Hello, and welcome to the first edition of a new weekly column here at Comics-And-More, “Think About Comics.” My name is Patrick Markfort, a former reviewer for Alan David Doane’s Comic Book Galaxy, and longtime comics fan. I am the “Patrick” some of you may have seen David refer to here at Comics-And-More, and my name may also be familiar to you from various comics message board postings, although I doubt it.
So, what is “Think About Comics” all about? Well, every Friday I’ll be bringing you my thoughts about comics. Topics may include analyses of industry trends, or related subjects such as movies adapted from comics, but for the most part I am interested in engaging comics themselves. For example, you’re more likely to find me discussing the merits of the art and writing of Marvel’s House of M series than in criticizing the dubious promotional efforts attached to it. I really appreciate those bloggers who are able to seriously and articulately engage the medium, and that is what I hope to do here. You will likely also find in this column more of an effort to engage in the wider discussions found in the so-called “comics blogosphere” than is usual here at Comics-And-More. I am a great fan of much of the writing that goes on amongst the better comics bloggers, and will likely be linking to them often. And that’s about it. No particular hook or special focus, just another in a seemingly endless supply of folks posting their thoughts on this medium we all love so much. I find that my favorite blogs tend to be those that simply feature good, solid writing, rather than a particular focus or area of interest, so that’s going to be the model here. I hope this sort of thing sounds appealing to you.
For this first column, I thought it might be a fun idea to list for you the comics I am currently reading, along with brief commentary. I think this will be a good way for all of you to see where I’m coming from in regards to my tastes and interests. I assure you that future columns will be less about me and more about comics, but this seemed an appropriate exercise for my first time out.
Comics I Read, In The Order They Occurred To Me:
Love and Rockets - One of my all time favorites. The Hernandez Brothers were in many ways my introduction to a much larger world of comics, and they continue to be amazing and innovative artists. The release of each new issue of “Love and Rockets” is cause for celebration in my book.
Acme Novelty Library - I actually only just purchased my first issue of the Acme Novelty Library comic book (issue 3), but I’ve been following Chris Ware’s work in collected form for years. He may be our greatest living cartoonist.
Schizo - I put Ivan Brunetti’s nihilistic magnum opus in the same category as the above mentioned titles. A true masterpiece of comics. Funny as hell, depressing as hell, and really, really damned smart. Read Schizo.
Eightball - I haven’t read as widely or as deeply into Dan Clowe’s oeuvre as I should have, but Eightball #23 is my favorite single issue of a comic book ever.
Buddha - By Osamu Tezuka. I just read the first volume, and am just getting into Tezuka’s work, reading Astro Boy, as well. One of the greats, obviously.
Pluto - Naoki Urasawa’s remake of a classic Astro Boy story is one of the coolest comics I’ve ever read. I found the scanlations via Dirk Deppey’s thread on the Comics Journal Message Board. Do yourself a favor and read the series, and read also an extraordinary comparison of this work and the original story upon which it was based here. As long as you’re being so kind to yourself, go ahead and do yourself another favor by reading everything Jog sees fit to post. Oh yes, I wouldn’t even be aware of Urasawa if not for this essay. Where was I? Ah, yes……
Brian Michael Bendis’ Comic Books - Some of these should probably be filed under the “guilty pleasures” category, although I’m not really a fan of that term, so I think I’m going to have to devote a future column to my completist mentality in regards to this particular creator. I’ll pause while those in the audience who cannot find value in the opinions of someone who admits to reading House of M and New Avengers shuffle out the back door.
Astonishing X-Men - Grant Morrison’s New X-Men was brilliant. Joss Whedon’s and John Cassaday’s follow up is not. It is, however, a very well crafted and entertaining superhero comic book that I enjoy very much.
Seven Soldiers Comic Books - I like most everything by Grant Morrison. Popular opinion is correct in proclaiming Guardian as the best of these. The King would be proud. Well, actually, he’d probably be sort of cranky and confused about the whole thing, but I like it.
Nana - It takes a real man to read Shojo Beat on a regular basis, but it doesn’t take much of anything to see that Ai Yazawa’s Nana is an excellent series. Have your girlfriend pick it up for you, tough guy.
Superf*ckers - I adore James Kochalka for his unique art style and sensibilities. Superf*ckers was really funny and great and I can’t wait for more.
I also liked the first issues of Mome and Bette Noir, and the first couple of Kevin Huizenga’s Or Else, but don‘t really have anything to say about them. Oh, and I like Bipolar, too.
That’s all I can think of at the moment, and this inaugural column has gone on far too long. I hope some of you are still with me, and I hope that you’ll come back, every Friday, for more. Any comments you may wish to post regarding your thoughts on my efforts here would be appreciated beyond belief. Be well.
- Patrick Markfort