Saturday, September 1, 2018

Comics Lust 9/1/2018

Welcome back, Donist World Denizens! For those of you new to our site, I’m Donist, and I am joined by Donist World CFO the Reverse Obie* (my friends’ Boston terrier whose fur recently swapped colors) and by our marketing director/administrative assistant/party planner/four-day tranquility hound Tulip (my dog, Reverse Obie’s sister). Greetings, Denizens. We have a four-day weekend ahead of us and have to get running to…to…to do nothing. Nothing?! Yes, nothing! No commitments, no travel, and nowhere to be is simply glorious. Because of this, Tulip, Reverse Obie, and I are scheduling up some fresh obligation: get tacos at Corazón Cocina, beer at The Garden, comics reading, movie watching, and maybe a stressfree walk around the neighborhood or something. Yes, indeed, the only obligation is to relax and enjoy life for a change. We’re going to…oh, no…that’s the doorbell. No one move, no one make a sound. Hopefully, whoever it is will go away. Anyhow, keep cool, be kind to each other, mind your health and sanity, eat some tacos, keep your pets safe, cherish the ones you love, hydrate, and read some great comics. Thank you for reading!

*Obie, through his dabbling in arcane magiks mixed with ancient corrupt business practices, has had not just the colors of his fur switched, but a complete overhaul of his work ethic as well…I think I’m kinda okay with the mishap.

***Possible Spoilers Below***

Comics Lust

Everythinged…The Writer-Artist: Superhero Comics (Part 2)

Most comic book creators either write or they draw, but when you find someone who can do both, well…that’s something worth celebrating. Those writer-artists are what I call everythingers—the comic book equivalent of a unicorn— and they are a rarity. Many everythingers are found in the realm of the indie comics scene, but they occasionally find their way in the more mainstream comic offerings as they make their mark on the world of superheroes. Of course, no superhero comic written and drawn by the same individual is greater than the industry-altering and defining Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, but everyone should already be familiar with this seminal work (if not, get out there, buy it, and read it immediately) so I’m not going to retread that well-covered ground. What I am going to bring to your attention are some of the not-as-explosively-successful superhero comics stemming from the writing and illustrating of one person.

Alpha Flight

(Everythinged by John Byrne, originally published in 1983 by Marvel Comics)
Hot dang, Denizens, My brother and I were so amped for this comic when it first debuted in the early ’80s that we snatched it up the day it appeared on the new release table at Andromeda Bookstore (RIP, good buddy) and stuck around for a good long while afterward. We were huge fans of The Uncanny X-Men and the issues that introduced the various members of the Canadian group Alpha Flight—especially where they teamed up against the Wendigo in issue #140—were among some of our favorites. So, when the bold, yellow cover showing Vindicator, Sasquatch, Snowbird, Puck, Northstar, Aurora, Shaman, and Marrina pushing aside Marvel’s stable of heavy-hitter superheroes, we knew we had a book we could not pass up. It was exciting to get in on the ground floor of something exciting from an artist we already knew and adored, but then to find out he could build new worlds and write a compelling as hell series sealed the deal. Within the pages, there were heroes, monsters, myth and magic, villains, allies, and adventure abound. We were even teased with other divisions within the Canadian government program: Beta Flight and Omega Flight which had us salivating for more. Whether you read this series back in the day or you recently read one of the collections, the Byrne issues more than stand up to the test of time as some truly great comics. Hey, there’s even an Omnibus if you don’t want to deal with the trades.

Fantastic Four

(Everythinged by John Byrne, originally published in 1981 by Marvel Comics)
Although Byrne had illustrated many issues of Fantastic Four, issues I still love to this day, it wasn’t until 1981 that he took up both scripting and illustrating on what would become a much-lauded five-year run. It is also a run for which I have far too many gaps. You see, this was before I had discovered my first LCS and my comic buying was limited to whatever I found on the newsstands and spinner racks at the grocery store. So, yeah, there were a lot of holes in my FF reading; something I still need to fix in the near future. That said, the few issues I did have were tremendous. I actually find myself getting pumped just thinking about the Galactus/Terrax issues and the time Reed, Sue, Ben, and Johnny fought the Shiar Imperial Guard and…and I think I need to remedy this reading gap right now! An updated Omnibus comes out in September and if you search you can find eight volumes of the Fantastic Four Visionaries: John Byrne lurking out in the wild. Best snatch ’em up before I do.

The Sensational She-Hulk

(Everythinged by John Byrne, originally published in 1985 and then 1989 by Marvel Comics)
You should already be well aware of my love of the Marvel Graphic Novel line of oversized, standalone tales that rocked my world in the early ’80s, and The Sensational She-Hulk is one that I…never picked up. I know, I know, but we can’t buy and read all the books, can we? Well, I guess we can certainly try and I intend to pick this up in the very new future. I also intend to pick up the Byrne everythinged issues of the series that popped up four years later. Hey, Jennifer Walters, the She-Hulk, figured prominently in Byrne’s historic FF run and the fact that he gave her a graphic novel and bunch of issues in her own series says there must be some exciting She-Hulk stories to tell. I can’t wait to dive in with the two trades.

Namor the Sub-Mariner

(Everythinged by John Byrne, originally published in 1990 by Marvel Comics)
Another one that I sadly did not pick up on the regular was Byrne’s run on Namor the Sub-Mariner. This series saw the misunderstood and complicated undersea dweller portrayed as an environmental hero seeking to protect the ocean from the perils of pollution by stopping the offending companies in the best way possible: from the boardroom of his own company, Oracle. Don’t let this trick you into thinking Namor won’t strip off the suit and tie in favor of his green-scaled Speedo because when he’s not toiling over mission statements, he’s out punching fools in the face and riding the supervillain known as the Griffin. There’s also some craziness involving Iron Fist who has supposedly been resurrected—wait, he died?! Just kidding, I knew that—that I am very interested in checking out. Byrne, the Sub-Mariner (one of my favorite anti-heroes), Iron Fist (one of my favorite superheroes), the Griffin, fighting pollution and corporate greed? I’m in 100%! You can get these issues in two Namor Visionaries: John Byrne volumes.

The Man of Steel

(Everythinged by John Byrne, originally published in 1986 by DC Comics)
Five everythinged superhero comics by Byrne?! Yup, you bet your bottom dollar. At least this one is from a publisher other than Marvel, and what a comic it is. Hot off the heels of the tremendous Crisis on Infinite Earths is Byrne’s updating and modernization of DC’s most beloved superhero: Superman. I remember buying the entire six-issue series and finding it to be a bit more than I could handle as a kid at the time, but I respected what was being done with the character and I absolutely loved all of the art; it was just a bit wordy for someone who wanted more punching of bad guys. Now, I better understand what Byrne was doing and I now absolutely love this mini-series. What I did like was the Superman series written and illustrated by Byrne that followed The Man of Steel and had more of the bad guy punching I was looking for. On top of all of this, and a comic that I was sadly not buying, was Byrne’s everythinged run of Action Comics that began with issue 584. Get a load of this, Denizens: Byrne was writing and drawing both Superman and Action Comics at the same freakin’ time! The best way to pick up these monumental Superman books is to get the Superman: The Man of Steel trades. You’ll be happy you did.

I know it seems like John Byrne wrote and drew all the superhero comics back in the day, and he practically did, but next time we’ll look at some other everythingers and their great takes on superheroes. See you then.


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