Tag Archives: Sandman

A little listmania! part 1: favorite stories

Blogger wwayne got me thinking about my favorites;  Favorite story arcs and favorite single issues.  Putting the definitions as simply as possible ( since us geeks love to argue about the definitions ) we get….

Story arc:  a  story occurring within an ongoing series.  OK, that is not going to work for me, dammit!  Since I am a trade waiter and have been for 2 decades, some of this will have to be at least a little in the self-contained series vein.  But I will try to justify and explain as I go.

Single issue:  Just like it says on the tin, a single issue of an ongoing series.

So, in no particular order except the order if find them on the shelf….

Concrete:  Strange Armor.  (1997)  This is where the definition gave me trouble as Concrete creator Paul Chadwick didn’t really DO an ongoing Concrete series, just connected limited series, the definition became an issue.  Also in the age of trades and collections the actual issues of a particular arc are harder to recall.  This one I did read as the single issues when they came out in late 97 and early 98.  A 5-issue limited in the continuing story of Ron Lithgow, this was the story that finally gave the full and definitive origin of the character, and fleshed out the back story greatly.  The “series” of concrete stories that Chadwick has done are an amazing character study with its roots in the sci-fi and super hero stories he grew up with and have more heart than any other book(s) I have read since.  All but the most recent DHP series have been collected as trades and are still powerful today.

Cerebus #139 to 150 (Melmoth). (1990) The was the story that followed Jaka’s Story and is one of the shorter Cerebus arcs.  A beautifully written and drawn book, it explores the final days of Oscar Wilde as seen in this fictionalized universe.  Taken directly from contemporary accounts of friends of the dying writer, this is a powerful and sad story.  It is available in “phone book” number 6 of the Cerebus run.

Action Comics  #866 to 870. (2008) Geoff Johns and Gary Frank update and redefine the Brainiac character.  One of the most successful updates DC has ever done.  Gary frank’s art is at its very best here.  Available as the Superman Brainiac trade.

Justice League of America#1 to 7  (2006)  Brad Meltzer is a polarizing figure in comics thanks in large part to the love it or hate it Identity Crisis series.  (loved it)  This arc started up the new volume of JL with artist Ed Benes, and is a story that actually made me interested in JL.  What got me into the story in the first place was my affection for Red Tornado, and this story focuses on him and his existence heavily and is a great team book to boot.  Available as The Tornado’s Path trade collection.

Planetary #7 to 12 (2000)  After setting up the world of Elijah Snow and his team in the first arc, Warren Ellis and John Cassaday outdid themselves on this arc (available as Planetary:  The Fourth Man collection).  The jumped into the homages of the comics with both feet here.  They did versions of Transmepolitan, Hellblazer, Doc Savage and touched on the origins of the big three at DC and still managed to keep the main story moving forward without the meanderings that affected some of the later issues.

My Jill Thompson sketch in my Absolute edition

Sandman #41 to 49 (1992)  This was the arc that really made the series sing for me.  After the A Game of You arc cooled me on the series (It took me years to learn to appreciate it) this series just sang with life.  Gaiman was really flying here and this is the run that made me love Jill Thompson’s art.  This is available in the Brief Lives collection or in Absolute Sandman vol 3.

Fantastic Four #242 to 244 (1982)  I still go back and read these every few months.  In fact the whole #240 to 250 part of John Byrne’s run is just crazy fun to read!  This was the first Galactus story I read that I actually liked.  Available in several reprint volumes from FF Visionaries vol 2 to the big-ass omnibus collection of the Byrne run.

Uncanny X-Men #165 to 168 (1982)  Paul Smith’s first issues on this title were the wrap up to Chris Claremont’s Brood story.  ( I include 168 here as the epilogue to that story–because I CAN!) To this day, his art in these issues is amazing to look at.  Collected in too many versions to count.

Mage #1 to 15 (1984)  Technically this was a limited series, but to my mind, when you know that you are just going to do a series of limited series, it is just a series with breaks.  In the case of Mage the break between the first and second series was a little more than just a break.  The same is true with the ongoing wait for the third series.  This story by Matt Wagner was lightning in a bottle.

Avengers #198 to 200 (1980)  This was David Michelinie and George Perez’s last regular issues on the title(in a run anyway) and they rent out with a great story that was a follow-up to the Claremont/Golden story in Avengers Annual #10.  This run is not yet collected.  Hopefully the Marvel Masterworks will continue long enough to get to these.

Well, I stuck to 10.  I omitted runs where there was a single good issue that MADE that run, and I avoided genuine limited series.  Maybe that will be another list.  Next up…

Favorite single issues…

 

 

 

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Why not these comics as movies & TV…?

With all the effort and money being spent on movies and TV shows based on comic book properties, I was thinking about some of the untapped potential out there to convert comic properties into either movies or TV series.

The first one that seems to get the most regular fan service is Sandman.  Personally, I think this would make an awful movie, or at least need to be so changed to translate, that it would offend every fan of the book out there.  Make no mistake, I am a fan of this book, but this is just not going to make a good film.  It would make a great TV series though.  I know they are working on American Gods and I hope that it translates well giving Gaiman and the producers the desire to try it with Sandman

Another book I would really like to see done for TV is Mage by Matt Wagner.  The style of this story would lend itself well to the format and be a very fun series.  Despite the need for some serious special effects in the story, they are manageable; the cast would be a relatively small one.  To be honest though, I would just be happy if the final book of the 3 book series would show up before I die.  Wagner’s other property; Grendel would also make for a pretty decent ongoing TV series.

Something that might make a fun all ages film is Joe the Barbarian, by Grant Morrison and Sean Murphy.  It could be done as light or as dark depending on what the film makers want.  The story is something that could be very malleable without wholesale changes and is a touching and involving story that can reach any audience.  Another good potential source for another all ages film is I Kill GiantsThis is still one of my favorite books and I cannot imagine this one failing if it were done by someone good.  Hey, Pixar, jump at it!

Why Strangers in Paradise has not been done as a TV show is beyond me.  Terry Moore’s masterpiece has it all.  Drama, complex relationships, sex, violence and plenty of room for melodrama of the prime time soap variety.  It crosses most of the adult target demographics and still manages a very powerful and intense story.  This would most certainly need to be on a network like HBO, as the content would need to be fairly adult, but this show just screams “must watch”.

Paul Chadwick’s Concrete might translate well to either medium, really.  It is such a well told story that just about any way you decided to tell it, could work.  There is the sci-fi/fantasy element and the dramatic aspects that could really set a show based on this one of the coolest offerings in either medium.

Am I the only one out there that would love to see another Rocketeer movie?  Slap Zac Effron or Taylor Lautner in the helmet and that is a movie that makes a pile of cash. (The wife unit agrees strongly on this one)

Since Hollywood is doing so much rebooting, it would be nice to see some of the books that were ruined back in the day, be given a proper treatment.  Dr Strange could be super cool now and Marvel is said to be working on it.  The 1978 made-for-TV movie starring Peter Hooten was so cheaply done that it is actually a little trippy and cool, but with all the play sparkly vampires and young monster hunters get these days, just make him a 20 something (or a very youthful and cool 30) and this film sells itself.

I would like to see another try at Isis too.  The Saturday morning Shazam/Isis Power Hour was fun for the mid 70’s and could probably be well done today.  But that is just me wishing. 

A failed attempt to bring Wonder Woman back last year shows that the mainstream is not ready for this one yet.  Either David E Kelly tanked it or a Linda Carter-less show is just not going to fly .  Speaking of failed tries, Global Frequency had lots of potential but Warner Brothers soured on it when they failed to grasp the viral quality of fans on the internet. At least the pilot is out the to be downloaded.

These and all the great series that have made good cartoons series like FF, Justice League etc; there are piles of worthy material waiting to be tapped.

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My day at C2E2! Part one

OK, the first thing I have to say is, next year I will go for 2 days or maybe the whole 3 day extravaganza!  Last year I didn’t feel rushed, this year I just didn’t manage to see anything like all I wanted to do.  Next year at least 2 days.  The reason I did just the one day this year and last was, I am not a crowds person.  Friday is the least crowded, so there.  Next year I will just have to deal.

The littlest Amazon Princess!

This little powerhouse was the first and one of the best costumes we saw all day.  I should mention at this point my lovely wife Faye took all of these pictures, and they all look great!

It turned out to be a very nice sunny and more or less warm day for mid March.  We took the train into Chicago and walked a few blocks to the Artists Cafe on Michigan Avenue downtown.  After a very good breakfast, we hopped the bus and got to the con way earlier that I had intended.  I like getting there early just not 2 and a half hours early.  But that put us only 30 or 40 people from the front of the line, so that’s OK then.  As always at these kind of things, you can find people you have never met and have a perfectly nice chat while waiting in line.  Never mind they are total strangers and you will never see them again, even at the con.  These are people who are “one of us” so it’s OK.  I did actually see a few of my line buddies through the day.

A stylin Black Adam, Wolverine and Oh my GOD!!

More of the people who give these conventions their flavor.  This was the scene just outside the con floor while people were beginning to mill around.  I didn’t see all that many good costumes on Friday last year.  This year they were everywhere!  Many were very elaborate and most were really very good.  there were a few stupid looking one and there is alway some fool that puts no real thought into it at all and just wears some crappy store-bought plastic mask with a string holding it on.  But for the most part, this was a great and creative bunch.

Then, as the 501st div of Star Wars guys ushered the waiting line of fans in, I failed completely to be a grown up and be nice as the pictures below demonstrate.  In the first one I can just be seen sneaking up on the Stormtrooper, next all you see is me being a bit of a weenie and showing that even an adult can act like a doofus.

Yes, I am an immature nerd!

Then the con silliness and fun really got going with me meeting a giant Uglydoll…

This is the kind of fun that I largely missed out on last year but that I caught this time around.  While seeing more of the color and fun this year was great, it is absolutely why I didn’t manage to get as much of the other stuff into my experience this year.  Last year I was all about Artist’s Alley, and to be fair, that was most of the goal this year.  This year what changed was having the wife along.  I invited her because last year was SO much fun and there were so many things that I knew she would enjoy.  I wanted to even things out a bit this year since I knew deep down that the alley would not be as interesting to her as she really has only a cursory knowledge of comics and the people who make them.  That is why it will be a 2 day adventure next year.  This day was just too rushed.  Next is a friend of ours, Kurt Wood.  He is also my dealer as he provides me

with a large dose of comics at the shop he runs in Milwaukee.  ( see the link for Collector’s Edge Comics on the sidebar of the homepage)  He is also a great and really fun artist.  His stuff can be seen at his homepage on the links section.

I'm not ugly, you ugly!

Then it was deeper into the alley.  Like every year, I have a list of ones that I want to make a point to get to.  I usually manage 3/4 of that list or a little better.  Longer than expected lines, or a change in their schedules causes me to miss some each time, so that is just the way these things are.

One of my favorites for the last 20 years or so is the wonderful Jill Thompson.  Her art has Graced the pages of Sandman (including the fabulous Lil’ Endless Storybook), Wonder Woman, Swamp Thing and

I have the power!

her creator owned Scary Godmother series of books.  I have been to see her 3 or 4 times now and have managed to get stuff signed and have enjoyable and informative chats every time.  She is always very generous with the fans.

Jill Thompson and I.

Meeting different artists and writers has always been fun for me.  It is always exciting to tell people that they improve my day with their life’s work and they almost always are appreciative and grateful that you like what they do.  They sit at these uncomfortable tables for hours and they rarely lose the ability to make each fan feel like they and they alone are the reason they do what they do.  Jill is no exception.

I didn’t get pictures of everyone I saw.  In some cases it was because Cameraperson Faye was distracted elsewhere, but more often it was because I am such a helpless fanboy that I forget.

One I didn’t forget was Stephane Roux.  He is one of the best cover artists in the industry today, most know for the great covers he is doing for DC books like Zatanna.

Stephane Roux

He and Jill were both on their second year at C2E2, and seeing them, like many of the others that returned for the second year of this con gives me great hope for the continued existence of this new show.  Stephane is always eager to meet the fans.  Not every artist is as comfortable as he is.  It takes real skill as an artist and real people skills to work on a commission sketch at the same time you are speaking to and making eye contact with the fans.  Many very experienced and talented people just have never mastered it.  Doug Mahnke is another artist we saw this year.  As talented as they come, he is most recently known for his run on the Green Lantern books.  While Doug is a really fine artist, he is lees comfortable with the fans, I think.  Another favorite of mine that has to specifically and deliberately split things up between time for drawing for fans and time for meeting with them more directly is Adam Hughes.  There are few that seem to attend as many cons as he and his wonderful wife and equally talented artist Alison Sohn.  But it is clear that he wants to work on the commissioned sketches and set aside specific and limited times to sign and devote direct attention to the fans.  To be fair, even the superstar artists like Adam make a sizeable portion of their income from the commissions done at these shows, and while there are fans that begrudge them the lack of attention paid to fans at times, the shows can a big deal to these guys.  Adam does not ignore people when they come up while he is drawing, far from it as he can be very talkative, but when he is working Alison tends to be the one you spend time talking to.  She is a very fun and witty person and she believes passionately in what she says.  this year she was pushing hard to get donations for Japanese earthquake relief.  When the signing times that Adam has set aside arrive, he pays great attention to the fans and clearly enjoys the time spent getting to know them.

Me and Christian Alamy

Next up we take a moment to mention 2 real fun moments for me.

Christian Alamy is another artist on the Green Lantern books with Doug Mahnke.  They were seated next to each other in the alley.  I had a hardcover for him and Doug to sign and then broke out something that he clearly had not seen in a long time, a copy of The Endless Gallery.  That is the floppy open on the table in front of him here.  He was so excited to see it, he interrupted Doug in his meet and greet next to him to show him the page he had done years ago in this pin-up book.  He thanked me very warmly and was a real treat.  The next one was later in the day outside of the alley in the exhibitor’s section.  Specifically at the Dr Who Store booth.  A guest in the booth was the grand and glorious Ian McNiece.  He was there as he made appearances in the 5th series of Doctor Who as Prime Minister Winston Churchill.  Signing and posing for pictures with the fans, he is clearly a fine and likeable man.  While I am a Doctor Who fan of several decades, I was not here to talk about his excellent turn as the PM.  No, I wanted to thank him for one of my favorite films, The Englishman Who Went Up a Hill but came down a Mountain.  When I mentioned that and another old film of his, A Life Less Ordinary, he leaned back in his chair and howled with laughter and clapped his hands.  He loved being reminded of something that he had done so long ago and we chatted about the films briefly.  As far as I am concerned, both films are better for his presence and The Englishman is funny almost entire because of his performance.  He is fabulous as the much stressed elder surveyor to Hugh Grant’s leading-man character.  It was a highlight of the con for me to so delight 2 people with examples of the far-reaching and lasting effects of their work.

I will end this first part of my experiences at C2E2 2011 with another silly and fun example of the costumes the fans were wearing.  Even the Mighty Skeletor wants to get autographs of his favorite artists!

Taking a break from getting his ass kicked by He Man.

I hope you enjoyed this first look at C2E2 2.0 in Chicago.  I will be back with what will likely be 2 more posts about the day in the next few days as I continue to marshal my thoughts about the day.  See you soon.

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