Wednesday, September 29, 2010

"VINTAGE SERIES" ~ The Master Index

So it's been a few months since I had the idea to write about my musings over my out-of-print collection of trade paperbacks. With no good indexing system on Blogger (or on blogs in general), I've decided to create an index for you to better navigate the "Vintage Series"

Here's the current list (updated 10-25-2010):

(01) Kitty Pryde & Wolverine {0785130896}

(02) Wolverine & Punisher: Revelations {0785107290} *

(03) New X-Men, Childhood's End {0785118314}

(04) Age of Apocalypse, X-Calibre {0785101322} *

(05) Robin Year One {1563898055}

(06) Teen Titans, the Judas Contract {093028934X}

(07) X-Men, Days of Future Past {0785115609}

(08) Spider-Man: Birth of Venom {0785124985}

(09) Beauty & the Behemoth, Hulk {0785106596} *

(10) Excalibur Visionaries {0785137408}

(11) The Dust Waltz, Buffy {1569713421} *

(12) Earthly Possessions, Angel {1569715335} *

(13) Old Times, Spike {1933239603} *

(14) Phoenix Rising, The X-Men {0785107118} *

(15) A Stake to the Heart, Buffy {1-59307-012-8} *

(16) Hunting Ground, Angel {1569715475} *

(17) Lost & Found, Spike {1933239972} *

(18) Batman Forever Adaptation [DC Comics] {1563891999} *

Despite this batch originally being "ones I own + out of print," it's been expanded to include older comics I've happened to read / re-read. Only the ones with the stars next to them are trades I still currently own.

You'll notice that I included Kitty Pryde & Wolverine in this list. It was initially presented as one of my "In Review" blogs. In retrospect, it really was the first "Vintage" one. It inspired the whole series- so I've decided to include it here. I'll be sure to update the list as I add future titles.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


Okay, so let's talk about Shatterstar.

Originally created by Fabian Nicieza and Rob Liefeld when they were busy destroying everything I loved about The New Mutants (oh WAIT! Can you already tell how biased this is going to be? 'cause you should have picked up on that), Shatterstar is a genetically-bred warrior both from another dimension and from the future. I honestly think they wanted to create a character with such a complicated backstory future writers would probably be unable to handle him, but maybe I'm being too cynical. It was probably for the depth of storytelling that could take place. Let's face it, the early '90s X-Force stories were full of story elements. Not excessive violence or pointless mutant vs. mutant battling (why am I criticizing? I actually liked early X-Force stories). Anyway, 'star was a mainstay on the team, even as other characters such as Cable and Cannonball would leave for the X-Men team proper over the next several years and the rest of the X-Force team would eventually suck beyond the telling of it.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Comics for Adults, New York Comic Con

Over the summer, specifically when it was June and I was feeling all ambitious, I applied to moderate a panel at the New York Comic Con. My work is kind enough to allow me attend the convention as a professional development day, and NYCC offers a discount to 'educators' - librarians are included in that label, making a weekend pass only $10.00. I figured that since they love librarians, I should contribute something to them. Also, who doesn't want to speak at a panel at the New York Comic Con? I'm under the mistaken impression that everyone would want to. This whole thing became kind of a non-issue come August (AKA when I was feeling a lot less ambitious) and NYCC rejected my panel.

Now, because I am fate's bitch, it looks like instead of moderating a panel, I'm going to be speaking on someone else's. Which is cool; this panel is a lot more focused than mine was going to be, and is specifically talking about Graphic Novels and Comics for Adults, as opposed to the sort of youth-centric one you would have seen from me. I mostly only help adults now and deal primarily with an adult collection, so I guess I know stuff about the topic. I've spent most of the afternoon pulling together resources, coming up with a top 5 list (although, I sent in a list of 13 - never ask a librarian for a 'top 5 list' EVER!), and coming up with things I might like to highlight. I'm probably not even going to talk that much at the thing, but I'm excited that I get to do cool things like this every so often. I'm excited; the people on the panel are all smarter than me.

If you're going to be at the New York Comic Con, and you'd like to go to the bestest panel ever, comment on this entry and I'll e-mail you the details. As the panel gets closer, I'll probably talk a lot more about this. SOMETHING TO LOOK FORWARD TO!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

CURRENT - The Losers, Book 2

In my ever continuing duty to review materials for School Library Journal, they happened to send me a little ditty called The Losers, Book 2 by Andy Diggle. Which is slightly odd timing, seeing as how I just saw the film based on the graphic novel series like two weeks ago. I was thinking that maybe this collection would be some sort of sequel to the film. But as they often do in Hollywood, it looks the storyline got changed around a bunch. While the origin of the team happens at the beginning of the movie, it isn't until many, many issues into the comic book that you find out how the losers "died." Aisha, who was played by Zoe Saldana in the film, is also a much darker, harder character in the graphic novel. In the film, she is presented as this shady outsider with resources, who uses her sexiness to ultimately get what she wants. Aisha basically kills so many people in the comic that they give her single issues where she can just cut loose and go ape sh@#$ crazy. I half love reading her, while the other half is mostly just afraid.

I'm glad that this title was randomly selected for me to review, because like Brian Wood's DMZ, its comic book literature I really should be reading but probably wouldn't have. Left to my own devices, it's all X-Men and Batman. I still think the superhero genre of comic books is the biggest, and let's face it: librarians don't really want to admit that. I will, and I keep reading stuff by people like Scott Lobdell and Peter David because ultimately it's pretty awesome. The last issue of X-Factor? It was all character development. In a superhero comic. With my Vintage Series, you guys are seeing a lot of comics that I loved as a kid. I also get to justify why I loved it, which is a fun exercise. Yeah, things can sometimes be overly complicated. But that's part of the fun.

Back to The Losers. It's a fun series. Like DMZ, I can't really recommend it for young kids (even though I know they will read it anyway) because of all the f-bombs and bloody body parts panel-to-panel. The series definitely explores a lot of the more "Huh?" moments I had watching the film, including giving an explanation for why the sniper character really doesn't speak. One of the downsides is, I'm calling him the "sniper character" because I keep forgetting everyone's name. The girl is Aisha, the hero is Clay, and the bad guy is Max. The rest of the team sometimes gets lost in the shuffle, except for Jensen 'cause that dude is HILARIOUS! Anyway, at 280 pages, it's a dense read. I'm about halfway through it. I'm enjoying it immensely, and figured I would recommend it as something to order for your library or just read for fun.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

VINTAGE - Excalibur Visionaries [A. Davis]

DAVIS, Alan. Excalibur Visionaries, volume 1. 232p. MARVEL COMICS, July 2009. ISBN: 0785137408

So there was a time when Nightcrawler and Shadowcat got their butts kicked by an evil mutant team called the Marauders. This was during the Morlock Massacre storyline. Kitty wasn't even really hurt; she was just trapped in a phased state and couldn't resolidify. I'm pretty sure Kurt was in a coma though. He gets the prize. Anyway, they both were sent to Muir Isle to get better. Xavier's friend Moira MacTaggert (isn't that such a great name!?) made it her business for them to get better. But while they were recovering, the X-Men fought an evil creature in Dallas called "The Adversary" who apparently killed them on national television (he did, but this multiverse guardian named Roma resurrected them at the end of the Fall of the Mutants storyline). Obviously, the X-Men have lots of storylines.

Somehow, Rachel Summers had also been separated from the X-Men before they ended up in Texas. She later rejoined Kitty and Kurt in Scotland. They met with a UK superhero (and the brother of one of their fallen comrades Psylocke) named Captain Britain. The group also attracted the attention of a shapechanging empath named Meggan with a mysterious past. Together, the five formed a group known as Excalibur. While this trade isn't the origin of the team, it is arguably the twilight of the original series. With Alan Davis drawing and writing it, he tied up many of the dangling plotlines left open in the first several issues. I also learned that Rachel met up with the group while she was on the run from Mojo, which I guess is why she wasn't with the other X-Men when they were "killed." It also explains how Roma was the one who ultimately manipulates the team into forming to combat an unknown threat.

This collection includes the introduction of several characters who were intended to be new additions to the team. All of them were kind of unique and interesting. There was Kylun, a warrior who is from our world but was raised on an alternate one to be an extreme warrior. Cerise, an interdimensional alien who could create hard light constructs. Feron, a mystical descendant of a powerful sorcerer who is brash and impulsive. And finally, the mutant Micromax who could change his shape at will. The latter is introduced as more of an annoying obstacle for the team, as he is employed by the government and butts heads with them on a few early occasions. Ultimately, though he helps the team in their battle against the evil Necrom, who both Kylun and Feron are destined to defeat albeit because of much different reasons. Davis's departure from the book essentially meant the demise of these characters; I think only Micromax has been used in current continuity, and sparingly at that.

Excalibur originally had a cute, lighthearted tone that was preserved when Alan Davis wrote this series of issues. In a way, this is kind of their loss of innocence. When Scott Lobdell took over the book, he began writing them as a much darker team, focusing primarily on the original team members. I always found this kind of sad, because the team here had a lot of potential for being great. And Excalibur always had this kind of quirky otherworldly-ness that did set it apart from other X-Men books at the time. It's sad that it became just another X-Men title to Marvel Comics, then was eventually canceled. The series was sort of revived by Claremont again a few years ago, but lacked all the things that made this version of the team great. Unlike other vintage titles, this one is still available (ya know, if your best friend Scott B. isn't holding it hostage) so grab it while you can!