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A Query #2:What comic changed the way you felt about comics?

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A Query #2:What comic changed the way you felt about comics?

Postby thefourthman » Fri Jul 04, 2008 9:36 am

It has been said ad infintum that Watchmen is the book that changed the face of comicdom. That without it, comics would still be for kids. While I think it is a monumental achievement in the history of comics and one of the medium's finest works, I am dubious as to it's importance to the common comic reader.

First of all, I present historical data, The Dark Knight Returns actually predates the Alan Moore opus by several months. This was certainly the first adult content book from a mainstream publisher that I read and I would imagine that this is the case for many readers from my age group. But it doesn't end there. With the onset of a mature reader The Shadow penned by Chaykin and the start of O'Neil's The Question as well as the proliferation of more experimental work by the publishing house of DC at the time like the groundbreaking Wasteland, it was more then just the one book but obviously a concerted effort by the publisher in general.

I am almost certain that this was a reaction to the success of independent comics that pushed the envelope from First's American Flagg to Comico's Fathom. Eventually we would see Marvel dip it's feet into the pool with various projects (was it the Epic imprint?) and the onset of it's Graphic Novel line saw it's mainstream universe Characters enter the realm of Mature Content. All of this led to the eventual start of the Vertigo and then the Icon lines as imprints dedicated to the more adult oriented reader.

All of this is kind of besides the poiint. The Query this time is:

What comic (or Graphic Novel) changed your perception of what a comic could be?

Having grown up in a period that allowed me to read the books mentioned as they were first published, their effect on me was not as great as it was to older readers at the time, so while I recognize the importance of those works, they are not the works that actually changed my perception of what comics were or their potential as a medium.

There are three books I can point to that did that for me. When I got back into comics about four years ago, I was mostly reading Star Wars books (which is funny because I don't read any of the current books).. a friend recommended two books to me. The first was Identity Crisis, while I understand the problems people have with this book, it was the one that really opened up the possibilities of the DCU to me. It has a weak ending but this is when I became entrenched into continuity books. Before Superheros had always been read by me in solo books. I read my brother's X-Men books when we were kids, but to be honest I never got the hoopla over them. I was all about Spider-Man and Batman. It was with IC[/c] that I really learned that a shared Universe was an awesome thing.

The other two books had a more profound effect on me. The first was recommended to me by the same friend, it was [i]Ex Machina
. I picked up the first issue and was hooked forever, Vaughan eventually became my favorite comic book writer. But it was the saga of Mitch that spoke to me. First of all it was topical and I had never really read anything that spoke to me in a relativistic fashion before, certainly not like this book. It was BKV's way of excising the events of 9/11 not only from himself, but for a larger audience as well. Yeah it happened, but here was a vibrant city that had gotten over it. The other thing that stood out to me about the book was that Mayor Hundred was a regular person. He wasn't perfect, he had skeleton's in his past, he had no political background and no aspirations to be a hero, but through happenstance and heart he was able to lift himslef and those around him to a better place both personally and socially. It was cool to see someone that was so heroic and rational, but could cuss just like me and had been known to smoke a joint every now and then.

The last book is the doozy though. My brother first recommended Planetary to me. I was floored. The first issue I read was #22, where they torture William Leather. It a vicious book that spoke not only to a darker part of my subconcious but through the book's reference to a pop culture icon, the book was a way of building on things that had come before in a way I had never seen. I went back the next day and bought 19-21 and all the trades. I devoured them and have actually read the run a couple times since then. It was my first back issue project and the only one I have completed. The book tackles all the various forms of pop culture through out the years and examines them in its own unique way, but the done in one nature of the stories themselves and the way they worked together to build an extermely complex puzzle that has strung me out for four years for 5 more issues are unique. Its ability to remain fresh in my mind and demand more attention from me is sets it apart from any book before or since.

Anhow, that's my nickel's worth on the subject, what have you got?

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Postby nietoperz » Fri Jul 04, 2008 9:53 am

Swamp Thing #21. I was still only 12 years old, and I had never imagined that my little hobby could ever show me anything so different: at turns beautiful and scary, and written so much better than any comic book I had ever read before. I became an Alan Moore fan overnight, and I have to say that without him showing me the possibilities of what this medium could be and achieve, I may well have drifted away from it with the onset of my teenage years.

Moore's Swamp Thing run was my favourite book óf all time until I later discovered V for Vendetta and then Gaiman's Sandman, but I still credit it with changing the way I saw the medium in the best way possible.
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Postby 3MJ » Fri Jul 04, 2008 10:18 am

Preacher, it blew me away, it's everything I could want in a comic.

As well as that: New Avengers issue 1. Only because by that point i'd been reading comics about 4 months at the most, and all of a suddne I saw Wolverine,Spider-man on the same tema. It kicked ass.

The Walking Dead issue 48 I think it was. I've never felt more like I'd been kicked in the balls following a comic.

Watchmen I read early on. It's a beautiful story, bt I wish I'd waited a bit longer so I appreciated it more.

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Postby BubbaKanoosh » Fri Jul 04, 2008 10:30 am

Dark Knight Returns.

I was at Band Camp in grade 6, when Ed (of the Barenaked Ladies) my camp coucellor at the time showed them to me. All I was used to was Marvel (Xmen and Spiderman).

Seriously.

That mini changed my view on comics.

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Postby Dugan » Fri Jul 04, 2008 10:59 am

BubbaKanoosh wrote:Dark Knight Returns.

I was at Band Camp in grade 6, when Ed (of the Barenaked Ladies) my camp coucellor at the time showed them to me. All I was used to was Marvel (Xmen and Spiderman).

Seriously.

That mini changed my view on comics.


That's so weird, the Barenaked Ladies played a role in me getting into comics in the first place. I was at my Grandparents old house when i was like 5, Steve Page lived next door to them and my Uncle (who's a comic fan and owns original issues of Watchmen and a first priting of Akira) was talking to him about comics and i mentioned something about the 90's marvel cartoons i think. So they both showed me their collections.
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Postby T-Roy Space Cowboy » Fri Jul 04, 2008 11:25 am

Preacher was definitly that book for me. It took me by the balls and slammed me into a whole new world of entertainment from comicbooks!! I couldn' believe some of the stuff I was reading, and honestly after finishing the whole series I seriously considered stopping reading comics altogether because I didn't think that anything else could live up to Preacher.

Then came The Walking Dead...this book has caused me to rethink my life! Never have I expierienced such a range of emotions as I have when reading TWD. I never even considered reading or collecting a b&w comic because I thought they were to bland looking, but TWD would not have the same effect if it were in color. The b&w lack of color adds so much to the deary almost depressing feel to the book. In most comics when characters die it's just to shock the readers, in TWD it's more of a shock when the characters survive! Every issue makes you want the next that much more, and thats what comics are all about.
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Postby thefourthman » Fri Jul 04, 2008 11:34 am

Master McNut wrote:Then came The Walking Dead...this book has caused me to rethink my life! Never have I expierienced such a range of emotions as I have when reading TWD. I never even considered reading or collecting a b&w comic because I thought they were to bland looking, but TWD would not have the same effect if it were in color. The b&w lack of color adds so much to the deary almost depressing feel to the book. In most comics when characters die it's just to shock the readers, in TWD it's more of a shock when the characters survive! Every issue makes you want the next that much more, and thats what comics are all about.

Yes, Kirkman does like to keep his readers on their toes. This book employs the cliffhanger in a spectacular fashion that is unequaled in any serial medium. He is a master of making you want that next issue right now! Those who read it in trade are missing out on that aspect of the book.

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Postby Eli Katz » Fri Jul 04, 2008 12:13 pm

I'm not sure if I can point to a particular issue, but I remember a number of comics blowing my mind in the mid to late '80s: The Dark Knight Returns, Vigilante, Cerebus, Beautiful Stories for Ugly Children, French Ice ... there are probably a few others.

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Postby Lord Simian » Fri Jul 04, 2008 12:25 pm

Hmm... I think Sandman, and oddly, Camelot 3000, can be pointed to as doing this for me. They were really the books that showed me comics can be so much more.
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Postby thefourthman » Fri Jul 04, 2008 12:27 pm

Lord Simian wrote:Hmm... I think Sandman, and oddly, Camelot 3000, can be pointed to as doing this for me. They were really the books that showed me comics can be so much more.

oooh, now I wait for that Camelot 3000 trade with baited breath.

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Postby Lord Simian » Fri Jul 04, 2008 12:30 pm

thefourthman wrote:oooh, now I wait for that Camelot 3000 trade with baited breath.


They're doing a new trade?
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Postby zombiemichaeljackson » Fri Jul 04, 2008 12:37 pm

It would have to be either Preacher or Transmetropolitan and I can't really separate the two. Uncanny X-men was the book that really got me into comics, but Preacher and Transmet completely changed the way I think about and read comics.

As for Watchmen, I remember reading it when I was about 13-14 years old and thinking that it was a really good story, but nothing revolutionary. With age and perspective I can see the thematic and tonal aspects of it that make it important, but by the time I first read it those aspects had been co-oped by just about every comic on the racks(albeit usually very badly) so they it really didn't have the impact on me that it should have. But Preacher and Transmet opened me up to non-superhero comics and showed me how limited my ideas about what a comic could be were, and for that I'll always be very, very grateful.

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Postby thefourthman » Fri Jul 04, 2008 12:39 pm

Lord Simian wrote:They're doing a new trade?

EVEN BETTER... Deluxe Edition Hardcover! $34.99 advance solicited for Sept in this month's Previews.

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Postby Lord Simian » Fri Jul 04, 2008 12:42 pm

thefourthman wrote:EVEN BETTER... Deluxe Edition Hardcover! $34.99 advance solicited for Sept in this month's Previews.


Well, fuck me. There's thirty five bucks out of my pocket. I need that book.
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Postby thefourthman » Fri Jul 04, 2008 12:42 pm

twoheads wrote:
As for Watchmen, I remember reading it when I was about 13-14 years old and thinking that it was a really good story, but nothing revolutionary. With age and perspective I can see the thematic and tonal aspects of it that make it important, but by the time I first read it those aspects had been co-oped by just about every comic on the racks(albeit usually very badly) so they it really didn't have the impact on me that it should have. But Preacher and Transmet opened me up to non-superhero comics and showed me how limited my ideas about what a comic could be were, and for that I'll always be very, very grateful.

Oh no doubt... it is one of the reasons it is considered such a touchstone book. I imagine that it had a greater impact on my generation, I mean I was 13 when it was originally published.

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