Always enjoy reading your universe reviews, despite never reading any of these books myself.
Same here, Dan.
Actually, I have read some of the titles but just an issue or two here and there. Certainly nothing to the extent of what you have been doing!
What is your process when doing these? I'm guessing you take notes as you go, do you read a whole series before moving on to another or do you jump around? How do you slog through some of those titles that aren't very good?
Ninjak – This was a big miss. Busiek can be like reading homework even when he’s at his best (Avengers, Astro City).
I sort of agree but also have to quibble just a bit with this.
Yes, Avengers Forever was an encyclopedia of a mini-series. I enjoyed it thoroughly, and I know a lot about Avengers history, but sometimes it could be laborious.
Astro City on the other hand is to me a more accessible read. Sure, there is a lot of history and back story involved but it is all brand new history. It has the feel of a long standing Universe without having decades of previously published content to dictate (or contradict) continuity. Reading KBAC reminds me of how I felt when I first started reading Marvel Comics. I didn't know anything about what had happened before but they referenced past stories all of the time. The more I learned about the continuity the more I wanted to read the previous tales to see exactly what happened.
One thing I admire about Kubiek is that he uses obscure characters from the dust bin and turns them into something interesting. It's like he was a student of Mark Gruenwald.
Quantum & Woody – I was nervous that maybe after 20+ years this book wouldn’t really hold up. So glad it does. This is a near perfect read from start to finish. Even the fill-in artists nail it. These are VERY human, VERY damaged, but very skilled and funny (in their own ways) individuals that you always want to dive deeper into. And of course, the awesomeness of Vincent.
I've read several of these. Good stuff.
I loved reading the publisher’s page in the back of these. Each month pumping up Acclaim. Going so far as to “assure [us] here and now that the rug will no longer be pulled from beneath you again” in the August issues and less than six months later, it absolutely was. Or after #6 ships 7 months late, we are told Shadowman is a 12 issue series and doing great in Europe and that the linewide publishing delays were “stumbles and hiccups” that were behind them. And then those titles disappear forever. Outstanding level of b.s.
Oh yeah, I have seen a lot of that in various Indy titles from the 80's and 90's.
"We're sorry that it has been three months since the last issue but we promise that the next one will be out this month!" Then it's another five months before it comes out. If at all.
I have a couple hundred issues of GI Joe A Real American Hero trades to read. But that's just one title, not a dead universe, which is what I like to spend time with.
I have read every single issue of the Marvel series plus the Annuals, Secret Missions, Order of Battle, vs. Transformers and a good chunk of the IDW stuff. Ignore the Dark Horse crap. Certainly one of my favorite series.
Marvel 2099, and maybe even Marvel UK. There's just some dumb appeal to these contained, finite universes.
I would say that I have read probably 90% of the Marvel 2099 books. I enjoyed a lot of it, really liked the universe, but not all of the comics were quality productions, IMO.
Spider-Man 2099 and Doom 2099 were both excellent. Solid stories, slick art, engaging characters - both very good.
The rest of it to me was really hit or miss. I thought that X-Men 2099 was better than average, Punisher 2099 not that great and Ravage 2099 forgettable. Pretty sure I did not finish reading that one. Was not impressed with Hulk 2099, Fantastic Four 2099 was farcically bad, Ghost Rider 2099 seemed pretty cool but didn't have enough time to develop.
Overall I enjoyed the Universe that they built, some characters and stories were better than others but that can be said about pretty much every comic line.
If you are looking for a contained universe have you read the Shadowline Epic/Marvel Comics books? There's only 31 of them so easy to find (St. George - 8 issues; Power Line - 8 issues; Doctor Zero - 8 issues; Critical Mass - 7 issues). I read these as a teenager when they first came out and didn't really understand it. Re-read several years later and had a new appreciation for them.
Another personal favorite contained universe is Matt Wagner's Grendel. There's a lot of them to collect but most are easy to find. The original series is broken up into several segments bringing the story from the near future to the far future. There are numerous Grendel Tales which are stand alone stories that are loosely tied together, Black, White and Red which contains short stories in the Grendel-verse, crossovers with Batman and the Shadow and Devil by the Deed and Behold the Devil focusing on the original Grendel (that we know of) Hunter Rose.
There is a lot of cerebral themes and plots here. Can be complex but definitely one of my all time favorites.