The Nerds of the Roundtable really enjoy dipping into their comic book collections! Read all about what they re-read the most!
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 question, a joyous multitude of answers.
Week 4: What comics have you re-read more than any other, and why?
I've always been jazzed by what is in my mind the Triumvirate of representative Alan Moore works, namely: WATCHMEN, V FOR VENDETTA, and FROM HELL. Every single time I take a look back at any of these books, I always find something new that I never noticed before. Moore's scripting is always so subtle and loaded with subtext that there are layers to everything he's writing, and nowhere is that more true than in these three books (as well as, I suppose, PROMETHEA). I'm always amazed by these stories. In addition, I've come back to The Dark Phoenix Saga and God Loves, Man Kills X-MEN stories, Frank Miller's THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS, and Kurt Busiek and Alex Ross' MARVELS and assorted ASTRO CITY collections a lot, along with Brian Michael Bendis' DAREDEVIL. I feel like all of these stories amass a lot of what I like about superhero comics. I find Adrian Tomine's OPTIC NERVE and much of Daniel Clowes' work more and more truthful and interesting with every reading. David Mack is one of my favorite creators in comics, and KABUKI really means a lot to me personally. I also love the consideration of human achievement in Makoto Yukimura's PLANETES, and the truly epic storytelling in Osamu Tezuka's AKIRA and BUDDHA, as well as his great ADOLF. Finally, I really enjoy reading Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean's somewhat obscure VIOLENT CASES over and over again.
SOLO - Mike Allred and Brendan McCarthy's issues seem to get the most attention, from me. Still, I can read any issue at any given time and finish an issue with a smile on my face.
WOLVERINE: SNIKT! - It's a quick, but energetic action story with Wolverine killing monsters. Tsutomu Nihei's art needs to be seen to be believed.
Morrison's BATMAN run - I mainly re-read Grant Morrison's BATMAN work not just for the quality of the stories, but the details within his run. It's a run that really rewards attentive fans and I just get a joy out of noticing things that I didn't see on previous reads.
INCREDIBLE HULK vol. 3 #82 - By no means is this the greatest comic of all time, but Peter David and Jae Lee crafted one, solid Hulk tale. It's a done-in-one comic with haunting art and some fitting writing to match.
Various MINI-MARVELS comics - Chris Giarrusso's simple, yet sharp MINI-MARVELS work brings the fun year round.
NEW X-MEN: ACADEMY X: Its just non stop action and fun.
INFINITE CRISIS: Everytime I read it I notice something new.
BATGIRL: The current series. It may have its faults, but it's just a fun book, and enjoyable to re-read.
RED ROBIN: One of the best books out there right now, and like Batgirl very fun to re-read.
The SCOTT PILGRIM series is a big one for me. I re-read all the books that had been released at that point every time a new one was due to come out, read it all through once 'Finest Hour' had come out, and then all again after seeing the movie, to compare and contrast. It's one of my favourite comics of all time, and every time I read it I notice something else O'Malley did, whether it's a background joke or a bit of foreshadowing, but I mostly enjoying re-reading because they are just so fun and just so easy to read.
I've also read ULTIMATES 1 and 2 about 8 times, I've read WATCHMEN 4 or 5 times, which is self-explanatory and I must have read BONE about 3 times, which is impressive, as it's like 60 issues and the one volume collection is heavy as hell. I think reading BONE so often is why my arms are so muscular. Haha, that's a joke right there. CASANOVA is another one, not only have I read my original Image issues a couple of times, I'm also re-purchasing the book in it's Marvel/Icon form, so that's a re-read I've been paying for, Cass is a book that really rewards repeat viewings, so it's well worth paying for again.
GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY is a series that I've reread multiple times. Say what you want about the various Marvel Cosmic events, but GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY is a fun enjoyable read. I also enjoy reading the Sinestro Corps War story arc in GREEN LANTERN and the first 60 or so issues of JSA. BLACKSAD is another book that I'm sure I'll be reading a ton of in the future. I've owned it for two weeks and I've read it three times. Rounding off the list is STARMAN. The omnibuses make this a fun weekend read.
SANDMAN. I actually read it in its entirety several times a year. I always find it so moving, but I also keep finding little details I missed along the way. Neil Gaiman is such a treasure trove of arcane knowledge and story that it always takes my breath away, and the narrative line is just so human and true - and tends to resonate even more as I grow older.
I have always said that the book is the greatest achievement in the medium, and I believe it more with each re-read.
For me, it's Gerry Conway's original run on AMAZING SPIDER-MAN. Conway provides a perfect mix of action, tragedy, soap opera, and surprise in those 30 key issues (#119-#149). Spidey faces Hulk, Green Goblin, Luke Cage, Doc Ock, Hammerhead, Tarantula, Vulture, and Molten Man, among others. Gwen dies; Norman dies; Harry takes over the Goblin mantle; and the Punisher makes his first appearance. And as if that weren't enough, Conway upends Pete's world by bringing Gwen back from the dead and having her under the spell of the mysterious Jackal. Wonderful stuff. Truly riveting. And through it all, Conway transforms MJ from a shallow, self-indulgent party girl to Pete's one true love. Pete finds no comfort from MJ in the iconic final page of ASM #122, after Gwen's death has been publicized. But 27 issues later, in the equally moving final page of Conway' run, Pete runs desperately to be with MJ and to have the love and comfort he can get from no one else. This is the perfect Spidey run.
The final page of ASM #122:
The final page of ASM #149:
I typically don't re-read anything, unless it has been a while since an issue came out and I feel I have to get a refresher on where things are at but even that is rare. Once I read something one time I don't have the urge to re-read it maybe it's weird...I also normally don't re-read wordy books, TV shows, or movies also.
A lot of David Hine's books, specifically STRANGE EMBRACE, ARKHAM REBORN, SON OF M/SILENT WAR, and his SPAWN run. I just love his character work on these books and I'm always into the way he incoporates horror, especially with how the characters affect each other mentally, into his works. STRANGE EMBRACE and ARKHAM REBORN are two awesome psychological horror pieces that I just can't get enough of.
Christopher Priest's BLACK PANTHER trades I read a lot. His storytelling and his blend of superheroics along with fantastic character development with some great comedy never lessens through my reads. I still find myself chuckling with parts like Everett K. Ross accidentally selling his soul to Mephisto for pants and loving the serialized story telling that just builds and builds. I've only been able to read a few arcs past what Marvel has released in trades and I'm very very irritated that Marvel has yet to release the rest of Priest's Panther run.
I reread stuff so randomly that it's been a hard question to answer what I reread the most. I would guess it's the stuff I see the most often and isn't buried at the bottom of my massive collection of storage boxes. So... mostly trades. I've got quite a few X-MEN trades and end up reading the Essentials collections, X-Tinction Agenda, X-Cutioner's Song, Crossroads, and the Phoenix Saga when they catch my eye on the shelf. I'm also a big fan of the Kree-Skrull War and now that it's no longer trapped in the kids' room, I can read through some excellent adventures.
As far as dipping back into my actual comics, I love the original X-FACTOR run, especially when the title was handled by Louise and Walt Simonson. I've probably reread that run more than most, though IRON MAN would be a close second.
What really changes things are those Marvel DVD-ROMS that were released a few years back, collecting entire runs of some of my favorite comics. It has made IRON MAN a whole lot easier access. AVENGERS, SPIDER-MAN, and FANTASTIC FOUR all get more reads because they are just a disc away. I know there are those that complain about reading comics on the computer and I'm not saying it's perfect. It's just really, really convenient.
And what am I rereading right now? NEW MUTANTS. I own an nearly complete collection from the original run, having picked up most of it for 50 cents to a dollar an issue seven or eight years ago at random Schinders shops when I was living near about five of them. I don't think I've actually read them all since I was picking up a lot of cheap comics at the time. So, it's time to make sure they all get a proper reading.
X-MEN: THE ASGARDIAN WARS was the first Marvel TPB I purchased and one I kept reread for years. Though it was definitely the second half that was drawn by Art Adams that reprinted NEW MUTANTS SPECIAL EDITION and X-MEN ANNUAL #9 that I kept me rereading the book. This is were I learned to love the New Mutants. Before getting this book I couldn't get into them. What this book did was separate each of the characters and put them each on their own hero's journey. Some had trials bigger than others, but it was an excellent showcase for who these characters were. Though who those characters were was changing right before our eyes due to what they were going through. The X-Men were doing all their usual cool X-Men stuff once they showed up in Asguard and Storm as Goddess of Thunder is just awesome. But it was the New Mutant parts of the story that keeps me rereading the Asgardian Wars TPB.
How about YOU, Outhousers? What do you dip back into your collection for?
Written or Contributed by: Royal Nonesuch