The debut of a new column, wherein Royal Nonesuch gets to know YOUR Outhouse Staff Writers!
In Outhouse Roundtable, Royal Nonesuch gathers the writing staff of The Outhouse to get to know where they stand in the landscape of comic book fandom. The formula is simple: one questions, a joyous multitude of answers.
This week's question: What comic book, creator, run, etc. do you want to read, or sound interesting to you in some way, but you just haven't gotten around to it yet?
For me, I still haven't read any HELLBOY, or anything in that particular franchise. I don't know why I haven't gotten there yet, but I feel like I should. From what I've heard, it combines horror themes with rich characterization, which sounds great to me. I saw one of the movies (the second one, not even the first one!), but I'm not sure how much of a representative glimpse that is. Mike Mignola's gothic inspired art looks great, so what am I waiting for?
Also on this list is Dave Sim's CEREBUS. I think this is because the first thing I've ever heard about Sim is that he's some kind of out-of-his mind misogynistic wackjob, and his famed "Tangent" essay did not particularly alleviate me of that notion. Eventually, I realized something: people I know who aren't misogynistic wackjobs, and who hate misogynistic wackjobs as much as I do, loved CEREBUS. Apparently, Sim doesn't exactly bring his personal views into the narrative, and even if he did, I think I've grown in the last decade or so to realize that reading something by someone you disagree with can't kill you. Now, the only hurdle is "can I really follow through on 300 consecutive issue?"
I also need to bone up on more international work. I haven't read any new manga in years (the most recent series I started in on was Naoki Urusawa's MONSTER when it was first being published here, but somehow lost track after a few volumes, despite the fact that I was really enjoying it). I also have never read JUDGE DREDD or anything from 2000AD. That is something I really want to correct, but that might be even more of an undertaking than CERBERUS at this point.
There are a lot more comics I need to get to (HELLBLAZER, SUICIDE SQUAD), but, baby steps.
There's a lot for me. David Sim's CEREBUS is up there. I've read how it's one of the definite Indie books out there and the whole phone book sized trades just seem like it's a must buy for me. The stuff I've read about it just interests me, especially with Sim's doing whatever the heck he wants with it and how his character just grows... How I've yet to try it out, I don't know.
I've been following so much news and reviews, etc about Brian Maruca and Jim Rugg's AFRODISIAC that I just want to kick myself in the stomach that I've yet to get this.
CAPTAIN AMERICA: TRUTH is also up there. Besides the first trade of SANDMAN, I've yet to get the rest of the series and I feel ashamed of that. Peter David's HULK run. THE AMAZING JOY BUZZARDS by Mark Andrew Smith & Dan Hipp. YOUNG LIARS, MIDNIGHT CROSSING, LUCIFER, BONE, INCOGNEGRO, GANTZ the list is vast.
SANDMAN is the obvious answer for me. I picked up the first trade for my fiancee when she was first starting to get into comics and neither of us liked it enough to pick up the next story arc. Obviously, it's largely considered to be one of the finest comics ever, so I should make the effort to sit down and read through it all.
Simonson's THOR run is another run I've always wanted to read but never had the opportunity to. I'm a big fan of Thor and I hear it's the definitive run on that book.
Finally, USAGI YOJIMBO is a book that I really hope to read soon. In all seriousness, I will likely find a way to put this on my wedding gift registry. Rabbit samurais seem right up my alley.
For a long time the answer was Mike Carey's THE UNWRITTEN, but that has thankfully been rectified with my Secret Santa gift a month ago. Now, I think I'd have to say Grant Morrison's BATMAN. I dropped BATMAN a month or two into Grant's run because I was pretty annoyed with the violent change in direction following One Year Later in the Bat Books, and partly out of spite didn't feel like dealing with Morrison's drug-induced camp. However, I've slowly crept back into the Bat-Books with support books like RED ROBIN, BATGIRL, and GOTHAM CITY SIRENS, and finally jumped on BATMAN INC. Now I feel like I wish I could go back and stop myself from dropping the Bat-Books in the first place, as I'm hesitant to jump back on BATMAN and DETECTIVE COMICS because I've missed so much. A similar situation occurred for me with Brand New Day in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN. One day, when I have a few hundred dollars to waste, I'd like to pick up back issues of both, as I can't stand mixing and matching trades with floppies.
Well the major gaps in my reading are all Japanese comics, since I have so much difficulty reading them. No matter what I do I find reading the books backwards far too taxing for me to properly immerse myself in the story so typically get frustrated and distracted by something western and easier for me to grasp. Someday I'm sure the right title will hook me though, and I'd imagine it'll be something I'm already familiar with in another form like AKIRA or FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST that helps me click with the form.
Perhaps less easy to excuse is the total lack of anything illustrated by Jack Kirby on my bookshelf. I have plenty of old issues of Spidey in Essential format but that's about where my silver age collection ends and as such King Kirby is decidedly unrepresented. Eventually I'd love to get stuck into his FANTASTIC FOUR with Stan Lee but for now arguably the most legendary artist in US comics remains unrepresented in my collection.
Finally it's to my eternal shame that I have a half finished collection of CONCRETE books that sit seemingly unloved next to my equally dusty vinyl collection. I loved Paul Chadwick's man of stone and when Dark Horse reprinted his every appearance I was all over the fist few volumes like a kid at Christmas but somewhere along the line I missed the release of a volume and every time I went to buy it something newer and shinier took my money instead. With the return of Dark Horse Presents will come the return of Concrete and hopefully this will spur me into finishing what I started.
I had the same problem with SANDMAN, I actually forced my way through Vol 2 and gave up halfway through it. I always wonder what I missed when people talk so highly of that series. Funny thing is I love his novels
HELLBLAZER is another one, I read the first few trades by Delano and wasn't too impressed but liked the idea of the character.
For me LOCKE AND KEY, SCALPED, and 100 BULLETS are books I have been wanting to read but haven't gotten around to.
For a long time, my big blind spot has been Neil Gaimain's magnum opus, SANDMAN. I honestly have no good reason for not having read it, none whatsoever. I've read a lot of Gaiman's other work, I'm a big fan of 1602, I liked Whatever Happened To The Caped Crusader? a lot more than the general consensus did, and even found THE ETERNALS to be a worthwhile read. I've also read all of his novels, and loved them all. But for some reason I haven't bothered to check out what everyone says is his best work. Can anyone explain this to me, because I certainly can't. The only logical reason I can think of is that the first trade is pretty expensive for a TPB, about 5 pounds more than most, and that whenever I'm in the shop considering, I just go for the cheaper option, but what is a fiver really when it comes to reading one of the best comics ever? I have no idea. Maybe I'm just an idiot.
Other blind spots I have are CEREBUS, ALIAS, Grant Morrison's DOOM PATROL, THE INVISIBLES and also HELLBOY.
I think for me my "blindspot" is independent books as a whole. I read a lot of super hero stuff, but i don't read any non superhero stuff. The only things i've tried have been FABLES and THE UNWRITTEN. I think for me I'm afraid to put any money into something i don't know if i'll like. With the superhero genre i know what i'm getting into, but with indy books i'm not sure. I don't really have many blindspots. I guess DAREDEVIL is a huge blindspot for me, I haven't really read much with him in it, same with characters like GHOST RIDER, and ELEKTRA. PUNISHER would also be a HUGE blindspot. For the longest time DEADPOOL was one as well.
My blind spot is Mike Carey's LUCIFER. SANDMAN is my favourite book of all time and Lucifer is a fascinating character. I also like Carey a great deal. I really have no idea how I managed to miss out on this title, but I did.
I'm also amazed that I (yes, ME!) have read all of SANDMAN and a lot of others that I'd expect to read it HAVEN'T. I'm like the ultimate capes and tights reader so it's amusing.
As far as my comic blindspots, I don't really have many. There are comics that I'd like to read MORE of but very few that I haven't at least sampled. Simonson's THOR, Johns' FLASH, and SCOTT PILGRIM are all comics that I've read bits and pieces of but would like to finish. They aren't blind spots anymore but they aren't finished reading material either.
What I haven't read but would like to get around to eventually...
I want to read ROM. It's one of those books that gets talked about every so often and everyone who's read it seems to have liked it. I think I read a total of one issue when I was a kid and then moved back to my GIJOE and TRANSFORMERS comics. If only someone would work out a deal to have this stuff reprinted specifically for me.
FABLES is another one that I'm not SURPRISED I haven't read since I generally stick to my super-heroes but is also something I'd like to sample more than the first issue (which was read for the review group). This series gets a lot of praise and I really should check out a trade or two.
SGT. FURY & THE HOWLING COMMANDOES & NICK FURY: AGENT OF SHIELD are two comics that I would love to read but aren't really available at an affordable price. I've read the first issue of Sgt. Fury for my Super Reads columns but that's about the only exposure I've had to either series besides their appearances in other books. Marvel needs to release Essentials of both of these.
There are a number of major runs that I haven't read. One of the biggest is Howard Chaykin's AMERICAN FLAGG! I especially want to read the first 12 issues of that series.
Another important run that I've missed is Don McGregor's classic, 13-part story "Panther's Rage" in JUNGLE ACTION. It came out in the mid-'70s and its epic scope -- a planned, two-year story arc -- was unprecedented at the time.
Also, I'm embarrassed to admit that I've never read Brubaker's SCENE OF THE CRIME.
Marvel's ANNIHILATION Saga. There was so much amazing work being published by Marvel Comics over the last eight years. With all the big crossovers and events Marvel does I knew I couldn't get into everything. When ANNIHILATION was first announced, I was buying a lot of X-Men books, the Ultimate line was on fire, and DC still had their act together to the point were I was buying as many of their books as Marvel's. I thought since the ANNIHILATION is out in space, it will be self contained and if it's any good I can pick it up in trade. From what every one tells me it was fantastic! I want to get those oversized hardcovers and read it in one sitting. Though when I see them in a store I usually don't have the money. When I've had the money I've usually have forgotten about them or there was some thing that I just wanted more in the moment.
Written or Contributed by: Royal Nonesuch
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About the Author - Royal Nonesuch
As Senior Media Correspondent (which may be a made-up title), Royal Nonesuch tends to spearhead a lot of film and television content on The Outhouse. He's still a very active participant in the comic book section of the site, though. Nonesuch writes reviews of film, television, and comics, and conducts interviews for the site as well. You can reach out to him on Twitter or with Email.
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