What Now? Jeff Humblebrags for His Next Assignment….

June 14, 2015

Appleseed

This week finds me with a very weird problem on my hands.  As you know if you follow me at this space, every week I give some capsule reviews of what I’ve been reading the previous week.  However, for whatever reason, the last seven days have found me reading no comics except the batch of Lee/Kirby Fantastic Four books we just covered for the latest Baxter Building (which will be colliding with your ears in the next day or two).  And that’s pretty much it?  Seriously, I read a small chunk of stuff just the other day that hopefully will become a larger thing but…I really don’t have anything to say about it now.

This leaves me with nothing to really talk about?  And the insane thing about that is I’ve got great comics coming out my ears, just tons of stuff I’ve been stockpiling (that’s what we hoarders call it: “stockpiling”) I literally don’t know what to read next.

Which brings me to, really, this crazy plan:  I’ll describe the stuff I have sitting around and you tell me what I should read next.  Totally great, right?  (Unless nobody suggests anything, thus rendering me contractually illiterate.)

So here’s what’s hanging around.

Starlord

Star-Lord: Guardian of the Galaxy

The Sitch:  I checked this out of the public library and, no joke, it’s been due back for over a month.  After I renewed it twice.  And still have yet to read it.  I’m totally an awful person, and I actually feel a certain mixture of relief and dread about confessing this here.  On the one hand, I can completely come clean, which hopefully will get me off my ass and either read and return the book, or just return it.

The Stuff:  Clearly, this is a Marvel collection designed to cash in on the rampant success of the film, and it collects all the early Star-Lord stories from his first apperance in Marvel Preview #4 up to a three issue miniseries from the early ’90s.  that makes this book awesome, either in an ironic way or the just plain awesome way.  It’s ironic-awesome because someone who does make it a point to get this because they’re a big fan of the movie and want to know more about that smart-ass Star-Lord guy will undoubtedly be delighted to encounter this humorless, quasi-prickish space opera hero who looks like a duck when he wears his helmet. I read Legendary Star-Lord #3 on Marvel Unlimited the other day and whatever else you can say about it, that dude sounds and looks like the Chris Pratt Star-Lord (so much so, it felt like I was reading a comic book where they’d licensed the property rather than a comic book property owned by the publisher.  Kinda weird).

But for people like me, this collection is genuinely awesome because it has the Earl Norem cover from Marvel Super-Special #10 which I had as a kid, as well as material by dudes like Steve Englehart, Chris Claremont, John Byrne, Gene Colan, Tom Sutton, and the art team of Bill Sienkiewicz and Bob McLeod (whaaa?) that I have never read.

That was enough to get me to check it out.  But has it been enough to get me to read it?  Nnnnnnnope.

Pluses: I get to return this to library and not feel like it totally wasted everyone’s time.

Minuses:  What if I start liking that duck helmet?

Metabarons2_original_defaultbody

The Metabarons

The Sitch: Humanoids recently published this ginormous hardcover collecting the complete first “season” of the science fiction epic by Alejandro Jodorowsky and Juan Gimenez.  They don’t specify what issues or other collections said season might comprise, but it’s 536 pages so clearly that’s more like Oregon autumn than like Oregon summer.

The Stuff:  I read at least a chunk of this material in the early Aughts when Humanoids was publishing this stuff monthly (before DC licensed it and blew everything to hell) and I dug it: it’s kind of like an European version of New Gods, mythological space opera, but since it’s done by Jodorowsky, it’s less of a grand Manichean opera and (as I remember it) a Freud-infused fantasia, where each Metabaron achieves a level of individuality and mastery only by overcoming the status quo set in place by their heroic parent and in turn sets in place a new status quo for their kin to overthrow in turn.  The great thing about Jodorowsky is how he approaches such potentially complex material with a directness that borders on the hyper-absurd. It’s great stuff but a little of it goes a long way (or at least was great in monthly chunks) and here I worry that here there is so much of it that it’ll go a comparatively short way.  And truth be told, Jodo’s film work is now super-available, so it might be more entertaining and enlightening just to pop in the DVD of The Holy Mountain again.

Pluses:  I get to read the adventures of a dude more-than-aptly-named “Steelhead.”

Minuses:  What if by mastering this material, I end up inspiring revolution at the hands of an internet comic critic considered to be my own metaphorical offspring?

Carter Family book-cover

The Carter Family: Don’t Forget This Song

The Sitch:  My friend John loaned this to me, no joke, two or three years ago?  We are both fans of Mr. David Lasky, whose early issues of his self-published Boom Boom blew our minds, and John quite liked this graphic novel by Lasky and Frank M. Young portraying the life and times of the first superstar group of country music.  John and I see each other at least once a week for lunch and I don’t even know if he even remembers I have this, and I’m terrified to bring it up because I don’t want to admit I still haven’t gotten around to reading it.

The Stuff:  Well, as mentioned above, it’s a biography of the Carter Family, which doesn’t mean much to me other than, whenever I think about this book, I always think about Reese Witherspoon playing June Carter in Walk The Line and how that movie was, really, pretty god-damned overrated.  In fact, between The Wolverine, Walk The Line, 3:10 to Yuma, Identity, and Girl, Interrupted, I’m unsure if there’s a director as committed to the stultifying as James Mangold.  I never saw Knight & Day but learning now that he was the director, I no longer regret it.

Pluses:  I can return this book to John!  Who either will go “oh, that’s where it was!” or “Oh no, I don’t need this back.  It was a gift,” thus rendering my intermittent anxiety about having this all the more absurd.

Minuses:  What if I get really into early country music, and start walking around wearing vests and bowties and an R. Crumb hat and waiting for someone to mention Mumford & Sons or Taylor Swift so I can start lecturing them about the “real” country music?  I’m trying to draw my douche line at my stupid beard.

Dream Fossil

Dream Fossil: The Complete Stories of Satoshi Kon

The Sitch:  As podcast listeners may remember, I quite dug Kon’s Opus which was a recommended read by Whatnaut Eric Rupe.  And maybe no more than a month after that discussion here comes this lovely looking book published by Vertical (who has an excellent rack record when it comes to publishing lovely looking books) collecting all of Kon’s short work from the mid- to late-80s.  It’s 414 or so pages, and much, much more portable than The Metabarons.

The Stuff:  Dunno.  Haven’t done anything with it since I bought it, other than move it from location to location on the credenza where I keep my recent comic stuff. But one thing that is pretty interesting to note on a flip-through is how, since these are short stories, dense the pages look: the full page shot of something resonant looks really absent here.  Instead, Kon returns again and again to a tight eight panel spread:  three panels on the top tier, two panels on the center tier, and three panels on the tier, with a frequent seven panel variation where a single panel (sometimes a reaction shot) takes up the center tier. I can’t remember if this is something I read or something Mark Waid actually told me in person, but I remember he advised keeping an odd number of panels on the page, usually five or seven, because it gave the artist a lot of freedom to lay out the page in ways that kept things feeling fresh.  But Kon really does a lot with eight panels, and it allows him to play around with the density of action, usually with the two panel tier being an opportunity for a breath or even a reversal before the action picks up again.  Looks pretty fresh to me!

Pluses:  Due to his untimely death, Kon has a comparatively small body of work.  I could become well-read on his work!

Minuses:  These days, I feel like I’m in to slice-of-life manga like Soredemo Machi wa Mawatteiru or Yotsuba&! or Sun-Ken Rock.

Barbarella

Barbarella and The Wrath Of The Minute-Eater

The Sitch:  I was amped when this smaller edition came out from Humanoids earlier this year.  I haven’t been able to get into those super-sized artist editions that everyone with any taste has been digging so much, namely because I have no place to store them: we could pretty much partition off our living room with two of them.  So yeah, this much-smaller-but-still-a-hardcover edition is definitely more my size, although all it’s been doing for several months is looking kind of lonely on my shelf until it was joined by The Metabarons.

The Stuff:  I feel like most of us are familiar with the movie which, albeit pretty damn tongue-in-cheek, appears to be a mostly faithful adaptation of this strip by Jean-Claude Forest. So I don’t know if you really need me to repeat the whole “she’s a space adventurer who spends a lot of time naked in the kind of fantasy settings Edgar Rice Burroughs used to create except even less scientifically sound” premise (although I should point out that from the few pages  I read, the Barbarella of the comics is much more of a deliberate sensualist than the quasi-naive thing Jane Fonda’s Barbarella had going on).  A big deal was made about the translation being by Kelly Sue DeConnick and I thought it was pretty great that was being used as a selling point for the book.

In fact, I would’ve loved an essay by DeConnick here about the challenge of adapting  the work for a modern audience. Instead, there’s a short historical essay impeccably written by Paul Gravett and an even shorter “introduction” by Nicolas Winding Refn that reads like it was dictated into his iPhone while in the drive-through of an In & Out before receiving a more pressing phone call.

Related Fun Fact That Has Nothing To Do With Duran Duran:  If I might namedrop even more outrageously than I did above, I ended up having drinks with Brian K. Vaughan and Ian Brill once (at least) a few years ago (and also Brian Hibbs and Garth Ennis, but those two are thick as thieves and pretty much stranded BKV with Brill and me) and Mr. Vaughan mentioned one of his possible gigs at the time was a screenplay for Barbarella, the option for which someone in Hollywood had clearly paid too much for, and this was at a time when Scarlett Johansson was apparently a name being bandied about. Imagine that, won’t you?  Barbarella, starring Scarlet Johannson in a screenplay written by Brian K. Vaughan. I wonder what the Metacritic scores were in the universe next door where that one got made.

(And for bonus points, compare/contrast Forest’s extremely science-light/fantasy rich setting with Saga, the work that Vaughan did go on to create a few years later. Until typing this anecdote out just now, it never occurred to me to consider the possible influence of the former on the latter and yet it seems non-insubstantial, right?

Pluses:  Saga-influence aside, Barbarella seems like a pretty light read.

Minuses: What if I really like it? It’s not like Barbarella books are growing on trees.

Hitman

The Professor and Mary Ann

Humiliatingly enough, I had at least six more options, five of which were digital (of which I always like the convenience, plus it’s so damn easy to screenshot), but I totally much ran out of space/time to write them up:

  • Solanin by Inio Asano, which apparently is back in print or at least CE was able to get from its distributors again;
  • The four volumes of Shirow Masamune’s Appleseed (as well as Appleseed: Hypernotes) which I bought on the Dark Horse digital app the last time they did a big sale;
  • The remaing twenty-plus issues I need to read of Garth Ennis’ Punisher MAX run which I bought from Comixology;
  • The first forty issues of Hitman, also by Garth Ennis and also on Comixology;
  • The two volumes of Ludwig by Osamu Tezuka which I have digital copies of thanks to backing the Kickstarter;
  • Or, on the Marvel Unlimited app, The Marv Wolfman/Gene Colan run on Tomb of Dracula, of which I’ve read embarassingly little.

So.  What do you think?  Of the above, what should I read? And for bonus points, what are you the most incredulous about me having left unread until now?

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28 comments on “What Now? Jeff Humblebrags for His Next Assignment….

  1. Eric Rupe Jun 14, 2015

    HA! I also have Dream Fossil in my to read pile so that gets my vote. If you are also looking for more of Kon’s stuff Vertical also licensed Tropic of the Sea, which he wrote and drew, and Dark Horse licensed Seraphim, which he drew and Mamoru Oshii(Ghost in the Shell/Patlabor) wrote. Tropic is a complete work while Seraphim isn’t. The only other work I can find of his is an adaption of a movie he worked on with Katsuhiro Otomo(Akira) but I doubt it will ever be licensed.

    I’d tentatively suggest Solanin. I read that soon after I got out of college and didn’t know what I wanted to with my life and it fits that mind set/time of life perfectly so it might not be for everyone. I still think it’s good regardless. Vertical is also releasing his A Girl on the Shore next year if you like Inio’s stuff and want more.

    Also, I’d like to hear you talk about Metabarons because I tried that and Incal and couldn’t get into either one of them.

    Finally, just return Starlord to the library. If it’s a month overdue after renewing twice you clearly don’t want to read it.

    • Jeff Lester Jun 14, 2015

      Your vote(s) are duly noted (and as I wrote the post, I found myself wondering if you’d show up with exactly this suggestion).

      Solanin seems like it might be more to my taste these days what with the slice of life stuff, but then again (a) I did really dig Opus; and (b) I just read ten chapters of Inuyashiki on Crunchyroll, which is pretty much like a cross between Kurosawa’s Ikiru and Miller and Darrow’s Hard Boiled. So who knows with me, really?

      And thanks for the Starlord advice. It of course is completely sensible and I will probably only ignore for it a little while.

  2. I vote for Solanin, but thats many because I have a friend who mentioned Asano in an email recently and I want to steal your witty observations to use the next time I meet up with him for coffee.

    If you want to ignore this vote I understand.

    • *mainly because

      Damn these oaf hands.

    • Jeff Lester Jun 15, 2015

      Ha! No, that counts as an actual vote, Dave. Solanin isn’t getting quite as many votes (probably because I didn’t give it the full write-up) but it’s also the book I’ve had for the shortest period of time, so it’s currently *super*-tempting.

  3. Matt for Hire Jun 15, 2015

    Oh, gosssshh, this is tough. I’ve got four votes, in order of “when I saw them in your post”. (Also, considering I’m still laying out 4 votes, I’m also as terrible at making decisions for other people as I am for myself.)

    1. The Metabarons. It’s…I mean, you’ve read at least half of it, but it’s worth reading all the way through. There’s a great subversion of the framing sequence that occurs at the 3/4 mark (possibly even the 4/5 mark) that makes finishing it worth it, and man, Gimenez’s art is gorgeous. I dunno why what you’ve got is called the first season…it should be the entire story. Bonus points: this comic, as grim as it is, made me happy while I was getting fired from an awful job. Yay comics!

    2. The rest of Punisher MAX. You only got through Barracuda, right? Some of the even better stuff comes up in here. The series gets suuuuuuper-dark, like even darker than it was before (and when you’re getting even darker than a story about sex slavery, you’re really saying something). Some of that darkness comes from visceral shocks (okay, maybe a lot of it), but it’s still some excellent comics.

    3. Hitman. Oh, gosh, Hitman. I honestly think Hitman’s probably my favorite Garth Ennis comic. More than War Stories, more than Preacher, more than Punisher. It does that whole trademark subversion/embrace of tropes that Ennis excels at, moreso than pretty much anything else (Tommy’s such a cool character! In a lot of ways, you’d hope to have his loyalty and love of his friends and everything, but he’s also so profoundly damaged that you wouldn’t, in a million years, want to be him). Also, some of it’s really hilarious. Zombie Night at the Gotham Aquarium is comedy gold, and the two-part No Man’s Land tie-in that has vampires is…man, the jokes might be dated, but no moreso than Anne Rice is.

    4. Tomb of Dracula. AKA “I can’t believe you haven’t read this”. Such an insanely fun and weird comic. Colan’s art is great, and I have a strong affection for protagonists like Blade and Hannibal King (also: Hannibal King is just such a fantastic name for a character).

    BONUS: If you haven’t already, read this last week’s Captain America & the Mighty Avengers #9. Al Ewing’s sendoff for the book is…man. I’m man enough to admit that I cried during the call center scene, and the concluding scene is simultaneously hopeful and heartbreaking. (Also: in terms of theme, it’s pretty much a perfect Superman comic, and somebody should get Mr. Ewing onto those books posthaste). Definitely check it out at some point.

  4. I’d say Appleseed, because I don’t think there’s been much writing done about it from the western comics press.

    • LAndrew Jun 15, 2015

      I’ll second Appleseed. I’d be interested to hear what you made of it.

      • Jeff Lester Jun 15, 2015

        Yeah, I’m kinda curious if it’ll be my thing and it’d be fun going into it cold without much info. Thanks!

    • Jeff Lester Jun 15, 2015

      Huh, that’s interesting because I purchased this feeling like I was the last dude in North America to have read it. I feel like Shirow is all over Tumblr? But maybe that’s just because I have a really weird dashboard. Either way, thanks for the vote!

  5. Kevin Jun 15, 2015

    Is it a dick move to vote for more than one thing? How about if I prioritize them?
    1. Star-Lord: I’d be interested to hear your take, because I grabbed it (or maybe another similar compilation) on Comixology awhile back, based on seeming to like a one-shot story I read in Marvel Spotlight or somesuch as a kid, and a hunger for good space-opera comics.
    2. The Metabarons: For the latter reason, I’d also be interested to hear if this is any good.
    3. Tomb of Dracula: On my Marvel Unlimited “I should really get around to checking this out one day” list.
    4. Punisher MAX, just because.

    • Jeff Lester Jun 15, 2015

      The prioritization works great, Kevin, and actually looks a lot to the way I’d be thinking if I wasn’t kind of a manga jones these days. Thanks!

  6. Scott Ashworth Jun 15, 2015

    That Carter Family book is great.

    Read it the way you do Hip-Hop Family Tree, with YouTube open to find the music as it’s discussed in the book.

    • Jeff Lester Jun 15, 2015

      You know, it’s funny you say that, Scott, because afterward as I was cleaning up, there were some books on the shelf I realized I forgot to mention and Hip-Hop Family Tree Vols. 1 and 2 were two of them. (I made it about halfway through Vol. 1 and adored it but put down for some reason and didn’t come back to it.)

      But that’s a great tip, no matter which book I end up using it on. Thanks!

  7. Karl Ruben Jun 15, 2015

    Well, I love Hitman, but have no idea how it would read to someone who didn’t form a sentimental attachment to it at an impressionable age (15-20 for me). So that could make for an interesting read.

    Since everybody is doing it, here’s my tiered vote:

    1. Carter Family (it’s the one I’m most interested in, which, given that it’s the one non-genre comic on the list probably means I’m a grown-up now, or something)
    2. Star-Lord (I wasn’t at all interested until that last bit about the murderer’s row of creators who worked on it. Also, duck-helmet)
    3. Appleseed (Alin R above makes a brief, but solid point)

    • Jeff Lester Jun 16, 2015

      Thanks for your votes, Karl. I think you make a good point about Hitman. I was older but still very impressionable. I do wonder how it’ll read considering the one time I tried to re-read Preacher it didn’t work as nearly as well for me.

  8. Mike Loughlin Jun 15, 2015

    1. Starlord, but only because it’s a library book and I feel guilt by proxy. I honestly don’t care about the contents. Hmm, maybe this vote shouldn’t count…

    1. … I can’t decide between two of my favorite comics, Hitman and Tomb of Dracula. Hitman is still the best Ennis comic because it balances fun and manly sentiment BUT you really have to read it to the end for the full impact. I really like hearing you guys talk about Bronze Age comics BUT if you’re less than laudatory toward ToD I might be unreasonably sad but that’s ridiculous because all right-thinking people realize Gene Colan and Tom Palmer are the perfect art team so how could you say anything bad about it? Silly me.

    1. A teenager from my kids’ after school program (a.k.a. babysitting for working parents who can’t get home in time to pick up their kids) heard me say I don’t like country music and, like, couldn’t believe it. I mentioned that I liked Johnny Cash, Hank Williams I, Loretta Lynn, Emmylou Harris, etc. just fine but thought current radio country was soulless, repetitive, and bland (I said it much nicer in real life). And I didn’t even read The Carter Family! Imagine how douchy I could have been if I had!

    • Jeff Lester Jun 16, 2015

      This is a great reply, Mike, despite the fact that I am clearly a terrible person who implied you were a douche when it came to country music. Thank you for your votes!

      • Mike Loughlin Jun 17, 2015

        Oh, I knew I was being a douche as I was being a douche 🙂

  9. Michael C. Jun 16, 2015

    First of all, reading how many comics and collections you have yet to read, while they stare at you lonely and forsaken on the shelf, reminds me of my current comics and book reading situation. I have comics, graphic novels, and good ol’ prose novels and essay collections scattered about the house so that every time I turn a corner in our tiny house I see yet another reminder of something(s) I have purchased and not yet read. Then I got an iPad recently and started loading up digital comics on that thing and, well, now every time I fire up the Comixology or Marvel Unlimited apps I have more reminders of stuff that need be read!

    So, I’m the last person to tell you what to prioritize to read, because I’m having so much trouble doing it for my own darn self. But let’s give it a go anyway. My recommendations for what you need to read, followed by my reasons why:

    1. The Star-Lord collection. I bought this after seeing Guardians of the Galaxy last year on some insane cosmic high and realizing that it contained stories by all of the masters you mentioned above WHICH I HAD NEVER READ. Well, almost a year later and I’ve still not read many of them. I did however read some of the Byrne-drawn stuff a few months ago and it was damn fun ’70s Marvel Cosmic. But if you read it soon then you can cover it on here and it might prompt me to finish the whole damn thing.

    2. Tomb of Dracula. I too have those issues in my library on the MU app and even though I’m bummed they don’t have the entire run on there I”m excited to read what they do have. I bought about 5-10 back issues of Tomb when I was a kid in the late ’80s and I loved the hell out of them. To this day, very few comics have a more special place in my heart than those random issues of Tomb. So I’ve wanted to read more of this run ever since but missed the sporadic trades Marvel’s released over the years (most of which appear to be out of print and going for crazy prices). So digital is the way to go here.

    3. Barbarella. I’ve been curious about this one since I read about it earlier this year. It seems like a hoot.

    4. Punisher MAX. I’m tempted to start diving into Punisher comics on Marvel Unlimited soon. The only Punisher I’ve ever read was when he guested in other peoples’ books – namely Daredevil. I may have read an issue here or there of his main series, but not much. So I’m curious to read some good Punisher stories and I hear the Ennis run is among the best.

    5. Hitman. I know nothing about this series other than that it has a cult fanbase that went wild when it appeared on last week’s DC Comixology sale. I didn’t jump on it though, but good for you doing so. I instead bought the first 6 issues of the ’80s Omega Men run – and actually read them all, already! – plus issues 29-40 of Batman and Robin from Tomasi and Gleason. I’ve just started that run and wow it’s a lot of fun. Like a modern Brave and the Bold. It just goes to show you that not everything from the New 52 was dreck. There were some good DC titles over the last few years, just not many.

    Okay, I’m done. Now I’ll think about the books you have to read that I want to read also, and likely add those to my long list of unread titles in the near future also!

    • Jeff Lester Jun 16, 2015

      Glad to hear you picked up those Batman & Robin issues, Michael: as you know, I went the other way but I was *very* tempted to get those on digital since they look so dang pretty. (And you’re right, they’re a lot of fun.)

      Great list and great reasons: we’ll see if I end piquing your interest with whatever I do read. As they say on TV, “I will take it under advisement!”

      • Michael C. Jun 16, 2015

        Jeff, you’re so right, those Batman & Robin issues sure are pretty. Patrick Gleason is an artist I tend to forget about but every time I see his art I marvel at it. You might like to know that the Aquaman Sub Diego run, which he pencilled, is being released in an affordable trader paperback this summer. I own the issues might spring for the trade; it’s a great story with gorgeous Gleason art. So, ya know, I can add one more book to the pile to read!

        • Michael C. Jun 16, 2015

          Oh! Plus Sub Diego features Alan Davis covers!! Who am I kidding, it’s a must buy. Okay, I’m done now, really.

        • Jeff Lester Jun 16, 2015

          You know, I had a few of those Sub Diego issues and remembering thinking the art was nice and now I know why. I really didn’t track Gleason at all before B&R. thanks for the tip!

  10. Miguel Corti Jun 18, 2015

    Hey, Jeff. You’ve probably made your decision by now, but I’ll throw in a few suggestions into the hat in case you’ve discovered a secret stash of unused time. (If you do have such a stash, would you mind sharing?)

    For me, getting through the unread stuff is dependent on my mood, so my suggestions are based around your potential mood at the time you sit down to read.

    1. Metabarons: What you have should be the complete collection, but Jodorowsky might be planning a new series and Huminoids is hedging its bets. I had this one sitting around for awhile myself, until I watched “Jodorowsky’s Dune.” Watching that really made me want to dig into the man’s mind a little more, and, wow, this books is amazing for that. It essentially is the story he couldn’t tell with “Dune.” The cyclical nature of the story means it could feel repetitive if you try to give it a go all at once. Me, I savored it slowly over two weeks, because the art was so damn gorgeous and luscious. After every read I wanted to sit and contemplate it. So, if you’re in the mood for that, this is the book. I don’t recommend it if you’re looking to just burn through something.

    2. Punisher Max: C’mon, you could blow through these. I imagine after a stressful week of work when you haven’t yet had the time to recharge yourself but you still want to be engaged by your entertainment, this could fit the bill. 20 issues ain’t no small amount, but with Ennis it’ll feel breezy (artist dependent, of course; I forget who drew those issues). A good Friday-night read in my book when you’re too tired to do anything else.

    3. Solanin: Definitely the Goldilocks selection on the list. Not too short, not too long. It’s just the right amount of manga for a Sunday afternoon (or whatever afternoon you have off from work). I did find it a little hard to get into at first, but that was probably more my fault than the book’s. Since you’ve read Asano’s “Holograph” already, you might get a kick out the compare-contrast game, if that’s the sort of mood you’re in.

    4. Starlord or Dracula or Appleseed: I can’t recommend one over the other because they’re all on the same level for me when it comes to my reading mood. First, Starlord is going to be an albatross on your reading list until you get it back to the library. Start reading it before you go to the library and then sit in the library and finish it and relish returning it at the counter. Don’t let your commitment to the San Francisco library system interfere with your reading pleasure. That said, the collection is so eclectic that it may be hard to build momentum, much like any anthology collection. I feel there would be a lot of stop and go as I force my brain to wrap around a new art and storytelling style, even a narrative completely divorced from the one I just finished. Second, Dracula, but only because I know you got a sweet spot for those ’70s Marvel comics. I have to be in the right mood to deal with unnecessary text boxes and expositional dialogue, but Gene Colan could keep me interested, like Kirby does with a Stan Lee penned tale. You just have to hope Wolfman didn’t bury Colan’s art in word balloons. My patience for that wears thin, but as someone who made it through Night Nurse, you might be better positioned, mentally and spiritually, for a knock-down fight with ToD. Finally, Appleseed. Man… This one is so genre-y, I don’t know if you’ll be in the mood for it. It’d be like trying to watch “The Walking Dead” when all you want is some dumb sitcom to snigger at while you fold laundry. What I’m saying is if you’re not into that ’80s style manga with all the heavy-handed sci-fi tropes and mechs that come with it, you’re not gonna feel like reading it, making it a complete drag.

    Please note that I’m not trashing Appleseed or anything else on your list. My suggestions were based soley on what state of mind you might be in when you crack them open independent of their actual quality. Good luck with your embarrassment of riches! I’m sure all the podcast listeners or readers of this site will benefit no matter what your final choice.

    • Jeff Lester Jun 20, 2015

      Miguel: as always, you are the tangy barbecue sauce of reason to my liberal seasoning of craziness. These are all excellent points and observations. (I really wanted to point out the comparisons between Metabaraons and Dune but I wasn’t sure how well they mapped.)

      You make a great point about Starlord–I feel like I get exhausted by the variations in style just flipping through the damn thing. But as you and many other fine commentators have pointed out, I should get the damn thing read and off my back already.

      As you point out, ’70s Marvel is really my sweet spot and in the past all that verbiage has been more or less invisible to me. But I think reading those 300 issues of Avengers last year has made me (relatively) more hyper-sensitive to the stuff. To me, a guy like Roy Thomas is at least trying to weld his own obsessions into the Stan Lee house style (which can make his pages even more cluttered) but I feel like I’ve lost a lot of patience for dudes like Wein and Wolfman, who just seem to overwrite for the sake of overwriting. But then again, if anything ought to win me over to Wolfman, it should be ToD which is widely considered to be the best things he’s ever done. So I guess we’ll see.

      As always, thanks for commenting!

  11. daustin Jun 18, 2015

    I’ve watched the Fonda Barbarella more times than it warrants, but I found the first volume of the reprinted Forrest comic to be a disappointment. Not that it’s bad, but it was one of those things that I more appreciated than enjoyed. One volume was enough for me to get the flavor. If it gets better, please let me know.

    As for Tomb of Dracula, it’s pretty entertaining with lots of great side characters, although somewhat repetitive, with terrific Colan art. If it affects your choice, Marvel just posted the last 20 issues or so of the run, which I now need to check out (I only got up to around 57 or so previously before it cut out).

    Jodorowsky’s stuff is always nuts, though the lack of interesting characters makes it hard to engage at more than an intellectual level. Just read his Megalex and Technopriests after the Comixology sales – didn’t love either. I wish I could have read them on a long airplane ride I took last weekend, but too many boobs. Did get to read both the recent Wilds’ End (cracking stuff) and the old Timothy Truman Hawkworld mini (holy cow that was grim).

    • Jeff Lester Jun 20, 2015

      Thanks for the input, d! Although now I feel like I really want to re-read that Hawkworld mini above all else. I came *this* close to buying it during the sale but held off since I’d already overspent. Really wish they’d paced that sale out a little more evenly over the whole month…