O For A Million Dollars: The Comics I Should Be Reading

File this under “what if.” As in “What if I had a million dollars?” I care very little for sports cars, mansions give me the willies, and drugs, to borrow a phrase from Cole Porter, “bore me terrif-ically too,” but I get a kick out of comics (and movies).

As a fan of the medium, I’m hardly discriminate in what I will or will not read. As I mentioned earlier today, there’s only a certain amount of violence I’ll tolerate, which means no Evil Ernie for me. Apart from that, the only things guiding my reading are my budget and what the library offers. While perusing my local Barnes and Noble, I had to think, what would I read if I had the dough to back it up?

So, in the spirit of wishful thinking, here’s some books I’m not reading but definitely would, should a cool million fall into my lap.

Walt Kelly’s Pogo
Pogo is a comic series that used to appear in newspapers featuring a group of animals hanging out in a swamp, having little adventures, and not shying away from social commentary. This is a highly influential comic, inspiring Bone, Over the Hedge, and many others. This comic is being republished right now in handsome hardback volumes, unfortunately the retail price is set at $39.99.

Walt Disney’s Mickey Mouse
Way back in the early days of the company, Disney published a comic strip about Mickey Mouse. It looks like it was inspired by Tintin–there’s a similar clean line approach. This is the sort of book that I bet will make you nostalgic for a time you never lived in. Similar to Pogo though, it’s only sold in expensive hardcover editions.

The Airtight Garage
The Airtight Garage is a French comic featuring picaresque, planet-hopping adventures. The artwork by Moebius is just fantastic. For some reason, this series hasn’t been cheaply printed in America, so the only graphic novels available cost more than $100 each.

Marvel’s The Wizard of Oz series
Have I made it clear how much I dislike hardcover packaging? While a hardcover does add some delight to collecting comics, it can be a real nuisance when your budget is limited. Hardcovers cost about $10 more than the average graphic novel. The Wizard of Oz series by Eric Shanower and Skottie Young is a joy to behold, but I have a hard time spending so much on a book aimed at children.

Jack Kirby’s Fourth World Omnibus
Jack Kirby virtually reinvented the superhero genre with his Fourth World Series, set in its own universe a few degrees detached from the DCU. He populated it with his “New Gods,” a motley assortment of headstrong heroes, and they were set against a group of demagogue villains, many of whom make fairly regular appearances in DC, such as Darkseid and Granny Goodness. For some reason, all of the New Gods were unceremoniously killed off near the start of Final Crisis, but to revisit their glory days, check out the Fourth World Omnibus. It’s four volumes long, and each volume will set you back $29.99.

The Entire Sandman Epic By Neil Gaiman
I’ve read the entire Sandman series through the courtesy of my local library, but I keep thinking this would be a great series to own in full. I frequently have the urge to go back and re-read the scenes featuring Cain and Abel, or to read the series in the order that the events take place in (it skips back and forth in time freely). The series spans 10 graphic novels and carries over into a handful of spinoffs.

The Entire B.P.R.D. Series
One of my accomplishments as a fan is reading through every issue of Hellboy. The series has been around for more than 15 years now, but there’s been less than a hundred issues so far. B.P.R.D., also by Mignola, started out as a spinoff but now has overtaken Hellboy in the amount of issues it spans. I’ll read the series when I get the chance, but I don’t understand what’s going on half the time.

Alan Moore’s Promethea
As luck would have it, I got a copy of Promethea from my local library and was amazed by it. I might even go so far as to say I like this series more than Watchmen. Then, I got to the end and saw a dreadful “to be continued.” I didn’t know it consisted of five graphic novels–four of which the library doesn’t carry! O the trials of a comic book nerd. Make sure to check out this series if you haven’t yet (unless you’re a minor). It’s drawn by J.H. Williams III (penciler for Batwoman) and Alan Moore crafts a story so trippy and mindbending it sets up Williams perfectly to create some stunning visuals.

Okay, I better stop before I start bemoaning my lot in life and start “occupying” a comic book store.

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If you’d like to help me move closer to my goal of having a million dollars to use mostly for nerdy ends, please consider purchasing the two novels I’ve written, The Madness of Art: Short Stories and A Rapturous Occasion, both available on Amazon.

Click on the pic to see my book A Rapturous Occasion on Amazon

If you had a million dollars to spend frivolously, what comics would you buy?

 


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