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Comic Culture: Memorial Day

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In honor of Memorial Day, I felt like doing something a little different here this week. I know it might be a stretch, but I’m going to take a few minutes to skip down memory lane (see what I did there) to revisit some of the books that have had a lasting impact on me in various ways. It wasn’t intentional, but you’ll soon see that these three books are all from the current “Big Three” publishers. Imagine that! So, without further adieu, I give you the list!

Batman-Long-Halloween-CoverBatman: The Long Halloween by Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale (DC Comics):

I know it has been stated before, but I am HUGE Batman fan. Prior to actually reading anything Batman-related, my love for the character began with Batman: The Animated Series and spiraled out of that into the books. It was on a family vacation that I picked up this book on a whim mainly because it was Batman, and partially because the artwork looked cool. Needless to say I loved it, and still love it to this day. One of my most prized “comic” possessions is probably my Absolute Edition of The Long Halloween. That book is just stunning and really does Tim Sale’s art justice. As equally impressive is Loeb and Sale’s follow-up Dark Victory. It is my goal to one day own the Absolute edition of that book as well. You can’t have one without the other! This single book started my comic-reading journey that continues to this day, and for that it will always be special to me. It is also, in my opinion, one of the best stand alone Batman graphic novels to date. And, I stand by that statement 100%.

bendis2Daredevil by Brian Michael Bendis, Alex Maleev and David Mack (Marvel Comics):

My journey with Marvel Comics began with Daredevil, mainly because he felt like their version to Batman, and I’m sure I’m not the only one that sees it that way. At first I read a handful of the Frank Miller stuff (which was all great), but it wasn’t until I discovered Bendis’ Daredevil that the character really sunk its teeth into me. This was probably one of (if not the first) book that I actually bought on a monthly basis because it was coming out in real time while I was really getting into collecting. Something about the dark grittiness of the storytelling coupled with the dramatic artwork really took a hold of me. This was Bendis trying to prove something, and in doing so crafting his masterpiece. Awhile back, when I attended one of two Wizard World Chicago comic conventions I even had the chance to get a single issue signed by Bendis and Maleev. I still have this issue today and it remains one of the coolest single issues I’ve been able to get my hands on. Over the years I’ve downsized my single issue collection and even donated some of my Daredevil run. It is my goal to one day get the trades of Bendis’ run to replace the single issues because this book DESERVES to be on my shelf.

chew-1Chew by John Layman and Rob Guillory (Image Comics):

I discovered this book recently when I was becoming more and more withdrawn and disinterested with what was going on with the Big Two. It was a sale on comiXology that allowed me to check out the first trade for a cheap price. The wacky premise, and cartoony art really struck a chord with me. I immediately proceeded to buy the first two Omnivore hardcovers that were out and devoured them (collected trades 1-4). When I finished with those, it was only a couple of months before the third hardcover came out (collected trades 5-6), so of course I bought that. The third hardcover ended on such a HUGE cliffhanger that it made me immediately switch over to digital monthlies. I still plan on continuing to collect the hardcovers, but the wait is just too long and the book’s too good to not be reading monthly. I owe a lot to this book because it really opened the floodgates for me when it comes to independent and creator owned books. Currently I am reading no “Big Two” books, and I think I have Chew to thank for that because it changed my outlook on the comics landscape and made me become more critical of what I read. I am no longer “settling” for mediocre “Big Two” books. That’s just not good enough anymore.

So there you have it! Three books that have had an impact on my comics reading. And, like I said before, each of them is from one of the “Big Three” publishers. Now that’s what I call diversity! Now that you know mine, are there any specific books that have an impact on your comics reading history? Feel free to let me know in the comments below, or on twitter. Until next time.

Happy reading.

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