Monday, June 04, 2007

Marvel Check-In

As I have mentioned before in this blog, one of my resolutions for 2007 was to gain an appreciation for Marvel comics. I thought that, since we're now at the half-way point of the year (yikes!), I should check in and post how that journey is going.

Here are the stats:

Marvel I was reading before, and am still enjoying:

Astonishing X-Men
Spider-Man Loves Mary-Jane

Marvel titles added to pull list:

Captain America
Spider-Man and the Fantastic Four
Iron Fist

Marvel Titles I've been reading and enjoying somewhat, but not committing to:

The New Avengers
The Incredible Hulk
Interesting-looking Spider-Man annuals
Avengers: The Initiative
Marvel Adventures: Iron Man

Other Marvel stuff I read that was good:

- Young Avengers
- Daredevil: Born Again
- Captain America: War & Remembrance
- Iron Man: Demon in a Bottle
- Morrison run on New X-Men

Things I've read or have been reading that aren't so hot:

- Civil War
- Fallen Son
- The Amazing Spider-Man
- Wolverine

Marvel things that I will never care about:

- Anything involving zombies
- Anything 'Ultimate'
- Fairy Tales
- Most X-Men things (except those First Class books! Those are great!)
- Dark Tower
- Anita Blake
- Anything that takes place in 1602.
- Ms Marvel
- Venom
- Most Spider-Man things

Things that make it hard for me to like Marvel:

- expensive "collectible" variant covers (particularly ones that are blank)
- again, the zombies

New words in my vocabulary:

- Illuminati
- Skrull
- Winter Soldier
- Galactus
- Power Pack
- New Warriors
- Great Lakes Avengers
- Kree
- Moon Knight
- Quicksilver

Things that I still don't know anything about:

- Thunderbolts
- Nextwave
- Black Panther
- The Kree/Skrull War
- The Silent War
- The Secret Wars
- Any and All Spider-Girls
- Omega Flight
- The House of M
- Nova

New Marvel Crushes:

- Winter Soldier
- Daredevil
- Iron Fist
- Luke Cage
- Captain America
- Namor

Characters I would like to get to know better:

- Thor
- She-Hulk
- Hawkeye
- Moon Knight
- Black Bolt
- Silver Surfer
- Doctor Strange
- Punisher
- Hercules

So, overall, I would say that a lot of progress has been made. I have gotten into a few of the most highly acclaimed Marvel titles, and I am hoping to start adding more. I am looking forward to World War Hulk and all related tie-ins. I think it will be fun. My next step is to focus more on older Marvel comics, which I mostly acquire by raiding the quarter bin, and by borrowing trades and checking out Essentials. The fact that there are Marvel products that I want to spend my money on at all shows enormous progress. The item that I want most in the shop right now is the Daredevil Omnibus and that doesn't even have Batman in it.

So, any thoughts or recommendations to help me out?


Douglas Wolk said...

Hi Rachelle--On the Dr. Strange front, check out the totally freaky Steve Ditko-drawn stories in Essential Vol. 1 (or, better yet, the gorgeously colored versions of the best of same that were published as "Doctor Strange Classics" #1-4 in the early '80s and should be easy to find cheaply). If you prefer something more modern, try the Brian K. Vaughan-written Dr. Strange miniseries "The Oath," which just came out as a TPB.

For Black Panther, try the first TPB collection of the Christopher Priest-written series from the '90s; I suspect you'll like it a lot.

As an example of what "cosmic Marvel" can be when it's good, track down the six-issue miniseries Warlock Special Edition, from 1983, a reprint of an excellent serial from the '70s. (Warlock Special Edition was in turn reprinted as the six-issue miniseries Warlock in 1992; they're both usually pretty cheap to acquire.)

Xtina said...

Nextwave and She-Hulk trades. Both filled with plenty of laughs.

Theresa said...


Loved Young Avengers. Just ordered the trades. I wish the book would start publishing again.

And how could you not know about the Kree and the Skrull, and yet read Captain America/Winter Soldier? Is the Skrull no longer part of Cap lore?

Silver Surfer, Dr. Strange, Thor, and Moon Knight -- all cool in my book.

Chris McLaren said...

I'd second the freaky Ditko Strange recommendations.

Also, the very early Moon Knight, is good stuff.

Elizabeth said...

Secret Wars and Secret Wars II were (if i remember correctly, its been 15 years or so...) where a bunch of almost omnipotent galactics pulled all the super-people from Earth and had them fight against each other. Venom (the costume that was the black Spiderman that turned into Venom, that is) came from one of the Secret Wars - and in SWII, we saw a BEAUTIFUL scene of Spidey kicking the ever-lovin HELL outta the X-men, until Prof X temporarily took over Spidey's mind. i will grant that A) if Spidey had actually KNOWN what the X-men were talking about he wouldn't have attacked them and B)the X-men were very literally pulling their punches. still, good stuff.

i personally love She-Hulk because of the way that she breaks the 4th wall.

i also recommend, if you can find them anywhere (they are really old) a comic that was titled something along the lines of "Clean up Crew". i don't remember the real name - but it was a comic about the people who had to clean up after the super-battles.


Anonymous said...

Read Nextwave, you won't regret it. It's pure, unadalterated Awesome.


Michael Rawdon said...

Nova is not bad, after 2 issues.

As far as Doctor Strange goes, I'd highly recommend Roger Stern's run from the 80s, vol 2 #48-75. Unfortunately it kind of splutters out at the end, but there's some outstanding stuff in there. It's the most humanistic treatment of Doc that I can recall.

Mark Gruenwald's Hawkeye mini-series from the 80s is also quite good. It's available as a TPB. And if you like it, then try the Squadron Supreme series, too.

I don't care much for New AvengersMighty Avengers (I'm not much of a Bendis fan), but I did absolutely love Kurt Busiek's run on Avengers circa 1999-2004, mostly illustrated by George PĂ©rez, Alan Davis and Kieron Dwyer. Probably the best thing Marvel's published in the last 10 years, but hello, it's Kurt Busiek!

Geez, what else can I recommend? How about the Michelinie/Layton run on Iron Man from the late 70s, which I think covered #113-162 or so. (You've already read Demon in a Bottle; the rest is almost as good.) The Busiek (that name again!) re-launch in 1999 was pretty good for two years, too.

Oh, and do seek out the Spider-Man story "The Death of Jean Dewolff". It was Peter David's first major work, a 4-parter from Spectacular Spidey from the early 80s, and it's outstanding. Better to buy the comics than the collection, since they published some pages out of order when they reprinted it.

FoldedSoup said...

Lemme trippple the Nextwave recommendations (the extra 'p' is for 'persuasion!'). And add both Agents of Atlas (Just for the bonus "pulls from golden age comic history and is awesome" factor) and the new Vaughn Doc Strange TPB (The Oath - since you seemed to like the classic - this one is a nice throwback, too).

All in all - you've nailed your breakdown, as far as I'm concerned. The only thing I'd get you to re-look at beyond the "it's not so good this time around" is Ultimate Spiderman. Start with the early ones. Early. They are beautiful.

(Actually, same thing goes for Ultimate FF - get the initial Ellis ones - only about to #6ish.. those are great!)

Jon said...

For Nova, you absolutely have to check out the recent Annihilation mini. Plus if you can get them (all currently being put out in trade, your store should have them), the Annihilation mini's that lead in to Annihilation proper (Annihilation: Nova, Annihilation: Ronan, Annihilation: Super Skrull, Annihilation: Silver Surfer). That'll get you up to speed on stuff like the Kree and Skrulls (not their war specifically though), as well as being really really cool. Keith Giffen just went and wrote the best Surfer portrayl in 20 years in A:SS, a must read if you want to know more about him (the Surfer, not Keith :p)

Also for the Surfer, the first 30 issues or so of SSvol3 (the 80's series) is excellent. Also focuses a lot on the Kree/Skrull war proper.

Moon Knight, go for the original series, you'll recognise it because it's drawn by Seincwikz- jeezus, I just completely forgot how to spell that...

Dr Strange, I would have to recommend Strange Tales from the 80's. Of course, I'm mostly recommending it because of the Cloak & Dagger split/backup stories by Bill Mantlo ;) C&D are awesome :p

Jon said...

i also recommend, if you can find them anywhere (they are really old) a comic that was titled something along the lines of "Clean up Crew". i don't remember the real name - but it was a comic about the people who had to clean up after the super-battles.

Damage Control? Ugh, I can't remember if that's Marvel or DC lol

Johnathan said...

Aw. I like Marvel Zombies.

Thomas said...

Wow… you decided to start checking out Marvel at the same time that I became so disgusted with Marvel that I gave up buying monthlies all together!

For old Marvel stuff, I recommend The Infinity Gauntlet. It’s the big cosmic cross-over miniseries that got me into comics back when I was like 11 years old, and is still tones of fun today. Captain America has his best moment ever in that series.

Franco said...

Grab yourself the Nextwaves and the Agents of Atlas. I thought those were the most fun reads.

Adam said...

I agree with the Ultimate Spider-man assessment by the commenter above (but then again I am a Bendis fan). I also love reading Spider-man Loves MJ and I think they have a similar character feel.

What I want to know is why the no interest in "Gunslinger?" I've never read a Steven King book and I love this "tale."

I really like Dr. Strange as well, but am not too familiar with any of "his" good books either.

I also enjoy X-Factor solidly and I'd say try out newuniversal (the art is superb).

Click to view... said...

Infinity Gauntlet is a great galactic battle of a large portion of super heroes fighting Thanos who's weilding the Infinity Gauntlet seen in the Illuminati. Great stuff.

Kris from

Anonymous said...

*sad* Zombies rock :/. Maybe not Marvel zombies, but zombies in general. I've always been a Marvel boy, but was away form comics for like five-seven years (and this blog is the main reason I'm back), but I'm leaning more towards DC/Wildstorm now.

SallyP said...

I think that Elizabeth and Jon are talking about Damage Control. There were several mini-series, written by Dwayne McDuffie, and they are enormously funny.

May I add my voice for Nextwave, which was hysterical. And She-Hulk is usually good for a smile.

j.hopkins said...

Hulk Visionaries:Peter David Vol.1 - ?.

I think his take on the Hulk is total primo-wickedness. The angst filled gray Hulk is still my favorite Hulk guy, and the supporting cast at this time rule the school.

Caleb said...

To double, triple and quadruple some previous reccomendations, I'd suggest the following

--I would be shocked if you didn't love Ultimate Spider-Man. Seriously, give that first trade a try and go from there. It's by far Bendis' best Marvel work, by a factor of, like, a thousand.

--Ditto Ultimate Marvel Team-Up, which was basically just Bendis getting all his indie friends to sell out like him, which meant you got to see stuff like the Chynna Clugston X-Men and Terry Moore Black Widow...and Jim Mahfood drawing lots and lots of Skrulls.

--Grant Morrison's New X-Men (seven trades, or one expensive omnibus) and the X-Force/X-Statix are X-Men books for people who hate X-Men. And are awesome.

--Dr. Strange: The Oath

--Spider-Man/Human Torch: I'm With Stupid digest

--Spider-Man: Tangled Web back issues. There's at least one Darwyn Cooke issue (maybe two?) that you'll love. I really dug teh first arc too, but that may be because it was by the Hitman team. Oh, and the Paul Pope ish is to die for.

--The Punisher: Welcome Back Frank by Ennis and Dillon (More insane than the current ongoing by Ennis, and less grisly)

-- She-Hulk by Slott (The Essential's kinda fun too, but very...dated).

--Agents of Atlas

--Nextwave. I resisted it for a long, long, long time having kind of gotten over Ellis, but damn if it isn't awesome.

J said...

As a staunch DC fan, I've always been leery of the other funny books on the shelves (what is this "clobberin' time"?), but I too took the plunge and now I enjoy anything by Ed Brubaker, the Spidey books (Amazing is drab, but the other two core books are so much better), Hulk, She-Hulk (very funny book), Fantastic Four and the new Silver Surfer mini-series (there's nothing like him at DC).

I love Ollie, in the way only a flesh-and-blood man can love a fictional character, but I can't get behind Hawkeye. Magenta and blue? Egad! He doesn't even have a goatee! ;)

rachelle said...

Holy smokes! Thanks everyone!

I've heard from many people that I should read The Oath, and I am definitely planning on picking up the trade soon. It sounds like Nextwave and She-Hulk are also high on a lot of people's lists, so I'll definitely check those out too. Actually, I'm going to check out everything that was recommended here. Thanks again!

There were a couple of things mentioned that I have actually read, like the Spider-Man and Human Torch "I'm With Stupid" series (so good). I've read the Darwyn Cooke Tangled Web stories too.

So, Ultimate Spider-Man, eh? If you guys say so...I guess I should give it a shot.

Jon said...

I'll 3rd Infinity Gauntlet. Just avoid the follow-ups, Infinity War and Infinity Crusade. Plus any regular comic that is noted as crossing over with any of the 3 series. The crossovers were weak, and in the Surfer's case, usually abysmal

Adam said...

I liked "The Oath" alright. I wasn't really happy the way it ended. I was really excited in the beginning, but I think the ending just died down. That being said I love me some Dr. Strange and if I ever had a problem I'd go to him before Reed Richards any day.