The Return to the Stack

Ex Machina

Kronenberg has fueled and prodded me to return to my favorite former addiction: Comic Books. It certainly doesn’t help that my lifetime supplier of visual substance is now down the block from where I live. Good ‘ol St. Marks Comics, Brooklyn. Returning every Wednesday used to be a ritual. I would come alone, or accompanied by my mom, and spend at least a half an hour letting my eyes move up and down the white box shelves, darting from cover to cover, my stack growing quickly. I was lucky if I could get out of there without spending my entire allowance, though usually it was a matter of getting loans from my mom against future income (birthdays, Hanukkah, etc.)

Civil War

The shelves of St. Marks haven’t changed, but the books certainly have. I had been putting off the return so long. As an excuse, I claimed I had already waited to long (how could I ever catch up?). Kronenberg got me slowly. He brought over a couple issues of the new Marvel Universe story line, Civil War. I was skeptical at first, remembering the over-the-top audacity of earlier series-spanning story lines.

“Shit,” I thought.
“It’s awesome.”

Then, of course, I had to get the other issues. Its not finished, but it continues to be excellent.

The New Stack

Over Thanksgiving, Kat went home to her family in Rochester and I was left, alone (cats exempt), and with more time then work. St Marks happened to be having a sale.

“Shit,” I thought.

Kronenberg and I spent a good deal of time there, and thanks to a curious eye, a helpful employee with some good recommendations I left with a good stack of Book #1’s and some other back issues.

So after a month of reading and a another couple visits, my bedside table is overflowing and some new stars have emerged in my mind.

Brian K. Vaughn

Reading the blurb for Ex-Machina was enough to get me really intrigued. I’ve always been much more interested in real original stories and art then rehashed super hero drama. Ex-Machina is an amazing example of how you can take classic comic book idioms – A super hero, a mysterious power and origin, a mentor, a big city (In this case real modern day NYC) – and turn them on their head creating a completely intriguing and original work of graphic fiction.

A good Comic book reader, collects comics like a Jazz enthusiast. If you like a particular artist, author, inker, publisher, you follow their ‘discography’ – picking up their previous and future work, and at least giving it a chance. Brian K Vaughn’s other ongoing series, Y: The Last Man proves to me, that he has an amazing talent for dialogue and superbly original plots.

There a number of other books in my stack worth mentioning.

Supreme Power is an intriguing retelling of the Justice League origin. What if Superman had been abducted taken in by the US government instead of Ma and Pa Kent?

The Exterminators is a classic vertigo oddity. A weird concept with an equally weird plot, but tight dialogue and some interesting twists make it a really fun read.

I haven’t even made it though the whole stack, so expect a bunch more updates in the future.

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