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Random Access Memory: October 2016

Author’s Note: Random Access Memory is me looking back at the specific comics that shaped my life. Each month I go back in time – in five year intervals – to examine key comics that came out those months. (The idea is that after five years of monthly columns, I will have covered an entire lifetime – in this case, fifty years – of reading comics.) Starting this month I will also list all the comics I read that particular month. This will afford readers the opportunity to chastise me for not reading specific comics, and/or laugh at the horrible, horrible choices I made in the past.

October 1976

Avengers 155

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As I’ve mentioned before, these Jim Shooter/George Perez issues of The Avengers began my love affair with comics. Having so many characters to learn about and keep track of greatly appealed to my young mind, and Perez seemed to effortlessly create page layouts that continue to look imaginative and original 40 years later.

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This fight sequence uses (at least) fifteen different characters. The complexity of the page layout allows for maximum action without sacrificing clarity, but the sequential storytelling is the most impressive thing on display. Instead of panel-to-panel storytelling transitions, Perez offers page-to-page storytelling, where panel one of the first page is followed sequentially by panel one of the second page, panel two of the first page by panel two of the second, and so on. It’s wonderfully complex in conception, yet was simple enough in execution for my seven year old brain to easily follow.

Other Comics I Read From October 1976

  • Amazing Spider-Man 164
  • Invaders 12
  • Marvel Team-Up 53
  • Marvel Team-Up Annual 1
  • Monster Hunters 9

October 1981

Cerebus 31

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By the time Cerebus reached High Society (a 25 issue storyline, of which this is issue 6), it was clear that we were in the presence of a storyteller who was delivering his Masterpiece in 20 page per month installments. As intricate as the illustration, character work, and storylines became, perhaps the most impressive feat was Dave Sim’s ability to alter tone so effectively. Issues bounced from high drama to slapstick comedy on a regular basis, yet – during the first 150 issues, at least – the reader always knew that they were in safe hands.

One of the main sources of comedy (as well as a powerful engine that allowed Sim to parody whatever was happening in the world of “mainstream” comics) throughout Cerebus was The Roach. Beginning as a generic Batman parody, he would morph into whatever Sim needed him to become, changing his name and costume with each appearance: Captain Cockroach (Captain America), Punisheroach (The Punisher), Swoon (The Sandman), and, most famously – if only because of Marvel’s threatened lawsuit – Wolverroach (Wolverine).

In this issue, we meet Moon Roach, who introduces himself by dropping a cartoonishly large moon crescent onto a villain and shouting his catchphrase, “Unorthodox Economic Revenge!”

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Daredevil 179

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Frank Miller and Klaus Janson were so on fire during their entire Daredevil run that it seems absurd to try to find specific pages (or even issues) that stand out. I include this issue because I have a clear memory of reading it and wondering what sort of Space Fabric this guy’s shirt was made of.

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Unless Elektra pushed her sai through him very slowly, I don’t understand how it could pass through his entire body, but not through a cotton/polyester blend. Later, I found out that Marvel editorial didn’t permit the illustration of any weapon poking through a human’s body, and this was Miller’s workaround. I was going to say something about how far we’ve come, but then I remembered that Joss Whedon’s first Avengers movie had to edit a similar scene to prevent an R-rating.

Link: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/03/13/the-avengers-rated-r_n_4957893.html

Other Comics I Read From October 1981

  • Amazing Spider-Man 224, 225
  • Avengers 215
  • Bizarre Adventures 28
  • Captain America 265
  • Fantastic Four 238
  • Ka-Zar 11
  • Marvel Team-Up 113
  • Starlord Special Edition
  • Uncanny X-Men 153

October 1986

Justice League of America 258

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You guys watch The Flash? You know everyone’s favorite character: Cisco? Well, way back in the 80s, he was Vibe, the first Hispanic super-hero in the Justice League of America, and in this issue he gets murdered. And pretty pathetically. For no good reason. Yay, DC!

Secret Origins 10

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This was perhaps the most anticipated issue of Secret Origins, for two reasons. First of all, it featured the “secret origin” of the Phantom Stranger, the only DC character whose origin was still a secret to those of us on Earth Prime. The other reason was that the Phantom Stranger’s origin was to be written by Alan Moore.

In a great twist on the whole “Secret Origins” concept, DC decided to play with the secret aspect of the Phantom Stranger’s origin, by commissioning four unique origin stories from four creative teams. Perhaps this is where Moore got the idea that the Joker’s origin should be “multiple choice.”

To give some indication of just how amazing Alan Moore was, I remember reading his contribution and not thinking much of it – and it shattered my world. Up to that point, every single piece I’d read by Moore was creatively fertile, if not all out mind-blowing. That he was capable of writing a lackluster – if acceptable – story was new information to me.

Swamp Thing 56

Alan Moore’s Blue Period
Alan Moore’s Blue Period

Swamp Thing was killed in issue 53. Then after two issues focusing on supporting characters, the last page of issue 55 showed a very different – and very blue – version of our hero. Turns out he could only survive by sending his consciousness off Earth and into the universe. His first stop was this strange blue planet.

Most of the issue is spent inside Alec’s head as he slowly goes crazy from loneliness. There’s also occasion for Alan Moore to exhaust his cache of blue puns, if you’re into that. In an effort to pass the time – as well as provide the illusion of companionship – Alec uses his powers to create a village, complete with people he can interact with. In the story’s creepiest conceit, he is confronted by a blue John Constantine.

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Here Moore establishes the greatest feature of Constantine’s character: he’s so good at getting into your head that you can never know if he’s the greatest magician of all time, or simply the greatest con man.

Watchmen 5

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The more time goes by, the less I find to like about the characters, storyline, and overall approach to the super-hero narrative presented in Watchmen, but I cannot deny that it remains the single highest level of craftsmanship ever produced by the medium.

For instance, rather than discussing the plot, character moments, or dialog in this issue – all of which are worthy of discussion – I will simply point out that the entire issue is a massive visual palindrome.

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Looking at the first and last pages of the issue, note how page one, panel one matches the final panel on the last page. These visual similarities (down to the coloring) between opposing panels continue as you work your way panel-by-panel from both ends, toward the middle of the issue, where you have a double-page spread, with a single image split over the “fold” of the issue.

Other Comics I Read From October 1986

  • Action Comics 584
  • Adventures of Superman 424
  • Alien Encounters 9
  • Avengers 275
  • Badger 21
  • Cerebus 91
  • Classic x-Men 5
  • The Demon 1. 2
  • Elektra: Assassin 4
  • Elementals 10
  • Fury of Firestorm 55
  • Grendel 1
  • Legends 3
  • Luger 1
  • Marvel Fanfare 30
  • Moonshadow 11
  • Nexus 30
  • Peter Parker the Spectacular Spider-Man 122
  • Scout 12
  • Superman 1
  • Vigilante 37
  • Web of Spider-Man 23

October 1991

Alf 48

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Lifetime Award Winner: Best Unintentional Depiction of an Alien Sodomizing a Seal.

Cerebus 151

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The beginning of the second half of Dave Sim’s ambitious 300-issue Cerebus. Unfortunately, this issue also marks the beginning of Dave Sim’s long slide into… well, if not insanity, then certainly a place where… let’s just say he had a hard time keeping friends.

The four part Mothers and Daughters storyline is brilliantly executed – the art never looked better, and the story was still quite engaging. But, slowly but surely, the reader found themselves forced to consider the horrific notion that Sim just might share some of the more odious opinions about society (and women) that some of his characters were espousing.

As much as I loved this book during the first 150 issues, by the end of Mothers and Daughters, I found myself beginning to question my ability to make it to issue 300.

Incredible Hulk 388

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A frequent topic of conversation among my comic book circle in late 1991 was whether Peter David’s bringing “real world” issues into his super-hero comics was welcome and thoughtful or exploitative and overly politically correct. As in most matters, I found myself sagging in the middle, basing my opinion on the general tone and treatment of these hot topics in super-hero comics rather than expressing joy or derision at their mere existence.

As such, I was totally on board with David including an HIV-positive character in the Hulk.

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For those who don’t know, that’s Jim Wilson, who was the Hulk’s “sidekick” for much of the late seventies, as well as the nephew of Sam Wilson, AKA the Falcon. I was excited about the storytelling possibilities presented by using a beloved character with a rich history with both the Hulk and Rick Jones – not to mention the potential connection to the Captain America universe – as opposed to simply creating a new “AIDS” character and launching them into the book.

My disappointment at this squandered potential actually led me to write a letter to the book, which we’ll address properly when the time comes.

Spectacular Spider-Man 183

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For my money the single best uncollected Spider-Man run in history is J.M. DeMatteis and Sal Buscema’s SSM run (178-200, though technically they worked until issue 203, but those three issues were part of the Maximum Carnage storyline so I’m not counting them – and you can’t make me). This is the last issue of The Child Within, their first storyline. (Okay, technically speaking, 184 was an epilogue issue, but the cover says “Part 6 of 6,” so leave me alone.)

This story is about fathers and sons, and – since this is a J.M. DeMatteis comic – also about redemption and forgiveness (and, all of the main characters cry). It asks difficult questions – What can’t be forgiven? At what point is a person beyond redemption? – but never forgets that it’s a Spider-Man comic while doing so. If you like DeMatteis’ “serious” writing style, this is one of his strongest storylines.

Happily, this is also one of Sal Buscema’s stronger runs. It’s a real shame that it took an editor so long to figure out how perfect these two were for each other. DeMatteis’ scripts call for a lot of zoom-ins and pull-backs, so a lot of pages show essentially the same images in variant sizes. While this could easily look boring, Buscema excels, providing suspenseful – even dynamic – pages within this context.

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X-Factor 73

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And, we’re back to Peter David – and another potential PC landmine.

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Over the years, “mutants” has been used as a metaphor for just about any group with an outsider status: racial minorities, sexual minorities, even “gifted” children who feel ostracized by their intelligence. So, the notion that mutants would demand control of their defining language seems reasonable enough.

I recall at the time that a lot of people had problems with David singling out “mutant” as the M-word – arguing that it should be “Mutie,” as mutant was simply an agreed upon descriptive term. Yeah, and so was “negro.” And while it may not be as offensive as another N-word, I think we can all agree that its usage has fallen hopelessly out of fashion, and for all the right reasons.

Sadly, “Geecees” did not become as popular as David (or Strong Guy) might have liked.

Other Comics I Read From October 1991

  • Animal Man 42
  • Batman 472
  • Batman/Judge Dredd: Judgement on Gotham
  • Beautiful Stories for Ugly Children 22
  • Detective Comics 638
  • Free Cerebus
  • Hate 6
  • Hellblazer 48
  • Infinity Gauntlet 6
  • Legends of the Dark Knight Annual 1
  • Marc Spector: Moon Knight 33
  • Marvel Comics Presents 90, 91, 92
  • Marvel Fanfare 60
  • Question Quarterly 4
  • Sandman 33
  • She-Hulk 34
  • Shade the Changing Man 18
  • Swamp Thing 114
  • Uncanny X-Men 283
  • Wonder Man 4
  • X-Men 3

October 1996

Hitman 9

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Another great issue of Hitman. Ten thousand bullets after Tommy’s childhood friend Pat died, his friends gather to bury him.

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After the funeral, Tommy has a long talk with Sean Noonan – owner of the bar where Tommy hangs out, Pat’s Uncle, and Tommy’s surrogate father. During the conversation, Tommy learns that his relationship with Pat wasn’t as one-sided or clear cut as he imagined.

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Like most of Ennis’ best work, it’s these small character beats – and not the plot points or set pieces – that drive the narrative.

Preacher 20

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Twenty issues into Preacher, Garth Ennis begins his habit of giving every tertiary character a major – and I mean major – sexual problem.

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And it wouldn’t be Preacher if we were simply presented with a never-ending parade of body horror and sexual dysfunction. Each character comes complete with a “glass half full” perspective on their situation that borders on the insane.

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Also, Jesse and Tulip shoot their way out of a Four Star restaurant, Herr Starr has his first pegging experience, and Cassidy learns why this issue is called “Too Much Gun.”

Preacher: The Story of You-Know-Who

Apparently, Garth Ennis was the only guy writing comics in 1996
Apparently, Garth Ennis was the only guy writing comics in 1996

 

Back in 1996, you weren’t allowed to use the word “Arseface” in a comic book title, but slapping an image like that on the cover was no problem.

In a pretty radical departure from TV’s Arseface, our man’s failed suicide was an attempt to imitate Kurt Cobain.

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While his friend succeeds, our man wakes up in the hospital with no face and a lot of explaining to do.

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Given his overly pleasant demeanor, this origin seems to make a bit more sense than the darker, more predatory origin they gave TV’s Arseface, but perhaps all will be revealed in season two.

Other Comics I Read From October 1996

  • Azrael Plus The Question 1
  • Aztek 5
  • Batman: The Long Halloween 1
  • The Big Book of Thugs
  • Black Lamb 2
  • Bloody Mary 3
  • Cerebus 211
  • Elektra 2
  • Flash 120
  • Hellblazer 108
  • Impulse 20
  • Incredible Hulk 448
  • Kurt Busiek’s Astro City 2
  • Leave it to Chance 2
  • Madman Comics 11
  • Robin Plus Impulse 1
  • Seekers: Into the Mystery 11
  • Spectacular Spider-Man 241
  • Spider-Man Team-Up 5
  • Spider-Man: Redemption 4
  • Starman 25
  • Stormwatch 40, 41
  • Supergirl 4
  • Untold Tales of Spider-Man 16
  • Untold Tales of Spider-Man Annual 1

October 2001

Amazing Spider-Man 36

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The 9-11 Issue opens with one of the most iconic and emotional images in the character’s history.

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This is followed almost immediately with a searing indictment that simultaneously points out the absurdity of bringing such real world issues to the realm of Super-Heroes and outlines their importance as ideals and metaphors for our better angels.

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There are several powerful and memorable visual sequences. To show them all would be to simply reprint the entire issue. But the most important panel – which continues to resonate over fifteen years later – is the following:

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Daredevil 26

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Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev begin their career defining run on Daredevil. Following a shocking opening sequence – and if you haven’t read this run yet, what are you waiting for? – we open on Matt Murdock giving his closing statement in front of a jury, establishing Murdock’s personality and power set, as well as Bendis’ scripting prowess.

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Fantastic Four 1234 4

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Due to Grant Morrison’s brief tenure at Marvel, he only managed to create four issues of Fantastic Four, the comic he may have been born to write. This four issue series devotes one issue to each member of the team, and while this issue focuses on Reed Richard’s Mr. Fantastic, the highlight of the issue belongs to Sue Richard’s Invisible Woman.

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Asking a series of questions that have almost certainly occurred to any adult reader of Marvel Comics, Sue gets to the heart of the “motivation” problem surrounding most Marvel villains. As much as I love the Bendis/Maleev Daredevil run discussed above, the motivation of Daredevil’s villains is questionable. (“I just hate Daredevil so much!” is hardly sufficient incentive to stimulate the elaborate revenge scheme that drives much of the run.)

Promethea 17

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Sophie Bangs continues her occult education, and Alan Moore continues to teach Kabbalah 101 as we work our way through the ten Sephira of the Tree of Life. As you might imagine, the issues Moore devoted to this journey were not received very well by fans who had been eagerly awaiting Moore’s return to super-hero comics. Contemporary reviews found these issues to be overly didactic. Ever the contrarian, I think Promethea is Moore’s best comic, and find the “preachy” second act to be endlessly fascinating. That being said, I should come clean and admit that I have a masters degree in theological studies – and wrote my thesis using comics as primary sources – so the topic may be of more interest to me than most.

This issue our heroines find themselves in Tiphereth. Moore describes this Sephira as “beauty,” “harmony,” and “balance.” Gershom Scholem describes Tiphereth as “the ‘compassion’ of God.” So, it is no surprise there here we find Jesus on the cross.

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In one of the most powerful moments of the series, Moore acknowledges that there is a “light at the bottom” that no amount of revisionist super-hero stories – no matter how well written – can extinguish.

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Other Comics I Read From October 2001

  • Adventures of the Rifle Brigade: Operation Bollock 2
  • Alias 2
  • Avengers 47
  • Avengers: Celestial Quest 2
  • Daredevil: Yellow 5
  • Elektra 4
  • Fantastic Four 48
  • Felon 1
  • Four Women 1
  • Fury 2
  • Green Arrow 9
  • Hellblazer 167
  • JLA: Incarnations 6
  • JSA 29
  • Lucifer 19
  • New X-Men 119
  • Powers 14
  • Punisher 5
  • Spider-Man’s Tangled Web 7
  • Startling Stories: Banner 4
  • Supergirl: Wings 1
  • Transmetropolitan 50
  • Ultimate Marvel Team-Up 9
  • Ultimate Spider-Man 14
  • Ultimate X-Men 11
  • War Stories: D-Day Dodgers
  • X-Force 121

October 2006

Criminal 1

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Individually, Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips have each been responsible for some of the best comics of the last 25 years. But, over the last decade, they have been working together to produce some true watershed moments in sequential art. Their impressive, award-winning series of comics together include Incognito, Fatale, the Fade Out, and the recently launched Kill or Be Killed. But, even though the under-read Sleeper was their first major work together, it all really started coming together with Criminal, where Brubaker and Phillips managed to make both Frank Miller’s Sin City and Azzarello and Risso’s 100 Bullets look like warm-up acts for what crime comics could really be.

The Other Side 1

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If you’re a 21st century comic book fan, you already know who Jason Aaron is, but you might not be familiar with The Other Side, his first major comics work. A Vertigo mini-series illustrated by Cameron Stewart, it came and went without much fanfare, and the trade collection has been out of print for several years now. A digital version has not yet been made available, but as it would seem that Vertigo is well on its way toward digitizing its entire imprint, I imagine it is only a matter of time.

The Other Side is a Vietnam War story. Appropriate since I first became aware of Aaron as the nephew of Gustav Hasford, co-writer of the Stanley Kubrick Vietnam War film “Full Metal Jacket” (as well as the author of the film’s source material). Aaron filters the narrative through “The Wire” by following both an American and a Viet Cong recruit as they go through their training and deployment. Powerful stuff that is worth seeking out.

Seven Soldiers 1

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Seven stand-alone four-issue mini-series, book-ended by two double-sized issues – all written by Grant Morrison. That’s all the solicitation information anyone really needed – either to seek out or avoid Seven Soldiers. Counter-intuitively, Seven Soldiers 1 is the last issue of the cross-over. After giving each of his chosen seven soldiers four-issues, Morrison gave himself one issue to bring them all together, beat the bad guy, and tie up all the narrative threads. And no, that’s not enough for a satisfying ending to all seven-storylines. But, given his stated goal of launching all seven characters into the ongoing DC Universe, perhaps that was intentional.

There’s a lot to love here, much of it being J.H. Williams astonishing artwork. The original seven mini-series were illustrated by artists as divergent as Cameron Stewart, Simone Bianchi, and Ryan Sook, and Williams manages to imitate all of them (as well as Jack Kirby and other artists) flawlessly.

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The storytelling demands put on Williams are almost as great as those put on the reader. In one instance, major story points can only be determined by solving a crossword puzzle from a fake newspaper page.

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Another revelation – and one of my personal favorite Grant Morrison moments ever – is easily missed by the casual reader.

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That’s Zatanna, if you don’t know. She’s a magician and member of the Justice League. Her power set pretty much allows her to break any and all laws of physics – to do whatever she wants, really – so long as she speaks her desires backwards. Like all language in comics, these linguistic powers are represented by physical lettering inside a word balloon – in this case with the words written backwards. (As a child, I would hold the comic up to a mirror to more easily read Zatanna’s “spells.”)

In a masterful revision, Morrison reveals the true source of her power is tapping in to Earth Prime, i.e., our universe (the one where all the comic book writers live). If she can tap into that power, it’s no wonder she can do whatever she wants. And think about it: if our words were spoken into her world, they would appear as backwards word balloons.

And all of this – as well as the knowledge that Zatanna is addressing the reader – is communicated (or not communicated, if you missed it) through the single word “ready” written backwards in response to Zatanna’s question. That’s good comics!

The Walking Dead 33

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The “Michonne’s Revenge” issue. Anyone who read the Walking Dead comic before watching the TV show is aware of several key moments from the comic that are so visceral and disturbing that you can’t help but dread their eventual transition from the page to the screen. As a growing percentage of the television viewing audience is reading the graphic novels between seasons, the show’s creators have begun to use that dread as a weapon against their audience – most famously with the build-up to the appearance of Negan throughout the second half of Season Six, and the horrific cliff-hanger that made us all wait until the Season Seven debut to find out if the shockingly violent death seen in issue 100 would indeed be recreated.

If you’ve read this issue, you know that issue 100 was nothing. And – if you haven’t read this issue, but have seen the TV show – let me assure you that the televised fight scene between Michonne and the Governor was also nothing. I’ve often made the argument that comics are the ideal medium for physical violence, since you get the visual impact without the “reality” – it’s only an illustration, no foley work, etc. This is a prime example, as even Greg Nicotero knew he couldn’t get away with coming anywhere near the level of violence and body horror seen in this issue. If you’ve seen it, you know what I’m talking about. If you haven’t, you’ve been warned.

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Other Comics I Read From October 2006

  • 52 22, 23, 24, 25
  • Action Comics 844
  • American Virgin 8
  • Astonishing X-Men 18
  • Astro City: Dark Ages II 1
  • Authority 1
  • Batman 658
  • Battler Britain 4
  • Boys 4
  • Captain America 23
  • Casanova 5
  • Civil War 6
  • Civil War: Front Lines 9
  • Daredevil 90
  • Desolation Jones 7
  • DMZ 12
  • Dr. Strange: The Oath 1
  • Ex-Machina 25
  • Hellblazer 225
  • Incredible Hulk 99
  • Invincible 37
  • Loveless 12
  • Marvel Team-Up 25
  • New Avengers 25
  • Nextwave 98
  • Phonogram 3
  • Planetary 26
  • Powers 22
  • Punisher 39
  • Runaways 21
  • She-Hulk 13
  • Teen Titans 40
  • Testament 11
  • Ultimate Fantastic Four 35
  • Ultimate Power 1
  • Ultimate Spider-Man 101
  • Uncanny X-Men 479
  • Union Jack 2
  • X-Factor 12
  • Y: The Last Man 50

October 2011

Liberty Annual 2011

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These annual fund-raising comics put out by the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund are always a treat. The 2011 edition had an “It Gets Better” theme, and an impressive role of creators including Matt Wagner (who wrote an illustrated a new Hunter Rose Grendel story), Frank Quitely, J.H. Williams, Craig Thompson, and J. Michael Straczynski.

My favorite piece, however, was by the unlikely writer/artist team of Mark Waid and Jeff Lemire. Riffing on the mutant as metaphor for homosexuality trope, Waid simultaneously speaks of “forbidden love” in the context of the LGBTIQ community and being a comic book loving nerd. And his message to both groups is the same:

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Secret Avengers 18

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Secret Avengers was a pretty obvious place to go: Steve Rogers leading a Black Ops Avengers team. But, for whatever reason, neither Ed Brubaker nor Nick Spencer was able to make it really work. Enter: Warren Ellis. Treating it like a six-issue extension of his Global Frequency series, Ellis produced a half-dozen action-packed done-in-one super-hero/espionage stories. The collection of these issues was fittingly titled “Run the Mission, Don’t Get Seen, Save the World.”

Like Global Frequency, each issue featured a different artist, and this issue – starring Steve Rogers, Sharon Carter, Black Widow, and Shang-Chi – was stunningly illustrated by David Aja. His layout and panel-to-panel transitions – combined with Ellis’ great story and dialogue – made this one of the best single issues of the year.

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Other Comics I Read From October 2011

  • Action Comics 2
  • Amazing Spider-Man 671, 672
  • American Vampire 20
  • American Vampire: Survival of the Fittest 5
  • Animal Man 2
  • Aquaman 2
  • Avengers 18
  • Avengers Academy 20
  • Avengers: Children’s Crusade 8
  • Batman 2
  • Batman and Robin 2
  • Batwoman 2
  • Captain America 4
  • Captain America and Bucky 623
  • Casanova: Avarita 2
  • Chew 21
  • Dark Horse Presents 5
  • Deadpool Max II 1
  • DMZ 70
  • Fear Itself 7
  • FF 10, 11
  • Frankenstein: Agent of SHADE 2
  • Green Lantern 2
  • Green Lantern Corps 2
  • Hellblazer 284
  • Herc 9
  • Incredible Hulk 1
  • Infinite Vacation 1
  • Invincible 83
  • Invincible Iron Man 509
  • Journey into Mystery 629, 630
  • Justice League 2
  • Justice League Dark 2
  • Mighty Thor 7
  • New Avengers 17
  • Northlanders 45
  • Punisher 4
  • Punisher Max 18
  • Red Skull 4
  • Red Wing 4
  • SHIELD 3
  • Scalped 54
  • Superior 5, 6
  • Swamp Thing 2
  • Sweet Tooth 26
  • Tiny Titans 45
  • Ultimate Comics Hawkeye 3
  • Ultimate Comics Ultimates 3
  • Unexpected
  • Walking Dead 89
  • Who is Jake Ellis? 5
  • Wolverine 17
  • Wolverine and the X-Men 1
  • Wonder Woman 2
  • X-Factor 226


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The Author

Rand Bellavia

Rand Bellavia

Rand Bellavia is half of the Filk Pop Nerd Rock band Ookla the Mok. They’ve been playing at science fiction and comic book conventions since 1994. Their clever, media-savvy lyrics, catchy melodies, and accessible power-pop sound have made them a cult-sensation with nerds everywhere. With song titles like Super Powers, Welcome to the Con, Arthur Curry, Kang the Conqueror, and Stop Talking About Comic Books or I’ll Kill You, it’s easy to see why.

Rand and Ookla the Mok have won four Pegasus Awards, and the 2014 Logan Award for Outstanding Original Comedy Song. Ookla the Mok had the most requested song on Dr. Demento in 2012 (“Tantric Yoda”) and 2013 (“Mwahaha”). Rand co-wrote the theme song for the Disney cartoon Fillmore, and his vocals are the first thing you hear on Gym Class Heroes’ Top Five hit “Cupid’s Chokehold.”

In his secret identity, Rand is the Director of the Montante Library at D’Youville College in Buffalo, New York. He has lectured and presented at international conferences on the subject of comics and libraries, and whatever your favorite subject is, he probably knows more about that than you do.

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2 Comments

  1. October 27, 2016 at 1:36 pm — Reply

    Great article!

  2. October 28, 2016 at 8:45 am — Reply

    Thanks, man. Glad you enjoyed it.

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