Writing a set of encyclopedia entries about “adventure comics” sounds like a fun gig, right? It should be, and a task I’m happy to have signed up for as part of the team working on “Comics through Time,” A planned 4 volume historical encyclopedia of my favorite storytelling medium to be published by Greenwood Press.
The thing that struck me as I sit down to start doing the background research, is how exactly do I define the genre of “adventure comics?” (*)
Other sections in the encyclopedia will cover:
- Funny Animals,
- Jungle Tales,
- Science Fiction,
What titles would you describe as “adventure comics” that don’t fit into one of the above categories? Let me know and we’ll see if your suggestions fit in with mine.
At the moment I am focusing on entries for Volume One (up to 1960) and Volume Two (1960 t0 1980) only.
Any help would be greatly appreciated.
(*) A task not helped that the book actually called “Adventure Comics” falls squarely in another genre – that of the ubiquitous superhero.
Although I have been making my compulsory regular visits to the kind folks at Austin Books, it’s been over a month since I did one of these round ups of what’s sitting on my reading stack of four color fun. So without any further delay, lets pick up a few comic books:
- Amazing Spider-Man #679 (Marvel) – Still the one Marvel book I pick up on every visit to the store. Writer Dan Slott and the team continue to produce entertaining stories of a modern-day Peter Parker while managing to respect the character’s rich legacy and spirit. If only other franchise titles could learn from this one.
- American Vampire #23 (DC/Vertigo) – Scott Snyder has managed to do the almost impossible, make a vampire story interesting and relevant again. No sparkles here – just good old plain horror with a savage twist. The current arc is set in the 1950s and has that James Dean vibe running through it. Highly recommended.
- Dark Horse Presents #8 (Dark Horse)- Unlike the majority of the American comics buying market I love anthology books (must be from being raised in British comics). I have found this incarnation of DHP a little hit and miss, but there is usually something to like in almost every issue.
- Doctor Who #14 (IDW) – My buddy Tony Lee may no-longer be writing the book, but I must admit that this first arc from new writer Joshua Fialkov which drops the Doctor and companions into the middle of the movie Casablanca, along with a bunch of aliens, is an inspired idea. Wish I’d thought of it!
- Fantastic Four #602 (Marvel) – Alien invasions,! Galactus towering over Manhattan! This is classic cosmic FF style old-school adventure with a modern scientific twist from Jonathan Hickman and Barry Kitson.
- Fatale #2 (Image) – Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips latest noir crime story with an apparent supernatural twist. These guys have reinvented noir crime comics in recent years, and this latest entry in the genre is just as compelling as all the others.
- Green Hornet Annual #2 (Dynamite) – I just like the Green Hornet (but not THAT movie version) and will pick up most stories he appears in. Some work, some don’t – but I tend to give them all a try.
- The Last Phantom #10 (Dynamite) – Again another character that I pick up no matter what. Overall I’m enjoying this take on the character by Scott Beatty – maybe not the way I’d write him, but it’s an interesting perspective on what it means to be “The Ghost Who Walks.”
- The Lone Ranger #2 (Dynamite) – This pretty much completes the trifecta of “characters I’d love to write one day” currently published by Dynamite. The first issue in this new series of the original masked man by Ande Parks kicked off in impressive style, and I’m looking forward to seeing where he takes this story arc.
- Rachel Rising #5 (Abstract) – Reading a horror story written and penciled by Terry Moore seems a little at odds as he is such a nice guy – but as with all his other work, he weaves a compelling tale that just makes you want to pick up the next issue.
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #6 (IDW) – I’m really enjoying this reboot of the Turtles franchise – these aren’t our cartoon Turtles, but a re-imagining of the seminal title that kicked off the 1980s independent comics boom. It’s good to have them back.
- The Twelve #9 (Marvel) – How long is it since issue #8 ? – November 2008! – During its initial run in 2007/8 this was one of my favorite books and I’ve been waiting for it to resume – will it stand up to the expectations of my memory after a gap of just over two years?
- Uncanny X-Force #21 (Marvel) – OK I’ll admit I’m not a big fan of Rick Remender’s stories on the whole – but as this arc focuses on the Captain Britain Corps – it becomes a must read.
- Witchblade #151 (Top Cow / Image) – Over the last seven years writer Ron Marz turned Witchblade from a T&A pin-up book of dubious quality into a well developed character driven dark fantasy tale. With this issue new writer Tim Seeley takes over and I’m interested to see how he handles picking up the baton from another writer after such a transformative run. No easy task.