Greetings dear readers and welcome to the inaugural instalment of The Read Pile the new semi-regular blog all about sequential art. The Read Pile will feature myself ( you can find more of my random utterings on Twitter @Wolverinesclaws) and various others from the rogues gallery that is GP discussing what we’ve read recently, what’s good, what’s not so good, what you should check out and other occasional randomness. (A quick note: the author’s comments will appear in plain black, other contributor’s are colour coded)
Myself I’ve been reading a lot of indie stuff including Copernicus Jones Robot Detective which is a sublime sci-fi pulp noir comic (Monkeybrain Comics, writer Matt D. Wilson, art by Kevin Warren and letters by Dylan Todd) about a robot P.I which could be straight out of 2000AD, Katrina Hates The Dead (Wannabe Press, writer Russell Nohelty, art by Juan Frigeri, Fernando Melek and Thomas Bacon, letters by Bernie Lee) about a girl sick of dealing with the apocalypse, demons, zombies and more and decides to ride into Hell with her friend Connie to confront the Devil, it’s a bit Thelma and Louise and the art is amazing. Another thing I’ve been reading is Bonnie N. Collide Nine To Five (Lipstick Press, art and writing by Monica Gallagher) which is a collection of comic strips about Bonnie who is a roller derby girl who also works in an office which has a werewolf on staff, it’s really funny and reminds me of how good comic strips can be as I’d kind of forgotten.
Oh shit, son! Metabarons! (Humanoids writer Alejandro Jodorowsky, art by Juan Gimenez) Did not think it would be my bag at all but I am loving it! An epic space saga charting the descent of a powerful family as they influence and are influenced by turbulent space politics. It reads like an ancient myth peppered with futureshocks and has amazing art.
Jodorowsky‘s graphic novels are amazing, have you read The Incal, which features the first appearance of one of the Metabarons?
I should also point out that numerous films have stolen ideas wholesale from Jodorowsky’s graphic novels , which were where a lot of his ideas for his ultimately doomed adaptation of Frank Herbert’s Dune ended up.
Sidenote, you should really check out the great documentary Jodorowsky’s Dune which will explain what I mean in detail.
There’s also several other Incal books, Before The Incal, After The Incal and the most recent one Final Incal.
Oh the art for The Incal is by Moebius, one of the best sequential art artists ever pretty much.
Jodorowsky has also done several other graphic novels which are equally amazing, most importantly though they’re utterly different from anything you’d get from the American comics market.
I just got through Old Man Logan (Marvel writer Mark Millar art by Steve McNiven) and issue 1 of the new Old Man Logan run (Marvelwriter Jeff Lemire art byAndrea Sorrentino). Both fairly excellent.
I’ve read the original one, didn’t know they were milking it for more but since Wolverine is “dead” it was inevitable really.
It’s because of secret wars. Old Man Logan, like Miles Morales, has ended up in the 616. He’s decided that because it’s before the super villains took over he must be back in time to stop them and has thus decided to hunt down and kill every last person responsible for the original story. It’s not bad actually. I feel like it’s one that’s definitely gonna grow more as it goes on though.
Just seems like Marvel recycling their old ideas which is nothing new.
On that same topic: All-New Wolverine (Marvel, writer Tom Taylor, art by David Lopez and David Navarrot). Or Wolverina, as I call her. There’s a new Weapon X program, and Wolverine has a bunch of little sisters who are all dying and out on a rampage. She has a bunch of guest stars, like Dr Strange and Wasp, who mostly just point at Laura and say how great she is. And Laura makes a point of mentioning the “guys on the internet” who said she shouldn’t be Wolverine. It’s painfully obvious, but it’s actually well written and well drawn enough that I’m not cringing my way through it. Also helps that one of Laura’s little sisters has the same name as my little sister, so we get to pretend it’s true.
Best line so far: ‘The next time you want to transport desperate, armed people onto my property, you call ahead. It may not sound very “Sorcerer Supreme” but it’s common courtesy, Stephen.’ – Wasp
Other stuff I’m reading: Captain Marvel ( Marvel, writers Michele Fazekas and Tara Butters, art by Kris Anka and Matthew Wilson) (I wasn’t planning on getting it after DeConnick left, but the Forbidden Planet guys snuck it in, and ABIGAIL MOTHERFUCKING BRAND is in it, so I’m keeping it. Plus Danvers is Husband’s favorite.)
Monstress (Image) is one that I got because Marjorie Liu is writing it, and (oddly for a primarily visual medium) I tend to buy comics based on who’s writing them- what they’re writing about is irrelevant. Monstress, though… it could be about the finer points of business accountancy and I’d keep getting it for Sana Takeda’s art. It’s got this art deco meets high fantasy vibe, and it’s ridiculously beautiful without watering down the violence and other ugliness. Furthermore it has Kippa, who is a little girl with a fox tail, who holds it like a comfort blanket when she’s scared. And she’s scared a lot. I want to adopt her SO MUCH.
I tend to pick stuff up if it’s by a particular writer or creative team, like Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips are one of the best double acts in sequential art.
Although I will pick up pretty much anything if it looks interesting, I cannot stress enough how covers are important, a good cover will make me check something out even if it’s by some obscure publisher I’ve never heard of with a creative team I’ve never heard of.
I picked up Monstress purely because the cover got my attention.
I’ve also been reading Mercury Heat (Avatar) which is a great bit of sci-fi from Kieron Gillen & Nahuel Lopez about a law enforcement officer of sorts called Luiza on a mining colony of sorts on Mercury, it’s got cybernetics, memory manipulation and political intrigue, it’s also darkly comical and brutal. There’s a bit of a Judge Dredd vibe.
Also Jenny Bones Legend of the Peril Squad by Ben Newman (Clandestine Republic) which is a sequential art book telling the story of adventurer Jenny Bones, her robot boyfriend Coop, her chaotic friend Tessa and Tundra a strange furry carapaced creature. It’s an art book so there’s no dialogue and it’s also a bit filthy because that’s Ben Newman’s thing but it’s really good.
That’s it for the first installment of The Read Pile if you found something you might want to check out then cool and don’t forget to join me and various assorted other GP types in the near future for the next installment.
Andy Haigh started writing to counteract the brain atrophying effects of Retail Hell, now it's an addiction. Andy is an unrepentant sequential art absorbist and comics are one of his passions. Other interests include Film, Music, Science Fiction and Horror novels and quality TV like Game of Thrones. He can talk about these at great length if only someone would listen. He lives a somewhat hermit like life in The Shire, spends too much time on social media and is still waiting to go on an adventure.