Sunday Comics - Where Is My Mind?

So a little while back I went through my comic book bookshelf (I refuse to refer to comic books as "graphic novels," cuz I'm a snobby nerd) and pared it down a bit, selling the volumes I thought were no longer necessary.

At the time, I thought I had just gotten rid of the non-essential stuff (Millar's run on The Authority), stuff I'd read once and forgotten about (that Batman Elseworlds OGN by Motter and Lark, Darwyn Cooke's Batman: Ego) or stuff I'd rather have in bigger, better collected editions some day when I'm like totally rich and jetting around Venus in a silver zeppelin while drinking saber-tooth tiger milk from the jewel-encrusted skull of a sea monkey (Ellis' first two Authority trades, which are available in the beautiful Absolute edition). And I was okay with that. At the time, I needed the cash and if it comes down to having four volumes of the Essential Uncanny X-Men (turns out it's not all that "Essential") or my family's well-being, well, I choose the latter gladly. Cuz I'm hardcore like that.

But it seems that in my haste to lighten my load of collected comicbookery, I may have disposed of some good stuff that I probably should have held on to. Stuff that, when I scan my shelf and find it is no longer there, causes the palm of my hand to collide swiftly with my forehead and a whispered "Oh, duh!" to pass through my clenched teeth. These are The Ones That Got Away:

Batman: Year 100 - Dude, I must have been flying high on angel dust or something because it's Paul Pope + Batman which always = really excellent. Actually Paul Pope + the phone book = really excellent, so yeah, I'm not sure what happened here.

Alan Moore's Supreme - I had a few Tom Strong trades, as well as a couple of volumes of Top Ten and The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen and the whole lot of Moore's collected Swamp Thing run, all of which, while great stuff, was not really going to be read again any time soon and could be liquidated pretty guiltlessly. There's always the library if I feel the urge to re-read, right? But Supreme, for some reason, resonates with me a ton. It really is the proto-All-Star Superman (and if Grant Morrison ever reads this, I fear he will put a hex upon me for saying such), with its loving look at the totality of a Superman-esque character (let's just cut the crap and admit that this is Moore writing Superman, mmmkay?) and how to make him work in a late-20th century/millennial world. It's just really great comicbookery, despite the preponderance of Liefeld-esque house art that plagues the book for the first volume and a portion of the second. (I like to squint a bit and pretend that Chris Sprouse drew the whole thing, sort of like I do with Frank Quitely on Morrison's New X-Men run.)

Superman: Secret Identity - And speaking of great Superman stories, what was I thinking when I got rid of this one? There aren't many people who really "get" superheroes in general and Superman in particular, but Kurt Busiek is one of them. (See his excellent Astro City books for undeniable proof.) This tale of an alternate-world Clark Kent is really touching and beautiful and it's got some amazing Stuart Immonen artwork, to boot. I may have given this to my buddy Chris, now that I think of it, which is a sacrifice I'm willing to make but if I sold it, is completely unconscionable. Seriously, Dylan. Pull yourself together, man.

Pop Gun War - Again, I may have loaned this one out and never got it back/given it away in a fit of comic book evangelism, because I can't imagine any scenario where I would have gotten rid of it. I met (very briefly and awkwardly) Farel Dalrymple at a semi-depressing Las Vegas comic convention years ago and bought the second or third issue of this series as well as an issue of his Supermundane book. He seemed really cool and I really wish I'd talked to him for a little longer (which is to say, "more than two seconds") instead of mumbling something about how cool his stuff was and scurrying off to scour bins for missing issues in my Doom Patrol run. (This was before DC finally got around to collecting the run which I still need to purchase cuz, man, that is some good stuff.) Pop Gun War is the kind of comic book I would love to make if A) I were more talented and B) less lazy. It's a lyrical, surreal and seriously ambitious/ambiguous work that floats along on its own dream logic and says a lot without saying much.

Planetary - Basically, I was holding out for the series to finish off and for it to be collected in some sort of Absolute format, but still, I wish I had those volumes here right now beside me. I could sleep easier, I think. It's some dang fine stuff that will make your head explode if you're not careful with it. And that, as my girl Martha would say, is a good thing.

Cerebus: High Society & Church & State - Sure, Dave Sim's a crackpot and a mysogynist. So what. So's John Byrne, but John Byrne never single-handedly (okay, Sim had Gerhard to help out) finished a 300-issue magnum opus starring a barbarian aardvark that deals with religion, politics, gender, art and death. Some day I will sit down and read the entirety of Cerebus. It may make me crazy, but I will do it. Because if Dave Sim risked (and arguably lost) his sanity to make it, it's worth my time to at least read it, right?

Anyway, so that's my list. What comics do you still kick yourself for getting rid of? What do you still need to procure?


Huston said...

dude i have your 'pop gun war' but it's been so long i feel bad bringing it up and giving it back. if it makes you feel any better i've been passing it around to some friend who have enjoyed it. just know it's safe and the next time i see you, you'll get it back.

jason quinones said...

pop gun war is GREAT BOOK!



p.s.- i too have been on the great big comic book giveaway band wagon lately. we have a book cart in our office lunch room so i just drop it off there and they get picked up pretty quickly.

b3n said...

Told you it wouldn't be long before you broke your list rule. And that's a good thing,

Christos said...

Great post, Dyl! Ted McKeever's Plastic Forks -- that's the one I'd love to look through again.

Mr. Philippe said...

I feel like this post could have started with, "Dear Philippe"

I sold off my run of Dardevil's, they started at no. 1 again, but this time with Kevin Smith doing 10 or so issues then Bendis took over. It was a great read but I think once it changed authors it started to suck and I wanted to sell while it was still high. (There's a gimmicky inflation with new comic books because Marvel only prints limited amounts, leading to Ebay and in-store rates that are ridiculous for a popular comic that came out only a month ago. ) In hindsight, I really liked those stories and both authors did a lot with Matt Murdock. I probably should have stuck with it, that and Amazing Spider-man.

Some people think Adrian Tomine is over-rated but I think he's rated just fine. It always seems like there's some issue missing in my collection, and the dude has only put out like 10 issues of Optic Nerve and a handful of hardbacks, so I end up with multiple copies of his stuff. Which isn't so bad, as they makes good gifts, or just act as something to put in the bathroom for company.

Garth Ennis' War Stories is a run I only managed to get a few of, yet it still stands out, even after all these years, as one of my tops reads. I definitely have to get the TPBs, now that I've mentioned it. That and Ennis' Hitman, my friend gave me the entire run and appearances of Hitman. He could have sold it on Ebay but he didn't want some scum-sucker to have it, boy did I fool him! Anyway, I think Ennis put out another appearance of Hitman recently and I need to do some research and locate that.

You've named a ton of stuff I haven't read and will have to check it out, thanks bro bro. I also have some Captain Marvels of yours, next time I'm in Vegas I'll swing by your folks, drop them off, and say hello to your mother for you.