I’ve mentioned here before how I get my comics shipped to me every month from back at my favorite comic shop Amazing Fantasy* in Chicago (Tinley Park technically). Yesterday my stash from September arrived. I read the essentials first, and had planned on sifting through the rest today, so I thought I’d go over my acquisitions for the benefit of those among you read comics.

The Essentials:

I just do not understand how Robert Kirkman continues to make The Walking Dead so absolutely amazing, month after month, year after year. I mean, I guess I do understand it, because the guy can plot, but really, every month as soon as I get TWD I stop everything and anything I am doing and take ten minutes to read it. Then afterward I usually have to take another twenty or so to flip in awe back through the pages and mutter things like, ‘holy crap’ or ‘I can’t that happened’. It was recently announced Frank Darabont is doing this as a series for cable so believe me when I tell you, if you’re not reading it now everyone else will be soon enough, so beat ‘em to it and fork out the money for the collections before they all say ‘Now A Major Cable Event’ or whatever. It’s soooo good you will NOT be disappointed.

Kick Ass – Mark Millar and John Romita, Jr. have one of the most, well, kick ass books ever going on right now and every issue has been more blood spewing, adrenaline pounding, limb splintin’ than the last! Violence alone does not make a book good, but a good book with a lot of violence can be a treat and that is Kick Ass in a nutshell. There have been moments here where I’ve actually thought maybe the story has gone a bit too far, but every time I’m all for it. The book with so many AC/DC** moments that it should have them do the theme song, Kick Ass is the hyper-reality comic that has done for violence in comics what Tarantino did for violence in cinema – make them selfaware as a fanboy’s paradise for amalgamating expectations, story and blockbuster sensibilities into one damn entertaining execution of style.

Batman and Robin – Grant Morrison is back again on a monthly basis with a major DC character writing a book that realigns my perceptions of what superheroes are. Every month. Psycho-delic and pretty as a Tim Burton flick (w/out Burton to fuck it up).

Young Liars – well, David Lapham’s Young Liars is over and although I loved the last issue it is a sad day. What was shaping up to be the biggest mind-fuck of the last couple years and the best new Vertigo book since Mike Carey’s Lucifer ended is gone and I am that much poorer every month for it. The issue was especially awesome in that the story started out in a way that I felt Lapham was pretty much telling his detractors where to put it through his character. Nice. He should be disappointed, people always say they want something different and then balk at it when originality actually comes along. And the ending, well, the ending was straight up David Lynch style, so I loved it, shedding a tear once I closed the back cover.

Ultimate Avengers – So far this book hasn’t wowed me but it’s Millar writing the adult Marvel Universe so I’m in for the long haul knowing it’s going to start kicking me in the balls any time now. And Hawkeye has been in every issue. I used to hate this character back in the 80’s when I tried reading West Coast Avengers and realized how much I dislike all those avengers stable characters. But in the Ultimate-verse or whatever it’s called I love them and most especially old Hank, especially when I realized that he is the Ultimate Bullseye. Stroke of freakin’ genius there my friends. Let the hero blood begin to flow and Jeph Loeb don’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way out sir.

Essentials that didn’t ship last month: Doktor Sleepless and Gravel: both Avatar books by Warren Ellis, both awesome. DS is essentially Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein meets The Invisibles and Gravel is hardcore black Magick military.

After I’ve read the essentials it usually takes me a day or two to sift through the remainder of the box. Not necessarily because there’s anything lacking (really everything I read is essential – when you’re not going into a comic shop once a week you tend to lose that, ‘oh I’ll try this’ factor and keep it with the necessary***) but because often with these books I have to re-read previous issues or take some time to ‘remember’ what was going on in the previous issues. The list of these this month is as follows:

The Boys – Enjoyable and peppered with Holy Shite! moments but part of me still doesn’t know how great this book actually is. Part of me thinks he might be, in my eyes anyway, holding himself up by the bootstraps of Preacher and Hellblazer. But because of those I’ll continue to give him the benefit of the doubt. But The Boys, well I find myself wondering if the ‘out Preachering-Preacher’ creed Ennis began this tale with is a blinding suicide run into outrageousness-for-the-sake-of-outrageousness that cripples the story, or will it all come out in the wash? I’m sticking with it to the end, so I’ll let you know.

Herogasm – Boys offshoot. Eh, it’s alright.

Stephen King’s Dark Tower: Fall of Gilead – These Dark Tower stories Marvel’s cleaning up with are great series for long time Dark Tower fans (which I am) but they’re also so much better when re-read all in a row once every arc is complete. I always kinda put off reading them monthly, then halfway through read them only to re-realize that I should just be waiting for them to come out in bookshelf collections. Neurosis aside though, top notch job filling in everyone’s favorite Gunslinger’s early years, let’s just hope with the Dark Tower’s increasing exposure in pop culture and other mediums it doesn’t eventually become Star Wars – i.e. increasingly a production machine that can not be shut down or even controlled by it’s creator. I’d hate to see that happen because I love the books.

And that’s that. Anyone have comic suggestions let me know, always looking for new stuff.

………………..

* I always wonder if the mail person thinks once a month we get a big shipment of porno or adult toys from 3000 miles away, being that the return address is titled Amazing Fantasy and it sometimes comes in brown paper wrapping. Discreet brown paper wrapping…

** Moments where you essentially want to pound your fist on the table, down a beer and whip the glass at the wall screaming ‘Fuck Yeah!!!’

*** Although thanks to Mike I get regular phone calls like, ‘hey, this is pretty cool, you want to give it a try?’ Thanks Mike. Oh, and naw, I’ll skip Ennis’ new Wormwood. Not feeling it. Maybe in trade.