Sequential Wednesdays #0 – Origins & Purpose

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Hello and thank you for taking time out of your day to look at this.  This will probably be the most viewed thing I’ve written on the internet to date.  I’m thrilled to be part of the Amazing Stories Magazine staff.  You can expect content mostly on comics with a smattering of visual arts, anime, animation, and film.  If you’re wondering: the reason I believe I am qualified to report and expound on such topics is that each contain works that have made my cry, lie in bed surrounded by still darkness just breathing, remember that life is a darn grand place to be in, and die a little bit inside.  Consider this post as an introduction of myself, what I like, a bit of why I like it, and what to expect from me in the coming weeks.

I am raised on games, cartoons, fictional books, comics, myths, silly voices, Tom Lehrer, and MST3K.  At a rather early age I determined that I get the same enjoyment from watching the anime series of Ranma ½ as I would from reading the original manga,mouthed made up lyrics to the heroic theme from Kids WB’s amalgamation show The New Batman/Superman Adventures that stirred something deep inside my impressionable self, and my first copy of Harry Potter & the Sorcerer’s Stone has a record of my habit of tearing a small corner off a page to gnaw on the fibrous pulp manically.  Akin to Tom Waits’ voice changing to gravel and devilish ash as his career proceeded or seeing the age of trees by counting the rings imprinted on their flesh, I can track my development in the books I poured over as a child.  Safe to say, my original copy of The Golden Compass or Calvin & Hobbes is all but unreadable.

Because I followed in my friend Morgana’s tracks in coming to write for Amazing Stories, I will also emulate her form of suggesting comics based on interests & genre.

For someone who is trying to find a way into reading manga and/or is super keen on stories around the consequences of a society with sentient and mass-produced robots, I would recommend Pluto – an 8 volume story based on the classic Astroboy.  It’s a dense story centering on the 7 most powerful or complex robots ever built, an investigation around a series of grievous crimes, and the ultimate will to become “alive”.  It’s a magnificent narrative that’s had a fantastic English translation and can be found in most comic shops or online.  Science fiction fans looking to get into western comics could find a lot of pleasure from Warren Ellis’s Planetary which is a wild, genre-bending series about a group of supernatural professionals carrying out the will of the clandestine organization of the same name.  There’s an exemplary amount of depth to be found in this book, for both experienced and new comic readers.  One of the joys of Planetary is going back for another read after adventuring further into the understanding of comic conventions & tropes to experience the homages previously glossed over.  It’s lovingly crafted to say the least.

Since it would just not be me not to suggest it: if you pretty much like anything, read Saga by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples.  It’s only 9 issues in and has teased one of the most sophisticated worlds I have ever fawned over in fiction.  Especially look into this if you’re a fan of the long haul.  Vaughan has been quoted in saying he wants the series to go “exactly one issue longer than The Walking Dead,” which has been in print for nearly 10 years.

If you’re like me at all and absolutely require interesting, inventive, or at the very least good art in a comic, I have a list for you.  One of the aspects of comics I find myself smitten by is that I am allowed to mush together both the story and visuals into what I call “good art” because I love what can be done with panel layout.  Those looking for a visual wonder, I would wholeheartedly suggest Daytripper by Fabio Moon & Gabriel Ba, Batwoman by J.H. Williams III, Blacksad by Juan Díaz Canales & Juanjo Guarndio, Nonplayer by Nate Simpson (fair warning, there’s only one issue), Infinite Vacation by Nick Spencer & Christian Ward, Richard Stark’s Parker by Darwyn Cooke, and the Flight collection by Kazu Kibuishi.

Lastly, if you’re like me and you look up at the sky with the insistent truth that you’ll witness the velocity of color driven by something truly greater than all else, read All-Star Superman by Grant Morrison & Frank Quietly.

There.  There’s a list of comics I really like for a variety of reasons.  There’s a heck of a lot more and I plan to write about quite a lot of them.  I’m going to do my damnedest not to make each post an excessive regurgitation of why you should read or watch what I like, but no promises.  I plan to upload weekly, scheduled to post on Wednesdays.  I may or may not settle on the title you see above, so we’ll see how that goes.   One thing you can be guaranteed is that every post will include a list of the new comics I have picked up, as new comics are released on Wednesdays.

I wrote this article Thursday 2/7, so here are my pulls from that week:

  • Adventure Time Fionna & Cake #2 by Natasha Allegri
  • Animal Man #17 by Jeff Lemire, Scott Snyder & Steve Pugh
  • Swamp Thing #17 by Scott Snyder, Jeff Lemire & Marco Rudy
  • Fairest #12 by Lauren Beukes & Inaki Miranda
  • Snapshot #1 by Andy Diggle & Jock
  • Hellboy in Hell #3 by Mike Mignola

 

My pulls for Wednesday 2/13, the day this post goes live are:

  • Batman #17 by Scott Snyder & Greg Capullo
  • Peter Panzerfaust #9 by Kurtis J. Wiebe & Tyler Jenkins
  • Manhattan Projects #9 by Johnathan Hickman & Nick Pitarra

 

As a starting treat, I am planning a trip out to Pittsfield, MA to the Norman Rockwell Museum to see the Heroes & Villains: The Comic Book Art of Alex Ross exhibit in a week, so I plan to make my first real post (should be up 2/20) about that.  This will be pretty much the last time I will know what I’m going to write about beforehand.

Until the Future!

 

(top image contains cover art of Fairest #12, Adventure Time Fionna Cake #2, Snapshot #1, and Hellboy in Hell #3)

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2 thoughts on "Sequential Wednesdays #0 – Origins & Purpose"

  1. I didn't even realize the Normal Rockwell Museum was in Pittsfield! I'm going to have to get out there myself someday soon!

    I'm so excited for your posts, my friend! I already have a comics-related question for you!

    I really, really love Mike Mignola's artwork. James has a couple copies of Hellboy paperbacks, and I've glanced at them. I want to know which installment of Hellboy I should read first (I haven't done much research, so I'm not sure if it's as sprawling a series as some). I want to appreciate the story as well as the art, and not just because I've seen the movies. =P

    And I still haven't read Saga…it's on my shelf, waiting for me! Perhaps I'll pick that up next….

    Yay for first post! Congratulations, and I can't wait for more!

    1. Thanks for the warm welcome buddy!

      The Hellboy trades are numbered as far as I know, the first one is "Seed of Destruction." An handy breakdown is available on wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hellboy#Trade_Paperbacks). That said, pretty much all of the trades are fulfilling and enjoyable to read without reading the rest, but the whole story is quite unequivocally excellent.

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