Comic Fodder

What Non-DC Stuff Does the DC Nerd Read?

Travis reads an insane number of comics. I think its hard to appreciate the depth and scope of Travis's obsession, and I'd be terrified to go title for title with the guy. I'd simply lose. So when I saw what he wasn't reading, I tried to think of how I could spin that into a column of my own.

I've been the unapologetic DC Dork here for a few months, but I'm a bit more omnivorous in my comic consumption than I let on.

Most of this is basically genre stuff, and I'm fine with that. I do pick up non-superhero comics upon occasion, usually in graphic novel or trade format. I made off like a bandit on the recent Top Shelf $3 sale. But rather than try to earn street cred with the TCJ crowd, I thought I'd point to what I pick up as floppies, as that's more or less how we're framing this particular discussion.

So here's a sampling of what else I read, in no particular order:

Echo by Terry Moore
I followed "Strangers in Paradise" for years. Now that I know it actually had a concluding point, I plan to go back and finish the series in trade format. Moore has certain personality types that wind up embedded into his characters, and that can get repetitive. He also has a thing for sidelining male characters in the same manner DC gets panned for sidelining females.

But... I'm totally hooked on this new series. Sci-Fi aspects mixed with Moore's very human characters. And six issues in, we're just peeling away the first layer of the onion.

For whatever reason, I've always liked Moore's art as well. He seems to have continued to improve since last I checked in with SiP, or perhaps he has renewed vigor with Echo. Either way, good work (and he actually does draw his characters with different faces and body types. Something 99% of pencillers could learn from).


Tales Designed to Thrizzle by Michael Kupperman
So maybe I have a particular sense of humor, but I picked up issues 3 and 4 of this comic, and was laughing enough to scare the cat.

What's really surprising is the genius design of the book, in look and feel. The comic is not the luke-warm sorta funny that we've come to expect from comics. It's laugh out loud, cuttingly funny with a unique sense of humor.

Helen Killer by Kreisberg and Rice
I always, always, always feel guilty reading this title, because if someone pitched it to me as an editor, I would probably have been offended by the inane comic-faboyness of the premise. Helen Keller is outfitted with a pair of super-science goggles that make her into a super ninja.

It is so wrong, and yet... it's a really fun read.

Scrooge and Donald Duck Comics by Carl Barks and Don Rosa from Gemstone
A few years ago I picked up a Scrooge McDuck comic on a whim, and while I won't say my collection has gone uninterrupted since picking up that issue, like readers the world over, I've been won over by the two names most associated with the Duck comics legacy. The stories are as engaging as anything in comics, the art fantastic, and the exploration of Scrooge's life is sheer wonder.

Readers of superhero comics aren't going to want to give a "kid's" comic like the Duck books a chance, but they're going to be missing out on some of the best in comics of the past sixty years.

Dan Dare by Garth Ennis, et al at Virgin
I was truly put out when I heard Virgin crumbled because it diminished the chance for more of Ennis's take on the British sci-fi hero, Dan Dare (Pilot of the Future). This mini-series, which may be languishing on the shelves of your LCS, is a great read for folks who like: space, adventure, war comics, sci-fi, to enjoy reading comics. Gorgeous art, too (Thanks to Gary Erskine).

I've picked up a hardback collection of the original Dare comics reprinted from the UK 1950's magazine "The Eagle". The series is an equally enjoyable read in its own way.


Zorro from Dynamite
Lone Ranger from Dynamite

I'm only 33, but I grew up with The Lone Ranger and Zorro as part of my pop culture diet. Both titles have dug deep into the basics of the origins of the characters and spun them for an audience that responds to the detailed backgrounds and motivations of their characters. I don't think kids today know about the Lone Ranger, and that's too bad. And if their only exposure to Zorro is the most recent movie... well...

I've always liked the idea of the Lone Ranger and his partner, Tonto. The new series finds a balance for the pair that feels natural, with interesting villains and terrific art. I like Lone Ranger as angry-young-man and Tonto as conflicted warrior.

I admit to actually preferring Zorro as a character. He is, after all, the inspiration for so much of what came afterward in super heroics. A flashy costume, cool code name, secret identity, a (literally) silent partner, and a Zorro-cave. But he also is a character who reflects both Spidey's action-hero wit, as well as the wise-cracking side of Superman (particularly evident in Siegel's era).

Project Superpowers from Dynamite
Ross and Krueger are working overtime to bring back these copyright free superheroes. I wish they'd slow the story down a bit and let me get to know the characters. What worked for "Justice" doesn't work as well here as I don't know these characters in the same manner.

The characters are all copyright free heroes from the Golden Age of comics, and so I've mostly been reading the series to learn a bit more about these forgotten characters.

Still, an enjoyable read in a superhero doomsday scenario sort of way.

Guardians of the Galaxy from Marvel
Rocket Raccooooooooon! I love Rocket Racoooooooooon!

I'm also getting to really like the post-Dirty Dozen band of veteran cynics in space.

Captain America from Marvel
What, you aren't reading Cap? Do you hate really good comics?

Daredevil from Marvel
Not everyone is on board with Bendis and Brubaker's take on Daredevil, but I think its one of the most interesting comics out there, and brings something to superhero comics that I'm not sure would work in the DCU.

The ABC Line from Alan Moore, et al
I mention this because Top 10, one of my favorite comics of the past ten years, is getting a sort of rebirth by Gene Ha and Zander Cannon. While Alan Moore is nowhere to be seen, I think these guys can handle things just fine. Yes, it's published by DC, but it's under the Wildstorm/ ABC imprint. Shut up.


Questions? Comments? Hate mail?

Come on, I can take it.

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Ryan is an Op/Ed columnist for Comic Fodder. He keeps his comics and himself in Austin, Texas where he manages the long running blog League of Melbotis.

He likes Superman.

You can reach Ryan (aka: The League) at theleague.cf@gmail.com

I waiting for the trade on Echo but I have to tell you that SIP has a picture perfect ending. Moore really put a lot into the concluding issues.

Scrooge and Donald Duck comics by Barks and Rosa were my introduction into the comic world. I probably wouldn't have been a big of comic fan if it wasn't for Scrooge McDuck and his giant money bin.

Rocket Raccoon is awesome!

Captain America by Brubaker is one of the best comics out there right now. The Winter Soldier and Death of Captain America are amazing storylines. It's great that his run is mostly unaffected by the big events in the Marvel Universe.

Moore's ABC books are great. I've read all the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Tom Strong and Terra Obscura. I still have to sit down and read Top 10 and Promethea.

-- Posted by: Simon MacDonald at October 8, 2008 12:08 PM

BTW, I forgot to mention it above: The characters of Terra Obscura are some of the same characters in Dynamite's Project Superpowers.

I wish Disneyland would put a giant money bin somewhere in the park...

-- Posted by: Ryan S. at October 8, 2008 1:01 PM