Monthly, To Be Read – March 2022

New concept. I’ve wanted to do a regular comic post for a while, just reflect on the books that I find fascinating, or talk about stuff that I want to read, but maybe haven’t necessarily read yet. Sometimes I skim through books more than actually read them, but I file them away for future reference for when I do have some time to sit and read through a stack. So rather than do a post that is like every other comic website out there (previews, reviews, etc.), I’m just going to muse and post random panels as I talk about the books I’m looking forward to reading or books that I have read this past month. Books that you can comfortably file away on your own “To Be Read” list.

If you’re like me, then you also don’t always pick up the latest and greatest book… You wait around, if it’s not too popular for the spec crowd, but it’s a good story that a lot of people are talking about, then you pick up recent back issues, or maybe wait around long enough to get the trade. The shop that I go to tends to have a couple of weeks worth of recent back issues and sometimes even back a few months, depending on what sells, they might have several issues stacked up on top of each other. Certain titles just sell out though. Much to my chagrin, Saga does seem to do that, but it also sort of straddles the line between strictly reading material and collectible. There are certainly people collecting it and making sure to add each new issue to their long box at home, but there are also just as many people that casually pick up the book. Now that it has gotten away from it’s red-hot phase, there are usually recent issues hanging around here and there.

I’ve tried reading the first trade several times, I just have never been able to get into it. I’m actually kind of amazed that the book has hit issue 57, I honestly didn’t think that Saga was quite that popular. I don’t really have anything against the book, I do see why people enjoy it and find it entertaining, but it’s just not for me. At least that’s the decision I’ve come back to, even though I didn’t feel that way picking up the latest entry. I honestly thought that maybe jumping back into it after so long my opinion would change, or that there would be something different about the book that I might like, or that BKV and Staples were doing something different.

They are definitely sticking with the formula though. I just find the book kind of juvenile. There’s a lot about it that screams well-structured sci-fi setting, and then there are moments like this (pictured above) where it’s almost like an actor breaking the 4th wall or breaking the character that they’re playing to talk to the audience about something wholly unrelated to the plot or the setting. The book uses the wrong types of things to ground its story in our reality. Lines like “ladies your age are usually wallpapered with faded unicorns” is something I imagine my nephew would say when he’s older, like 20 years from now. But, this series doesn’t take a “this happens in the future here on Earth” approach, instead it has always relied on the fanciful science fantasy -slash- Star Wars trick of “a long, long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.

And I love that approach! I wish that the book stayed there and didn’t waffle between attitudes, and maybe even took itself more seriously. If nothing else, even though it isn’t for me, it’s a book that I continue to come back to because so many people do enjoy it and I feel that it’s presence has a worthy place to play in the grand scheme of comics now and in the future.

I’m sort or waiting until the second issue comes out before I read through Wonder Girl Trial of the Amazons. But, the artwork is fucking amazing! I’ve flipped through this issue a few times, so I have basic idea of what’s going on in the story. It’s one of the most beautiful books that I’ve seen this year, or maybe even in the past couple of years. I had to pick it up. Honestly, DC has really been doing a good job with its artist recently, and that hasn’t always been the case. There are some solid artists out there now that want to work with DC, so it isn’t just that DC hasn’t been able to secure talent, but it’s also that you have artists now that are passionate about the stories that DC wants to tell.

Cowboy Bebop has also been a real hidden gem (IMHO). I personally really liked the Netflix adaptation. I had my reservations, I didn’t want a live action Cowboy Bebop to happen at all. But! I did like some of the decisions they made early on in marketing the show, and it seemed like there was definitely a sincere reverence for the original work. So I watched it, and I loved it. I thought they did a great job paying homage to the original while also still doing something new and unique with the property, but still delivering that same FEEL. The emotion and the aesthetic that drives that emotion is really what makes Cowboy Bebop such a compelling anime to watch. For Netflix to be able to deliver that in live action form is actually pretty impressive.

I’ve never heard of Titan Comics, however, because of the fact that Netflix seemed to nail it, I had faith that whoever chose Titan Comics to do the comicbook adaptation of Cowboy Bebop would also do just as good of a job… Well, the first issue is kind of a mix bag. Though, it was enough to intrigue me to pick up the second issue. Honestly, I don’t think it’s going to last all that long anyway, so I figure if I just keep buying it, I’ll have something rare on my hands. Though, I do think it’s actually worth it to read and enjoy that way as well.

I kind of dig the artwork, it has a very indie feel to it, and I don’t know how in the hell Titan Comics scored the licensing rights, but they seem to be the major competitor for IDW and Boom right now. Those two studios have scored some serious IP licensed stuff, and they’ve both done a good job with turning those into entertaining reads… The Transformers and Back to the Future cross-over comes to mind. And BOOM! has been killing it with Power Rangers.

The one book that I have really enjoyed from BOOM though, has been “We Only Find Them When They’re Dead.” Al Ewing did quite a fabulous job with the Empyre Marvel crossover storyline–thrusting the Avengers and the Fantastic Four into a Marvel Cosmic event, so I trust him when it comes to space, and this title does not disappoint. I’m pretty sure that I’m entirely up to date with this book… At least in terms of actually owning all of the floppies, I have not, however, actually sat and read through all of them. It’s a story that immediately grabbed me, but I’ve been waiting for when I have a moment to just indulge and run through all the issues back to back. You may have difficulty finding the first issue, but you may be able to find others. I’d say it’s worth reading even if you can’t jump right in on issue no. 1. The story really doesn’t start to pick up until issue no. 3 anyway, and I don’t think spec buyers are trying to hold on to every single issue of this series. The trade collecting issues #1-5 is available for $10 though, and I would highly recommend it.

Hard to find good panels to convey the world and universe and the art, without giving away bits of the story. Overall it’s quite an interesting take on the space opera genre, and it makes for interesting speculative fiction. The premise is easy enough to grasp; the physical bodies of “gods” are being harvested… It’s a bit like if humanity were a bunch of carrion beetles or some other insect living off of decomposing, much larger, life forms… Except the decomposing large life forms are preserved by the vacuum of space. Now though, we’re #10 issues deep and it has really started to get into the political aspects of the universe, and I’m all on board.

Hints for next month, I may talk a bit about or show off some panels from STRANGE, the book that is basically the Doctor Strange book where Stephen is dead… Not as bad as you might think, and there are some interesting ideas in there. In addition, I’ve been filling out my back issues of Dr. Strange (the 1974 run) as well as a bunch of issues I’ve been missing from Spawn. So I might actually just do a post about really old issues. We’ll see.