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American Vampire, Vol. 2 (Review)

This October, to get us in the mood for Halloween, we’re taking a look at some awesome monster comics. Check back in every Monday this month for a review of Scott Snyder’s American Vampire Saga.

What happens to those childhood monsters when there are no more shadows to hide in? Do they leave? Do they move on? Or do they simply learn to live in the light?

– Cashel McCogan pretty much sums up American Vampire

The more I read, the more I like Scott Snyder’s American Vampire. The author has proven himself quite adept when it comes to writing comic books, handling his short stint on Detective Comics with great skill and proving a worthy scribe for Swamp Thing. Outside the mainstream superhero books, Snyder has defined himself as one of the leading writers of comic book horror. He did an outstanding job on Severed, but his on-going American Vampire might be the finest work I have read from the writer.

No bones about it, this something special…

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DC Comics Classics Library: Roots of the Swamp Thing (Review)

Sometimes a creator leaves such a massive impression on a character that it’s almost hard to believe that the character ever existed before the writer in question began their run. Alan Moore’s Swamp Thing is one such run, a modern day comic book classic which still reads as one of the best continuous runs by an author on any serial publication, ever. However, despite the fact that Alan Moore effectively defined the monster, Swamp Thing actually enjoyed a long publication history even before Moore began writing the title.

Roots of the Swamp Thing only collects the first thirteen issues of the first Swamp Thing title, but it’s enough to get a flavour for the title under Len Wein and artist Bernie Wrightson. While it still remains in the shadow of an author who took over later, it’s not a bad monster book in its own right. It still struggles a bit to find its own identity, but there’s some interesting ideas – and it’s easy enough to find some of the ideas Moore would develop to great success gestating between the lines.

It’s alive!

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Alan Moore’s Run on Swamp Thing – Saga of the Swamp Thing (Books #5-6) (Review/Retrospective)

This January, I’m going to take a look at some of DC’s biggest “events.” You can probably guess which event I’m leading into, but I don’t want to spoil it…

Alan Moore’s Swamp Thing is a run to treasure. I mean, I’m looking forward to getting my hands on Scott Snyder’s new run on the character, especially since DC have decided to release it in hardcover, but Moore’s Swamp Thing remains one of Moore’s longer runs in mainstream comic books, demonstrating that it is possible for an extended in-continuity run on a (relatively) mainstream character to still transcend the expectations of the superhero genre. The eighties were full of fascinating creative ideas in comics, both in miniseries, independent and mainstream books, but I’d still argue that Moore’s Swamp Thing is remarkable due to its work redefining the superhero genre and its impressive length.

Into the sunset...

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Alan Moore’s Run on Swamp Thing – Saga of the Swamp Thing (Books #3-4) (Review/Retrospective)

This January, I’m going to take a look at some of DC’s biggest “events.” You can probably guess which event I’m leading into, but I don’t want to spoil it…

I have never read Swamp Thing before. This trip through these lovely (but sadly not oversized or filled with extras) hardcover editions of Alan Moore’s iconic run on the title has been my first encounter with the character. This is Moore’s longest tenure on a mainstream comic book, and the one which introduced him to the mainstream. What’s astounding here is not only how Moore manages to offer something which still stands up as something unique and challenging, but also offers a fairly exciting and well-written book on his own terms.

I have a burning desire to read more...

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Y: The Last Man – The Deluxe Edition, Book V (Review)

In an effort to prove that comic books aren’t just about men in spandex hitting each other really hard, this month I’m reviewing all of Brian K. Vaughan’s superb Y: The Last Man. In April, I took a look at all the writer’s Ex Machina.

You know, I think I’m not entirely sure what to make of the conclusion to Brian K. Vaughan’s superb Y: The Last Man, which wraps up here after sixty issues. It’s strange, as if the saga wraps up almost more than I expected, while still remaining the wonderfully intimate adventure that roped me in from the start.

Colour me sad that it's coming to an end...

Note: As we’re reaching the end, expect spoilers. Lots of them. And big ones too. If you want a recommendation… well, go read one of the earlier reviews, or just pick up the first collection and give it a shot.

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Y: The Last Man – The Deluxe Edition, Book II (Review)

In an effort to prove that comic books aren’t just about men in spandex hitting each other really hard, this month I’m reviewing all of Brian K. Vaughan’s superb Y: The Last Man. In April, I took a look at all the writer’s Ex Machina.

They can say ‘fuck’ in comic books?

I guess.

Jeez, they never said stuff like that in Superman.

– 355 and Yorick get “meta”, One Small Step

If there’s one thing I hate, it’s crappy works of fiction that try to sound important by stealing names from the bard.

– Cayce, Comedy & Tragedy

You know, even if the central premise wasn’t brilliantly intriguing, and the execution wasn’t top notch, I think I’d still read this, simply because Vaughan’s Y: The Last Manis just so damn charming. Thankfully, the comic is everything I mentioned above – and winningly self-deprecating to boot. Awesome.

A thousand monkeys with a thousand typewriters...

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Stories That Mattered: Essential Stories From DC Comics’ 75 Years

We’re a bit late to the party, but this week we’ll be celebrating the 75th anniversary of DC Comics, with a look at the medium, the company and the characters in a selection of bonus features running Monday through Friday. This is one of those articles. Be sure to join us for the rest.

It’s been 75 years since DC burst on the scene. I don’t imagine too many of the suits behind the scenes expected it to last quite this long. The wonderful folks over at io9 came up with a 75-book list of essentials and it’s a pretty good list, but it’s heavily toned towards “important” narratives rather than “good” narratives. It’s a fair distinction. Comic books are a young medium, and – being frank – most of the early writing sucks. The Golden Age Batman and Superman narratives were semi-decent stories (in many ways better than those that followed), but the truly awful dialogue makes them nigh impossible to read. I thought I’d just put together a list of some of the highly recommended DC stories I’ve picked up over the years.

Definitely important... not so sure it's essential...

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Alan Moore’s Run on Swamp Thing – Saga of the Swamp Thing (Books #1-2)

Before Alan Moore was the superstar writer of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, V For Vendetta, Watchmen or even From Hell, he was a writer at DC Comics. While he wrote some truly fantastic Superman stories (collected in the well recommended deluxe edition of Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?), he was most famously associated with a run on Swamp Thing. When he took over writing duties on the title, Swamp Thing was a series on the verge of cancellation. Which meant that he had a huge amount of freedom to work on the title, with the capacity to do just about anything he wanted.

It isn't swamped with continuity...

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