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  1. #1
    Frugal fanboy Cei-U!'s Avatar
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    Default The Third Day of Classic Comics Christmas 2012

    I'm not exactly an enthusiast for opera in general and my knowledge of Richard Wagner in particular doesn't extend much beyond the "napalm in the morning" scene in Apocalypse Now. Nonetheless, for today's entry I picked DC's 1989 adaptation of

    #10. The Ring of the Nibelung #1-4

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    C'mon, it's Roy Thomas and Gil Kane, both proven masters of heroic fantasy, retelling the greatest epic of Teutonic mythology. And make no mistake, each creator is at the top of his form here. Faithfully adapting Wagner's librettos, Thomas delivers an elegant and mellifluous script that never says more than it needs to (and, indeed, knows when to say nothing at all). Kane's eccentric style has never been more appropriate, as he creates a world in which every element--rocks, trees, fire, water, clouds and, of course, majestic gods, steel-thewed warriors and toothsome maidens--reflects and enhances opera's inherent artificiality. Normally I don't care for Mr. K's self-inking but it works here, in a way the slick, polished lushness of a Wally Wood, Murphy Anderson or Joe Sinnott would not. Kudos, too, to Jim Woodring for his tasteful yet dynamic coloring.

    I can't recommend this series highly enough. It is a meticulously crafted tour de force by three superlative talents. Just don't come into it expecting a happy ending.

    Cei-U!
    I summon the Twilight of the Gods!
    It's hardly a secret that something is badly wrong with me. - Dan B. in the Underworld
    I am ... a condescending prick sometimes. But I usually mean to be. - Paradox
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  2. #2
    Longstanding Member MWGallaher's Avatar
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    10: JIM #1-4 by Jim Woodring, 1987-1990

    I wasn't sure where' I'd place this one, but I took seeing Woodring's name in today's first entry as a sign.
    I mentioned my love for Finnegans Wake on Day 12. JIM, too has its similarities with the Wake. Woodring's work is as dreamlike as comics get. Sometimes the stories are explicitly supposed to be dreams, with sudden metamorphoses of characters, physical transformations, shifts of scene. Unlike most renditions of dreams that I've seen, Woodring has the remarkable ability to convey the emotional content of a dream: for instance, he can make you feel the anxiety of chasing after a son gone astray, even though you know "it's only a dream".
    Like James Joyce in the Wake, Woodring has his own vocabulary, invented for his work, a visual vocabulary that breaks free of the familiar representations and exaggerations one finds in most comics. In all things, there is enough of the recognizable that we can form assumptions about what we are seeing: this is a "tree", sort of...and this is a "dwelling-place"...but all of them are imbued with a fantastic, hallucinogenic quality. Everything seems to have a soul, anything can suddenly blossom into something else, anything can feel pain, or burst into joy.
    What makes these comics even more special is that they are enjoyable as stories, not just as surrealist fantasy. It's that emotion, again: Woodring can put you through a lot in the course of any one of these magazine-sized issues, which are augmented with illustrated text stories, entertaining catalog pages (of unique Woodring-produced items you could really buy!), and those great, strange color covers.
    JIM is a comic with lots of re-readability, produced by an artist of distinctive ability and style. There is nothing else like it.
    You can read these stories as back issues, or partly collected in The Book of Jim.
    "We're Santa's elves, and we're here to tell you about ourselves!"--Summer and Eve

  3. #3
    It's Too Quiet Red Oak Kid's Avatar
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    #10. Red Wolf 1-9 Marvel

    I like this series because of the artwork of Syd Shores. You could tell he really loved this assignment and put a lot of effort into it. This may be the first Marvel series that I got in on the ground floor with since I bought #1 off the stands when it came out.

    Rehab is for Quitters

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cei-U! View Post
    I'm not exactly an enthusiast for opera in general and my knowledge of Richard Wagner in particular doesn't extend much beyond the "napalm in the morning" scene in Apocalypse Now. Nonetheless, for today's entry I picked DC's 1989 adaptation of

    #10. The Ring of the Nibelung #1-4
    Oh wow! I really loved this adaptation of the Ring cycle--I didn't know if anybody else did. It's not something I even considered for one of my picks. But I'm really happy to see that someone else enjoyed it.

  5. #5

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    10. Combat Kelly and the Deadly Dozen #1-9



    I know at least one person on the forums finds this series to be unreadable. And I know at least one other person on these forums will also be including this on their list. So it's fair to say this series isn't for everyone. And it's not perfect; it's written by Gary Friedrich, who can be -- and is -- very hit and miss in terms of his dialogue, which can often be both bombastic and clanky at the same time.

    But this series is still pretty awesome. And the reason is that Friedrich uses this obvious rip-off of the Dirty Dozen to do things that had pretty much never really been done in war comics (or, I should say, post-code war comics). The characters, like those in the Dirty Dozen, are basically all criminals trying to get out of their sentences by taking on suicide missions. And unlike Sgt. Fury or Captain Savage, in Combat Kelly those suicide missions result in the characters dying. A lot of them. Badly. Friedrich was very much an anti-war guy, which seems ironic, but he uses this series to create anti-war war stories, as the randomness and brutality of the war really come through. And since Friedrich isn't really great at subtext, the message is pretty darn hard to miss.

    In particular, issues 7 and 9 stand out for me with this series. #7 features a strange tale where the Deadly Dozen take up refuge at an orphanage run by Catholic nuns. As it happens, a troop of Germans also takes up refuge there, forcing them into an uneasy alliance. It's gripping, tense and flat-out nuts, giving us awesome panels like this one here:



    And then there's issue 9. With the series canceled, Friedrich decides to pay off the premise in a big way. Anyone who has seen Dirty Dozen know what that means. Basically the entire cast of the series -- with the exception of Kelly and the female team member -- is slaughtered in a suicide mission gone horribly wrong. And she ends up being the subject of a weird experimental surgery by Nazi doctors, leaving her permanently crippled, which in turn leaves Kelly mentally crippled. I'm not sure there's any Silver or Bronze Age series that ends on such an incredibly depressing, cynical and shocking note. It's an issue that's hard to get out of your head once you've read it. And that's why it had to make my list.

    Here's Kelly's true love going under the knife of the Nazi surgeon, sans anesthetic. Thanks for that, Marvel. Geesh:

    At last, Boy Comics finally gets its own website!

  6. #6
    *choke* Dan B. in the Underworld's Avatar
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    As it happens, for the purposes of possible inclusion on my list I read Combat Kelly #1 in the hotel in Shreveport a week ago. Never got around to #2, not because I was repulsed or anything but because other stuff demanded to be read in the meantime (I've almost certainly read more comics the past week, & more precisely the past two days, than I have in the preceding year). This reminds me that I need to proceed; my list still isn't set in stone by any means.

    And Red Wolf I haven't yet read because I've get to find an acceptably cheap copy of the only issue I lack, #8. Dammit!
    I tend to split superhero comics fans into "People who like Krypto" and "People who don't like Krypto."
    Basically, if you miss the wonder of a dog flying around in a little Superman cape, you're in the wrong hobby.

    -- Reptisaurus!

  7. #7

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    12. 'MAZING MAN nos. 1 (January 1986) - 12 (December 1986), published by DC (New York, NY, USA).
    11. MYSTERIES [WEIRD AND STRANGE] nos. 1 (May 1953) - 11 (January 1955), published by Superior Comics (Toronto, ON, Canada).
    10. E-MAN nos. 1 (October 1973) - 10 (September 1975), published by Charlton (Derby, CT, USA).
    9. WANTED, THE WORLD'S MOST DANGEROUS VILLAINS nos. 1 (July-August 1972) - 9 (August-September 1973), published by DC (New York, NY, USA).
    8. ORB MAGAZINE nos. 1 (1974) - 6 (March-April 1976), published by Orb Productions (Toronto, ON, Canada).
    7. ZORRO nos. 1 (January 1966) - 9 (March 1968), published by Gold Key (Poughkeepsie, NY, USA).
    6. STAR HUNTERS nos. 1 (October-November 1977) - 7 (October-November 1978), published by DC (New York, NY, USA).
    5. THE INFERIOR FIVE nos. 1 (March-April 1967) - 10 (September-October 1968), published by DC (New York, NY, USA).
    4. SUPERHEROES nos. 1 (January 1967) - 4 (June 1967), published by Dell (New York, NY, USA).
    3. CANTEEN KATE nos. 1 (June 1952) - 3 (November 1952), published by St. John (New York, NY, USA).
    2. SUPERMAN & BATMAN MAGAZINE nos. 1 (Summer 1993) - 8 (Spring 1995), published by Welsh Publishing (New York, NY, USA).
    1. RIMA, THE JUNGLE GIRL nos. 1 (April-May 1974) - 7 (April-May 1975), published by DC (New York, NY, USA).
    Last edited by An Ear In The Fireplace; 12-17-2012 at 06:59 AM.

  8. #8

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    [edited for space]
    Last edited by An Ear In The Fireplace; 12-17-2012 at 05:47 AM.

  9. #9
    Elder Member thwhtGuardian's Avatar
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    On the third day of Christmas mt LCS owner gave to me...
    The Sword of Solomon Kane


    This six issue limited series published by Marvel in 1986 was written by Ralph Macchio(no not the karate kid) and featured such artists as Bret Blevins, Jon Bogdanove, John Ridgeway and(making his second appearance on my list) Mike Mignola. Some people detest a rotating cast of artists on a book, but for my tastes this is one of the selling points of the series as the selection of artists show cased here is just amazing to see.

    As many of you here most likely already know Solomon Kane is the puritanical monster slayer created by Robert E. Howard, and by my eyes he's one of Howard's greatest creations. I know, most people point to Conan as his best work but I've always found the prose in Solomon Kane to be much superior to Conan in just about every way.

    At any rate, this limited series was not Solomon Kane's fist rodeo, his stories had previously been adapted by Marvel in Monster's Unleashed, Dracula Lives, Kull and the Barbarians and most famously in the Savage Sword of Conan. Indeed, nearly all the stories told in the 1986 mini series had already been adapted in previous issues, most notably "Red Shadows" which had been done by Roy Thomas and Howard Chaykin and the poem "Solomon Kane's Homecoming". While this repetition may have been monotonous to some, I find that the subtle variations between the versions gives Kane a suitably mythic quality so it doesn't bother me one bit. But for those that want stories they've never seen before this series had that as well as in the second and fourth issues Macchio decided to break from adapting Howard's stories and try his hand at writing his own original Solomon Kane adventures, and boy were they great.

    For fans of swords and sorcery comics I really can't recommend this series enough.

  10. #10
    Run Runner shaxper's Avatar
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    10. Wolverine (4 issues, limited series, Marvel 1982)



    When I was first getting into comics in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, this was a pretty over-rated comic, and so it took me quite a few years to come to see it for what it truly is. On the surface, it’s a pretty generic revenge/redemption story that provides Wolverine with the most superficial reasons to question himself and reveal depth. However, Claremont and Miller brought far more to this series beneath the surface.

    For one, Claremont was positively at his peak as a writer in the early ‘80s. His writing is full of strong, but rarely overly ornate, word choice, tremendous depth, and rich characterization so that the world inside of Wolverine’s head is often more compelling than the one in which he resides. Considering that this is a story about proving to others that he’s more than the animal they see, spending such time in his all too human ponderings is directly linked to the tension of the story – how can he help others (and, in fact, himself) to see what we already see within him?

    Additionally, Frank Miller, who’s art I’m generally not a fan of, abandons his go-to gritty style to produce clean, elegant art that provides an excellent balance to Claremont, making the physical world of the story just as compelling as the interior emotional/philosophical world Claremont is painting with his narration. The action scenes, in particular, are breath-taking, particularly in Miller’s careful attention to, and depiction of, Bushido combat. Watching Wolverine challenge a rival samurai with claws drawn and perfect Bushido form is enthralling, and Miller underplays it, to boot. It’s fascinating to me how Miller's art in this story feels so much closer to capturing a sense of traditional feudal Japan than in Ronin, a series he wrote and illustrated only a year earlier, and featuring an actual samurai transported from that time period into the modern day. Art-wise, this is the best thing I’ve ever seen Miller do (though that may not be saying much to some).

    But, marrying the two together – Claremont’s deliciously pensive narration and Miller’s precise and underplayed artwork -- brings Wolverine’s internal thoughts and physical actions into the foreground in tandem, beautifully capturing the dual aspects of Wolverine that are at war throughout this limited series and enticing us to accept and value them both, even as the heart of this story is a quest for Wolverine to do the same.
    Last edited by shaxper; 12-15-2012 at 09:39 AM.

  11. #11
    Senior Member JKCarrier's Avatar
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    10. Rima the Jungle Girl
    (7 issues, 1974-1975)
    The stories by Robert Kanigher are solid but not revolutionary. What really made this book was the exquisite artwork: Nestor Redondo knocked it out of the park with the ethereally beautiful Rima and the lush rainforest she dwells in. Likewise, the backup strip -- the incongruous "Space Voyagers" -- featured trippy, hallucinogenic visuals by Alex Nino. Wrap it all up in gorgeous covers by Joe Kubert, and you've got a master class in comics illustration.
    -JKC-
    Glorianna - Barbarian adventure! New page every Friday!

  12. #12

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    Good to see another vote for RIMA. I wasn't sure if this one would get any recognition. Apparently some people still remember it.

  13. #13
    Frugal fanboy Cei-U!'s Avatar
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    Rima would've easily made my list except I've never read the whole series, just #1-3.

    Cei-U!
    I summon the knowledge gap!
    It's hardly a secret that something is badly wrong with me. - Dan B. in the Underworld
    I am ... a condescending prick sometimes. But I usually mean to be. - Paradox
    I'm not infallible. I just act like it. - Me

  14. #14
    *choke* Dan B. in the Underworld's Avatar
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    And I haven't read even that many, though I do own 'em all. Still, the sumptuous art alone very nearly earned it a place among my picks. (Even then, if only Redondo had done the covers ... I've noted before that IMHO Kubert, while an obvious master, simply was out of place here.)
    Last edited by Dan B. in the Underworld; 12-15-2012 at 10:45 AM.
    I tend to split superhero comics fans into "People who like Krypto" and "People who don't like Krypto."
    Basically, if you miss the wonder of a dog flying around in a little Superman cape, you're in the wrong hobby.

    -- Reptisaurus!

  15. #15
    Senior Member CromagnonMan's Avatar
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    once again i am enjoying reading everybodys picks this year. i have already got a few new series for my want list, especially the Kents (from yesterday) and Ring of the Nibelung (posted by Cei-U! today), probably others as well. Keep them coming!

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