Hey gang. Just wanted to do a quick rundown of what I've been reading lately. While I'm still doing monthly titles, I've scaled back the amount I'm reading considerably. Going for quality over quantity, I guess you'd say. I suppose I'm suffering from event fatigue, but I just can't be bothered to keep up with Blackest Night or Siege right now. I've even scaled back the amount of Bat-books I'm reading to two; Batman & Robin and Detective Comics.
I've been reading a lot of collections lately. Mainly stuff that I hadn't got around to yet but had been curious about for a while. Chief amongst those titles is James Robinson's Starman. I'm shocked it's taken me this long to read this series. I'm about halfway through his run on the book and it's absolutely blowing me away. I'm so impressed with it that I'm having a hard time reconciling the James Robinson I know now (Cry For Justice is one of the worst things I've ever read) with the James Robinson who created Jack Knight. It hardly seems like its the same man. His grasp of Golden Age and Silver Age tropes and his decidedly human take on the world of superheroes is refreshing and inspiring even now. He fully inhabits each and every character with original voice and in Jack Knight and The Shade, creates two of the most enigmatic and engaging characters I've ever read. If you can write a character so well that I, as a writer, salivate over the idea of writing that same character, then you've done well. (If you're wondering, the character I'm talking about is The Shade. Egads, what a badass he is.)
I just finished the first two volumes of Brian Wood's Northlanders. It's hard to say, "This is the best book at Vertigo," because there are some really great books coming out of that imprint right now. Still, Northlanders has to be considered in that conversation. It takes the gritty, visceral crime drama of something like Scalped and marries it to the playful historical interpretation of a series like Deadwood to create a series wholly unique in the world of comics. Wood's exploration of one of, if not the most pivotal moments in history is an absolute must read. (CLICHE ALERT!)
I also just finished The Escapists by Brian K. Vaughan, a man who is quickly rising to the top of my creative influences list. The Escapists, if you're unfamiliar, is something of a sequel to Michael Chabon's excellent The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Klay. The book deals with a group of young creators purchasing the rights to the Joe Kavalier and Sammy Klay character, The Escapist. These young creators then embark on a story of sacrifice, creation, love and loss that both twists and uplifts the heart at the same time. The Escapists reads like a guide on what to expect when trying to break into the comic book industry and is essential reading for any creator trying to do just that.
Last but certainly not least, I'm brushing up on my Jeff Parker in anticipation of the interview I have coming up with him sometime in the near future. I'm finishing up Agents of Atlas (phenomenal) then moving on to Mysterius and Interman. Parker is truly one of the nicest and most talented guys in comics and his continued success will be nothing but a boon for the industry. His playful utilization of old pulp tropes turns the medium on its ear while still being as reverent as possible. Agents of Atlas is truly great stuff and is the Marvel equivalent of great DC titles like Darwyn Cooke's New Frontier and James Robinson's The Golden Age. If you haven't checked out Jeff Parker then you're seriously missing out.
That's what's on the pile for now. What are my fellow nerds consuming right now? Inquiring minds want to know.