JLA Year One by Mark Waid, Brian Augustyn and Barry Kitson. Generally speaking I love the DC comics superhero titles, but lately it seems like a lot of my favorites are being written by writers that I don’t care for, or going down editorial avenues that I find tedious and uninteresting. So I’m always on the lookout for older DC books that are outside current continuity, but feature writers and characters I like, and this re-telling of the JLA’s origin looks like it might fit the bill.

Doctor Who: The World Shapers by John Ridgway and a variety of writers. The comics material from the British Doctor Who Magazine has proved to have a very long shelf life, having been reprinted multiple times by several different publishers. IDW has done a great job so far of publishing superbly colored versions of these stories (originally published in black and white), but for reasons unknown they have chosen to skip a major chunk of the Sixth Doctor’s comics adventures. Luckily this volume, published by Panini Books, covers most of the stories IDW will be skipping, although rather disappointingly in the original black and white. The book’s original $32 cover price was way too steep, but the Black Friday discount has talked me into it…

From the $3 table: JLA Ultramarine Corps and Metamorpho Year One. Grant Morrison writes the JLA with Ed McGuiness’s attractively chunky illustrations. The book is padded out with a JLA/WILDCats crossover story, also by Morrison, that I guess they figured they couldn’t get anyone to buy separately. The Metamorpho story is written by Dan Jurgens, whose recent work on Booster Gold and Vanishing Point has been very entertaining.

Legion of Super-Heroes: The Great Darkness Saga by Paul Levitz and Keith Giffen. I have to admit, I bought this shrinkwrapped hardcover mainly for its stunning cover by Keith Giffen, depicting a gigantic Darkseid with his stony hand filled with hundreds of featureless bodies. I do like an ‘80s superhero epic though, and I haven’t read this one before.

Over the next several weeks (as I have time to read them) I hope to review each of these books in more detail. I wonder which one I should read first?

— Jefferson Powers