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

    Today's choice has come up a few times already, and there's not much I can add to what others have posted on the merits of

    #4. Kull the Conqueror #1-10

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    so instead I'll focus on my personal connection to what I regard as the finest sword-and-sorcery series ever published.

    I graduated from high school in the summer of '75. As part of my graduation goodies, my parents gave me the money ($250, if memory serves) to buy my friend Rob Luettgen's 2500+ comic collection, which enlarged my own by some 400%. There were super-hero comics galore but there were also substantial runs of Conan the Barbarian, Creatures on the Loose (featuring Gullivar Jones and Thongor), Savage Tales and Kull. I was almost completely ignorant of the s&s genre at the time--I don't remember why anymore--but I took to it immediately.

    It was Kull that stood out from the crowd with its tight plotting, glorious artwork and marvelously complex lead character. I also liked the presence of a set location (the City of Wonders, capital of Valusia) and a recurring cast (Brule, Tu, Ridondo, Alecto), elements missing from the more picaresque adventures of Conan or Thongor (it's probably that same mindset that leads me to prefer Deep Space 9 over the other Star Treks). I'm particularly fond of #1 (with artwork by Ross Andru and Wally Wood), #6 (whose cover is my avatar), #8 (an excellent werewolf tale) and #9 (in which Kull quietly commits an act of great kindness to a cast member normally played for comic relief).

    With all due apologies to Doug Moench and Mike Ploog, it broke my heart when Marvel took away Kull's throne, reducing him to just another nomadic barbarian. Even worse, the stunning art of the Severin siblings, which had given the fantasy world of the Pre-Cataclysmic Age depth and believability, was gone. But for those 10 issues (plus Monsters on the Prowl 16, which bridges the long gap between #2 and 3), sword-and-sorcery was as good as it gets.

    Cei-U!
    All hail King Kull!
    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

  2. #2
    *choke* Dan B. in the Underworld's Avatar
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    4. Bat Lash #s 1-7 (DC, Nov 1968-Nov 1969)

    Another one that's showed up before &, 4 days out, may well do so again. Others have covered this waterfront before, & everything they've said is spot-on, especially the parts about the book's & character's sheer joie de vivre & Nick Cardy's remarkable art, covers very much included. I was lucky enough as a kid to pick up on the title from before it was a title -- i.e. with Showcase #76 (quite possibly only the 2nd issue I'd ever bought at that point) -- & even as a callow youth of 8 & 9 was duly impressed.

    The last couple of issues, whether by editorial decree or Comics Code Authorityi mandate (probably the former stemmed from the latter, though I suspect flagging sales played their part as well), represent a tonal change to what a few decades later we would call "grim & gritty," & the strip suffered somewhat for it (by then, I'm pretty sure I'd abandoned ship anyway, given the arbitary & capricious manner of youth), else Bat Lash would place even higher than 4th in my rankings.



    Last edited by Dan B. in the Underworld; 12-21-2012 at 06:59 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!

  3. #3
    Welcome to Bleeker Street MRP's Avatar
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    On the ninth day of Christmas, I give unto thee...

    Anything Goes #1-6 (The Comics Journal, Oct 1986-Oct 1987)

    This was a benefit comic to aid Michael Fleisher who had accrued a large sum of legal expenses and served as my first real introduction to the world of alt comics when I was in high school ( I got suckered in by the Neal Adams Cerebus cover on #3 and the Geroge Perez cover for #4).

    This is an anthology sampling the works, some new some reprinted, of such creators as Gil Kane (Savage), Jan Strnad, Gilbert Hernandez, Alex Toth, Mike Baron, Michael T. Gilbert, Bob Burden, Marc Hempel, Frank Miller, Alan Moore, Donald Simpson, Jamie Hernandez, Sam Keith, Jack Kirby, Dennis Fujitake, Art Spiegelman, Dave Sim, Marv Wolfman, Howard Cruse, Dan Clowes, Mark Wheatley, Trina Robbins (colored by Marie Severin), Mort Todd, Peter Bagge, H.P. Lovecraft (as adapted by Alec Stevens), Kevin Eastman & Peter Laird, Robert Crumb, Don Lomax, Tom Sutton, William Messner-Loebs, Stan Sakai, Eddie Campbell, Mark Martin, and others, plus samples of Popeye and Orphan Annie dailies.

    Just a virtual who’s who of the smaller press scene of the 80’s put together by Gary Groth to help a creator in need. I was drawn in by the familiar names and discovered a world of other comics I never knew existed.

    Cover to #3

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    Cover to #4

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    'Tis the Season for comics!

    -M
    A lunatic is easily recognized...You can tell him by the liberties he takes with common sense...and by the fact that sooner or later he brings up the Templars.
    -Umberto Eco

  4. #4

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    4. Strange Sports Stories #1-6



    These are stories about sports, only they are strange. What else do you need to know?

    This series was a long time coming, as DC had been running tryout issues (which were basically reprints of different odd sports-themed shorts from their many anthology books of the 50's and 60's) for years off and on. Finally they decided to give it its own series, with new material, and the result is just as bizarre as the covers suggest.

    Strange Sports Stories also had an even shorter-lived companion series, Champion Sports, which I considered. But like yesterday's pick Sinister House of Secret Love, I wanted to just go with one or the other, so this had to be my choice.

    Here's a little segment from issue #1 where a baseball team has to play against Satan to save their souls:

    At last, Boy Comics finally gets its own website!

  5. #5
    Senior Member Polar Bear's Avatar
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    OK, this is one that hasn't yet shown up that actually surprises me.

    #4. Squadron Supreme 1-12, by Mark Greunwald, Paul Ryan, & Bob Hall





    This 1985 miniseries explored the moral questions of superheroes attempting to create a Utopia, and others trying to stop them. Though lacking some of the poetry and visual iconography of Watchmen, Squadron Supreme's characters are generally far more likeable, and the moral questions more prevalent and varied. Reading Squadron Supreme forces one to ask questions of oneself, often uncomfortable ones without clear answers. It stays with you after you've closed the cover. Though not for young children (there's lots of death and disfigurement, as well as more than a little bed-hopping), it can be read by a teenager at one level and an adult at a different level, and it stands up well to multiple re-readings.

    Highest possible recommendation.
    Last edited by Polar Bear; 12-21-2012 at 07:33 AM.
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  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Polar Bear View Post
    OK, this is one that hasn't yet shown up that actually surprises me.

    #4. Squadron Supreme 1-12, by Mark Greunwald, Paul Ryan, & Bob Hall

    This was on my list before I decided not to include any limited series. Great comic.
    At last, Boy Comics finally gets its own website!

  7. #7
    Modus omnibus in rebus Roquefort Raider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cei-U! View Post
    #4. Kull the Conqueror #1-10

    (...) what I regard as the finest sword-and-sorcery series ever published.
    Kurt, you are obviously a man of distinguished taste (your opinion on Bulanadi over Kane notwithstanding ). Kull the conqueror is indeed something apart; a milestone in comic-books as an art form (although it never sold all that well). I didn't include it here because the name change to "the destroyer" didn't strike me me as warranting considering the first 11 issues as a finite series (and I wanted to keep room for the admittedly inferior Kull & the barbarians), but I'm glad to see it mentioned.

    My own #4 is something quite different, though...

    4. From Hell #1-11, Mad Love publishing, written by Alan Moore and drawn by Eddie Campbell.

    I could have gone with any number of Alan Moore series here, but I figured someone else would cover the brilliant Watchmen and League of extraordinary gentlemen. Besides, From Hell is the only one I actually read as a series.

    What fascinated me here is how Moore manages to blend heavily researched history with conspiration theories, pure speculation and an engrossing story. It's no small feat to keep tension up for 10 issues (#11 is an epilogue of sorts) despite showing us right from the start who Jack the ripper really was.

    The dire living conditions of Victorian-era London slums are remarkably believable; the squalor and povery made even more poignant by Campbell masterful use of the pen. (Campbell looks as if he's working straight to ink, which gives the work a spontaneity not possible otherwise). Great job.

    I ddn't see the Johnny Depp movie and don't intend to; no way could it come even close to this excellent comic series.

    People in white coats (science cartoons, updated daily) | Art Blog

  8. #8
    Elder Member thwhtGuardian's Avatar
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    On the ninth day of Christmas my LCS owner gave to me...

    Tor



    Tor is a book that has a publication history that matches the titular character; for just as within the pages of the book itself so too did the book migrate from place to place being published over the years by St. John's Press, DC, Eclipse, Marvel and then DC once more. For a character so dear to my heart I haven't read half as many of those books as I should, but I have loved what I have read beyond reckoning, though for the purposes of this list I shall stick with my favorite iteration: Tor published by Epic Comics in 1993 and written and illustrated by Joe Kubert.

    I mentioned yesterday that Batman Versus Predator was the beginning of my love affair with the art of the Kubert family, and this book was the continuation of that affair. After reading BVP I was enthralled by the art and so the next time I went to the comic shop I tried looking for more by him...only I couldn't remember his whole name! I could only recall that his last name was like the video game character and so when I asked the guy behind the counter if he had any books by Kubert, "Tor" was what he gave me.

    When I got the book home and discovered it was a different guy I was slightly devastated, but only momentarily as upon opening the book my little, juvenile jaw fell to the floor and I wasn't able to pick it up until hours later. I thought the detail orientated art of BVP was good, but I soon realized that was amateur hour compared to the book I held in my hands. I mean, it had narration boxes and thought and speech bubbles but honestly I think I skipped over them entirely on that first reading(and in many a subsequent reading since as well) they were just wholly unnecessary in telling the story; the art did that all by itself. The expressions of the characters faces, and the flow of the panels were all you needed to understand what was going on, and I was floored by that realization and then overjoyed by the story at the end of the first issue where there weren't any words to ignore at all. You can see exactly what I mean in the pictures here

    This is the book that opened my eyes to the story telling potential of comic books. Sure, at the time I was aware that comics were bigger than Batman and Superman( Dark Horse's Young Indiana Jones Chronicles opened my eyes to that) but Tor really illustrated the wider possibilities the genre could hold. Comics could be art, not just colorful characters punching each other or simple stories, but actual art. You could put an illustration by Joe Kubert in a museum and it wouldn't feel out of place.

    That's a pretty heavy realization for anyone, never mind a nine year old kid, and it's one thats stayed with me to this day. I dug these four issues out last night and I bet the grin I had on my face while reading them was altogether the exact same expression I wore when I first read the stories nearly twenty years ago.

    Looking back on this post, I probably should have saved this for last but the transition between yesterday and today seemed right so I went with it.

  9. #9
    *blink* Chris N's Avatar
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    Default 4. The Tick

    The Tick #1-12
    by Ben Edlund

    It's a superhero parody, distinguished above all others by being hysterically funny.

    Really, that's all there is to say. How funny? Read it.

    I'm in California and don't have my copy of the comic handy, but I fortunately I can still recite large swaths.

    Destiny is is a funny thing. I once thought I was destined to be the emperor of Greenland sole monarch over its 300,000 inhabitants. Then I thought I was destined to build a polynesian longship in my garage. I was wrong then, but I've got it now.


    "What are you, invulnerable or something."
    "I'm nigh-invulnerable"
    "What the hell is nigh?"

    "Hey, didn't you escape from an insane asylum a couple weeks back?"
    My mind races, searching for a response, a perfect alibi for the last two weeks.
    "No."
    That's it! A perfectly negative response! Nobody could mistake that for a yes!

    Then there's the ninjas brilliantly disguised as a hedge, and when Clark's glasses slip off so he panics about his secret identity, and...



    Eh, you gotta be there. Go read the adventures of Tick, with Paul the Samurai, Arthur, and Oedipus. Just don't hold your breath awaiting resolution on the cliffhanger ending of issue 12...
    formerly coke & comics

    Sleepwalker is Sandman done right. ~Tadhg

  10. #10
    Variant Hunter METAROG's Avatar
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    4. Dynamo 1-4 1966

    Since the Thunder Agents series itself is not eligible under the rules this year I have fallen back on this fine run by one of its members. Not as good but I just had to get one of the Tower published comics in here somewhere. I still consider the Tower heroes to be among the best created and one of the most underappreciated universes of comics.

    The art was well one by greats like Wood, Ditko and Tuska among others and the scripting was also top notch. Dynamo got his superpower by wearing a Thunderbelt that granted him super-strength but he could only use it for a short time or else suffer physical consequences. This “weakness” was the source of many creative scripts and kept the series interesting. There were lots of back-up tales with various Thunder Agents so you got excellent story value in these issues.

    30 cent variant set finally finished!

  11. #11
    Variant Hunter METAROG's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Polar Bear View Post
    OK, this is one that hasn't yet shown up that actually surprises me.

    #4. Squadron Supreme 1-12, by Mark Greunwald, Paul Ryan, & Bob Hall


    This 1985 miniseries explored the moral questions of superheroes attempting to create a Utopia, and others trying to stop them. Though lacking some of the poetry and visual iconography of Watchmen, Squadron Supreme's characters are generally far more likeable, and the moral questions more prevalent and varied. Reading Squadron Supreme forces one to ask questions of oneself, often uncomfortable ones without clear answers. It stays with you after you've closed the cover. Though not for young children (there's lots of death and disfigurement, as well as more than a little bed-hopping), it can be read by a teenager at one level and an adult at a different level, and it stands up well to multiple re-readings.

    Highest possible recommendation.
    Great pick here... it would have made my top ten for sure but I self-imposed a parameter that included no limited series from the Big Two. There was a huge cast of characters and Gruenwald really used them well... thought provoking and entertaining!
    30 cent variant set finally finished!

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris N View Post
    The Tick #1-12
    Ah, this was the last title I dropped from my list. I didn't think anybody else would remember it only lasted 12 issues, especially since Tick #100 came out earlier this year. Nice pick!
    At last, Boy Comics finally gets its own website!

  13. #13
    *choke* Dan B. in the Underworld's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Harris View Post
    Ah, this was the last title I dropped from my list. I didn't think anybody else would remember it only lasted 12 issues, especially since Tick #100 came out earlier this year. Nice pick!
    Just out of curiosity, would that make the series ineligible under Cei-U!'s arbitrary, capricious & downright draconian, not to mention just plain hateful, rules?
    Last edited by Dan B. in the Underworld; 12-21-2012 at 09:29 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!

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by dan bailey View Post
    Just out of curiosity, would that make the series ineligible under Cei-U!'s arbitrary, capricious & downright draconian, not to mention just plain hateful, rules?
    Technically, I don't think so, because I believe it had a different title in the indicia. Tick ended with #12 when the creator, Ben Edlund, left. But the rights were owned (or something) by New England Comics, so they have been putting out specials and mini-series ever since. When they got to the 100th issue of Tick published, they put out "Tick #100," but it's listed as a new volume or something in the indicia. I don't actually have it, but GCD lists it as a separate series.
    At last, Boy Comics finally gets its own website!

  15. #15
    *choke* Dan B. in the Underworld's Avatar
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    Figured that might be the case, comparable to Dark Horse deciding to put cumulative numbers on the latest BPRD minis or whatever.

    Still, when Cei-U! is in a muscle-flexing mood ...
    Last edited by Dan B. in the Underworld; 12-21-2012 at 09:53 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!

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