I've been reading comic books for 20 years. The first one I bought was Wonder Woman #220. My local comics guy expressed (mock) surprise that I didn't give them up right then, although truthfully that book did have the advantage of some nice Dick Giordano artwork! I grew up on Englehart/Conway/Dillin Justice League, Grell/Sherman Legion of Super-Heroes, Claremont/Byrne/Cockrum X-Men and Michelinie/Shooter/Perez Avengers.
I have fairly wide-ranging tastes, from the hopelessly mainstream (Flash, Legion of Super-Heroes, Spider-Man and Captain America have all been on my list in the last year), to various indy black-and-whites (Cerebus, Oz Squad, Post Bros and other material by Matt Howarth, XXXenophile, Bone, Love & Rockets), and lots of stuff in between (Astro City, Sandman, Sin City, Concrete). I never much got into the investment biz; I just buy what I enjoy, and even prefer paperback and hardcover collections to the originals (they're more durable and easier to shelve and to read).
It's a hobby, y'know. We've all gotta have one!
I write occasional reviews for the APAs I'm in, and will be making them available on my Web site more-or-less as I write them. Please keep in mind that these reviews are not necessarily written for people familiar with them, or even with comics, so I may sometimes digress into territory which is merely familiar background to some comics fans.
Click on a title below to see the reviews I've written for that book.
I also regularly talk about and review comic books in my on-line journal.
Comic Book Links
- Bud Plant Comic Art, a great mail order company. They often have special deals on some cool merchandise. For instance, I've picked up several DC Archive Editions from them, cheap, and a good chunk of the Fantagraphics Prince Valiant reprints at half price.
- Bud Plant Illustrated Books, a related mail order company specializing in hard-to-find comic and other illustrated books.
- Captain Comics is a news, reviews and commentary Web site.
- Comic Book Artist, a voluminous magazine which examines individual artists (their Neal Adams issue was terrific) or periods in comic book history (DC circa 1970, for instance, or the Warren Publishing company). The interviews tend to be lengthy, and often overlap in their material, and feel like they could use stricter editing, but overall the material is very good.
- The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund exists to help comic book creators, retailers and others who are being persecuted for exercising their First Amendment freedom-of-expression rights.
- Comic Book Profiles, a magazine profiling comic book writers, artists and editors, with interviews with the subject (if possible) and a variety of people who know or have worked with the subject. Interesting snapshots of a person's career.
- The Comic Reader, a magazine about comic books.
- Comics Buyer's Guide, the weekly trade publication of the comics industry. I've been a subscriber since 1985 or so.
- GraphicNovels.com is an on-line company selling in-print graphic novels.
- Tony Isabella, the Comics Buyer's Guide columnist, has his own page with a daily journal entry.
Comic Book Creators
Comic Book Publishers
- Cartoon Books, Jeff Smith's company for publishing his comic Bone, has a Web page for the comic.
- Dark Horse Comics, publisher of Matt Wagner's Grendel, and various media tie-in comics.
- DC Comics: Superman, Batman, you know the deal. Their Web site has some sub-sites which are worth noting individually:
- MAD Magazine is today owned by DC.
- The New Batman/Superman Adventures is an outstanding animated series featuring DC's two biggest characters. This site contains complete episode lists, as well as a schedule of upcoming episodes to be broadcast on the Kids WB network.
- Fantagraphics Books, known for publishing comics like Love and Rockets, I think their best feature are their comprehensive reprints of strips like Pogo and Prince Valiant.
- I Box Publishing, Mark Oakley's company for publishing his Thieves & Kings comic.
- Lone Star Press, publisher of Bill Willingham's Pantheon.
- Marvel Comics: Spider-Man, the X-Men, and related titles.
- Slave Labor Graphics and its companion, Amaze Ink, publish a variety of unusual science fiction and adventure comics, generally of high quality. A press which deserves more success than it's so far seen.
- Studio Foglio publishes comics by Phil and Kaja Foglio. I've been a fan of Phil's for 20 years, and eagerly buy almost everything he produces.
- Wildstorm Comics, a division of Image, and publisher of Leave it to Chance, Astro City, and Warren Ellis' Planetary and The Authority. Wildstorm is now owned by DC Comics.
Comic Book Stores
I'm familiar with many comics shops in the Boston MA, Madison WI and San Francisco CA areas. Here are some of my favorite stores in those locations:
- Capital City Comics, Monroe St., Madison, WI: Perhaps the best comics shop I've ever been to, I patronized it regularly when I lived in Madison in the 90s. Good selection of new comics and collections, and a very large stock of back issues, with all kinds of unusual stuff available. Worth the trip.
- Million Year Picnic, 99 Mount Auburn St., Cambridge, MA: One of the nation's oldest comics shops, with extensive independent, adult and imported comics. The back issue stock is not as stong as it was circa 1982, but it's still pretty good.
- Comicopia, Kenmore Square, Boston, MA: Specializes in new comics and a very large stock of paperback and hardcover collections.
- New England Comics, many stores throughout Greater Boston: Not what it once was when I patronized the Allston branch in the 1980s, NE Comics now focuses on new and recent comics with some collections and often-disappointing back issue stock.
- That's Entertainment, 244 Park Avenue (Route 9), Worcester, MA: A warehouse with new and old comics (bins and bins and bins of old comics) at excellent prices. Well-suited to anyone who enjoys spending a few hours hunting for bargains. The Web site has a photo of the store for context. Also has sporting memorabilia.
- Web Head Enterprises, 239 North Ave, Wakefield, MA: Medium-sized store with new and old comics, good selection of collections, and a large back-issue selection, with many silver age books. Good condition, carefully-graded and priced back issues, but you won't find many bargains. Also sells used science fiction.
- Comics Conspiracy, 115-A East Fremont Ave, Sunnyvale, CA: My regular weekly comics shop. Fairly extensive back issue selection which is often changing. Good selection of paperbacks and hardcovers.
- Big Guy Comics, El Camino Real, Mountain View, CA: Large back issue selection, although with less turnover than I'd ideally prefer. Good silver age selection, though.
- Heroes, Campbell Ave, Campbell, CA: New comics, middling selection of back issues though with good prices. Decent selection of magazines, and an offbeat silver age stock. Often has sales on back issues.
- Lee's Comics, 3783 El Camino Real, Palo Alto, CA and 2222 S. El Camino Real, San Mateo, CA: Friendly service, extensive selection of collections and good selection of independents. Back issue selection is on the small side.
hits since 1 July 1996.