100 Issues Ago

I came across this “100 Issues Ago” panel in an old JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA and thought I’d tidy it up and re-purpose it. If one month = one issue, what was I reading 100 Issues Ago?

I have to admit that even in 2010, I knew very little of Mike Mignola’s work outside what he’d done for DC, principally COSMIC ODYSSEY. I was aware of Hellboy, of course, but I don’t think I’d ever read anything by this point – something I’ve been making up for over the last few months with the HELLBOY OMNIBUSES that Dark Horse have done.

THE AMAZING SCREW-ON HEAD was a gift from a friend, a hard back collection of some of Mignola’s short stories, many of which were delightfully weird – The Magician and The Snake works a treat, particularly. I might just hook this off my shelf and give it a re-read.

A Quick Review Of 2018’s Comics

Thought I’d do a quick retrospective of some of the titles I’ve been getting over the last year, breaking it down by publisher.

Aftershock Comics have been consistently good on the whole; Animosity and its sister title Animosity: Evolution by the excellent Marguerite Bennett have been really good reads throughout the year. Babyteeth – about the birth of the antichrist – is another excellent title that more people should be reading.

Jimmy’s Bastards and A Walk Through Hell, both by Garth Ennis, show how versatile he is in terms of style with the former a piss-take on James Bond while the latter is a genuinely disturbing horror story.

Monstro Mechanica seems to have disappeared which is a shame as the art was simply gorgeous, and Dark Ark is a solid read. The only one I didn’t enjoy from Aftershock was Cold War where the art really put me off.

Benitez Productions gave us another Lady Mechanika mini-series which I’ve been enjoying since the first one. Steampunk with great art.

Dark Horse Comics, for me, has been all about the Black Hammer universe. When Jeff Lemire started The Terrifics over at DC, many commentators claimed he was writing a Fantastic Four series in spirit if not in a literal sense. With Black Hammer: Age of Doom, he continues his Justice League homage; Doctor Star and The Kingdom of Lost Tomorrows gave us his Starman – hell, Dr Star’s alter-ego is Jimmy Robinson; and The Quantum Age is his Legion of Super-Heroes. None of which is any bad thing, by the way, as they’re all great stories.

DC still took up the bulk of my purchases month on month. Aquaman has been good under Dan Abnett and while we’ve only had a single issue by Kelly Sue DeConnick, the whole amnesiac hero starting from scratch seems a little cliched right now.

Doomsday Clock, the sequel to Watchmen, appears to be confounding expectations by actually being pretty good; the first issue was too on the nose in terms of political awareness/criticism but once the story actually got started, it’s been a good ride so far.

Two Green Lantern titles came to an end with a new one starting, The Green Lantern, written by Grant Morrison and, so far, it’s holding up.

Hawkman by Robert Venditti is also a good read, re-working Hawkman’s origin again but without ignoring what’s gone before. There’s a new twist, a new addition to the history but it’s working.

The Justice League titles are a bit hit and miss; the main title rattles along at a hell of a pace, barely pausing for breath which can be a bit confusing for this old man. Justice League Dark is better paced and, I think, a better looking book as well. Justice League Odyssey still seems to be finding its feet.

The Terrifics, mentioned above, is probably my favourite DC series at the moment, with it’s great art and wonderful fun adventures – I’ve said loads of times before: I don’t mind a bit of dark and dismal, but the fun stuff is what I really look for.

Talking of fun stories, Heroes in Crisis lasted just a couple of issues for me – the wholesale slaughter of beloved characters like Wally West and Arsenal, as well as the use of cannon-fodder like Blue Jay and Lagoon Boy, coupled with the nonsensical idea that Harley Quinn could take down Batman, Wonder Woman and Superman – left me cold, and I cancelled it.

Dynamite tried their hand at another Dejah Thoris series which lasted less than a year, despite the good story and nice artwork. There was a second Legenderry: Red Sonja mini-series set in the steampunk Legenderry world which, again, was good fun, and Vampirella/Dejah Thoris is still rattling along.

IDW has The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: The Tempest which, like previous League stories, is sprawling and convoluted and will probably benefit from a re-reading once all issues are in.

Image has pretty much died a death with me; Birthright is the only ongoing I’m still getting (because it both reads well and looks stunning) and I would have happily continued with Elsewhere but that was cancelled after six issues. Copperhead, too, has been put on hiatus which is a shame as I really want to know how that turns out.

Oni Press is producing the entertaining Shadow Roads – the “spiritual successor” to The Sixth Gun, but The Damned appears to have vanished as it hasn’t produced an issue since June.

There’s a handful of other titles that I haven’t mentioned as they either finished in 2018 with just one or two issues (Punisher: Platoon, or Blue Beetle), or they’ve only just started (Shazam!, or Freedom Fighters) so we’ll see what happens with the latter.