01.Feb.2010 What ongoing comic series should I begin collecting as graphic novels?

A while back, I asked for suggestions on how to keep up with comics in a price effective way. In the few comments and conversations I had about the subject, the answer came back resoundingly that reading comics once they are collected is cheaper (Math I could do on my own, but glad to get some feedback as well) and just as satisfying, especially as it allows you to avoid a majority of the crap that hits stands.

In the hopes of focusing my comic reading even more, I have compiled a few lists of books I either plan to collect, am curious as to whether they are worth collecting and/or used to collect and wonder if they are still worth my time and money. So, if you could please peruse my proposed comic consumption lists and let me know what you think, I’d be a very happy camper… er… comic reader. Thanks!

Oh, a quick note: As I get comped copies of all our pamphlet/weekly comics at Dark Horse, I am leaving those books off this list. By reading weekly and perusing in house materials, I’ll have an incredibly good idea of exactly what DH books I plan to collect as they come out, though if you just want to talk about great Dark Horse comics in the comments section, feel free! Also, and quite simply, I plan to read all DH books weekly and suggest you do the same. That said, I am currently binging on rereads of “Buffy” and delving deeply into our Gold Key Archives like “Doctor Solar, Man of the Atom,” “Turok” and “Magnus, Robot Fighter!”

Books I Plan to Collect

Invincible Iron Man

  • Amazing Spider-Man: I know fans haven’t been keen on “Brand New Day” due to the fact it spun out of the retcon-heavy “One More Day,” but I think this title has really been fantastic over the past few years and I fully plan to keep up on it.
  • Batman and Robin: I enjoyed the first few issues I read and have always felt Grant Morrison was best read in trade, so this one is an easy decision.
  • Captain America: I think the premise behind “Reborn” being a direct rip from “Slaughterhouse Five” is pretty weak, but this title has been awesome for too long not keep up on. Plus, Cap is my favorite superhero ever… so, I gotta keep up on it.
  • DMZ: One of my favorite Vertigo books, I think some of the recent game-changers I saw previously are going to lead to some mind-blowing stuff when I catch up.
  • Ex Machina: Possibly the best comic ever… so yeah, I’ll get the last trade.
  • Fantastic Four: Hickman’s initial miniseries and few issues were great and I have heard nothing but good things.
  • Ghost Rider: I loved Jason Aaron’s Ghost Rider, and loving Ghost Rider was never anything I thought possible as a comic fan of my tastes. He proved me wrong. So, I’ll pick up “Heaven on Fire,” which I haven’t read.
  • Incredible Herc: Likely my favorite Marvel title, so, this one’s a no-brainer.
  • Incredible Hulk: Now that Pak’s back, Hulk is a must-read for me again.
  • Invincible: Though I think it’s dropped off a bit—for me personally at least—I haven’t gotten to read some of the new issues with one of my favorite characters of all time, Allen the Alien, so I’ll assuredly be catching up on this puppy.
  • Invincible Iron Man: Fraction’s work on this title has been lauded a bunch over the past year. I was saying it was that great from issue #1, so I plan to catch up.
  • Locke & Key: Brilliant title. I plan to catch up. I think that says it all.
  • Scalped: ‘Nuff said before I’ve even said a word… AMIRITE?!
  • Tiny Titans: Too darn fun not to collect.
  • Uncanny X-Men: This book really hit its stride a bit before I dropped weekly books, and aside from getting a bit too muddled in Dark Reign for my liking, I am excited to pick it back up.

Books I used to Read That I’m Currently on the Fence about Continuing to Collect

Action Comics

  • Action Comics, Superman and Supergirl: While Superman’s departure from Earth over the past year has led plenty of critics to rag on these Metropolis-centirc titles, the intertwining story between these books led to the first stretch of time I ever enjoyed anything even remotely Superman-related. Frankly, Supes as a grunt in Zod’s army and people like Steel, Mon El and Supergirl stepping it up to replace the Man of Steel was way more interesting than Big Blue punching asteroids or whatever other shit happens in Superman comics. If the quality has kept up, I’d be keen to jump back into this title.
  • Adventure Comics: I absolutely do not care about Superboy, but I did love the Legion of Super Heroes back up stories. If those were collected in trade without the Superboy stuff, I would happily buy that. But Superboy? No thanks.
  • Air: I championed this title the entire time I was at “Wizard,” but the last few issues I read were downright boring. Is this book currently a good read? Did it get back to the “LOST”-like mystery or is it still mired in experimental character stories?
  • Batgirl: I love Lee Garbett, so I want to love this title. The first few issues weren’t doing it for me. Did the arc finish better than it began?
  • Batman: I am all about supporting Dick Grayson as Batman, but after the first issue of Judd Winick’s run this title went downhill quick for me.
  • Detective Comics: I thought the art was great, but the plot of the first storyline bored me.
  • Green Lantern and Green Lantern Corps: I always preferred Tomasi’s “Corps” to Johns “GL” and I need to get caught up on this whole “Blackest Night” deal at some point, but I’m thinking I wait for a public library to stock this mega-event, or maybe get the “Corps” trades alongside the “BN” collection and skip the rest.
  • Hellblazer: Love the character, but the current run was a bit blah, as I recall (minus the rad art of Giuseppe Camuncoli). I should probably just invest in some classic Hellblazer trades.
  • House of Mystery: Another Vertigo title I was madly in love with. I haven’t heard a word about this book in ages. Is it even still coming out?
  • Nova and/or Guardians of the Galaxy: I love cosmic Marvel comics and, once upon a time, was really into both of these books. When I stopped reading weekly, neither was particularly great, but they looked to be turning around. With a return to form, these would instantly be back on my list.
  • Outsiders: Man, I really enjoyed the first few issues to the end of the first arc of Tomasi’s work here. I haven’t heard any buzz about it since. Any word?
  • Red Robin: I love Tim Drake and the premise of this title, but really disliked the first few issues. Will I dislike the rest?
  • Secret Warriors: I loved the premise and thought Hickman had just hit his stride when I dropped this at issue #4 or #5. Was I right?
  • Son of Hulk: I loved Skaar and dig all the Sakaar stuff Pak set up in “Planet Hulk,” but once Jenkins took over this book and introduced yet another son of Hulk… well, it got a bit convoluted. Is this title worth it? “Planet Hulk” fans, is there any of the old magic in this book?
  • Thor: While I enjoyed J. Michael Straczynski’s run, his departure due to “Siege” leading to that event a Fraction taking the reigns have me unsure as to weather I should catch up from where I left off, or just pick it up when Fraction begins. Suggestions?
  • Wolverine Weapon X: It’s Jason Aaron and Wolverine (So… GREAT!), but can’t I just get my Canucklehead fix in “Uncanny?”
  • X-Factor: Another book I truly loved for a long while that I just felt has been slowly degrading since about issue #30. Worth getting back into?
  • Wonder Woman and Secret Six: I think Gail Simone is a great writer and I have cared more about all the characters these books contain more than I ever thought possible thanks to her work on these titles. Still, I’m not sure I care enough to keep up with them.

I would love some help making some final decisions on these lists, so please take some time and give me some feedback below. Thanks!

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There are 9 Comments to "What ongoing comic series should I begin collecting as graphic novels?"

  • Steve Sunu says:

    I’ve got Batgirl on my pull currently – I’m liking the way that it’s currently going, Bryan Q. Miller is tying it into the status quo set by Grant Morrison really well. I’d give it another chance. The first arc of the book wasn’t as exciting if you’re not a Barbara Gordon or Stephanie Brown fan, but it’s getting stronger and stronger as time goes on.

    House of Mystery is still coming out, the third trade came out last week. It’s still good.

    Tomasi’s GL Corps is still one of the best books that DC has been putting out and in terms of ongoing titles that have the “Blackest Night” label, it’s probably my favorite one. Tomasi’s been drawing on a lot of stuff established in the early days of the title and it’s becoming the book I look forward to most as I follow Blackest Night.

    You know my opinions about Gail Simone are overwhelmingly positive, but if you want to pick up a title by her, I’d actually start with the new Birds of Prey series she’ll be doing post-Blackest Night. It’s her and Ed Benes again for another go at the series, so yeah. I would read that.

  • DirkStar says:

    Dude, think outside the box…

    Surely there are more things worth reading than Marvel and D.C.? Just because you’ve always done something, doesn’t mean you have to keep on doing it. I’m doing my very best to read everything but the traditional titles. No Hulk, No Avengers, No Thor, Iron man, Spider Man or any other five and six hundred issue old characters. I’ve freed up a lot of money for trying new things and its really exposing me to a variety of new things.

  • bill says:

    I would leave ‘tiny titans’ in the toilet bowl where it belongs jimbo– and how can you even be questioning weapon X? And I imagine that the Thor series will get amped along with the release of the film– so don’t give up on that either. Stuff like detective comics, action comics and adventure comics are going to be hit or miss– so I’d just pick up the ones that look good to you. Plus, its not like there won’t be back issues of all this stuff…

    You should also check out All Day Pizza Buffet– the cartoonist is currently in hiding due to a peanut-oil contaminated brownie assasination attempt– though i’m sure he’ll come back with a vengeance ; )

  • Jim Gibbons says:

    Steve,
    I may look for Batgirl at the library based on that recommendation. Not sure I’d go as far as purchase just yet.

    House of Mystery will definitely be picked up.

    GL Corps may be another I head to the library for. I really enjoy Tomasi’s stuff, but man, I am just not sure I am a big enough GL fan to really purchase a whole bunch of Lantern trades.

    Ed Benes? No thanks. Much as I’d love a good Birds of Prey series, I think his art would kill it for me.

    Dirk,
    Man, I live outside the box! But sometimes you have to jump back into the toy box (so many boxes in this metaphor) and play with your old action figures. Keeping up on old favorites like Hulk and Captain America isn’t something I plan to do because it’s what I have always done, it’s something I plan to do because—for example—I love reading great Hulk stories and Greg Pak is currently writing them.

    Still, consider it market research as well. I gotta know what comic readers are reading if I’m to get them to buy DH books.

    That said, I think Marvel and DC are such different comic companies in comparison to DH and other companies doing non-traditional titles that they are more or less apples and oranges.

    Here’s how I’d relate it…

    Oscar-caliber movies may all be great and really impressive feats of film-making, but sometimes watching tons of them in a row is just too heavy. Sometimes you need to cleanse the palate with a popcorn action movie. It doesn’t have to be an astounding work of film, sometimes it just needs to be different. I binge on Dark Horse books like crazy because I love them, but sometimes you just have throw Captain America punching Red Skull into your reading rotation for good measure.

  • Jim Gibbons says:

    Bill,
    You’re likely right on Thor, and the Action/Adventure/Detective lineup. I mean, in the end, word of mouth on this stuff is key. Thus this survey here,

    As for the guy that doodles All Day Pizza Buffet… man, that guys sucks! he is THE WORST! Seriously!

  • nick says:

    You can’t go wrong with Secret Six. Consistently the most entertaining comic I read, every month.

  • Jim Gibbons says:

    Really? Don’t get me wrong, I think it is well written (when last I read it), but Secret Six hasn’t had a single storyline that pulled me in as a newbie reader. That whole book feels like a love letter to DC superfans who love these obscure characters, which is great, but never had anything that grabbed a guy like me (who was not already a fan of those characters).

  • nick says:

    Superheroine strippers.

  • Jim Gibbons says:

    I read that part of Secret Six. It’s still just another face in a crowd of comic faces I don’t “recognize.” There just doesn’t seem to be enough drive behind that series to pull me in. It just seems like “catch up with the wacky antics of these wacky villains.” And that is fun, but it’s not really enough to keep me going. If they were all my favorite characters? Sure. If there was more of an obvious mystery to an overarching plot? Sure. But just goofy villains doing goofy stuff. I got bored of it.