We Love the City

The monologue is my preferred method of discourse.

50 Reasons Why Mainstream Superhero Comics* Just Aren’t Good Enough**

  1. No one will ever retcon the endings to Seaguy or WE3 or Vimanarama.
  2. Hellboy is the sort of comic Jack Kirby would have gotten around to eventually.
  3. Madman is friends with Mott, from the planet Hoople.
  4. Renée Montoya is a pretty interesting character, but she’s still just a watered-down and wimpy version of Tara Chace.
  5. Alan Moore doesn’t write mainstream superhero comics any more.
  6. Warren Ellis really shouldn’t write mainstream superhero comics. Except for Nextwave, anyway.
  7. The two major elements in Phonogram are magic and Britpop.
  8. Demo is the best X-Men story of the last decade.
  9. Blankets may not be the best thing ever, but there’s still less whining and angst than in many modern superhero comics.
  10. You probably never thought Louis Riel was interesting until Chester Brown came along.
  11. Seth had an exhibit at the Art Gallery of Ontario. Jim Lee did not.
  12. Scott Pilgrim gives you all the best aspects of romantic comedy, action-adventure, and 1980s video games.
  13. Scott Pilgrim also gave the world Kim Pine, for which it shall always be blessed.
  14. Just when you thought Cameron Stewart was an pretty darn good superhero artist, he does The Other Side and shows he’s a totally awesome everything artist.
  15. J.H. Williams’ covers to Promethea. Also everything he did inside Promethea.
  16. Maus is just as good as its reputation. Probably better.
  17. Bone. Big, funny, sweet, and scary. Fighting evil is easy when you’re an invincible alien, but less so when you’re a short, white, pudgy fellow.
  18. Rex Libris is an intergalactic librarian who talks like a forties gumshoe. He fights alien snowmen and his sidekick is a small bird with dreams of world domination.
  19. Looshkin is the evolutionary pinnacle of the crazy, fucked up cat cartoonists have been developing since humanity learned to draw and figured out that cats were crazy, fucked up animals. Let’s see Heathcliff drive a tank or befriend a giant squid.
  20. Street Angel fights ninjas, conquistadors, satanists, and poverty.
  21. Desolation Jones: Hitler porn and Phillip K. Dick. Plus the best artwork J.H. Williams has ever done.
  22. While Optic Nerve comes out less frequently than Ultimates or All-Star Batman & Robin, no one ever pretends it’s supposed to come out more frequently. And it’s always worth the wait.
  23. Barry Ween and Pedro and Me will allow you to understand why Judd Winnick still gets work.
  24. Crossing Midnight has one character who’s the Lord of Blades, and another who rules over needles. Also a dragon-headed samurai dude who likes chopping off heads.
  25. All Star Superman is pretty great, but it’s WE3 that shows off why Frank Quitely is one of the best artists ever to pick up a pencil.
  26. Johnny The Homicidal Maniac finds inventive uses for sporks and is a big fan of Terry Gilliam.
  27. Filler Bunny is totally, utterly, amazingly disgusting. It is so wrong and so right.
  28. Corey Lewis fixed everything that was wrong in Sharknife and kicked it up a couple notches for the super-fun Peng!, in which we learn about Canadians’ rock-throwing habits.
  29. Top Ten combines the best attributes of superhero comics and Hill Street Blues.
  30. Autobiographical indie comics look pretty crappy until you get to I Never Liked You. Then you understand what the fuss is all about.
  31. Brian K. Vaughan saves all his best cliffhangers for Y The Last Man.
  32. Niko Henrichon turned a story about lions and political allegory into one of the most gorgeous and moving books of the year.
  33. Project: Superior: Superheroes, if they were fun and occasionally a bit silly. Where else do you get James Jean, John Cassaday, Bryan O’Malley, Tara McPherson, Scott Morse, and many, many others all in one book, all doing their own thing?
  34. Chris Ware does more with sequential storytelling in one volume of ACME Novelty Library than most artists do in an entire career.
  35. Ramona Flowers just really likes her hammer.
  36. Serenity Rose can float, capture vampires in giant balloon ponies, and has great goggles.
  37. Peter Milligan’s Skreemer is the best post-apocalyptic gangster epic ever committed to the page.
  38. Teamups are actually cool: Madman has met Hellboy, Superman, and the Big Guy, and it’s fresh and exciting because it doesn’t happen every other month. Scott Pilgrim appeared in Peng! and it was still cool even while being totally gratuitous.
  39. Grant Morrison.
  40. I have no idea what the actual plot of Shaolin Cowboy is, but dear god that’s a pretty comic: Kung fu, gunfire, evil spirits, mean crabs, disembodied heads, and a giant freaking shark.
  41. The best comic book movies (Ghost World and History of Violence) have had nothing to do with superheroes.
  42. Mike Carey started with the mythology Neil Gaiman created (and appropriated) for Sandman and made it even bigger in Lucifer.
  43. Gaudium and Spera, the bickering fallen cherub siblings, are the best comic relief in comics.
  44. One of the greatest stories Neil Gaiman ever wrote was about cats.
  45. Many people have complained about there not being enough women or minorities in comics, but few people seem to have read the Martha Washington books.
  46. Local can make you cry.
  47. Love Fights is a screwball romantic comedy set against a world of superheroes. It also features a talking cat.
  48. Usagi Yojimbo is a rabbit with a sword.
  49. Next Men was the last time John Byrne was interesting.
  50. Absolutely anything can happen when your characters don’t have to appear on lunch boxes.

* By “mainstream superhero comics” I refer to Marvel & DC’s traditional fare. Vertigo, Wildstorm, Max, and Icon are fair game, though I’ve tried not to rely on them too heavily.

** Of course, many superhero comics are more than “good enough”; several are downright awesome. They’re just not good enough to consume an entire medium.