500 Essential Graphic Novels – Gene Kannenberg Jnr
Doing a review of a book of reviews is a bit curious to say the least, but 500' was a far too interesting collection to miss. To be fair, the title's a bit of a misnomer, the book covers 100 graphic novels (which includes Collected editions too) with each having about four other 'Further Reading' attached, but thats OK, because what we do get is well worth the cover price.
The best part about the book is the fact that it covers the broad range of the comic book spectrum, giving us the top ten of Adventure, Non-Fiction, Crime, Fantasy, General, Horror, Humour, Sci-Fi, Superheros and War, nice because we get a look outside of the Cape and tights world, but also get to look at the best of that too. The book also is indiscriminate, putting Manga and European comics side by side by Genre, when it could have easily cop'd out and given Manga its own section.
The book is an excellent cataloger of comics to keep an eye out for, and each review is good enough to let you know weather it'll be for you or not. As its primary purpose 500' completes its objective flawlessly. However, as a bit of criticism there are some curious omissions and placements which stands out a bit. Hellsing is missing, and while I've pointed out that me myself am not entirely set on it just yet, it feels a bit wrong that its not there to make up the whole “Hell” triumvirate with Hellboy and Hellblazer. Also, Heart of Empire is included, but Luther Arkwright is relegated to the 'further reading' where in my opinion it is the better of the two books. Also, things like XIII are nowhere to be seen.
Then there's classification. Sandman is in Fantasy, yet the similar Hellblazer is in horror, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen is in sci-fi, yet I would more likely put it under Adventure or Fantasy, The Pro, a superhero comedy, goes in Humour, yet Adventures in the Rifle Brigade, a war comedy, goes in War. Other similar examples are abound, but don't worry, It doesn't detract from the collection, and you could put it down to the wonderful broadness of the medium. All in all its worth buying if your a big fan of comic and want to find out what you haven't read yet.
Bonus Free Comic Book Day Review
In a move unusual to me, I decided to buy a few issues of this and that, just to see what the crack is, and pick up a few issues along the way. Here's what I found:
Battle For the Cowl: The Underground
Nice to see Batman's most famous foes pottering about as usual, The Riddler's a particularly likable protagonist in this, and puts him in good graces to be a potential foe in the next film.
After the slightly disappointing turn of events that was the Wolverine film, its nice to see that Deadpool's still on top form, him and Taskmaster lusting after Black Widow like nothing else matters is particularly hilarious.
Marvel Spectacular #2
Collection of three shorts, Citizen Cage was a pretty run of the mill “superhero on his day off” story, Galacta was a curious piece and the manga style art was an odd choice that really worked int the story's favour, Bloodstone was your standard monster killing action story but its nice to see that Elza hasn't been forgotten about since Nextwave.
Savage Dragon # 148
Good old fashioned ass kicking super heroics, reminds me of Jack Staff a bit, didn't sell the character to me so much that I'd want to go out and read the collections, but it's definitely got me keeping my eye on it.
Pretty much something that looks like a future shock out of 2000ad, to hard to call on what little we're given, also the bonus Tek Jansen strip was funny, but not that funny.
OK Until next time, set Phazers to FUN!