Roger’s Comic Ramblings: What Excites You?

Roger with George Wendt (Norm!) at Wizard World Madison

Roger with George Wendt (Norm!) at Wizard World Madison


by Roger Ash

This past weekend was the first Wizard World convention in Madison Wisconsin. I hadn’t been to a Wizard show in a while and since I could get there in a matter of minutes versus hours, I decided to check it out. I had a nice time. Though they market it as a comic con, it really isn’t. It’s much more a pop culture convention. You do have some comics and creators, but you also have media guest, gaming, cosplay, weapons (I don’t understand this one, but there were a few booths that sold knives and swords and such), toys, and more. As such, you can go and focus on what you enjoy and ignore the rest.

That got me thinking about comics. Like the Wizard show, there’s a great variety within comics themselves. Sure, superheroes still rule the day, but you’ve also got science fiction, fantasy, funny animals, horror, comic strip reprints, movie and TV tie-ins, and more. So what do you enjoy in comics? What excites you? Here’s some of the things I’m enjoying at the moment.

Four Color #981 featuring Ruff & Reddy

Four Color #981 featuring Ruff & Reddy


Hanna-Barbera Back Issues – When I’d go to comic conventions in the past, I was always on the lookout for Marvel and DC back issues to fill in my collection. These days, so much of that material is collected in trade paperbacks and hardcovers that I stopped back issue hunting a few years ago. Then I learned/remembered how much I love the old Dell and Gold Key Hanna-Barbera comics like Yogi Bear, Quick Draw McGraw, Huckleberry Hound, and others. These are great comics that stand, at best, a slim chance of being reprinted. While nice copies of them can be expensive, you can get reading copies for fairly reasonable prices. Heck, I bought a bunch at Wizard World (I was surprised to find them there) for $2.00 each. I enjoy the hunt for back issues and these comics give me something to hunt for.

Velvet

Velvet


Image Comics – Image is putting out some outstanding comics in a wide variety of genres. When Image started, there was the promise that this could happen but it was mostly superhero comics. I’m glad that promise has come to fruition. I’d be surprised if someone didn’t find something they liked from Image. Personally, I’m a big fan of the spy adventure Velvet by Ed Brubaker & Steve Epting, the epic fantasy of Autumnlands: Tooth & Claw by Kurt Busiek & Benjamin Dewey, and the science fiction soap opera of Saga by Brian K. Vaughn & Fiona Staples. They also publish the mega-popular Walking Dead. I suggest you give Image Comics a look and give something a try.

Berkeley Breathed's Opus

Berkeley Breathed’s Opus


Classic Comic Strip Collections – I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – we’re living in a Golden Age of classic comic strip reprints. Nice collections of comic strips are available that explore all sorts of eras and genres. Want something from the early years of comics? There’s Bringing Up Father and Krazy & Ignatz. Want adventure? Try Buz Sawyer or X-9: Secret Agent Corrigan. Want a classic? There’s The Complete Peanuts and Dick Tracy. There’s even likely some outstanding comics you’re not familiar with like Skippy and Sam’s Strip. I’m a big fan of IDW’s collections of Berkeley Breathed’s comics (Bloom County, Outland, and Opus) and eagerly await the Academia Waltz volume, a collection I never thought I’d see that features Breathed’s college comic strip. Fantagraphics’ Walt Disney’s Mickey Mouse is a wonderful series that collects the classic strips by Floyd Gottfredson. I’ve only read most of these as reformatted stories in Disney comics and it’s wonderful to ee them as they were intended to be read. I also love Fantagraphics’ collections of Crockett Johnson’s Barnaby. I was not familiar with this strip, but heard so many good things about it that I decided to give it a try. I’m glad I did because it’s a wonderful, charming strip that I really enjoy. This is just a small sampling of the classic comic strip collections that are available. I’m betting there’s one (or more) out there that you’d enjoy.

There are other things I’m excited about in comics, but I’m going to stop myself and throw the question to you, the reader. What are you enjoying in comics? What in comics excites you? Comment below and share the fun with all of us.

Now, go read a comic!

 

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  1. Beau Smith Says:

    Roger,

    You really nailed some good stuff here and a couple I’ve put on MY list. After my 25 + years in the comic book business, I can still get really stoked about a lot of the items that are out there, old and new. I think when you are attracted to the pop culture world, the options of cool things never really end.

    Good stuff!

    Beau