Thursday, September 1, 2016

My Comics Project Update: August 2016

Part of my on-going comics project will involve monthly updates of what comics I bought and anything weird or interesting I stumbled across. Each post will have a running list, and I'll update with the new titles where they fall chronologically.

You might be wondering why, in the photo above, Batman: Noel, Kingdom Come, Superman: Earth One, and Superman: Red Son aren't shelved with the rest of the DC titles. That's because I'm eccentric (read: extremely weird), and I want my Elseworlds trades kept separate from the main DC continuity.

Although, one could argue that Batman: Noel isn't an Elseworld comic since there's nothing that specifically places it in or out of canon. However, since it's a holiday book and only really likely to be read around the holidays, and since it doesn't reference anything immediately identifiable as in-canon, I prefer to keep it with the rest of the Elseworlds books.

(Newbies may be wondering: what the hell are Elseworlds books? Technically they're a line of alternate universe reimaginings of DC heros--but mostly Batman--specifically published under the "Elseworlds" banner. But it's easier to refer to all the non-canon DC graphic novels as Elseworlds because...well...they are, just not published under that banner anymore.)

Ignore the non-DC titles. They're pretty self explanatory, but there's a few that I want to write about in greater depth some other time.

I came up with the order of the books from a few sources. Since Batman and Superman have the most books BY FAR, I used 3 different lists as the backbone for mine: this comment someone posted on Comic Vine of all the Batman trades in chronological order (up to Flashpoint), and two trade reading order lists from Comic Book Herald - one for Superman, and another for Batman. From there, I either read the book description and tried to judge for myself roughly where it fell, or I looked up which issues were contained in the book and figured it out based on their release date.

One of my goals of this project is readability. One should be able to start at the first book, read straight through, and make sense of things as they progress from era to era and event to event. Readability means I can't focus on perfect chronological order. Some titles were published concurrently, and I think jumping from Batman to Blue Beetle to Superman would be exhausting from the tonal shifts. Because of that, I tried to keep decent chunks of individual runs together where possible, then backtracking chronologically for a chunk of a different title.

If there was a book that introduced something important, however, I made sure to shelve that accordingly, even if it interrupted the flow of a title. That'll be a little more apparent in some places, especially around Infinite Crisis since all of the books published after that event jumped forward a year to serve as a jumping on point for new readers.

Below you'll see the list of canon DC titles that I own at this point. The ones in bold are the ones that I got this month.
  1. Crisis On Infinite Earths
  2. Justice League International, Vol. 1
  3. Justice League International: The Secret Gospel of Maxwell Lord
  4. Justice League International, Vol. 3
  5. The Death of Superman
  6. Impulse: Reckless Youth
  7. JLA Titans: Technis Imperative
  8. Birds of Prey, Vol. 1: Of Like Minds
  9. Teen Titans Vol. 1: A Kid's Game
  10. Teen Titans Vol. 2: Family Lost
  11. Teen Titans Vol. 3: Beast Boys and Girls
  12. Teen Titans Vol. 4: The Future is Now
  13. The OMAC Project (Countdown to Infinite Crisis)
  14. Infinite Crisis
  15. Batman: Face the Face
  16. Superman: Up, Up, and Away!
  17. Superman: Back in Action
  18. Superman: Last Son of Krypton
  19. Superman: Camelot Falls, Vol. 1
  20. Superman: Camelot Falls (Vol. 2)
  21. Blue Beetle Vol. 1: ShellShocked**
  22. Blue Beetle Vol. 2: Road Trip**
  23. Superman: The Third Kryptonian
  24. Superman: Redemption
  25. Superman: Escape from Bizarro World
  26. Superman: Shadows Linger
  27. Time Masters: Vanishing Point
  28. Superman: Action Comics, Vol. 1: Superman and the Men of Steel
  29. Justice League, Vol. 1: Origin (The New 52)
  30. Batman Vol. 1: The Court of Owls
  31. Batman Vol. 2: The City of Owls
  32. Batgirl Vol. 1: The Darkest Reflection (The New 52)
  33. Batgirl Vol. 2: Knightfall Descends
  34. Batwing Vol. 1: The Lost Kingdom
  35. Justice League Vol. 2: The Villain's Journey
  36. Aquaman Vol. 1: The Trench (The New 52)
  37. Aquaman Vol. 2: The Others (The New 52)
  38. Aquaman Vol. 3: Throne of Atlantis (The New 52)
  39. Batman Vol. 3: Death of the Family
  40. Batgirl Vol. 3: Death of the Family
  41. The Movement Vol. 1: Class Warfare (The New 52)
There's a few titles mentioned above, both bolded and unbolded, that I want to go more into about in the future, but for now I want to talk about the two starred books: Blue Beetle Vol. 1 & 2. Vol 2 is starred because it hasn't come in yet, but I'm sure you noticed that Vol. 1 isn't bolded. Instead, it's italicized as well as starred. There's a good reason for that...I don't own it.

Then why did I include it on the list? Because I kinda sorta own it.

I've been holding off on purchasing the Jaime Reyes Blue Beetle trades because the first volume in the series is extremely expensive. For the longest time, it hung around $40, and it only recently had a volume go up for $25. That's still pretty expensive for a used trade, especially since it's listed as "Acceptable."

I keep hoping I'll come across the trade at my LCS like I did with Impulse and JLI Vol. 1, or that some kind soul will list it on Amazon for a reasonable price. But no such luck yet. Thankfully, the whole run is available on Comixology, and they had a big Blue Beetle sale recently, so I snatched up the first six issues (which is what would've been in the trade) for less than $6, and then bought the second volume off of the Book Depository.

If I weren't afraid that the FBI would show up at my door and spirit me away to some remote desert cell somewhere, I'd use Lulu or a similar service to get the digital files bound in a book. I personally don't see how it would be different than buying print back issues of a series and getting them bound--apparently there's a small but solid community online devoted to that kind of thing. But I get the feeling the digital rights would be different than the physical.

And maybe that's the answer--maybe I should track down the first six floppies online and get them bound. Then again, I don't think that'd be any cheaper than just dropping the absurd cash for the trade. At this point, I'm content with having the digital file and purchasing trades from there. But I check back often, just in case.

I'll be posting more Awesome Comic Finds along with things not comics related in the coming weeks. Thank you for indulging me in my weird little project. If you have any tips, pointers, thoughts, or whatever, feel free to throw them down below.