Thursday, August 4, 2016

My Boredom Driven Comics Project

Can I talk about comics a little bit?

I've been considering posting some comics related stuff here. I love comics, and I can only talk about it to my wife so much before she starts giving me a funny look and reaching for our roll of duct tape. I don't really have any friends that are into comics that I can blather with. Any blathering I do to my friends is mostly tolerated in the hopes I'll tire myself out. It's very kind of them.

Anyway, lately I've undertaken a project of sorts that I'm a little ashamed of because it makes me feel and look like a lunatic. It also requires a bit of backstory.

We don't have a whole terrible ton of money, although things have been getting better. To quell my desire to buy ALL THE THINGS, I started creating Amazon wishlists and dumping all of my wants and desires in there. Random books about religion, history, gender politics, psychology, movies, tv shows, comic books. It all goes in a list to scratch that shopping itch without having to spend any actual money.

I started out trying to keep my comics grouped into runs and in order on the list. I worked at keeping all of the Gail Simone Wonder Woman trades together, all of the Scott Snyder Batman trades together, etc, etc. But Amazon isn't really built to work like that, and became a huge pain in the ass. Plus, the list started getting so long that it was a chore to even look through. Then three things happened that got me the tumblers in my mind moving.

The first thing was I decided to just create wishlists for each superhero title so I could easily see which trades I still needed for a particular character, and I could keep them arranged in chronological order without being pages and pages long and getting all jumbled. The decision came because I was reading Joss Whedon's Astonishing X-Men, and they kept referencing some massacre that happened in Genosha. At first I thought I'd missed something earlier in the book, but that wasn't it. I started Googling to figure out what they were talking about and found a thread in which people were discussing roughly when in X-Men continuity Whedon's AXM took place.

The second thing was I started trying to find the title of a Joker-centric Batman book about the Joker going straight that I found in college at our local Hastings. I'd decided not to buy it at the time, and that turned out to be a mistake because I never saw it again. At first I thought it was the Brian Azzarello comic Joker, but no. I thought I was going crazy until I finally, FINALLY found the name of the trade: Going Sane - a story in which the Joker manages to "kill" Batman, and afterward becomes a functioning and normal member of society...for a while, anyway. That led me to looking up whether that was considered a "canon" Batman story* and THAT led me to a list on Reddit of all of the Batman trades that existed at the time listed in "chronological" order--that is, not the order that the trades were released, but where the events of the comic took place during Batman's long career.

The last thing that happened was I was feeling glum after seeing Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. I hate that movie, and I hate its predecessor Man of Steel. I didn't hate MoS initially, but time has not served it well in my mind, and after buying a 5-movie pack that had all 4 Christopher Reeve Superman movies and Superman Returns, I realized just how much of a dreary, joyless slog the Snyder-verse Superman was. I was jonesing from some good Superman and started Googling recommended Superman runs. I found, among the suggestions, Kurt Busiek's Superman run and decided to start collecting it. I bought the first couple trades and noticed that it took place after the 1-year jump that occurred across all DC comics post-Infinite Crisis, which I only knew from watching Linkara's Atop the Fourth Wall.

The Batman trade list was still rattling around in my mind, along with the discussion of where Whedon's X-Men run fit in the greater X-Men continuity. Out of curiosity and boredom on one of my days off, I made a list of the DC trades I already owned and arranged them in chronological order. To that list, I added the remaining DC trades from my wishlist. Then I added in Crisis on Infinite Earths, Infinite Crisis, Final Crisis, and Flashpoint to the list in their appropriate points to help break up the list into its appropriate eras. 

Over time, as I've found new books and/or runs that have drawn my attention, I've added them to the list and what started as a little boredom project has become a working list of the DC continuity. It's not everything because...frankly I don't care about everything, but it doubles as both a buying guide for me so I can see how much of a particular run I have left AND as a fascinating sort of truncated History of DC timeline.

I haven't decided if I want to post the full list yet, or just post what I own so far and add to the list on the blog as I add to my own collection. I also think I'm going to start posting reviews of trades as I buy them.

This may not be interesting to anyone but me, but it gives me a place to vent some of this crazy without going on and on to my friends and my wife...unless they read these posts. But then, I didn't make them do that--they picked their OWN poison, then.

Anyway, so yeah, comics. Been thinking about them a lot lately, been reading them a lot lately. Gonna post about them some, but not all the time.


*If you're curious, as far as I can tell, the answer is no. It was part of a series called, I believe, Legends of the Dark Knight in the late 90's and early 00's that told non-canon Batman stories similar to what the most recent versions of Adventures of Superman and Sensational Comics with Wonder Woman did.