Monday, December 22, 2008

Favorite Things: Day Twenty Two [UPDATED]

Oh man, 22 days in ad I've completely blown through my cushion so this is starting to become a bit of a grind. But fuck it, I've got this far and I'm going to do my best not to get completely lazy these last four days till the finish.

Anyway, today's favorite thing isn't a thing at all, it's a person, or rather a writer, of comics books. Ed Brubaker is probably the best guy writing superhero comics right now. let's go down the current murderer's row of titles he's been writing:

Captain America
: Forty come issues in to his run on this series (with artists Mike Perkins and Steve Epting) he's managed to not only make Cap matter for the first time in over a decade. He managed to kill his title character and have it feel real. And making a main character's death feel real in superhero comics is quite a feat.

The Immortal Iron Fist
: Co-writing with Matt Fraction, Brubaker took a character that hadn't had much done with him since he was created during the kung-fu mad late-seventies and turned this book into one of the coolest, funniest most action-packed books on the shelves. While he and Fraction have since moved on, they set the stage for this book to be on of the true gems that Marvel is publishing.

Daredevil: I'll be honest, I'm a little behind on this book, but his first year on the book, spent straightening out the clusterfuck left behind after Brian Michael Bendis moved on was probably my favorite run on the book since Frank Miller's original run. One of these days, I'm going to have to do a post on those twelve issues alone.

X-Men: Yeah, I haven't been reading this. Except for Whedon's Astonishing X-Men, I don't think I've actually enjoyed a new X-Men book in 20 years, so I'm too afraid of being disappointed by his take as well. Maybe when the first trade of his (and Matt Fraction's) run is released, I'll give it a try. Unfortunately, they have Greg Land doing the art, or, when it comes to him "art". His "traced-from-porn" penciling style just leaves me bored.

Criminal: Not a superhero book, but easily the my favorite comic right now. Brubaker and artist Sean Phillips's excellent little crime book telling inter-connected tales of the various low-lifes that populate a nameless, ugly American city is so good, that I find it hard not to just sit in the car ad read it in the parking lot after picking it up from the shop. But it's not just their stories that make this book so good. The back of the book features articles or reviews by some of the best crime writers (and fans) around, often with illustrations by Phillips. Usually, right after I read this book, my ext move is to update my Netflix queue with whatever movies they're talking about. Easily the best value-for-money book around.

And that's just what he's currently writing. Brubaker also wrote one of my top-three books ever, Gotham Central (which I've go on and on about too many times before) and his first work with Sean Phillips, Sleeper is another excellent book (which could possibly become a movie too).

***Update*** Also, looks like teh trailer for Bruaker's new web series is up, go ahead and check it out:


Bill said...

Yep...I just finished Vol. 3 of The Death Of Captain America storyline and I'm pretty awed overall at what he did with that character, a character that I must admit to never really putting a whole lot of stock into in the first place. This title alone is almost enough to make me consider buying comics again on a regular basis.

Favorite Songs of 2008 should be up a little later on today @

x-man75 said...

Ah yes, Ed Brubaker. The comic book writing God. Any fan of comic books should read his entire run on Captain America, from the first issue to the most recent. Not only did he bring Bucky back to life, which I originally thought I would hate, he managed to convincingly move Bucky into the role of Captain America. Brubaker does a better job developing characters then just about anybody in comic books today.

Brubaker's work on Uncanny X-Men wasn't that bad, actually he made the best out of a bad situation. His best X-related work, in my opinion was "X-Men:Deadly Genesis". If you enjoyed X:DG, you would probably have enjoyed his 12(!)part storyline "The Rise and Fall of the Shiar Empire". If you want a taste of Brubaker's X-work though, I'd definitely start off with "Deadly Genesis".

I can't wait to see how you finish up your Favorite Things series Jason. Personally, I don't know how you managed to post as many favorite things as you have. I think I would have run out of material after Day 7!

Jason said...

X-Man75: I actually did pick up Deadly Genesis, and while it was not bad, any time you play the ole'"Hey, you know that old, famous story that's been the basis for everything we've done for the last 20 years? Well, it's all a lie!"-card the resulting story had better be as good as, if not better than what it is usurping, and well, it just wasn't.

That said, I did just reserve the Rise and Fall of the Shi'ar Empire book at the library, beacuse the X-Men's space adventures always appealed to me, and, to my secret shame, Havok and Polaris have always been two of my favorite X-Men.

CalvinPitt said...

I think Iron Fist was my first introduction to Brubaker's work (unless there's something else in my collection he did I'm not aware of), and that was some pretty good work.

My only problem, rereading the Tournament of Heavens arc, I think it got away from him and Fraction. They kept layering intrigues, and adding new players (Yu-Ti is corrupt, Lei Kung's secret army, the secret of John Aman) that they kind of lost the thread. It was still a pretty fun read, just not as tight as it could have been, I think, though I don't know if that's on one of them or both, or external forces, or what.

x-man75 said...

I look at Deadly Genesis more as the resolution of the Summers brother plotline, more than anything else. I actually thought the introduction of Vulcan as the third Summers brother was a great move.

One of the things that irked me the most about the X-Universe over the last 15 years or so was the mystery over the third Summers brother. First it was supposed to be Adam-X(anyone remember him?), then it was dropped altogether. I was just glad Brubaker finally tied up that damn hanging plotline!

Plus, Brubaker really made me like Vulcan. I remember feeling badly for him, as Xavier really screwed him over. Of course, I haven't read Deadly Genesis since it first came out(2-3 years ago), so who knows what I would think about it now.

Oh, and I've always thought Havok was WAY underutilized. As far as I'm concerned, he's a way deeper/better character than his older brother, Cyclops. Since you said you like X-Men space adventures, as well as Havok and Polaris, I think you'll really enjoy the "Rise-Fall" storyline.