Markley’s Fevered Brain: 52 Thoughts on 2011

Wayne Markley

Wayne Markley


by Wayne Markley

I think few would argue that the biggest story in the comic book world in 2011 was that DC re-launched of all their titles and called it the New 52. To mark this monumental event, I thought I would list and comment on 52 items about comics in 2011. None of these are in any order. I have kept each as short as possible. I have marked each item as a positive (+) or a negative (-). Some of these topics actually are both good and bad and I have marked these as +/-. If I have listed only a title it means I really like the title if it has a + or if I think a title is not worth your time it will have a -. Of course all of these are my thoughts only and I welcome and encourage the readers of the column to add their comments. So, away we go:

Batman Vol. 1: The Court of Owls

Batman Vol. 1: The Court of Owls


1.)    Batman. Perhaps the best of the New 52. +

2.)    Digital Downloads. + /- (and the topic of a future blog)

Daredevil by Mark Waid Vol. 1

Daredevil by Mark Waid Vol. 1


3.)    Daredevil. I would have never thought it possible, but this is the best monthly book Marvel publishes. +

4.)    Disney Comics. Gone for the moment, but I would still bet Marvel will launch a Disney (classic characters that is) title in 2112. –

5.)    The boon of comic strip reprints. +

6.)    Trade collections. A plus in it gives the reader a complete story; a negative in it is killing the monthly comic books. +/-

7.)    DC’s New 52. More bad than good. –

Aquaman #7

Aquaman #7


8.)    Aquaman. Who ever thought this would be a great read? +

9.)    Marvel ending the Solie line of books. Sad. –

10.) Humanoids picking up the slack of reprinting foreign material. +

11.) Manga. Much more focused this year. Still sells at bookstores, not so much in the direct market. –

20th Century Boys

20th Century Boys


12.) 20th Century Boys. Continues to be a great story and it is manga. +

13.) Joe Hill. Writes both Locke and Key and The Cape. Two of my favorite titles. Check them out! +

Usagi Yojimbo #135

Usagi Yojimbo #135


14.) Usagi Yojimbo. 25 years and still going strong with new and creative stories. +

15.) All New Brave and the Bold. DCs best monthly book and it has been cancelled since the TV show ended. One did not mean the other had to end. Sad. –

16.) Comic Book Direct Market. –

Captain America #8

Captain America #8


17.) Captain America. Ed Brubaker continues to write an excellent monthly book and there was an excellent movie with the Good Captain. +

18.) Thor. Matt Fraction has not excited me with his work on Thor, but I thought the movie was great. -/+

19.) Thor the Mighty Avenger. Perhaps the best book Marvel published in ages by Roger Langridge and Chris Samnee. It was a fantastic book and it was cancelled. Shame on Marvel. –

20.) Milo Manara. Finally getting some fame after all these years with the Dark Horse library of all his work. (And I forgot to mention his Sandman story last time, so a – to me) +

21.) Flash Gordon. IDWs reprinting of the complete Alex Raymond Flash Gordon/Jungle Jim should be on everyone’s book shelf. +

Bloom County: The Complete Library Vol. 5

Bloom County: The Complete Library Vol. 5


22.) Bloom County. IDW has reprinted every Blood County strip in five beautiful hardcovers. Wow, was this strip fun. More to come with the Complete Outland. +

23.) Infestation. A crossover from IDW that no one needed. –

Unwritten

Unwritten


24.) Unwritten. One of the few Vertigo titles left alive. A very well written and creative book that would appeal to fans of Harry Potter. +

25.) Scalped. One of the best crime books out there, so of course it is ending. +/-

26.) Vertigo Crime. A mixed bag of books with some being better than others and a few being excellent. Alas, it was also cancelled. –

27.) Lack of diversity of subject matter from Marvel and DC. Marvel tries harder and still has things like Oz, Jane Austen, Halo and other titles. –

Wonderful Wizard of Oz

Wonderful Wizard of Oz


28.) Marvel’s Oz books. Eric Shanower and Skottie Young are setting a standard of adaptations for comics with their Oz books that rival what David Suchet’s did for Poirot or Jeremy Brett’s Sherlock Holmes did for books adaptations for Television. +

29.) Criminal. Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips masterpiece returned with another fantastic miniseries. Can’t wait to see what they do with Fatale. +

30.) Image Comics. They have been doing more and more diverse titles month after month. Near Death, Undying Love, Blue Estate, Super Dinosaur and more. +

Rachel Rising

Rachel Rising


31.) Rachel Rising. A very different book from Terry Moore. +

32.) Comixology. A great tool to expand the comic audience and perhaps the death of comics as we know them. +/-

33.) Prince Valiant. I thought I had read Prince Valiant in the past, but Fantagraphics has shown me a new look to this classic strip. These collections are the best you will ever see. No price can be put on the beauty of the reproduction and quality of Hal Foster’s work. +

34.) DCs New 52. Far too dark and violent. –

35.) Justice League. A good story and beautiful art by Jim Lee, but 5 splash pages in a 22 page story? For $3.99? –

36.) Archie Comics. As much as I loved Life with Archie magazine, the stories have become long in the tooth. Internal troubles wit in Archie have limited their output with many of the monthly comics going to reprint. –

Untold Tales of Spider-Man Omnibus

Untold Tales of Spider-Man Omnibus


37.) Marvel Omnibus. Marvel has taken to doing huge, often over 1000 pages, hardcover books collecting storylines or titles. Some upcoming releases include their John Carter of Mars series from the 80s and Kurt Busiek’s Untold Tales of Spider-Man. +

38.) Marvel’s cosmic books. Marvel has made the cosmic story entertaining again, largely due to Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning. Groot!! +

39.) Sugar and Spike Archives. After far too many years DC finally collects my favorite comics of all time. Now if they would only do a second volume. +

Comics Revue

Comics Revue


40.) Comics Revue. A magazine that gets very little attention and deserves so much more. A bimonthly collection of comic strips from the 30s to the present. Great stuff. +

41.) AC Comics. The little company that could. They do perhaps the best reprints of classic comic material, (non-Marvel or DC) out there but again almost no one knows of them. +

42.) Nepotism. Why is the Wildstorm Universe all of a sudden an intricate part of the DCU? Why is Bob Harras the new editor in chief at DC? The answer is the same for both. –

43.) $3.99 comics. It is just too much for a 28 page comic in today’s economy. –

44.) Digital downloads with monthly comics. Short term, great, long term very negative. –

Pogo: Complete Syndicated Strips Vol. 1

Pogo: Complete Syndicated Strips Vol. 1


45.) Pogo. At last I finally understand why Walt Kelly was considered such a genius. Thank you Fantagraphics. +

46.) Complete Mickey Mouse. Once again Fantagraphics is bringing all of those classic newspaper strips by Floyd Gottfredson back in print for all of us to enjoy. A great adventure strip. +

47.) To Be Continued… Bring back the stand alone story. –

48.) All Star Western. Jonah Hex was my favorite comic, largely because of standalone stories. All Star Western brings the character to Gotham City and to multi-part stories. And it is $3.99. (It is still a great read mind you.) –

49.) Fantastic Four. I thought I was enjoying Jonathan Hickman’s run on the FF, even with the bogus “death of the Human Torch” story. But having gone back and re-read Lee and Kirby’s FF and Waid and Wieringo’s Fantastic Four, I have changed my mind. –

The Walking Dead

The Walking Dead


50.) The Walking Dead. A small press comic from Image Comics has grown into a pop culture phenomenon while keeping its creative integrity. The comic and the TV show are both excellent. +

51.) TMNT and Rocketeer. Two surprises from IDW. The Rocketeer due to the beautiful hardcover collection of the original material and the new material they produced was top notch, and almost as good as the late Dave Stevens. TMNT because who would of thought that after almost 30 years the Turtles would be hot again. +

52.) Finally, to Westfield Comics for giving me a job and an opportunity to write this blog and sprout my opinions twice a month. +

As always, these are my thought and do not reflect the opinions of Westfield Comics or their employees. I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and has a great 2012.

Thank you.

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  1. Brian J. Says:

    Woah – surprised by your turn around on Fantastic Four. Would love to get your thoughts on what Hickmann is/isn’t doing right.