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All Comics All The Time! Current comics and what we're all reading.

DasUberEdwardDasUberEdward Registered User regular
This is a lofty idea so feel free to shut it down mods but as this sub forum doesn't see much traffic and the Awesome Moments thread is Awesome but not everything is awesome I was hoping to start a thread about what we're all reading and what is happening in comics now.

We have DC Rebirth and Marvel Legacy along with a slew of amazing comics from other publishers worth reading. Let's talk as a community. Spoiler things within the current month. Everything else is fair game unless it's a big twist.

Example with real spoilers.

Holy crap I can't believe Marvel Legacy brought back
Wolverine

If you read Invincible (which you really should seriously don't click this spoiler if you haven't)
It was a great twist when Omni-Man was set up as a bad guy

Let's talk about current comics.

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Posts

  • 21stCentury21stCentury Merry Clod-mas, clods 2019-07-12 - KeystoneRegistered User regular
    I just finished reading a relatively old.... thing? I think it's a miniseries?

    Grant Morrison's Flex Mentallo: Man of Muscle Mystery.




    Look, I read the Grant Morrison run of Animal Man. I liked that, it was interesting and well written and tightly wound and it made sense to me.

    Flex Mentallo? I had nothing to grip, I can say what happened but I don't know what happened, if it makes any sense.

    I don't think I enjoyed it very much.

    Gonna go to the library borrow something else, dunno what, tho. Probably gonna try and grab "La Femme Piege" by Enki Bilal, I liked the first one, "La Foire aux Immortels". (The nikopol trilogy, as it is known in English)

  • SadgasmSadgasm Deluded doodler A cold placeRegistered User regular
    I just finished reading a relatively old.... thing? I think it's a miniseries?

    Grant Morrison's Flex Mentallo: Man of Muscle Mystery.




    Look, I read the Grant Morrison run of Animal Man. I liked that, it was interesting and well written and tightly wound and it made sense to me.

    Flex Mentallo? I had nothing to grip, I can say what happened but I don't know what happened, if it makes any sense.

    I don't think I enjoyed it very much.

    Gonna go to the library borrow something else, dunno what, tho. Probably gonna try and grab "La Femme Piege" by Enki Bilal, I liked the first one, "La Foire aux Immortels". (The nikopol trilogy, as it is known in English)

    Well, like Flex Mentallo says in the series itself, "being clever is a good thing, but sometimes you have to go outside", paraphrased. Thats always been Morrissons problems, he has all these complex ideas that he puts in without thinking if he SHOULD put them in. The series is supposed to be a metaphysical exploration of fiction and it's creators but... well, it doesnt do it very good. It has a few interesting characters and ideas but overall, it feels like Morrisson trying to be Alan Moore.

    Harry Dresden21stCentury
  • DasUberEdwardDasUberEdward Registered User regular
    So here's a question. Does anyone actually like Marvel's Venomverse? Essentially every becomes Venom and it's just. . .strange to me.



    Here's Comics Explained doing a run down on the whole bit but gosh it seems unnecessary. I do like that the Venom symbiote has been given more of a story with Flash Thompson and Mac Gargan, heck I even like the Anti-Venom story.

    What do you guys think?

    steam_sig.png
  • DelduwathDelduwath Registered User regular
    I just finished reading a relatively old.... thing? I think it's a miniseries?

    Grant Morrison's Flex Mentallo: Man of Muscle Mystery.




    Look, I read the Grant Morrison run of Animal Man. I liked that, it was interesting and well written and tightly wound and it made sense to me.

    Flex Mentallo? I had nothing to grip, I can say what happened but I don't know what happened, if it makes any sense.

    I don't think I enjoyed it very much.

    Gonna go to the library borrow something else, dunno what, tho. Probably gonna try and grab "La Femme Piege" by Enki Bilal, I liked the first one, "La Foire aux Immortels". (The nikopol trilogy, as it is known in English)

    I read Flex Mentallo a long time ago, and didn't really understand it and - as a consequence - didn't really like it. I re-read it some years later, and came away with a much more favorable impression. My approach to Grant Morrison's work is that for his more out-there writing, I don't need to understand what is happening with my rational mind, because it's often going to be weird and messy and tangled, not following the straight lines laid down by conventions and tropes; rather, I should just let it wash over me and let my emotions react to it, come away with an impression rather than an understanding. Like... I don't know, "Alice In Wonderland" is a weird, trippy book that isn't very rational, yet still reflects on society and communicates ideas. I feel like Flex Mentallo is cut from a similar cloth.

    Anyway, the one thing from Flex Mentallo that made a deep impression on me, that I'm never ever going to forget (and, frankly, that I think maybe changed my own outlook on life a little) is this panel (spoilered for being a bit large):
    75abb06ef9636a6c0e6190329ab8c52e--flex-mentallo-jpg.jpg

    Only a bitter little adolescent boy could confuse realism with pessimism. Oooof, been there.

  • FencingsaxFencingsax It is difficult to get a man to understand, when his salary depends upon his not understanding GNU Terry PratchettRegistered User regular
    edited October 2017
    So here's a question. Does anyone actually like Marvel's Venomverse? Essentially every becomes Venom and it's just. . .strange to me.



    Here's Comics Explained doing a run down on the whole bit but gosh it seems unnecessary. I do like that the Venom symbiote has been given more of a story with Flash Thompson and Mac Gargan, heck I even like the Anti-Venom story.

    What do you guys think?

    I think people apparently liked Spider Island, so this was the logical consequence.

    Edit:Also, I have tended to stay away from GV because I have not been very positive on comics lately. I will do my best to keep that out of here.

    Fencingsax on
    torchlight-sig-80.jpg
  • SadgasmSadgasm Deluded doodler A cold placeRegistered User regular
    Delduwath wrote: »
    I just finished reading a relatively old.... thing? I think it's a miniseries?

    Grant Morrison's Flex Mentallo: Man of Muscle Mystery.




    Look, I read the Grant Morrison run of Animal Man. I liked that, it was interesting and well written and tightly wound and it made sense to me.

    Flex Mentallo? I had nothing to grip, I can say what happened but I don't know what happened, if it makes any sense.

    I don't think I enjoyed it very much.

    Gonna go to the library borrow something else, dunno what, tho. Probably gonna try and grab "La Femme Piege" by Enki Bilal, I liked the first one, "La Foire aux Immortels". (The nikopol trilogy, as it is known in English)

    I read Flex Mentallo a long time ago, and didn't really understand it and - as a consequence - didn't really like it. I re-read it some years later, and came away with a much more favorable impression. My approach to Grant Morrison's work is that for his more out-there writing, I don't need to understand what is happening with my rational mind, because it's often going to be weird and messy and tangled, not following the straight lines laid down by conventions and tropes; rather, I should just let it wash over me and let my emotions react to it, come away with an impression rather than an understanding. Like... I don't know, "Alice In Wonderland" is a weird, trippy book that isn't very rational, yet still reflects on society and communicates ideas. I feel like Flex Mentallo is cut from a similar cloth.

    Anyway, the one thing from Flex Mentallo that made a deep impression on me, that I'm never ever going to forget (and, frankly, that I think maybe changed my own outlook on life a little) is this panel (spoilered for being a bit large):
    75abb06ef9636a6c0e6190329ab8c52e--flex-mentallo-jpg.jpg

    Only a bitter little adolescent boy could confuse realism with pessimism. Oooof, been there.

    I dont know, I've found that cynicism is basically the same as experience. Belive the worst about everyone, and you'll usually be right.

  • DelduwathDelduwath Registered User regular
    That was my outlook when I was - ironically - a less experienced young man. As I got older, I started noticing that basically everyone has their own problems on their plate, and are trying to deal with them the best they can. At my previous job, this was a huge issue: all the teams basically thought the other teams were at least a little dumb and incompetent, but like ten minutes of talking to everyone (without bringing in negative preconceptions) revealed that every team was overworked, understaffed, and labored under the yoke of sub-optimal decisions made in the previous years (sometimes for good reasons, sometimes for bad).

    Anyway, I don't think any of this is something one can flip a switch and just decide to believe; I think one's own experience will shape one's emotions on the subject. "Believe the worst and be pleasantly surprised when something good happens" seems like an approach that minimizes getting hurt. My own experience has been that ascribing ill intent to others has led to other flavors of getting hurt (like being upset at people when they haven't done anything intentionally wrong).

  • TexiKenTexiKen I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of AmericaRegistered User regular
    I am going to talk about Super Sons because it is great and is the best ongoing title in comics today.

    0z0jeVC.jpg

    It's Superboy and Robin teaming up and being kids. Dumb kids trying to use their powers and abilities to git gud like their fathers and doing their cape work after school or on the weekends. What the book does that a lot, a lot of other teen hero books fail at right now is showing them not being super amazing and constantly besting other established heroes. Tomasi is also such an experienced writer he knows not to make the stories this bad fanfic that use heroics by proxy to tell another story entirely and is first and foremost a superhero book, only through the eyes of the new generation. Kid heroes put in kid hero situations, and communicating with their parents who encourage their heroics (...most of the time). I mean look at this, who else is the bestest mom who makes her son a snack for his Friday Night Metropolis patrols? It's delightful and you can't help but smile at this:

    XyAO9Kn.jpg

    More importantly, Super Sons shows them being kids, and not exaggerated everything is awesome kids who teach their parents a lesson a derp, they get put in their place all the time.

    OE7uqxR.jpg

    Damian carries his usual cockiness but Jon, being just like his dad, has that built-in bullshit detector that knows when to let his partner brag and when to call him on it.

    Mz3nPMS.jpg

    And Damian in return looks to toughen Jon up, because he would never say it outright but he respects Clark much in the same way Dick looked to Clark when he was Robin. You have a perfect example of heart and brain working together as they grow and are now in the grudging respect phase of their team-ups. The first arc dealt with a Kid Amazo while setting the groundwork with each respective family to let them continue to be heroes (although much more in Jon's case since Damian's been doing this so long he's died and resurrected already), and the most recent arc not only had the Teen Titans appear with nice continuity connections but brought back an old school DC villain named Kraklow that essentially used Superboy and Robin as beacons of hope for a whole new world of kid heroes who were fighting against clay putty capes who were empty vessels (a not so subtle jab at Marvel and DC for the past few years).

    The art is phenomenal and very consistent, Jorge Jiminez jumped over from Superman to handle this book monthly and in 9 issues has drawn 7.5 of them, which is about the best you can do these days. But man is his work amazingly energetic and fun, Karl Kerschl and Olivier Coipel combined with fantastic coloring. And it's just the little things in his work, I can't see a lot of photo referencing or modeling in his art, everyone is drawn differently and with emotion that conveys the story without even reading the bubbles.

    Pb3Sjj5.jpg

    DdddsCl.jpg

    The trade of the first five or six issues should be out now, I highly recommend it for kids and adults. You can't go wrong with this series.

    OTrHqVh.jpg
    ArmorocDasUberEdward
  • Golden YakGolden Yak Burnished Bovine The PIT, level 26Registered User regular
    Currently I'm enjoying Dark Nights: Metal, and a lot more than I thought I would. It ties in with the larger DC cosmic scheme in ways similar to Multiversity and Final Crisis, which I always really like. The side-stories involving the Titans is also fun, very manga-esque - Gotham City is taken over by 5 of Batman's villains who are each given the power to shape a region of the city into their own personal supernatural 'dream realm', which is manga as hell.

    Also recently got Empowered vol. 10, which ended on a cliff-hanger, so now I'm desperately awaiting vol. 11, which is rumored to be out sooner than most volumes have been! Since it's usually a year between books, I hope that's true.

    Super Sons does look good, I should try looking into it.
    If you read Invincible (which you really should seriously don't click this spoiler if you haven't)
    It was a great twist when Omni-Man was set up as a bad guy

    Invincible is a great series, and it's actually building up to its final issue in the next few months. So now is the time to get into it, you can be caught up just in time for the finish!
    So here's a question. Does anyone actually like Marvel's Venomverse? Essentially every becomes Venom and it's just. . .strange to me.

    Venomverse was pretty much a semi-serious spin on the earlier Spiderverse storyline, where everyone was Spider-Man (not to be confused with Spider Island, where everyone was also Spider-Man).

    Not exactly parodic, but basically someone going 'hey, remember when everyone was Spider-Man was from across the multiverse? What about if everyone was Venom from across the multiverse?' I did find the villains surprisingly fun, the Poisons (womp womp) are basically little symbiote mini-cons that super-charged Venoms at the cost of killing the host.

    Overall I enjoyed it more than Spiderverse, which was super somber and ran way too long. I don't think Venomverse was ever meant to be a huge deal with far reaching ramifications the way they built Spiderverse up to be, it was just a short, fun story about crazy dimension-hopping alien shenanigans.

    pod_banner.jpg
  • DasUberEdwardDasUberEdward Registered User regular
    TexiKen wrote: »
    I am going to talk about Super Sons because it is great and is the best ongoing title in comics today.

    0z0jeVC.jpg

    It's Superboy and Robin teaming up and being kids. Dumb kids trying to use their powers and abilities to git gud like their fathers and doing their cape work after school or on the weekends. What the book does that a lot, a lot of other teen hero books fail at right now is showing them not being super amazing and constantly besting other established heroes. Tomasi is also such an experienced writer he knows not to make the stories this bad fanfic that use heroics by proxy to tell another story entirely and is first and foremost a superhero book, only through the eyes of the new generation. Kid heroes put in kid hero situations, and communicating with their parents who encourage their heroics (...most of the time). I mean look at this, who else is the bestest mom who makes her son a snack for his Friday Night Metropolis patrols? It's delightful and you can't help but smile at this:

    XyAO9Kn.jpg

    More importantly, Super Sons shows them being kids, and not exaggerated everything is awesome kids who teach their parents a lesson a derp, they get put in their place all the time.

    OE7uqxR.jpg

    Damian carries his usual cockiness but Jon, being just like his dad, has that built-in bullshit detector that knows when to let his partner brag and when to call him on it.

    Mz3nPMS.jpg

    And Damian in return looks to toughen Jon up, because he would never say it outright but he respects Clark much in the same way Dick looked to Clark when he was Robin. You have a perfect example of heart and brain working together as they grow and are now in the grudging respect phase of their team-ups. The first arc dealt with a Kid Amazo while setting the groundwork with each respective family to let them continue to be heroes (although much more in Jon's case since Damian's been doing this so long he's died and resurrected already), and the most recent arc not only had the Teen Titans appear with nice continuity connections but brought back an old school DC villain named Kraklow that essentially used Superboy and Robin as beacons of hope for a whole new world of kid heroes who were fighting against clay putty capes who were empty vessels (a not so subtle jab at Marvel and DC for the past few years).

    The art is phenomenal and very consistent, Jorge Jiminez jumped over from Superman to handle this book monthly and in 9 issues has drawn 7.5 of them, which is about the best you can do these days. But man is his work amazingly energetic and fun, Karl Kerschl and Olivier Coipel combined with fantastic coloring. And it's just the little things in his work, I can't see a lot of photo referencing or modeling in his art, everyone is drawn differently and with emotion that conveys the story without even reading the bubbles.

    Pb3Sjj5.jpg

    DdddsCl.jpg

    The trade of the first five or six issues should be out now, I highly recommend it for kids and adults. You can't go wrong with this series.

    Completely agree. Damian Wayne and Jonathan Kent work so well together. Like that needs to be a cartoon immediately.

    steam_sig.png
    Harry Dresden
  • SadgasmSadgasm Deluded doodler A cold placeRegistered User regular
    Not much of a fan of Damian Wayne myself, the whole point of Robin is to provide a tempering influence on Batman, but Damian is WORSE than he is! The Justice League only barely tolerates Batmans crap, I cant imagine a bunch of teenagers dealing with Damians dickhead behavior for more than 10 minutes before they toss him into space

  • Harry DresdenHarry Dresden Registered User regular
    Sadgasm wrote: »
    Not much of a fan of Damian Wayne myself, the whole point of Robin is to provide a tempering influence on Batman, but Damian is WORSE than he is! The Justice League only barely tolerates Batmans crap, I cant imagine a bunch of teenagers dealing with Damians dickhead behavior for more than 10 minutes before they toss him into space

    That's why he has chemistry with numerous characters, and his bullshit is so entertaining.

    DasUberEdward
  • ArmorocArmoroc Registered User regular
    Read DC House of Horrors today and it wasn't good. Really bums me out because I was hoping for some creepy stuff, but all this has is gore all around. The Hal Jordan story was probably the most enjoyable one.

  • DasUberEdwardDasUberEdward Registered User regular
    In absolutely wild news Brian Michael Bendis has left Marvel and signed exclusively with DC.



    https://io9.gizmodo.com/brian-michael-bendis-leaves-marvel-signs-exclusive-dea-1820213198

    I am both shocked and excited as at this point I mostly read DC and indies. Marvel makes great movies though I cannot wait to see what Bendis does to shape the landscape of the DC universe.

    steam_sig.png
    Harry Dresden
  • Harry DresdenHarry Dresden Registered User regular
    In absolutely wild news Brian Michael Bendis has left Marvel and signed exclusively with DC.



    https://io9.gizmodo.com/brian-michael-bendis-leaves-marvel-signs-exclusive-dea-1820213198

    I am both shocked and excited as at this point I mostly read DC and indies. Marvel makes great movies though I cannot wait to see what Bendis does to shape the landscape of the DC universe.

    I wonder if him writing all the big characters finally took its toll and he got bored. Greener pastures, and all that.

  • NeadenNeaden Registered User regular
    edited December 2017
    In the spirit of the Republican Tax Cut I started reading the first trade of the Black Monday Murders. It's a comic by Hickman about human sacrifice and the Stock Market. It's pretty good! All hail, God Mammon.

    Neaden on
    Dizzy DArmoroc
  • HUGSANDGHUS'HUGSANDGHUS' Registered User new member
    I've been fishing around for awhile looking for a competitive price on Johns' JSA and Justice Society runs and finally pulled the trigger. I'm 36 issues thru and really enjoying it (return of hawkman was a lot of fun) but man- the paper quality/stock is so bad! Does this stock haunt all early 2000 singles put out by DC? I love the concept of collecting singles but will have to seriously consider picking up trades from this "era" in the future if they all have this shitty stock.

  • McFodderMcFodder 'SploringRegistered User regular
    I got given a tablet for Christmas and suddenly my Marvel Unlimited subscription is proving a whole lot more valuable - I managed to get a reasonable chunk of comics read on my phone but now it's far more enjoyable!

    So I got back to reading Ultimate Spider-Man (had read from the start up until just before Miles hung up the suit a while back) through Cataclysm and up to Secret Wars. I liked the team-ups with Jessica Drew, Cloak and Dagger and co in those books but really was not enjoying All-New Ultimates and gave up about halfway through that.

    I've previously read bits of the stuff dealing with the Incursions but MU makes reading even the good big events a bit painful (unless I'm missing something?) so I'm thinking of just bypassing it and picking up the story afterwards - would this just be 'Spider-Man' in the post SW universe?

    Switch Friend Code: SW-3944-9431-0318
    PSN / NNID: Fodder185
  • Dizzy DDizzy D NetherlandsRegistered User regular
    Crossposting from SE++

    Started with a Top 10 for Marvel and had seperate ones for DC and Image, but that was a bad idea. So here's a mixed list of my 2017 comics (not including non-American comics) in no particular order. (Some are 2016 comics that released in trade in 2017)

    Doom Patrol (DC comics)
    Everything I liked about Morrison’s Doom Patrol minus everything I disliked about Morrison’s Doom Patrol and with better art.

    Flintstones (DC comics)
    Take a 50s comedy, turn it into a 60s cartoon by adding dinosaurs and puns, leave it overnight for 50 years, add some social satire, reheat with some genuine human warmth. Best served with a nice dark whiskey.

    Descender (Image Comics)
    Jeff Lemire and Dustin Nguyen’s story of a little robot boy who may hold the key to finally end the war between humans and robots. Beautifully illustrated by Nguyen. Started 2 years ago, but it keeps getting better and better.

    Black Monday Murders (Image Comics)
    Technically came out in 2016, but I’m reading this in trades, so 2017 it is for me. For the ones among us who have been missing Hickman’s spreadsheets, tables and graphs. (Also contains generations of hermetic mages controlling the global economy at high risks to themselves.)

    Black Panther (Marvel Comics)
    This post started out as a Top10 of Marvel comics of 2017 (with similar lists for Image and DC), but I had a lot to say about Black Panther and little about most other titles, even the ones I loved as much (Hawkeye, The Ultimates, the entry below this one) Black Panther started last year, but this year was when things really started rolling.
    My problem with Wakanda has always been the same as with Atlantis, Latveria and many other fictional countries; they usually are a bunch of stereotypes with a single gimmick and never feel like a real country. Priest tried to change this a little, but Coates is doing some real worldbuilding here. Most advanced nation in the world and isolationist don’t go together as history has shown again and again. The man who meditates at the top of a mountain for 10 year to find the meaning of life, will find that he was better served by finding another human being to exchange ideas with. So Wakanda is highly advanced and appears to be isolationist, but that advancement came at a cost to neighbouring nations and Wakanda’s traditions are not as immutable as the Wakandan conservatives pretend it is. This is the lesson T’Challa learns (with some help from his sister): study the past, learn its lessons, but don’t be beholden to it.

    Moon Knight (Marvel Comics)
    2017 saw Jeff Lemire’s run on Moon Knight wrapping up. Supported by a veritable army of top-rated artists (first and foremost Greg Smallwood), this run was the opposite of Warren Ellis’ run of standalone issues: one long story about Marc Spector and his many alter egos. The art was my main draw, but there is so much more here. A new Moon Knight series has come out since then, but I haven't read it, the style and solicit didn't speak to me.

    Sunstone (Image Comics)
    Another series wrapped up. Stjepan Sejic’s part romance, part comedy, part erotica, part drama about two women finding each other through bondage. This series just clicked with me on a level few other comics ever done. The characters all act like human beings, flawed in many ways, but their flaws make them only more endearing to me. Over 4 graphic novels Lisa and Ally have grown together and apart, will there be a happy ever after? (Well the series is told by Lisa in flashback, so that question is answered in the first 3 pages of the first GN.) No superheroes here, no villains either. No conquering aliens and killer robots. The only dragons and mages are in the MMORPG Ally plays. The real villains are fear and distrust. Can’t wait for Mercy.

    The Wildstorm (DC Comics)
    I’m a big, big fan of late 90s/early 2000s Wildstorm. Ellis, Casey, Brubaker and others turned a military obsessed superhero universe into a post-superhero universe. So Ellis revived the universe I loved while recreating it. At the center is an uneasy truce between Internation Operations (spies and BlackOps, controlling the world from the shadows) and Skywatch (space exploration and supertechnology, looking down on Earth and looking to expand into the universe). In the middle there are the ones they don’t know about. The aliens and the special beings. Familiar faces at different places, familiar names with new faces. It’s a big puzzle and I really enjoy figuring out where all the pieces fit.

    Seven to Eternity (Image Comics)
    It’s on a break now (back in Spring), but Remender and Opeña have created a fantasy universe that reminds me for some reason of Stephen King’s Dark Tower series. I want to state the premise, but the status quo seems to change every single issue so far. A weird and beautiful world and we’re dropped in the middle of it.

    Mage: The Hero Denied (Image Comics) (this feels weird, I want to say Comico even though it's been 30 years)
    I’ve been waiting for years for this, maybe even decades. Matt Wagner’s Kevin Matchstick is in many ways Wagner himself, each series a phase in Wagner’s life told as a mythical battle between good and evil. After finding himself and finding love, in the final chapter of Mage, Kevin now has to leave his family to protect them, while the evil forces he has fought before have reformed. I hope Wagner sticks the landing (the title promises nothing but DOOOOM), but I’m happy to get this series anyway.

    Steam/Origin: davydizzy
  • Dizzy DDizzy D NetherlandsRegistered User regular
    So I make no secret of the fact that I love Sunstone, Stjepan Sejic's romance/comedy/erotica/drama series he does for Top Cow (and for free online on his deviantart page) and I'm not the only one: in the afterword of Top Cow's "Swing" (one of two series this post will be about), Matt Hawkins (Top Cow president and COO) says "Sunstone has sold more copies of the collected editions than any other comic book in Top Cow history... and that includes the heydey of the early 90s." Noting the success of Top Cow and how many female fans came to the Top Cow stand with the question if they had anything else like it, Hawkins decided to publish more titles of a similar tone.

    Linda Sejic's webseries Blood Stain was the first one*. Now joined by Swing and Sugar. All four series are published as collections/OGNs instead of in singles like other American comics, avoiding the direct market mostly and aiming for bookstores and so far it seems to be working. (At least for Sunstone and Blood Stain, Swing and Sugar are too new to have any numbers published.) I really wanted to talk about both series/graphic novels (as I've just read the both of them) and the two comic threads on SE are not exactly the right place for it. This board itself has been pretty dead the last few years, but this thread fits the best (not confident enough to actually make a new thread for it and not sure it will receive any replies), so:

    From the Ashes You Shall Rise, dear GV general comics thread

    I'll start with Sugar first, even though it came out later. Because I actually like it the least of the four series and I want to end on a positive note. The only one of the four series that doesn't have the Sejics involved, even though it's unofficially named the Sejic-verse. Sugar is written by Hawkins and Jenni Cheung (husband and wife.) and has art by Yishan Li.
    It deals with student Julia Capello, a poor student who has several jobs to pay for her tuition and to support her recently unemployed mother and younger sister. Understandably, she has trouble making ends meet. Too busy with jobs and her study, Julia has had no time for any relationships recently. The other protagonist is John Markham, a middle-aged divorcee, who still has trouble getting over his wife. Halfway through the book, the two meet up and begin a relationship. John has heard from his business partner/friend Richard about sugaring, where a wealthy man will get companionship from a young woman (usually a student) in exchange for support with their tuition, rent and other needs. John wants to help Julia, but Julia is uncomfortable with the idea, feeling it too close to prostitution. She does really need to money though, so she agrees to the proposition with the understanding that all the money will be a loan, not a gift.
    Hawkins, usually a writer of sci-fi titles for Top Cow, admits how hard it is to write romance, even with the help from Jenni and it's most noticeable in this title. Both Julia and John don't really feel like characters, they are parts of the plot. Compare this to any of the main characters in the other three titles where we get to know them as people, their passions and hobbies. Both John and Julia are portrayed sympathetically (a bit too much so even, it's John's ex-wife who is portrayed as basically everything that was wrong with the relationship. So much that you would have trouble understanding what John ever saw in her. Then again, this is true of many relationships I have seen in real life. The series also sidesteps some of the more problematic aspects of the relationship between John and Julia, though they may be explored more in the next two installments.
    The art is also a big factor in why I'm liking this less than the other series, Yishan Li is not a bad artist, but her faces are not as expressive as those of the Sejics, whose mix of cartoony and realistic art somehow works at making the characters feel more like real persons.
    Also a super minor complaint, the story is divided into 5 chapters, but each chapter seems to end at a random point. It was written as a single story, so the need to divide it into chapters feels weird and if it needed to be divided you expect the endpoints to be the major moments in the story. You even have 5 major moments in the story: the moment the two meet, the moment the relationship starts, the moment Julia decides to accept the proposal, the moment the ex-wife shows up, the end. Those would easily have been the major breaks in the story to start a new chapter each time.

    So on to Swing and it's quite a difference. Still Hawkins and Cheung writing, but Linda Sejic is drawing (interesting to note Linda Sejic is the first creator credited on the cover. In American comics it's usually the writer first/artist second, while in Europe, it usually is artist first/writer second (though there are many exceptions to that rule). Cathy Chang goes to college and is finally out under her strict mothers supervision. Time to meet some boys. But the boys are mostly disappointing, until she meets teaching assistant Dan Lincoln. The two hit it off and Cathy even convinces her mother that Dan is a good catch. And then she ends up pregnant. Jump several years, Cathy and Dan are married and have two children. Both are happy with their life, their partner and their children, but the spark has gone out of the relationship. Cathy finds out about swinging and wants to spice up the relationship by trying it out.
    The writing in this just is so much better, both Cathy and Dan are established as characters with interests and passions outside of the relationship (for instance, Dan loves poetry and we see a short crossover with Blood Stain and Sunstone as he is in the same MMORPG guild as characters from those two titles). Both characters are sympathetic, but not flawless. They acknowledge that there are problems with their relationship, problems which they are both responsible for. Their first visit to the club is awkward. Sejic's more cartoony art works wonders with making the characters feel like actual human beings, but I think that Hawkins/Cheung feel more engaged with the content in this than in Sugar (the afterword has Hawkins talk about the research they did and the clubs they visited and some scenes from the comic are taken from their own experiences). I think Sunstone is still the best of the four titles, but I enjoyed Swing and will be getting the next parts.

    * = Blood Stain itself is a bit of the odd duck of the four. The other three are all focused on romance and non-conventional relationships. Blood Stain is more slice-of-life/comedy. Unless Vlad and Elliott will be getting it on in later volumes... but that's just... no... Vlad is so not ready for any type of sexual relationship.

    Note: All four series are intended for adult audiences. In case of Blood Stain it's just the slice-of-life story would hold little interest to younger readers IMHO, but there is no adult content in it: no sex, nudity or violence. Sunstone has some nudity in it (which I guess by American standards immediately turns it into an Adults Only title, though the BDSM aspects may be more of a factor in getting the Adult Only tag. I've seen some reviewers describe it as pornographic, but I guess we have very different definitions of porn.)
    Sugar is a bit more explicit than Sunstone, but has no BDSM, just naked people and R-rated sex.
    Swing is significantly more explicit than the other titles, so beware if that bothers you.

    Steam/Origin: davydizzy
    Ringo
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