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Rusty’s Reading List 2020

April 6, 2020
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I loved Bone. I only have the first collected volume, but I have all the original run (with only issue #1 being a reprint).
I actually have a bit of a story about my personal discovery of the comic. I went to the San Diego Comic Con in 1992. I drove down (straight through) from Calgary to San Diego with Michael Moynihan and two others. I was working for Styx Distributors at the time and Mike was one of my clients, as well as being a friend.
Not only was GOING a great idea, but going with Mike made it even better. He was a very progressive retailer and liked setting up signings and promotions. It was through Mike that I had previously had the opportunity to sit down for a beer with Jaime and Gilbert Hernandez as well as meeting Mike Dringenberg. At SDCC that let me attend the Fantagraphics 10th Anniversary party for Love & Rockets, where I met a number of other great creators.
The big one, though, came about because of a promotion Mike did for the release of the Madman miniseries. That led to an introduction at the Con to Mike and Laura Allred, who were absolutely wonderful people! I spent a lot of time with them while in San Diego and I am thrilled with the success that they achieved since then. (This was before social media, so other than running into Mike online here and there since then, we did not stay in touch, unfortunately.)
This seems off-topic, but during the festival, I ran into Mike Allred one morning and he was very happy about picking up a package of the first four issues of Bone before they sold out. He told me that they were being sold at a booth at the Con that Cartoon Books (Jeff Smith’s personal imprint), was sharing with another company. You kind of had to know it was there and know what it was to get them. (At least it seemed that way.)
So, I took Mike at his word about how great Bone was so I snapped up a package which included a reprint of issue #1, but first printings of issues 2-4, including one signed by Smith.
I didn’t really big into them until I got back to Calgary, but once I did…. hoo-boy! What a great comic! This is a comic that at once seems light and fun, while also building towards a somewhat darker climax. The comparisons to Pogo are apt, but it isn’t just that.

I love this comic and want everyone to discover it. Maybe I can do for you what Mike Allred did for me.

2020 Reading List

Bone Volume 1: Out From Boneville – Jeff Smith
The Best American Comics 2007 – Chris Ware, Editor
Fun Home – Alison Bechdel
Step Aside, Pops – Kate Beaton
Batman: The Court of Owls – Snyder / Capullo / Glapion
Batman and Son – Morrison / Kubert / Williams III / Daniel
Batman & Dracula: Red Rain – Moench / Jones / Jones III
Batman: Bride of the Demon – Barr / Grindberg / Grindberg
Batman: A Death in the Family – Starlin / Aparo / DeCarlo
The Stone Sky – N.K. Jemisin
Batman: Anarky – Grant / Breyfogle / more
Batman: Night Cries – Goodwin / Hampton
The Chameleon Couch – Yusef Komunyakaa
Batman: Shaman – O’Neill / Hannigan / Beatty
Flux – Joe Denham
Bowie – Changes 1976-2016 – MOJO Collector’s Series


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Rusty’s Reading List 2020

April 3, 2020
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I picked this up as a Chapters remainder and I am really glad I did! When dealign with true indie comics there is an incredibly range of quality, even in a book curated by someone as talented as Chris Ware. I am not going to lie, there are comics in here that look like some grade schooler did them on loose leaf and staples. But there are also some in here which are brilliant.

I want to point the amazing work of Dan Zettwoch, Ivan Brunetti, Art Spiegelman, Jonathan Bennett, Adrian Tomine, Anders Nilsen, Charles Burns, and Seth… but there is so much more!

2020 Reading List

The Best American Comics 2007 – Chris Ware, Editor
Fun Home – Alison Bechdel
Step Aside, Pops – Kate Beaton
Batman: The Court of Owls – Snyder / Capullo / Glapion
Batman and Son – Morrison / Kubert / Williams III / Daniel
Batman & Dracula: Red Rain – Moench / Jones / Jones III
Batman: Bride of the Demon – Barr / Grindberg / Grindberg
Batman: A Death in the Family – Starlin / Aparo / DeCarlo
The Stone Sky – N.K. Jemisin
Batman: Anarky – Grant / Breyfogle / more
Batman: Night Cries – Goodwin / Hampton
The Chameleon Couch – Yusef Komunyakaa
Batman: Shaman – O’Neill / Hannigan / Beatty
Flux – Joe Denham
Bowie – Changes 1976-2016 – MOJO Collector’s Series


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Rusty’s Reading List 2020

March 27, 2020
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For anyone who understands that comics cam do more than provide escapism, Fun Home is required reading. It is a memoir comic, which may not be to everyone’s taste, but not only does this one provide a compelling story, but it is designed in a way that is absolutely brilliant. Bechdel rolls out the story in a non-linear manner that does provide twists a such as it provides layers, with each altering those that had gone before, showing things in a new light.

This book is VERY HIGHLY recommended.

2020 Reading List

Fun Home – Alison Bechdel
Step Aside, Pops – Kate Beaton
Batman: The Court of Owls – Snyder / Capullo / Glapion
Batman and Son – Morrison / Kubert / Williams III / Daniel
Batman & Dracula: Red Rain – Moench / Jones / Jones III
Batman: Bride of the Demon – Barr / Grindberg / Grindberg
Batman: A Death in the Family – Starlin / Aparo / DeCarlo
The Stone Sky – N.K. Jemisin
Batman: Anarky – Grant / Breyfogle / more
Batman: Night Cries – Goodwin / Hampton
The Chameleon Couch – Yusef Komunyakaa
Batman: Shaman – O’Neill / Hannigan / Beatty
Flux – Joe Denham
Bowie – Changes 1976-2016 – MOJO Collector’s Series


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Rusty's Reading List 2020

March 21, 2020
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With all this extra home time, you might think I would get more time to read, but instead I am spending my extra time trying to set things up so I can work from home, to no avail.

Anyway, I did re-read this Hark! A Vagrant collection. If you know, you already know how great this is. If you don’t, but are a fan of history and literature and humour, this is the one for you. Check it out.

2020 Reading List

Step Aside, Pops – Kate Beaton
Batman: The Court of Owls – Snyder / Capullo / Glapion
Batman and Son – Morrison / Kubert / Williams III / Daniel
Batman & Dracula: Red Rain – Moench / Jones / Jones III
Batman: Bride of the Demon – Barr / Grindberg / Grindberg
Batman: A Death in the Family – Starlin / Aparo / DeCarlo
The Stone Sky – N.K. Jemisin
Batman: Anarky – Grant / Breyfogle / more
Batman: Night Cries – Goodwin / Hampton
The Chameleon Couch – Yusef Komunyakaa
Batman: Shaman – O’Neill / Hannigan / Beatty
Flux – Joe Denham
Bowie – Changes 1976-2016 – MOJO Collector’s Series


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Rusty’s Reading List 2020

March 16, 2020
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This is the end of my chronological re-read of Batman Collections that I own. Both DC and Marvel did universe relaunches around the same time and while that is NOT the reason I got out of being a regular reader of their comics, the timing made that decision a little easier. I don’t begrudge the changes – every generation needs their own stories – but it felt like my generation had ended.
So it should not come of much of a surprise when I tend to say that I am not a huge fan of the latest trends in story-telling and universe-building.
Having said THAT, this is a pretty solid collection. The only ‘jerky’ nature of the story really came when Harper showed up. I have no idea who she is or why I should care, though it was clear from he way it was written that the books assumes I do. I also found the ‘breaking’ of Batman to feel sudden and arbitrary.
It was still good over all.

2020 Reading List

Batman: The Court of Owls – Snyder / Capullo / Glapion
Batman and Son – Morrison / Kubert / Williams III / Daniel
Batman & Dracula: Red Rain – Moench / Jones / Jones III
Batman: Bride of the Demon – Barr / Grindberg / Grindberg
Batman: A Death in the Family – Starlin / Aparo / DeCarlo
The Stone Sky – N.K. Jemisin
Batman: Anarky – Grant / Breyfogle / more
Batman: Night Cries – Goodwin / Hampton
The Chameleon Couch – Yusef Komunyakaa
Batman: Shaman – O’Neill / Hannigan / Beatty
Flux – Joe Denham
Bowie – Changes 1976-2016 – MOJO Collector’s Series


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Rusty’s Reading List 2020

March 11, 2020
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(I AM reading books other than comics, really… I am just on two rather large ones right now so haven’t finished one in a while. These comics take a lot less time.)
I am not as big a fan of Grant Morrison as some. I mean, I love Animal Man, but he has become of the group of writers who write the… I guess, the modern way. There is less flow in the stories and feel very jerky and disconnected. (Jonathan Hickman is bad for that.) Some people seem to like it. I don’t.

Having said THAT, this collection of Morrison Batman stories is pretty solid. There is a lot more flow (Andy Kubert really helps there), and it introduces some big aspects of Batman myths – like Damian, obviously – but also the characters who would lead to Batman Incorporated a little later.

This is a solid read (though a little misnamed. Damian isn’t in that much of it….). Recommended.

2020 Reading List

Batman and Son – Morrison / Kubert / Williams III / Daniel
Batman & Dracula: Red Rain – Moench / Jones / Jones III
Batman: Bride of the Demon – Barr / Grindberg / Grindberg
Batman: A Death in the Family – Starlin / Aparo / DeCarlo
The Stone Sky – N.K. Jemisin
Batman: Anarky – Grant / Breyfogle / more
Batman: Night Cries – Goodwin / Hampton
The Chameleon Couch – Yusef Komunyakaa
Batman: Shaman – O’Neill / Hannigan / Beatty
Flux – Joe Denham
Bowie – Changes 1976-2016 – MOJO Collector’s Series


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Rusty’s Reading List 2020

March 3, 2020
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I don’t tend to be a big fan of Elseworlds stories as a concept, but they often have pretty amazing creative teams assigned to them. Here we have Kelley Jones, who is fantastic… usually. The opening scene was a bit excessive, but that is often the way with Dracula stories.
The story, on the other hand, was a bit pedestrian. Tanya the Vampire Hunter? Tanya? Maybe I am missing something there (like why she would fight vampires in a leather swimsuit, but that is often a problem with superhero stories.)
Worth a read, but I would not recommend it super-highly, unless you re a big Kelley Jones fan.

2020 Reading List

Batman & Dracula: Red Rain – Moench / Jones / Jones III
Batman: Bride of the Demon – Barr / Grindberg / Grindberg
Batman: A Death in the Family – Starlin / Aparo / DeCarlo
The Stone Sky – N.K. Jemisin
Batman: Anarky – Grant / Breyfogle / more
Batman: Night Cries – Goodwin / Hampton
The Chameleon Couch – Yusef Komunyakaa
Batman: Shaman – O’Neill / Hannigan / Beatty
Flux – Joe Denham
Bowie – Changes 1976-2016 – MOJO Collector’s Series


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Rusty’s Reading List 2020

March 1, 2020
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Still going through my Batman collections, in more or less chronological order. I am not a big fan of Ra’s Al Ghul or Talia Al Ghul. They were part of an amazing story by Denny O’Neil and Neal Adams, but it feels like every appearance since then has just been trying to duplicate that feat. This is no exception.
It is noteworthy for the page-sized primer on global climate change at a time when it wasn’t always understood or acknowledged. (Have we changed.)
An okay read, but nothing memorable.

2020 Reading List

Batman: Bride of the Demon – Barr / Grindberg / Grindberg
Batman: A Death in the Family – Starlin / Aparo / DeCarlo
The Stone Sky – N.K. Jemisin
Batman: Anarky – Grant / Breyfogle / more
Batman: Night Cries – Goodwin / Hampton
The Chameleon Couch – Yusef Komunyakaa
Batman: Shaman – O’Neill / Hannigan / Beatty
Flux – Joe Denham
Bowie – Changes 1976-2016 – MOJO Collector’s Series


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Rusty’s Reading List 2020

February 18, 2020
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As I continue going through my Batman collections, I get to… what is the most noteworthy for all the wrong reasons. I was working at Arthur’s Place when these comics originally came out and it was the biggest p.r. mess of a comic I had ever seen. (This predated the Death of Superman.)

For those of you who don’t know, the book had a 1-800 number you could phone and the readers decided whether Jason Todd lived or died. I voted for him to live, but die he did (by a 72 vote margin, from over 10,000 votes).

So, the book is famous, but not incredibly good, per se. Joker beats Jason nearly to death with a crowbar and then blows him up. That’s it. Superheroes, including Robin, have gotten out of way worse scrapes than what was in this issue. (Still, the death of Jason opened the way for Tim Drake, who was the best Robin.)

The best part of this collection is the Denny O’Neil quote on the back, “It would be a really sleazy stunt to bring him back.”

Ahem.

2020 Reading List

Batman: A Death in the Family – Starlin / Aparo / DeCarlo
The Stone Sky – N.K. Jemisin
Batman: Anarky – Grant / Breyfogle / more
Batman: Night Cries – Goodwin / Hampton
The Chameleon Couch – Yusef Komunyakaa
Batman: Shaman – O’Neill / Hannigan / Beatty
Flux – Joe Denham
Bowie – Changes 1976-2016 – MOJO Collector’s Series


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Rusty’s Reading List 2020

February 15, 2020
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This is the third book in Jemisin’s Broken Earth Trilogy, each of which performed feat never before accomplished – giving Jemisin the Hugo Award for best Novel for each book, three straight years.
And they deserved it.
These books are intricate and stunning. Each has its own feel, while definitely being very coherent. The setting is a character in it sown right, but never upstages the real character work within. While the final confrontation was something you saw a mile away – in a good way – it nevertheless touched me in a way I wasn’t expecting. I literally shed a tear over the power of the loss.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

2020 Reading List

The Stone Sky – N.K. Jemisin
Batman: Anarky – Grant / Breyfogle / more
Batman: Night Cries – Goodwin / Hampton
The Chameleon Couch – Yusef Komunyakaa
Batman: Shaman – O’Neill / Hannigan / Beatty
Flux – Joe Denham
Bowie – Changes 1976-2016 – MOJO Collector’s Series


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