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Slyngorm
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Comics
Apr 24th, 2021 at 2:39pm
 
Some of my recommendations of comics from three different parts of the world


Murena by Philippe Delaby (artist) and Jean Dufaux (writer)
Follows an assortment of characters before and during the reign of Roman emperor Nero. All aspects of Rome and Roman society is touched upon and you experience both gladiator schools, chariot races, the Gallic wars, orgies, brothels, crucifixions, the Vestal Virgins, slums, Roman superstitions, poetry, villas, theatre and both the upper and lower class. The characters include both poisoners, warriors, freed slaves, powerful men falling in love with prostitutes, mothers and seductresses. The writing is (aside from a few divine elements) very realistic, EXTREMELY gritty and historically accurate with notes to historical facts throughout the series.

The art needs no introduction if you have seen a single page. Years go by between each new release and the series is still not finished. Growing up I saw this series at my local library and how the number of albums very slowly accumulated over the years. Never read it until recently because the covers scared me.

The original artist has since then passed away and the latest album was drawn by Theo Caneschi. But the art of Delaby was worth the waiting time. I would describe it as the closest you could get to photorealistic art without it actually being photorealistic.
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BLAME! by Tsutomu Nihei    
One of the most original and terrifying stories ever put to paper it follows a lone wandering man. Earth has been overbuilt by an enormous, ever expanding city which has since then been all but emptied of life due to loss of communication with the city's operating system. Scattered groups of humans, mutants and robots ecks out a living throughout the city, each could warrant a comic series of their own.
The design of the robots and monsters is an astonishing blend of mechanical and biological machinery. 
The city is portrayed as a maze of kilometres upon kilometres high buildings and abandoned, yet intricate, futuristic machinery.
Couple this with an unconventional, yet effective, writing style and you get one of the strangest comics I have ever read.

Its depiction of enormous, open spaces filled me with a vertigo I have never experienced before. The writing and whole portrayal of the city and its inhabitants leaves you with a feeling that an endless number of distinct amazing stories have taken place both before, during and after the story portrayed in BLAME! And that is a feeling few other pieces of media have left me with. 

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The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck by Keno Don Hugo Rosa
If you ever catch me NOT saying this is the definitively best comic ever made then do me a favour and smack me across the face.

Scrooge McDuck is a character originally invented by legendary duck comic creator Carl Barks. While Scrooge was originally intended to be used only in a single comic his popularity end up becoming second only to Donald Duck himself. Barks never wrote long story arcs and never thoroughly examined Scrooge's childhood and early years. And this is where Don Rosa enters the picture. A huge fan of Barks, Rosa had made some comics beforehand and in 1987 he made his first Disney comic which was a huge success. Over the years he made several duck comics many of which served as sequels to Bark comics that he himself had never intended to be anything but one shots. These were good comics by the way. They were set at the same time in history as the Bark comics were published (the 50s) and, when possible, capitalized on intriguing historically accurate information.

And so in 1992 Rosa began his Magnus Opus, The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck. This project  examined and systematized every bit of information that Barks had put to writing about Scrooge McDuck and portrayed his life from when he as  a poor boy in Glasgow earned his first dime and then travelled round the Americas, to Africa, Australia, returning to America and becoming a millionaire, his continued search for wealth, his first time meeting Donald Duck, earning the title of the richest duck in the universe and finally a prelude to the first comic that Barks had made so many years earlier that first portrayed Scrooge McDuck.

Throughout the series he participates historic events such as the Klondike Gold Rush, the founding of the Anaconda Copper mine and the sinking of Titanic. And he meets historic characters such as Theodore Roosevelt and Wyatt Earp.

My enthusiasm may stem partly from having read duck comics all my life but even if you only have slight experience with Donald Duck this is worth the read.

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perpetualstudent
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Re: Comics
Reply #1 - Apr 25th, 2021 at 8:28am
 
The life and times is surprisingly good. It's odd compared to what I had previously read in graphic novels but it is good.

recently I've been reading Berserk. Maybe he'll finish it before he passes  Roll Eyes  It is highly adult horror and takes a couple of books to get going but it is a beautifully drawn train wreck and more intelligent than it seems at first blush.

Midnight Nation By Michael J Straczynski is my absolute favorite graphic novel. It's about the lost, the castaways, failure, and heartbreak.

Kingdom come by Mark Waid and Alex Ross is also one of my favorites. Paintings are actually oil instead of standard illustrations but it's the story, the balance of lawful good and neutral good. This book reminded me that ultimately Superman is important. If we can't solve things the right way where we end is terrible.

For a simple (if adult) good time Fables is a solid diversion.
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"Facts stand wholly outside our gates; they are what they are, and no more;they know nothing about themselves and they pass no judgement upon themselves. What is it, then, that pronounces the judgement? Our own guide and ruler, Reason."
 
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Kick
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Re: Comics
Reply #2 - Apr 25th, 2021 at 8:37am
 
All of the Hellboy comics are just... sublime. It's an amazing mix of a pulpy over the top crazy silly funny comic book and a deeply serious epic exploration of destiny and purpose. The full overarching storyline is just beautiful, particularly Hellboy in Hell which is truly high art. It won't make sense to jump straight to Hellboy in Hell but the artwork is incredible. Mike Mignola is truly one of the greatest living comic book artists.
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You are a great guy Kick but also slightly scary at times. - Morphy
"Nothing matters, but it’s perhaps more comfortable to keep calm and not interfere with other people." - H.P. Lovecraft, in a letter to Frank Belknap Long, 7 October, 1923
 
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Slyngorm
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Re: Comics
Reply #3 - Apr 29th, 2021 at 2:49pm
 
perpetualstudent wrote on Apr 25th, 2021 at 8:28am:
The life and times is surprisingly good. It's odd compared to what I had previously read in graphic novels but it is good.

recently I've been reading Berserk. Maybe he'll finish it before he passes  Roll Eyes  It is highly adult horror and takes a couple of books to get going but it is a beautifully drawn train wreck and more intelligent than it seems at first blush.

Midnight Nation By Michael J Straczynski is my absolute favorite graphic novel. It's about the lost, the castaways, failure, and heartbreak.

Kingdom come by Mark Waid and Alex Ross is also one of my favorites. Paintings are actually oil instead of standard illustrations but it's the story, the balance of lawful good and neutral good. This book reminded me that ultimately Superman is important. If we can't solve things the right way where we end is terrible.

For a simple (if adult) good time Fables is a solid diversion.

Tried reading Berserk once. Maybe should have another go then.
Kingdom Come is one of the few big two comics I have read but it was fantastic even if I didn't fully understood the context. The art truly was a blessing.


Kick wrote on Apr 25th, 2021 at 8:37am:
All of the Hellboy comics are just... sublime. It's an amazing mix of a pulpy over the top crazy silly funny comic book and a deeply serious epic exploration of destiny and purpose. The full overarching storyline is just beautiful, particularly Hellboy in Hell which is truly high art. It won't make sense to jump straight to Hellboy in Hell but the artwork is incredible. Mike Mignola is truly one of the greatest living comic book artists.

Have read the entire original Hellboy run, the first BPRD arc, and some of the Lobster Johnson and Ape Sapien comics.  Did run to a halt after the beginning of Hell on Earth and Hellboy in Hell. Wonder when the universe will finish.
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Kick
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Re: Comics
Reply #4 - Apr 29th, 2021 at 8:28pm
 
Sounds like we've read about the same amount. BPRD was way better than I was expecting.
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You are a great guy Kick but also slightly scary at times. - Morphy
"Nothing matters, but it’s perhaps more comfortable to keep calm and not interfere with other people." - H.P. Lovecraft, in a letter to Frank Belknap Long, 7 October, 1923
 
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Slyngorm
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Re: Comics
Reply #5 - May 6th, 2021 at 2:35pm
 
It was ok. Guy Davis’ art was.... ok. What really hooked me was the different pieces of real world mythology and esoteric subjects it touched upon.
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Slyngorm
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Re: Comics
Reply #6 - Jun 24th, 2022 at 4:36pm
 
Blake and Mortimer by Edgard Félix Pierre Jacobs
Tintin, but objectively better.
But seriously, it has the same overall setting: some guys going on adventures all over the world in a colonial setting, surviving through their skills and wits, drawn in the same ligne claire style.
Different is that the humans are drawn more realistically, the tone is more serious and contains more science fiction elements.

The first three issues are extra interesting as they portray a very niche setting in the wake of WW2 and the beginning of the cold war. The enemy is a foreign country which can best be described as an amalgamation of the Japanese empire and communist China.

Later it has gotten a revival which new issues being published.

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Akira by Katsuhiro Otomo
What more is to be said?
What struck me the most with this comic was its depiction of fight scenes, spending several pages simply showing characters going at each other, almost with the same fluidity as a movie. The second thing that struck me was, especially in the early chapters the intricate depictions of huge mechanical contraptions.
Lastly, the story seems to go on forever, in a good way. It's like every time you think the characters have reached the peak of their strength and trials, well, they are upped and the stakes get even higher.

First reading this it was the best thing ever. Seriously, no book, movie or any other comic was as good as this to me back then. At my local library were 20 volumes. I had come to and borrowed 19th volume and planned on finishing it and going to the library the next day and finish the best series ever put to paper. Then the story suddenly ended. Turns out the 20th volume was simply and art book containing sketches and whatnot. Fml.

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Weathercraft by Jim Woodring
Shocked
Resume: surrealistic but coherent fantasy slice-of-life

Based on hallucinations that he has experienced his entire life the world of Jim Woodring contains no dialogue but instead tells its story through his beautiful crotch hatching. Several different volumes act out in the "Unifactor", a universe containing his weird visions.
The story in Weathercraft? The nasty character Pigman on his road to redemption.

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Curious Aardvark
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Re: Comics
Reply #7 - Jun 27th, 2022 at 9:17am
 
It's interesting that you had graphic novels in your local library growing up.

Just not something that happened in British libraries, which I spent an awful lot of time in as a kid and teenager.

I think we're missing out.

The only serious graphic novels I remember from my youth are by Raymond Briggs.
Fungus the bogeyman, about a bogeyman who visits the surface world to visit boils on sleeping humans.
But as much a commentary on society and the rebellion if youth, as anything else.

And 'where the wind blows'.
An incredibly poignant tale of an elderly couple trying to survive in a post nuclear world.
Again it's as much a commentary on society in general, as the couple in particular.

I believe we still have both books somewhere in the house.

No idea why comic books have been traditionally looked down on in British society.
But then I have no idea why the books they made us read in school were 'classics' and the books I chose to read myself, weren't

My only conclusion has been that if a book is enjoyable to read, and millions of people buy it and read it - it can't be a 'classic'.

To become a 'classic'.
It needs to be difficult to read, tedious in the extreme and have no mass appeal whatsoever.

The same criteria used to judge the Booker prize.

But Britain is definitely the poorer for it's disdain of the graphic novel.
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Do All things with Honour and Generosity: Regret Nothing, Envy None, Apologise Seldom and Bow your head to No One  - works for me Smiley
 
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Re: Comics
Reply #8 - Jun 27th, 2022 at 10:48am
 
Curious Aardvark wrote on Jun 27th, 2022 at 9:17am:
But then I have no idea why the books they made us read in school were 'classics' and the books I chose to read myself, weren't


Yes ! Very good question !

"To be or not to be, that's the question."
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TOMBELAINE
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Re: Comics
Reply #9 - Jun 27th, 2022 at 10:53am
 
Bad day !
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MMF
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Re: Comics
Reply #10 - Jul 19th, 2022 at 1:08am
 
I never really considered comics but this sounds cool. Do you have a website you go to read these?
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Slyngorm
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Re: Comics
Reply #11 - Jul 23rd, 2022 at 2:12pm
 
Curious Aardvark wrote on Jun 27th, 2022 at 9:17am:
Just not something that happened in British libraries, which I spent an awful lot of time in as a kid and teenager.


Well, our libraries have a very diverse content. You can borrow both CDs, DVDs, magazines besides books and comics.

Curious Aardvark wrote on Jun 27th, 2022 at 9:17am:
And 'where the wind blows'.
An incredibly poignant tale of an elderly couple trying to survive in a post nuclear world.
Again it's as much a commentary on society in general, as the couple in particular.

I should read that! Have heard about the movie.

Curious Aardvark wrote on Jun 27th, 2022 at 9:17am:
No idea why comic books have been traditionally looked down on in British society.
But then I have no idea why the books they made us read in school were 'classics' and the books I chose to read myself, weren't

Weeeeell, it questionable how much less they are looked down upon in America our continental Europe I think. It's still childish to read just comics but some comics are just very popular.
But it's weird you haven't made any big popular comics in Britian because some of the most famous authors in America are british  (Alan Moore, Grant Morrison)


Quote:
Do you have a website you go to read these?

Search for "[comic name] read online" and you can find a good deal of them if they are a couple of years old. Most popular manga are readily available this way.
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