Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Follow The Leader: Episode 70: Reading Recommendations!

Martinex1: Let's keep it simple...Follow the Leader!  New topic supplied by one of you...and we all jump in!  Cheers!


Doug said...

How about recommendations based on material you've just recently read?

Over the weekend I read Batman 66 Meets Wonder Woman 77 and DC Meets Looney Tunes. I thoroughly enjoyed myself on both counts. The Looney Tunes mashup came highly recommended via some Twitter followers, and they weren't wrong. That entire book was well done -- even characters I'd previously had not interest in (Jonah Hex) provided some solid entertainment. I probably liked the Batman 66 book a little less, for the simple reason that a time or two it strayed from the Adam West-esque characterization we love so much about that era. But it was overall money well spent.

So... convince us to buy or read something!


Anonymous said...

I'm currently reading a new novel called CIRCE by Madeline Miller which was published just last week. It's set in the world of ancient Greek mythology - Circe is the daughter of Helios, the sun god, but as punishment for offending the gods she is exiled to an island for eternity. The novel is about her encounters with various characters such as Jason (of the Argonauts), Odysseus (from The Odyssey) and the Minotaur. I'm halfway through the book so far. This is Madeline Miller's second book and I bought it because I liked her previous novel THE SONG OF ACHILLES set during the Trojan war.

By the way, has anybody seen TROY: FALL OF A CITY which is a recent Netflix/BBC co-production? (I know you've seen it, Charlie).

Disneymarvel said...

Thanks for the suggestion, Colin. Circe sounds like a fun read. Should I read Song of Achilles first, or does it matter?

For the past year, I've been reading books out loud to keep my wife company in the kitchen. She's the chef, so I felt this was the best way to contribute. We've enjoyed a number of different genres, including the first 3 John Carter of Mars novels, some travel diaries in different areas of the world we enjoy, some autobiographies and some favorites of my youth, such as our current read, The Wind in the Willows. Lots of fun. If she's cooking for the week, I can crank through quite a few pages in one read!

Anonymous said...

Disneymarvel, you don't need to read The Song Of Achilles - the two books aren't connected :)

Dr. O said...

My suggestion is a current comic that riffs off comics of the past. Black Hammer by Jeff Lemire and Dean Ormston.

If you like the deconstruction/pastiche of the superhero, great art and "family" drama that pulls on all ages of superhero comics and has an overall sense of dread - I highly recommend it.

I review the first trade for the Los Angeles Review of Books.

My next recommendation (that maybe people on here would like better) is Astro City. It is more of a comic book superhero REconstruction, by Kurt Busiek. It has been going on and off since the 90s, but I recommend starting with Life in the Big City and follow up with Confession and or Family Album. The stories are usually one to two issues long, with the occasional longer arc.

For someone completely different that I have been loving, Pluto - an eight volume manga story that is a re-imagining of Astro Boy.

Chim said...

I recommend the current small Captain America run by Mark Waid and Chris Samnee. The art and storytelling gives me a pleasant nostalgic feeling. Chris' artstyle is not "superhero-bombastic", but has a lot of soul. I really love it.

I also recently bought Black Hammer by Jeff Lemire and Dean Ormston, but have not yet read it. But I like the premise and the art. It won the 2017 Eisner Awards for best best new series.

Chim said...

Here is a review of Captain America with a view peeks to Chris Samnee's art:


Anonymous said...

I've pretty much given up on collecting Marvel/DC comic books anymore, but still enjoy the occasional indie comic and, in recent years, have found a whack of novels written by great comic writers.

Joe Hill's "Locke and Key" is a 36-issue series by IDW that I found hugely compelling, and it's led me to become a huge fan of his novels. They are horror genre, which shouldn't be surprising as he's Stephen King's son. For what it's worth, I like his books better than his dad's (and I enjoy his dad's, too).

I'm also loving M.R. Carey's books. He would be familiar to comic fans as Mike Carey, writer of Hellblazer, Lucifer and Unwritten (as well as an X-Men run I never sampled). His books "Girl with All the Gifts" and its prequel, "The Boy on the Bridge" are probably the best sci-fi/action page-turners I've read in the past 2 years.

I enjoy Joe R. Lansdale immensely, another writer I discovered through comics, specifically his Jonah Hex: Two-Gun Mojo miniseries for Vertigo. He writes novels pretty much always set in Texas, usually period pieces ranging from Westerns to the 50s drive-in movie age. They're always gritty, violent, and usually tackle racism pretty head-on, whatever the era. "Paradise Sky" is the most recent one I've read, a Western with a freed slave protagonist, as good a book to try out as any.

And reaching back closer to the Bronze Age, I found the collected editions of Paul Chadwick's "Concrete" by Dark Horse, and found them great. I had tried one issue back in the 80s and was too young to appreciate the quiet drama, but as an older reader they are very thought-provoking and entertaining.

-david p.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Charlie has been enjoying Mark Waid's Archie! There are numerous titles running related to Archie! It's good, true to ones traditional sense of Archie, yet modern! Nice stuff.

Also I am really enjoying Harley Quinn (not to be confused with Suicide Squad)! Great stories, great art, really fun dialogue (clever, sarcastic, naive...) Not for kids due to "mature" humor and settings.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

And don't forget Free Comic Book Day just around the corner!!! Maybe we can check in on that in a couple Tuesdays?

Doug said...

I love conversations like this - something for everyone!

I have also been engrossed in the Batgirl Bronze Age Omnibus and the extra-large Avengers vs. Thanos trade paperback. Trying to get most of that monster knocked out ahead of my Saturday viewing of Avengers: Infinity War.

For "real books", I'm in the middle of Peter Hayes's Why? Explaining the Holocaust. I began reading it, thinking it would be a handbook for redesigning the high school course I teach on the topic. It's all that, but also very accessible to any layman or even novice on the Holocaust. Recommended, if history is your thing.


Edo Bosnar said...

Here's a really well-written weird western I recently re-read: Silver Riders. Definitely worth picking up.

As for comics, sort of recently, I read two of Joe Kubert's books from the early '00s, Yossel and Jew Gangster; both are quite outstanding.

Doug said...

Edo -

Did you buy those Kubert books? They seem a bit difficult to get these days.


Redartz said...

Doug- great topic, I actually was thinking of a similar post and you beat me to it!

My contribution is "Scooby Doo Team Up" . I hit the local comic shop this weekend and saw it: it featured a load of Silver Age DC goodness with Angel and the Ape, Inferior Five and Stanley and his Monster. It also had a surprise appearance by two tykes close to my heart. Great fun family book with lots of touches for 'older fans'. Incidentally I also picked up a new Batman- really impressed with the art by Joelle Jones...

Mike Wilson said...

Haven't been reading a lot of books lately and my comics reading is pretty much confined to stuff for my blog. I did read Wodehouse's "Mike" not too long ago and I thought it was pretty good (though it helps if you're a cricket fan); it's about the shenanigans at British boarding schools in the early 20th century ... I think it'd make a good Netflix series.

I'd also recommend Carol McCleary's "No Job for a Lady", a fictional account of real-life muckraker Nellie Bly (of Around the World in 80 Days fame) with a supernatural twist. There are more books in the series, but I haven't gotten to them yet.

Edo Bosnar said...

Doug, yes I bought them, but quite some time ago - like 4-5 years ago (can't remember precisely), on eBay from a seller in the UK. I only just got around to reading them about 2 months ago because of a post on Byron Preiss and his publishing ventures I was working on for the Atomic Junk Shop.

Redartz, I've actually heard many good things about Scooby Doo Team-up and it's something I'd like to read eventually.
By the way, something else I recently read was the X-men digest (part of the Marvel digest series being published and distributed by Archie Comics). It contains three classic stories from the Lee/Kirby years (from issue #s 4-5 and 9), Kitty's fairy tale from X-men #153 and some new, post-2000 stuff - of which, to my surprise, I really enjoyed the X-men First Class stories by Jeff Parker. In fact, I've loved all of the all ages stories written by Parker that have appeared in these new Marvel digests. For those of you in the US, who can find these in grocery stores and the like, I'd really recommend picking them up.

Garett said...

I like the Kubert books Edo mentioned. Joe Kubert is a great example of a comic creator staying vital into old age. Some other interesting books by Kubert: Abraham Stone, Tex, Tor: A Prehistoric Odyssey, and Sgt. Rock: The Prophecy.

Also the book How to Draw from Life, with drawings Kubert did from nude life models, and his comments.
He mentions how many comic artists could benefit from drawing from models, instead of learning only from other comic artists. Kubert, Neal Adams and others at DC Comics in the '70s had a life drawing class they'd attend, instigated by Sol Harrison.

Kubert's Tarzan comic is my favorite right now. An omnibus came out a couple years ago, but it's tough to get at a decent price now. I have the original comics, but they're getting in rough shape from rereading.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Anyone read Action #1000 that came out last week? I haven't yet.

Doug - Peter Haye's "Why" sounds like a must read. Just curious if you took a seminar or such from him at Northwestern?

For "serious" books, I am still working on "Wages of Destruction" if you want to understand the economics behind Germany from the 20s through the Nazis. Most eye-opening book I ever read about WW2. Dense, though. Not a casual read.

Doug said...

Charlie -

I’ve had the privilege of hearing lectures from Dr. Hayes on multiple occasions at both the US and Illinois Holocaust museums.

I have read bits and pieces of the Gotz Aly book Hitler’s Beneficiaries, also about the Nazi economy. Of particular interest to my classes is the second chapter, which details the German recovery through the 1930s and how that was financed.


Anonymous said...

From Terry in Virginia:

An ongoing project over the past couple of years: reading Avengers #57 through 202. Currently in the middle of The Korvac Saga with issue #175 (September 1978).

Although I've read the Kree-Skrull War and all of Englehart's run on the title, I must have quit comics sometime shortly after #150. It's a fun ride.

Unrelated to comics, I just read Walter Isaacson's recent biography of Leonardo DaVinci. Good stuff. Isaacson goes into detail of the artists craft, something that would be even more useful to me if I had any talent for drawing. I've also read his books on Einstein and on Steve Jobs.

Charlie: I picked up Action #1000 last week and have just skimmed through it and read the first two stories. It's not awe-inspiring, at least so far, but it's kinda cool. There's a tale where Vandal Savage sends Superman through various incarnations of his life via hypertime -- alternate realities, including late 1930s Metropolis. Patrick Gleason penciled this particular tale, and I was surprised how good it was. I did not like his work on Green Lantern Corps about a decade ago, but here he invokes the both the Golden Age Superman and even references Superman's "death" in Dark Knight Returns -- all in just a few pages. Some of the panels remind me of Chaykin.

William said...

Doug, I am also currently reading that massive Avengers vs. Thanos TPB. (The epitome of Bronze Age storytelling). I own it in print, but I also recently got it for free on Amazon for my Kindle (which is how I am currently reading it). Also trying to finish before the movie hits.

As for other stuff I've recently read. I am a big fan of Guy Delisle. He is French cartoonist who does mostly self biographical travelogues in graphic novel format. My favorite of his is "Pyongyang: A Journey In North Korea". Which I highly recommend. He has quite a few others as well. One I have not read, but would love to, is called "Hostage" which looks very interesting.

I also just finished reading Will Eisner's "A Contract With God, and Other Tenement Stories" which is excellent. One thing of note is that it has a surprising amount of sex and nudity in it. It's not "Fifty Shades" or anything, but there are at least 3 scenes of R-rated sex (including a violent rape and a statutory rape) and some shades of pedophilia thrown in for good measure. Pretty risque stuff for a "comic book". I think that Will was really trying to push the envelope and legitimize the graphic novel as a truly serious literary art-form. And he succeeded.

Chim said...

I can also recommend Guy Delisle. I've read "Pyongyang: A Journey In North Korea" and it gave me a vivid view on a closed country. It's an excellent example of a case where a comic seems to be the best medium to describe it. The pictures add so much information and atmosphere.

Regarding biographical comics, I have also read and can recommend:

Riad Sattouf (French-Syrian). French Mother, Syrian Father. Father studied in France, Riad was born in France, but the family went back to Syria/Lybia.
The Arab of the Future: A Childhood in the Middle East, 1978-1984: A Graphic Memoir

Good Reads Reviews

Comic Books from Li Kunwu about the development from China since 1945.


And of course the well known Marjane Satrapi's Persepolis.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

I did read Delisle's "Pyongyang " about a month ago thanks to Chim's (?) recommendation on this blog. It was a worthy read and ideal for the art form! It's not exciting but is indeed compelling. Hard to imagine Europe moved some portion of its cartoon industry to North Korea. Harder still to imagine being stuck supervising the work!

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Actually if anyone has links to a discussion about Pyongyang please forward? I really am curious why animated cartoon work has been (was?) contracted to North Korea of all places on the planet,

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Lastly, Delisle's Pyongyang educated me about (drum roll) Pyongyang! Hence, with President Trump meeting the North Korean leader in the near future, I actually have some knowledge about that city via Delisle when they show pictures and discuss it on TV these days!

I do recommend reading it (borrowed mine from the local library - a great public institution and profoundly appreciated after reading Pyongyang.)

OK.. time to eat my Maypo and go to work!

Chim said...

I found some information about the North Korean animation industry in these links:

US cartoons ‘made in North Korea’ (2007)

"South Korea itself was once the largest supplier of television animation in the world during its peak in the 1990s, churning out more than 1,000 half-hour episodes. However, its status has since declined with the rise of labor costs there, pushing animation companies to find alternatives such as India, the Philippines and North Korea. The Chronicles of Narnia, for example, used Indian animators for some characters. It’s unclear how much North Korea contributes to the world animation market today."

North Korea Quietly Emerges as Major Player in Animation Industry (2006)

"Media experts say North Korean production values are top quality. The state-run SEK studio is one of the largest in the world, employing 1,600 staff working with state-of-the-art equipment."
South Korean cartoons paved the way
"In 1994, the government recognized the industry’s economic potential and started to promote it. By the late 1990s, South Korea accounted for half of the worldwide subcontracting market, working for clients in the United States, Europe and Japan."

Animation: North Korea’s Secret Weapon (2017)

"This is where parts of Disney’s The Lion King were allegedly animated. It was Nelson Shin, one of the principle animators on The Simpsons, who , perhaps unwittingly, outsourced some of his productions to the country of his birth."
"However, North Korea has co-operated with many countries on their animation projects. The film industry has always been granted special privileges. In the mid-1950s, when Czechoslovakia experienced its golden age of animation, North Korea sent artists to Eastern Europe to learn the art, and-at the initiative of Kim Il Sung- SEK Studio was founded in September 1957. After 1983, they honed their skills during countless co-productions with France and Italy. The studio was also subcontracted by the South Korean company Iconix to animate parts of a TV series. The company trained the North Koreans in 3D animation, and now North Korean animation is state of the art, according to Iconix."

"North Korea is a closed country. Some journalists and artists have still gained access to the North Korean film industry, e.g. David Kinsella, Christhard Lapple, Guy Delisle and Anna Broinowski. News from the outside intrudes now and again. Surprisingly, Tom & Jerry, the classic American cartoon about a cat chasing a mouse, is also a smash hit on North Korean TV. Lee Kyo-Jung, an executive at the Korea Animation Producers’ Association, told the media he thought the North Koreans identified with the clever mouse, who continuously fools the big stupid cat. And the stupid cat, that is-of course-the West."

SEK Studio - Wikipedia
Number of employees: 1,500 (2003)

Anonymous said...

From The Prowler, on the move in America:

Speaking of reading, Bob Dorough of "Schoolhouse Rock" passed away. He was 94...

I know I will be singing all my favorites today. Conjunction Junction, Elbow Room, I'm Just a Bill, the list goes on...

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Man o Man Chim! Much thanks for that post! Who'd a thunk that these types of business deals would be farmed out to "totalitarian states?" I mean, it seems as surreal as Pyongyang when you read it. And, the book does have some humor, like when Delisle is trying to communicate to the NK Illustrators what "waving goodbye" (?) looks like.

Great recommendation and great research. Thanks a bunch!

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