Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Boxing Day Blitz

The local comic shop has an annual 50% off sale every Boxing Day sale, and I'm starting to construct my "Plan of Attack"... aka "shopping list". I try to pick up all the tpbs that I can during these sales, so I take the process very seriously.

Here's what I'm thinking about grabbing this Boxing Day:

DC Showcase Presents: Superman
Out of all the Showcase phonebooks, this is the one that made the cut. I gave serious thought to the JLA volume, but the sheer energy of the Superman stories contained in this volume make it irresistable. The old JLA stories have always come off a little bland to me when I've come accross any reprints. The Metamorpho volume made the short list because, even though I've never read any of Metamorpho's solo stories, the blogosphere seems to have embraced this volume as perhaps the zaniest, most out-there Showcase book thus far. Jonah Hex never had a shot, sadly, as I can only enjoy Western comics in very small doses. And most importantly, I used to love the early 80s Superman digest volumes, which were composed primarily of goofy stories from this period.

When a Superboy volume is published, I will buy it day of publication, as even Superman stories take a back seat to the Smallville Wonder when it comes to stirring DC Digest nostalgia in me.

Essential Marvel Team-Up
I love the Essential format because, when it comes to old-school Marvel, I find my enjoyment-to-price ratio is best met by huge, cheap books. I never really read Marvel during the late 70s/early 80s, so there isn't really a nostalgia factor coming into play, and therefore I read and enjoy the stories on their own merits, not on the feeling and memories they evoke in me. That said, Marvel books from that era have a limited entertainment value to me. I did enjoy the Essential Defenders volume, but I can't help but think that enjoyment would have been lessened if it had been a tpb of the first 6 issues or so. There's something to be said for having a stack of 25-odd issues sitting in front of you, waiting to assault you with with their oddness.
Marvel Team-Up was my Essential choice because it seems to have had a pretty good slate of artists during this period, and I think I'll enjoy mostly self-contained stories featuring the characters within. I love Spider-Man, but I've already read pretty much the entire run of Marvel Tales, so the best of the early stories are already very familiar to me. I guess I could try out the first volume of Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man, but it just doesn't look very good. I mean, Tarantula? Jeebus.

Cerebus: Church & State vol.1 & vol. 2
Better bloggers than me have attempted to analyze the relative merits and faults of Dave Sim's mammoth opus, but I don't think many people dispute that the earlier volumes contain some absolutely stellar story-telling (especially after Gerhard joins Sim on art duties). I've read High Society, Jaka's Story, Reads, and Flight thus far, and I think I'll take a bit of a breather after I read the Cerebus-as-Pope storyline. It it possible to read something, enjoy it, but have very little idea of what was going on? Because that pretty much reflects my feelings after finishing Flight. And I hear it only gets weirder.

Buddy Does Seattle
I have all but a couple of these issues in singles form, but they're all in storage at my parent's house, and I love the Buddy Bradley Chronicles enough to warrant a discounted buy on Boxing day. These stories are such an artifact of a specific time and place, much like another of my favorite indy series, Minimum Wage. I think these earlier stories, before Buddy left Seattle to make an attempt at domesticity back in New Jersey, are the strongest work Bagge's ever put out. There's a rawness here that allows the stories to veer into the cruel and vulgar wiothout seeming crass. Buddy might be one of the most enjoyable douchebags ever depicted in comics (well, him and Henry Peter Gyrich maybe). Plus, Hate is just laugh-out-loud funny.

Beck vol. 2
Best. Manga. Ever. I've read a ton of it in scanslation form before it got picked up by a North American publisher, and it's great to read it again in a much more convenient form. I love me some 20th Century Boys and Monster, but Beck trumps all. I even downloaded the CD Soundtrack. I am a Beck fanboy, no doubt about it.

Well, that's the preliminary list. Any glaring omissions you can see? And what are you planning on picking up at comic store sales this Holiday season, if anything?


Blogger kelvingreen said...

So you do Boxing Day up there in Canada? Good stuff.

To be perfectly honest, PPSSM never really got good. It had some brief blips of quality, but on the whole it was surplus to requirements.

I bought a big chunky manga phonebook from Japan in a used book shop a couple of years ago (how it got there, I have no idea), and Beck was in there, so it was quite neat to see it being reprinted in English. It looked like interesting stuff, not least because it's a genre the US market tends to avoid (with some notable indie excetions) but which would surely be a hit with the target audience. If Marvel and DC want to bring kids into comics, then why don't they produce comics kids would be interested in?

1:29 PM  
Blogger Jhunt said...

Marvel seems to have convinced itself that manga can't sustain its momentum, which is why their only entries into the burgeoning manga marketplace are the excrement-level Marvel Mangaverse titles.

DC, on the other hand, is making at least a token effort in the form of its CMX imprint, but the Tenjho Tenge debacle might have killed its chances of being taken seriously in the purist-driven manga readership.

Of course, all the preceding is my barely-informed opinion, so grain-of-salt it by all means.

Hey, I guess a lot of Americans are going to be a little confused when I reference Boxing Day, eh? I had forgotten that it was a British/Canadian thing.

1:50 PM  
Blogger kelvingreen said...

Then by Jove, we shall educate our American cousins!

I can understand Marvel or DC not wanting to enter a market based on the manga format, because that must be seen as a big risk for them (though why, I couldn't say; it's clearly a success for Tokyopop et al). What I don't get is why they're not doing stories about sportsmen or teenage rock bands, or any of the non-superhero genres that kids are obviously enjoying.

Of course, if they did try it, they'd do it through the Direct Market and then appear all confused when it inevitably fails. Oh well.

3:28 PM  
Blogger Jhunt said...

I love the sports subgenre of manga, but I just wish most of them didn't follow the formula of young boy or incredibly undersized boy discovers natural talent in (insert sport) and takes on succession of opponents who eventually fall victim to his tenacity and skill.

But then, I'm not the target audience, which I believe is young or undersized Japanese boys.

4:27 PM  

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