Skip to main content

Longer comics series

Some recommendations for those interested in something longer lasting than a graphic novel:

Usagi Yojimbo - a heartfelt exploration of a society long gone by a masterful Japanese cartoonist, Stan Sakai, who has spent almost his whole life in Hawaii; deceptively simple and cartoonish on first glance, the art and storytelling share a strong sense of economy rare to comics; Sakai is an award winning letter, and his inking is some of the best in the business; 22 volumes and counting

Vagabond - perhaps the best comic being published anywhere today, this manga follows the lives of Miyamoto Mushashi, wandering swordsman, and his contemporaries (with a particular interest in two of his childhood friends); the art effortlessly slips between bold brush strokes to light line work, or watercolours to black and white; the layouts and transitions from panel to panel are excellent; the fight scenes progress logically and show a surprisingly realistic understanding of both the mental and physical sides of conflict; a joy to read, everything about the series gets better as it goes along; 29 volumes and still going

Blade of the Immortal - a sometimes cynical, sometimes sentimental story of revenge and redemption focused on a young teen girl whose parents have been murdered and the immortal swordsman, whom she convinces to help her; the 22 volume drops in January

Cerebus - an odd, absurd, surreal parody of anything and everything Dave Sims could think of, but especially of comicbooks; at turns serious and intellectual, at turns completely farcical, each book is a dense read, and there are something like 30 volumes

Hellboy & BPRD - perfect for when you feel like curling up with a ghost story; I've lost track of how many books there are in these series, but it's over a dozen combned

Kane - Paul Grist delivers some of the best crime genre work in contemporary comics; his layouts are fantastic, and the art's not shabby, either; may be out of print in the US, but still available on the used circuit, often at descent rates

Madman - the pop-art action series that launched Mike Allred's career; good, quirky fun


Preacher - its convoluted plot and sophomoric, angst ridden anti-Christian bent aside (and, being an atheist, I am well acquainted with such rants), this series is highly entertaining for those with a dark sense of humour and a taste for a bit of gore

Berserk - at one time, this was the best manga being published; a heady adventure series which starts with a dark and disturbed world run by monsters, then shows how things got to that point, while following a youthful band of highly successful mercenaries

GrimJack - a genre bending work set in Cynosure, the nexus of all realities, and following John Gaunt, an aging badass who works as something of a private detective out of the back of a bar; classic work recently revisited by John Ostrander and Tim Truman

American Flagg - newly back in print, this was Howard Chaykin's big break, and he went for it, envisioning a corporatist future engulfed in violence and vice; its hard edges are softened by a pulpy sense of humour

Conan - high adventure of all sorts written and drawn by some of the best

Nexus - Baron and Rude's ongoing masterpiece follows a man given mysterious powers and driven (by visions and headaches) to execute mass murderers throughout the galaxy; deals in politics, romance, espionage, and comedy, as well as action

Love and Rockets - perhaps the definitive black and white alternative collection, the Hernandez brothers form a drama spanning countries and generations; balanced between pulpy and sometimes soap-operish tendencies, and a real care for humans as living, breathing, feeling individuals

The Flaming Carrot - following Wally Wood's Plastic Man, this is the next step in semi-surreal comics action; a hard boiled parody featuring a hero whose mask is a giant, flaming carrot

American Splendor - real life tales and reflections from a very interesting and intelligent author

The Goon - ridiculous thirties pulp action involving the mob, zombies, giant robots, and sundry animals

Independent authors many of whose works may as well be series:

Jason - a minimalist with a strong sense of story, and real feeling for his subjects

Will Eisner - one of the early masters and innovators of the medium remained among the best until his death a few years ago

Paul Hornschemeier - at turns poetic, absurd, and touching, Hornschemeier has written some of the best comics of this decade, especially Mother Come Home, which stands as one of my favourite works of literature in any genre

Joe Sacco - comics' best journalist and historian; his art, writing, and layouts are all distinctive; he has an eye for engaging characters, and a mind made for exploring their personalities

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

More Political Notes

-Rick Santorum seems a somewhat likeable guy who believes several crazy, distasteful things. It may not be helpful to say his ideas are nuts, but it still is less useful to fashion him an evil man because his discriminatory views don't jive with the left, centre, or centre-right in America.

-Calling a person a 'front runner' before votes are counted is just plain wrong.  Calling one a front-runner after some votes are counted is slightly misleading.  The race isn't about who the media thinks is ahead, and it is only indirectly about who gets the most votes.  What really matters is accruing the most delegates.  In the race for a major party's nomination for POTUS, the guy with the most delegates-who-will-actually-vote-for-him-at-their-national-convention is ahead. If no delegates have been awarded, there isn't really a front-runner, no matter what polls might say.

-I doubt the primary process will hurt the eventual Republican nominee for POTUS all that much.…

Pointless Ruminations on the Absurd

The world around us is in no way required to conform to our expectations, beliefs, or desires. Rather, it is all but guaranteed to disappoint us, at least once or twice a lifetime. The loftier (or more deeply felt) our ideals, the more this may be true.

When we accept this incongruity and are keenly aware of it, but cannot change our thinking, absurdity steps in. The world no longer quite makes sense. It is untethered from rational or moral concerns, adrift in a bizarre joke told by no one.
Desire for normative order is often irrational and misplaced. Placing ethical constraints on amoral matters makes no sense. Yet these appear (sometimes, seemingly) inescapable conclusions. Hence the sensation of absurdity.

We can apply these incongruous demands to anything and anyone. But this is not a universal philosophy. It is a philosophy of the self, a diagnosis.

Well now.

I think I'm going to try to revive my online writing habits, outside of Facebook.

And what have I been thinking or feeling in the interim, across the last couple years or so? Well, I'm glad you asked.

In part, this.