Some of which he even read.
At Popehat, we celebrate our core beliefs. To achieve victory, one must attack. But one cannot attack without a plan. A plan cannot be formed without mastering fundamentals. And nothing is more fundamental than reading. We even think pictures occasionally enhance the experience. As such, here's a slice of my standing list of recommendations to Patrick. With bonus material covering Patrick's thoughts where applicable, or he can just comment in the thread like a big boy. Waxing poetic is not my strong suit, but here goes anyway!
Planetary – Warren Ellis. Archaeologists of the Impossible! Planetary are an organization dedicated to charting the secret history of the twentieth century, in a world with super heroes and many other sorts of insane, fantastic things. It's both a love letter to 5+ decades of pop culture as well as an interesting treatment of those things. It's entire premise was based on one of those geeky exercises "if Reed Richards is the smartest person in the universe, why is Earth-616 as bad off as our own", though you'll have to read it to discover the answer (which is satisfying). Patrick started and I believe finished it and loved it.
Morning Glories – Nick Spencer. A group of seemingly random brilliant and troubled teenagers is "invited" to attend a prestigious prep school. There are no safe spaces at Morning Glory Academy, and I mean that literally. You have no idea where this is going, and won't at the end of the first six issues. Except that it's crazy and if you liked it like I did you'll be dying to know what happens next. Though I have fallen behind (my disposable income is not unlimited, and it's not the only thing I read, I think I'm 3 or maybe 4 trades behind now), it's high up on my "things to catch up on in 2016" list. It's a different and interesting comic and the characters are never far from my thoughts.
All Star Superman – Grant Morrison. Widely hailed as one of the best Superman stories of all time. If you're the sort of person that doesn't like Superman because a lot of Superman stories come off as badly written fanfic, this is a comic for you. It's a deep and thoughtful take on a character who needs to be in deft hands but usually hasn't been.
Nextwave: Agents of Hate – Warren Ellis. As comics matured and moved out of the silver age, a few things became inevitable. People like Alan Moore, Neil Gaiman, and Warren Ellis showed us that comics might have started out as male power fantasies, they could be other things to. Lots of other people tried to copy them. Or tell "mature", "gritty", "dark", "complicated" stories. Most people failed, and failed horribly. What we got was often worse than mere power fantasy. Nextwave is the polar opposite of these things, I am happy to report. Nextwave is not, to quote, about Learning and Character Arcs and Morals and Hugs. It is about things blowing up and people getting kicked. It is about healing America by beating people up. It's Stephen Chow meets vintage action Arnie at the drive in. It features violence against broccoli, robots, sort of "other beings" and the six greatest two-page panels (lain out back to back) in the history of comics. Did I mention explosions and kicking? It is especially about THINGS BLOWING UP and PEOPLE GETTING KICKED. All of the delight you might have once felt when rising on Saturday morning to begin the ritual viewing of cartoons but later discovered was fake because it turned out all of those beloved cartoons were bad?1 It's real, and it exists in Nextwave.
Wytches – (Scott Snyder and Jock) – horror series that debuted this year. What would you trade to the things out in the woods for immunity to cancer, or prolonged life (while looking young and fit)? Their price is high. The first trade is out, and proved to be an interesting twist on a this very old formula.
Atomic Robo – Brian Clevenger (writer and co-creator) and Scott Wegener (artist and co-creator). Now available as a free web comic (Volume 1 Chapter 1). I guess I might try to describe Atomic Robo as a golden age comic done in a 21st century style. It's not gritty or dark but it's gleefully ridiculous, often thoughtful, sometimes touching. Robo and the Fightin' Scientists of Tesladyne battle evil in all it's forms throughout the decades (often with nods to the age in the process). Features one of the greatest comic book villains ever, bar none. If you had been 15 when finding Atomic Robo you would have immediately moved to set all of your table top gaming in it's universe (unless you were doing it in the Planetary universe instead, which is understandable).
Selling out: you can support us by purchasing any of the above through Amazon using our affiliate link over on the right. If for some reason one of these is not available through the store let me know and we'll add it. Or just order it on your own, that's cool too. Even better if you have a fun local place you can go through. Tell them we said hello.
- Note to our younger readers, and people who used to turn their nose up at TV but then eventually got over themselves and watched some and then discovered cartoons circa the middle aughts: This does not apply to you. Excepting Looney Toons – and if all you ever did was look forward to Looney Toons but somehow thought I was talking to you, please hand over your agonizer, because of course I wasn't talking about Looney Toons – most of us here at Popehat lived our childhoods in a period that promised much but delivered very little when it came to cartoons. Because the cartoons we had – from Superfriends to D&D, and yes even including the Hanna Barbara "classics" like Space Ghost, Herculoids, and the like – always looked like they were going to be awesome and it felt like they were awesome when you watched them some of the time (sometimes when you watched them it was obvious that your place in the universe was entirely irrelevant) but there was always this nagging doubt about the quality of what you just watched. And later still you realized the truth: they were not awesome, in fact they were very far from awesome. This was sort of our fault – we kept watching, obsessively, until being banished to play outdoors – but it's also the fault of short-signed network execs. Who probably couldn't really figure out why so many cartoons enjoyed meteoric rises only to fall even faster. Low costs to produce everything meant they could just keep turning out garbage and it didn't really matter, until it did and the cartoons started going away. When all they really needed to do was pay attention to the fact that Looney Toons and the Muppet Show were something different and we obsessed over these things. And where it was available a cartoon named Star Blazers was something of a phenomenon (to a lesser extent I would say the same of Battle of the Planets). But they didn't and we grew up during two decades of Saturday Morning swill, slowly but increasingly starting to wonder if there was something we were missing. But if you cut your cartoon teeth in the past 10-15 years you were often treated to what were at worst legitimately good all-ages efforts that have staying power (say, Power Puff Girls, Teen Titans, Samurai Jack) or truly amazing pieces of culture that we'll be talking about in a hundred years (Avatar: The last Airbender & Legend of Korra, Adventure Time, and yes the rare 90s example in Batman: The Animated Series). Cartoons that are better than a sigificant amount of the quality media that made its way into our lives as we wandered through them. I envy you for coming into this part of your life when things like this existed. We truly live in a better era now, when things like the Justice League cartoon are arguably not in the top 10 best cartoons of the past 20 years and yet is excellent. It's a great time to be alive, man. Though I do not envy you for the fact that you might live in an area where you are no longer allowed to play outdoors. ▲
Last 5 posts by Grandy
- Graphic Novels and Web Comics I Put on Patrick's Reading List - December 31st, 2015
- Kaiju Dreaming - May 16th, 2014
- Get to Know Your Authors: Arch-Nemesese Edition - October 4th, 2012
- Wednesday Night is Popehat's Semi-Annual Weekly Diablo 3 Night - May 23rd, 2012
- Friday Will Tug at your Imagination, One Square at a Time - April 15th, 2011