Sunday, October 11, 2009

It's a Bird, It's a Plane, It's Another Sunday List!

Let me put this right out there in case some of you haven't noticed: I am a geek. Couldn't you tell by my chronic chronicling of my book and DVD collection? To further define this point, one of my favorite ways to spend the day has to be in a comic book store. I love the smell of them. All those cardboard bins full of old and new treasures, carefully wrapped in plastic. It's quiet, like a library, so you can really hear yourself ponder the pros and cons of a $30 comic. The staff is always nice and helpful- happy to turn you on to a new series or release (yes, pun intended). When I walk into a comic book store, I'm one of the few woman there. This would be nice if more of the men where on my "attractive" radar, but that's nice too. I don't have to smile or flirt or feel self conscious. I get to sit Indian style on the floor and dig through bins.

Somehow during a conversation I had via telephone with a friend the other night, the subject of comics came up. He thinks Punisher is the greatest book ever written and is convinced his ex-wife is torturing him by dressing his kid up as Spiderman (bit paranoid I'd say). Now we're in a drunken half-assed debate over who is the greatest comic book character of all time. No need to tell you, I don't think it's Frank Castle. The conversation had to be put on hold as he was about to get his taco on, but I want to continue it a bit here.
First, a list of my favorite comics:
(in no particular order)

* Sin City
* The Sandman
* Death
* Transmetropolitan
* Tank Girl
* Hellblazer
* Watchmen
* X-Men
* Johnny the Homicidal Maniac
* The Maxx
* Teenagers From Mars

And the list goes on....

So, who is the greatest comic book character of all time? Gotta go with Jean Grey. Ah Jean... You have given us so much. The best female character ever written is Dark Phoenix. I can't tell you how I squealed at the end of X2 when the shadow of the phoenix could be seen over the lake. I still get excited! Jean is the ultimate representation of humanity- a caring mother figure with a super power at times uncontrollable. Eventually, her love for friends and man leads her to sacrifice her life for them, an act that unleashes her full potential. The Phoenix is born. Soon, her power overcomes her senses and Dark Phoenix is born- a mutant so powerful, vengeful, and ultimately sad. Her redemption is in the hands of the readers and her namesake proves true as she emerges from the darkness unaware of what she had become. She is the perfect feminist character- attractive to male and female readers alike. I heart her!

#2- Spider Jerusalem. The first comic I really got into was "Transmetropolitan", a post-punk dystopian book about the state of the world to come. Gritty and disgusting, if you love Watchmen, you may like this. Spider is a gonzo-journalist, which I think pretty much means he does and says whatever he wants regardless the cost. In my dream movie version of this comic, he would be played by Billy Zane (though with a lot more tattoos). He is surrounded by his assistants/fuck buddies who follow him as he searches for the story that will get his editor off his back and his back in front of the fridge. He's a sad sack with no special powers and few friends. He easily blends in with the filth around him, hardly noticing through his smug attitude, that he is becoming like them. The whole series is complete now, so it's a good time to get reading. be warned- this is also one of the only comics I've had to read at least twice to get what's going on. The story telling and plot lines are dense nuggets waiting to be chipped away. Oh Spider- you're such an ass, but I think I have a crush on you.

#3. Tank Girl- If your only knowledge of this pint sized badass is the '95 film starring Lori Petty, get thee to the store and buy Volume 1. You might have to pace yourself as a 1st edition early series book goes for about $20, it's well worth it. The Tank Girl of the comic is a vigilante for hire, unafraid to explore her own sexuality and the hidden drug culture around her. Stories seem plucked from the mind of Hunter S. Thompson (a fave with Warren Ellis who wrote the above) and Burrough's. The reader is left to make for themselves what's real, what's fantasy, and what's just the drugs. My favorite relationship is between Tank Girl and Booga, her kangaroo boyfriend. They are adorable! She is the ultimate riot grrl- unashamed to act and talk like "one of the guys". She never apologizes, even when she knows she's wrong, and could as easily leave you behind as adopt you into her gang of misfits. I have almost all of these books, patiently waiting for the last few to show up at my local store or for the $20+ I need for just one.
#4. Marv- Enough said. I loved Micky Rourke's take in the movie. My favorite thing about Marv is his blind drive- he will right any wrong done to him regardless the cost (though he doesn't hit dames). Marv's gotten the wrong end of the stick too often and has begun to crack. The love of a beautiful woman to his gnarly face is all it takes to calm him down or set him off. His story in the movies is based on the book "The Long Goodbye". My favorite appearance of him, however, is in "Booze, Broads, and Bullets", a collection of one-offs. His story "Silent Night" makes me misty just thinking about it. And, that must be some sort of feet for a crazed assassin. Kisses!

#5. The Avengers. Yea, I know it's not one character. Yea I know it's a conglomerate of Marvel greats and lesser known figures. I don't care. Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, Ant-Man, Wasp, Spiderman, Wolverine. Ahhhhh!!!!! Dear movie gods, please do not fuck up the upcoming movie based on this amazing series. I promise to visit you more often if you comply. Merci.

Do you love comics? What must I read immediately? Who's your go to favorite?


  1. I agree on Watchmen, and almost fell to the floor after watching the movie because of how it held up against the comic.

    What about Y: The Last Man? If you've yet to pick that one up, you must do so immediately! The art is amazing, and the story is really funny and addicting.

  2. Technically, his name isn't "The Sandman" but just "Dream" (or, alternatively, Oneiros or Morpheus).

    But, you've got a good list of characters and comics that I cannot disagree with (though I've never read Teenagers from Mars).

    I also agree with Jay Ferris: Y: The Last Man is a good read.