The Big Read: Spending the Fourth of July Weekend Catching Up On Comics

I work in the book publishing industry, and I’ve made many contacts as a comics evangelist.  Thus, between the review copies which flow into my office building everyday and the digital copies available online, I could spend 24/7/366 reading comics.

Last week, while attending the American Library Association’s annual conference, DC sent their monthly box of comics…  and I still had not read previous months’ books.

But the office closed early on Thursday, so with three-and-a-half days of holiday, I decided that this would be the opportune time to catch up on some three months worth of reading.

Now, don’t assume that I had three months of DC comics unread!  Each month, I sort the output, reading the good stuff immediately, and slowly working my way down to the less interesting titles.

My sorting scheme:

  1. Vertigo (usually all worth a read.  “Coffin Hill” is a bit uninteresting… I’ll wait for the TV series.)
  2. Digital first comics
  3. Johnny DC
  4. Event comics (both mega and minor) in the New 52
  5. Batman / Superman / Green Lantern groups
  6. The rest of the New 52
  7. Reprint specials.

wpid-mntsdcardDCIMCamera2014-07-03-15.16.57.jpg.jpgSo at 3 PM on Thursday, I retired to the company breakroom and spent three hours reading comics.  Then I went home.

I spent a total of 19 hours, 45 minutes reading 166 comics.  You might think “pshaw, I could spend all day reading comics!”… and you’d be wrong.  It takes a lot of brain power.  Yes, I was sucked into the stories, but it’s draining.  Maybe it’s the storytelling.  Maybe I’m getting old.  Maybe I shouldn’t have read in bed.  Maybe it was the heat.

By Saturday evening, I had caught up with the backlog, and had only this month’s titles to read.  As of this typing, I’ve read about 36 of the most recent issues (#32/33).

wpid-mntsdcardDCIMCamera2014-07-03-15.12.33.jpg.jpgI’ve done this sort of thing before, but nobody seems to have replicated my mad endeavor.  And that’s okay.  But let me share my review of everything I’ve read:

The best:

Sribblenauts.  This might be the best event book of the Post-52 Era.  It is in the top FIVE of all DC maxi-series.  It is fun.  It is laden with all sorts of in-jokes.  It is epic.  Most important: it appeals to young and old alike.  The best scene? A two-page spread of the Bats fighting the Supers over which is better: Ma Kent’s apple pie, or Alfred’s chocolate chip cookies?  Josh Elder has raided the dusty corners of Who’s Who to create an entertaining comic.  I can’t wait for the Absolute Edition!

Sandman Overture: Special Edition #2.  Somehow I missed the second issue when it came out.  (Or maybe it was never published and DC went straight to the special edition?)  The extras were a bit light, but the story is an interesting read.  Were there foldouts in the second issue?  This copy did not have any.  Once again, a great cliffhanger!

 Scooby-Doo Team-Up.  #3 featured Bat-Mite, but I want to see more of “Larry”!  #4 featured the Teen Titans (with a great joke about Robin’s voice!), and #5?  Wonder Woman.  Buy, read, then pass it on.  And then buy the trade.

The Royals.  World War II rages.  The twist: royal blood bequeaths super powers.  But there’s a spy in the Allied camp…  Six issues, almost finished.

The Wake.  I’d say about five more series from this team, and DC could relaunch Matrix/Helix.  The series is almost completed…buy the hardcover if it exists.

Adventures of Superman.  Prefer the classic Superman?  This digital-first title is for you!  Great stories, complete in each issue.  But it looks like DC has canceled this title.

The Year’s Best Stories:

DC once published annuals containing the best stories of the year.

Among the issues I read this weekend, I nominate the following:

Astro City #13.  Read it twice.  Linearly, then chronologically.  Then randomly.

Nightwing #29.  A good solo story, right before the series ends.

Batman: Dark Knight #27.  A silent Holiday story.

Adventures of Superman #13: The Sound of One Hand Clapping.  The Joker come to Metropolis, and Superman talks him down from atop the Daily Planet.  Joker fans might not be too pleased with this…

Fun stuff:

Batman ’66.  Dr. Quinn makes an appearance!

Smallville: Lantern.  Superman gets a ring.  Parallax shows up.  We learn about this universe’s Lanterns.

Hinterkind.  Nazi vampires invading America.  No.  Seriously.  And it works.  Just go read… it’s getting interesting!  And since it’s Vertigo, it could be cancelled at any time.

The Royals.  What if royalty had superpowers?  During World War II?  Yes, that includes Russia and Germany…

Batman Beyond Universe.  Yeah, Terry Batman’s over in Futures End.  But in the regular series, he’s stuck over in the universe of the Justice Lords.  Except Lord Superman and his court are in the Batman Beyond Universe, battling the Justice League.  If you want to expunge the bad taste from Forever Evil, read this.  It’s also not as violent as Injustice: Gods Among Us.  A satisfying chunk of comics reading each month.

Earth Two is getting interesting, as we discover there are FOUR survivors from the Earth-Two Krypton.  Who is the fourth?

If you were a fan of the toys or cartoon, then go read He-Man and the Masters of the Universe.  There’s some good universe expansion going on, and some major character development.

Random thoughts

In Batman: Eternal, has anyone questioned why the two subway trains were on the same track?

I noticed the introduction of The Guardian, Doom Patrol, and Ragdoll in recent issues, but no hype before reading.

More comics from Iam Bertram please!  His “Batgirl in Brazil” issue was quite enjoyable!

My elevator pitch for Coffin Hill:  It’s “Dark Shadows” meets “Twin Peaks” by way of “Heathers”.  DCE, pitch it to HBO now, so that Starz can pick it up in time for the 2016 season.

So Beatsters, what DC comics have you read lately?  Anything good?  Bad?  Mediocre?  Show and tell below!



  1. Green Arrow, Wonder Woman, Batwoman, American Vampire, Unwritten is my DC pull-list, while also waiting to read Batman, Aquaman, and

    I think Batwoman has gotten a lot better since JH Williams left the title. I know I’m in the minority on that judging by sales numbers, but I think Andreyko writes Kate terrifically and Haun does a much better job at creating understandable art.

    Wonder Woman isn’t ‘Diana’, but it’s a great story and the art between Chiang and Sudzka is good.

    The first arc of Batman/Superman was quite good.

    Also highly recommend Trillium.

  2. Torsten Adair says:

    Green Arrow had a good mini-event with the various clans.
    Wonder Woman is getting quite grisly.
    Batwoman… doesn’t interest me much.
    American Vampire, I got back into with the current miniseries, we’ll see how it delves into the “family tree”.


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