Sunday, November 2, 2008

What I'm Reading

Today, another brief respite from our epic race for Fake President. Fear not, though, the race still...races...onward...epically.

And whatnot.

So, because absolutely no one cares, or has even asked for it, and because I came up with the idea for this post (before Nathaniel stole it, mind you) I present to you...some of the books on my current comics reading list. Now, these aren't going to be the big name titles, but instead they are some under-the-radar books that are in need of some serious lovin'. Check 'em out:

House of Mystery, written by Matthew Sturges and Bill Willingham. The basic premise of the "House of Mystery," as it's known in the DC Universe, is a very cool one. There's this house...and it's...mysterious.

Seriously, though, the house in question is in the middle of a dream-like landscape, and the occupants can never leave. There's a bar where everyone congregates, and patrons pay for drinks with stories. Very out there, creepy, fun, and thought provoking stories. This book is from the Vertigo imprint of DC Comics, so it's not for the kiddies, but I bet there are a bunch of Exfanding readers out there that will dig it.

Next up is a book I literally just finished reading not five minutes ago, called Dear Dracula, by the Silverline All-Ages imprint of Image Comics. It's the first book I've come across under the new Image umbrella of All-Ages books, and I really enjoyed it. Dear Dracula is the story of a kid named Sam who loves Dracula, and writes to his hero with a simple wish--to make him a vampire. And, on Halloween night, Dracula comes a-knocking on Sam's door.

Dear Dracula is a quick read of no more than ten minutes for adult readers, but the presentation is great and the price is nice, too. The art and story are very engaging, and it's in a cartoony style that kids will really like. (And kids will certainly spend more than ten minutes checking out the great art.) But, if you're a grownup and just like good Dracula stories, this'll work for you, too.

Next is DC's The Spirit, written by Darwyn Cooke. You may have heard about the Christmas Day release of the new Frank Miller Spirit movie, based on Will Eisner's seminal creation. A revolutionary work, Eisner's Spirit was a newspaper strip that challenged the conventions of the graphic medium.

DC is currently collecting all of Eisner's Spirit stories in beautiful hardcovers, and they are considered by many comics creators as must-read reference material for making comics.

Introductions aside, a couple years ago, DC launced a new Spirit ongoing series, written by the fantastic Darwyn Cooke and illustrated by his frequent collaborator, J. Bone. This series somehow manages to capture the feel of Eisner's original Spirit stories while planting its feet firmly in the present day.

The first two volumes of this series are collected in trade now, and I highly suggest picking them up for some very cool, classic storytelling and artwork. The first volume even contains the excellent, award winning one shot where the Spirit meets Batman, which is written by Jeph Loeb and illustrated by Darwyn Cooke.

And up last today, we have Hellboy: The Crooked Man. Now, I know Hellboy isn't the little indie title it used to be--what with two blockbuster movies and all--but I'm not sure how many casual moviegoers actually bother to check out the source material.

Crooked Man is, in my opinion, the creepiest Hellboy tale written by creator Mike Mignola. And, while Mignola doesn't draw the book, horror legend Richard Corben does. Dave Stewart provides the creepy, atmospheric colors, and all those factors contribute to a really disturbing tale of withcraft and demons. And, unlike most Hellboy tales, this one takes place in America, in the woods that border the Appalachian mountains.

Check this one out, folks, and then go back and read Mignola's earlier Hellboy tales. Trust me, if you're a fan of creepy folktales and legends from around the world, Hellboy is the book for you.

Well, as usual, I've already talked way too much today, so I'm gonna get going. Check out one or all of these reads, though. I think they're under-appreciated and are deserving of a huge audience.

No comments: