Comics Creators

The Trades Thread - Hardcovers, Graphic Novels, and More


No, I’ve never read it. I picked it up on the reputation of Miller and Gibbons (especially in the era it was made). It does seem a bit daunting in size and may be something I pick up and put down from time to time.

It doesn’t seem to be raved about like other work from these two creators. Is there a reason for that?


It’s quite different in tone to a lot of Miller’s other work - a bit more whimsical and more transparently satirical. I think it’s good though. Gibbons’ artwork is also excellent.

I guess they have both done bigger things over the years, but for a lot of other creators I think the book would probably stand out as a major work.

I also like the fact that it was produced over a fairly long period of time (it started in 1990 and ran to 2007). It’s why I don’t mind taking my time to read it. People who followed it in singles would have read it over many years. It’s not as though it’s a tight single miniseries that is designed to be read all in one go.


I read Miller’s forward last night and he mentions this. I guess the first draft was a bit more dire and political which chased Gibbons away. So Miller rewrote it to bring him back.


The way I heard it is the Martha Washington stories are a perfect summary of Miller’s trajectory as a creator, from brilliant some 20-30 years ago to what he has become.


John Romita’s Amazing Spider-Man Artist’s Edition HC

You know the drill with these Artist Edition books by now. Original art, reproduced at full size, from some all-time great artists on some classic comics.

This book - one of the earliest AEs ever produced by IDW - was the first of many Romita Sr. Spider-Man Artist Editions, and covers Amazing Spider-Man #67-#69, #71, #75, and #84.

As ever, there’s a feeling of getting really close to the art, and seeing the kinds of details (like construction lines and white-outs) that you’d never be aware of in the original comic. It really is like seeing the original pages.

One interesting thing about this volume is that while it’s Romita’s name on the cover, he largely just did the layouts for these pages, with Jim Mooney as finisher and inker. So this book is as much a tribute to Mooney as it is Romita.

Some of the inking is highly impressive. (You can click to see this image bigger to fully appreciate it.)

And in issue #71, which guest-stars Quicksilver, there’s even more opportunity for Mooney to show off, with some amazingly delicate speed effects:

While the underlying work is clearly still Romita, Mooney’s contribution is pretty important. You can see just how much the inking enhances dramatic pages like this:

Overall, it’s a great collection of art. Many of the issues collected here form part of the ‘stone tablet saga’, a very well-known storyline from the Romita era that features some of his best work. So you get famous opening splashpages like this one from issue #69:

As well as panels like this closing image from the same issue, which is possibly even more celebrated:

Again, it’s great to be able to see in fine detail exactly how images like this were pulled off - and again, it makes me appreciate Mooney as much as Romita.

In the back of the book, there are also some pretty cool cover images that are very impressive at full size.

While I have a lot of love for other Spidey illustrators, there’s no denying that Romita is in the top tier of defining artists to have worked on the character. The word ‘iconic’ is thrown around a lot, but I think it applies to artwork like this.

Another very well-produced book from IDW, and a great look into a classic era of Spider-Man history.



This was an enjoyable read. In a sense, it reminded me of classic chase movies like The Terminator, where the core of the story is very simple - one group of characters is on the run from a powerful villain who will stop at nothing to find them - and a lot of fun stuff happens along the way.

Immonen is a real asset - having already seen his great work on Star Wars I knew he would be at home with a sci-fi adventure romp, but he also impresses with his great characterisation here. He might be the best facial artist in comics. He can say so much through an expression.

The panel-to-panel storytelling is also really strong - I love the way moments like this one imply a quick movement that forces the reader to snap from one pose to another between panels. It’s one of the things that comics are so good at.

There’s more traditionally impressive stuff too, with the book making the most of its sci-fi trappings to offer up a wide variety of locations, lots of wild creature and alien designs, and of course a shitload of spaceships.

I read this digitally, and it was great to be able to zoom in on some of the art and catch all the fine detail. Not just in big ‘widescreen’ moments like the image above, but also in smaller, less obvious places. Costume detail in particular is very intricate in places, which helps to create the feel of a lived-in, fully-realised world.

But one of the great things about Immonen is that he also knows when to row back on the detail and present bold, slightly more abstract images to sell a moment. I loved this (relatively minor) panel from the middle of one of the book’s action sequences, which really shows off how well he uses lighting to create mood (with full credit to inker Wade von Grawbadger and colourist Ive Svorcina too).

Yes, you could argue that this is a story that at seven issues could easily have been told in half the time, but I think that would miss the point - a lot of the fun is in seeing the characters lurch from one problem to the next, crossing paths with all manner of people who are out to get them, and escaping from regular cliffhangers that throw them out of the frying pan and into the fire.

It’s all reminiscent - presumably intentionally - of old sci-fi serials, as well as their more modern descendants like Star Wars, and it works well to give the book a strong sense of forward momentum. This is a book that you will easily pick up and read in one sitting because you always want to see what’s going to happen next - and the fact that the ending leaves us on yet another cliffhanger tease feels perfectly fitting.

Between this and Starlight, retro sci-fi trappings have inspired two of the best Millarworld books in recent years. I look forward to their follow-ups.


Great review, Dave. It makes me want to go back and reread Empress. I read it issue to issue when it was coming out and I loved that in every issue there was at least one jaw dropping spread. Millar and Immonen are such a perfect team.


Spirits of the Dead

A collection of Poe adaptations by Richard Corben, it should surprise no one that this is an excellent volume in terms of art. It’s also wonderfully presented by DHC.

What is odd when reading it is the sense of familiarity which is testament to how well know these stories are, if only vaguely - you still get that sense of recognition. It’s by no means a weakness but it does make for an odd read.

One of the cleverest parts of the book is the roving, one-eyed narrator who crops up all over the place, taking the reader from one story to the next.


Part of me wanted to hate the new Doom Patrol book because it sounded so fanboyish but I’m happy to admit I was wrong. It’s a great little comic, not as cerebral as the Morrison/Case run it is channeling, but better drawn (Nick Derington is one of my favorite artists in comics right now) and just as fun and funny. Plus, Gerard Way writes a great Danny the Street/World/Brick/Cabana/Ambulance. :slight_smile:


Oh, is that out in trade now? I was planning to pick it up.


Yep, I bought it at my LCS on Thursday.


Just finished Jim Steranko’s Strange Tales / Nick Fury run. Wow, that was some great comics. Definitely one of the cooler comics I’ve read. I usually don’t go for comics made before the mid-70s but this had me hooked almost instantly. I really liked the long-form plotting in the Strange Tales stories, which have Nick, Dum Dum Dugan, the Contessa, and other familiar SHIELD characters facing off against HYDRA and the Yellow Claw. There is, of course, a fair amount of yellow peril racism in the Yellow Claw story arc, but at the very least it’s toned down compared to similar stories from earlier decades. Steranko’s designs, from cars, costumes, and futurist technology to how he crafts every page as a cohesive piece of artwork rather than a collection of panels, make these comics well worth checking out.

Judging by these stories, Steranko definitely deserves his legendary status. Although he must have the slimmest catalog among his peers!



I might need to give this another try in trade

Wasn’t working for me in singles, but I was forgetting a lot from month to month


**the black Monday murders vol 1 **
Was an impressive volume of work.
It was the usual Hickman cryptic style of storytelling, which I sometimes can’t be arsed with, but I did very much enjoy this.

Tomm Coker has come on leaps and bounds since Undying Love. His storytelling is fantastic now; almost perfect, as are his layouts and general design.
Although he clearly uses photo reference, it’s done in a looser sense than say, Alex Maleev, and with the book having very little action and mostly talking heads, he does a great job on keeping the facial expressions interesting and making two people round a table talking very tense at times.

I loved the used of all the snippets of reports, articles and bits and bobs interspersed throughout which I assume is all Hickman.

A substantial volume that took me quite a while o get though. I’d liken it to Alan Moore in that sense and with the effort put into it.


Black Monday Murders is ace :+1:t3:


It’s a big, smart book and the next volume is due September.


Sadly I did’t feel the same. As you say, the art is spectacular throughout so it’s a shame the writing is so poor. A story that could have been told in half the time, big dumb action that makes no sense, zero character development, no cleverness, a bad guy straight from the early Image years with questionable to no motivation and an out-of-the-blue deus ex machina where the lead character suddenly becomes the baddest fighter in the universe had me laughing at it’s stupidity. It’s the epitome of a throw away book that is irrelevant after finishing. Like I said, great art though.

In short, everyone else will love it!


You thought the ending came out of the blue? I thought the likelihood of a surprise reveal was telegraphed quite well with the regular references to and emphasis on her being forbidden from talking about her past. That was always going to be the fatal flaw that was the villain’s undoing.


I though that was just the villain being the villain. I also didn’t realise there was a baby with the group until the 5th issue. Maybe I just wasn’t paying enough attention!


Been getting the train to work a bit more again, which means trades are getting read, which is the massive plus point of a commute.

Nothing beats reading comics and drinking coffee when you’ve got nothing else to do but read comics and drink your coffee.
On the way to work I always feel disheartened when the train pulls into the station and reality recommences.

2 Image series I’m reading ended - both rather more abruptly than I expected.

**Symmetry Vol 2 **

This picks up 20 years after the end of volume 1.
Symmetry was an interesting read that raises a lot of questions about AI, diversity, where we are heading in the future and where we would actually like to head in the future.
This, like most of Hawkins stuff was really good. But it didn’t quite stick the landing for me. I don’t think it was allowed the proper room to beath, I feel on the whole the events felt like they escalated too quickly and I don’t think he represented the passage of time very well.
Doesn’t stop it from being an enjoyable and interesting book though - I just expected it to go on longer and I feel that 8 issues left it feeling badly paced. He mentions at the end that he may do a 3rd volume but needs to wait on the sales figures coming in for the first two trades.
I do recommend reading this for those of whom like their Sci Fi.

Nailbiter volume 6

So again, I started reading this thinking 'god, this seems as if the situation has escalated pretty quickly how are they going to handle this and keep the book going, to the point where I had to stop and check the back cover because it seemed like it had to be the final volume.
It is.
Nailbiter is my favourite Williamson book, I think he’s done a few inventive things with the book and it has not outstayed it’s welcome. 30 issues is about right and he wrapped this up pretty well, and did so with respect to the slasher genre.
I’ll hang onto this as it does mertit a full reread and I did find it a lot of fun so I think it’s one that will stay on my horror shelves for good.

I also read Sex Criminals volume 1 last night and this morning when I woke up.
I’ve read volume 1 before, but volume 2 and 3 have been sitting there for a while because I usually read trades on the train and this isn’t really one for sitting in public with obviously.

I’ve changed my mind quite drastically since I read it 2 - 3 years ago.
First time round I couldn’t praise it enough, but I don’t know why but it really annoyed me this time. I feel like there’s a saturation of writers like Fraction in the industry right now and his voice has gone from being quite unique to being overfamiliar.
It’s all very “look at me, I’m pushing boundaries, I’m writing about sex and I’m so hip” and to be honest I find Deconnick the same now. What was once fresh has become a bit of a cliche. I’ve lost patience with this style of writing, I feel I can see the writer’s ego and thought process on the page and it really takes me out of the story.
Image are doing some great books but they’ve got too many of these types of book now and while they are popular at the moment I think it’s an audience who will fall away once they lose interest and find a new fad. I think Image need to prepare for that and get back to telling good stories again without the gimmick and creators who love the spotlight.

I have volumes 2 and 3 to go, I’ll see if I feel any differently after I read those but I can see this being the end of Sex Criminals for me and the books getting ebayed before the week is over.