Axel-In-Charge: Unmasking the "Totally Awesome Hulk"
Today Pop Candy’s Whitney Matheson did something that some consider too revealing even in this socially networked, airport x-ray’d age: She posted 20 movies from her Netflix “Watch Instantly” queue. Like anyone else’s, it’s a motley crew of movies made possible by a massive library of films and the power to watch any of them at any time with a few clicks of a mouse — a blend of “comfort food” you want access to at all times, unwatched stuff you’re dying to see at the next available opportunity, major investments of time or energy you haven’t been prepared to make just yet, “eat your vegetables” fare you know you ought to watch eventually, and goofy guilty pleasures you’re simply tickled to be able to watch whenever you feel like it.
This got me thinking. I know there are any number of logistical and financial reasons why such a thing doesn’t exist for comics. But we comics readers are an imaginative bunch, no? And today I choose to imagine a world where I can load up pretty much any book I can think of and read to my heart’s content. So here’s what my imaginary “Read Instantly” queue would look like, circa today. Check it out, then let us know what’s on your queue in the comments!
This trio of eagerly anticipated alt/art-comix releases have been generating best-of-the-year buzz for weeks now, if not longer. I can’t wait to see what the fuss is about in all three cases.
4. Thor: The Mighty Avenger by Roger Langridge and Chris Samnee (Marvel)
I’ve heard nothing but good things about this all-ages-yet-not-kids’-stuff comic, from sources of the sort I wouldn’t normally expect to say good things about this kind of comic. Seeing as how I’m a big fan of a lot of “off-model” Marvel stuff, color me intrigued.
5. Twin Spica by Kou Yaginouma (Vertical)
6. Ax: A Collection of Alternative Manga Vol. 1 by Mitsuhiro Asakawa (compiler), Sean Michael Wilson (editor), and various cartoonists (Top Shelf)
7. A Drunken Dream by Moto Hagio (Fantagraphics)
My manga reading has been absolutely woeful this year — my short attention span (seriously, I don’t call my blog Attentiondeficitdisorderly for nothing) makes reading long series only after their completion more or less a must for me, while I’ve got a shelf full of prestige projects from American art-house publishers waiting for me to crack their spines. These recent releases are at the top of my manga must-read list.
8. The ACME Novelty Library #20 by Chris Ware (Drawn & Quarterly
I already read this the day I got it, then picked it up and read it again the next day. But it’s so chillingly good I want access to it 24/7.
9. Achewood by Chris Onstad
Now here’s where it gets a bit embarrassing: I’m literally years behind on Onstad’s much-beloved webcomic, which is especially galling considering that I was an early and vocal supporter. But for a while there I just didn’t have the wherewithal to follow any comic on a daily basis. This strip’s been going on for so long that maybe this is the equivalent of all those Mad Men and Breaking Bad DVDs that have cluttered up my queue waiting for the right time for literally months now, but someday…someday…
These are two titles to which, despite the presence of creators whose work I’d greatly enjoyed over the years, I found myself less warmly disposed than I’d have otherwise thought. In Wednesday Comics‘ case, it was my suspicion that nostalgia might be too heavy a presence; in Scarlet‘s, it was disappointment with the pair’s previous collaboration on Spider-Woman. But on a rainy weekend afternoon it might be fun to see what, if anything, I missed.
12. Berserk by Kentaro Miura (Dark Horse)
This long-running action-adventure serial has stealthily but steadily become one of the most influential books around in artcomics circles — Johnny Ryan’s Prison Pit wears its influence on its sleeve, for example. I can’t see myself buying all 30-odd available volumes, but in my imaginary “Read Instantly” world, finding out whether Berserk is as berserk as everyone says would be irresistible.
A trio of all-time favorites to which I never grow tired of returning. Yes, one of these things is not like the others.
16. Jack Kirby’s Fourth World Saga (DC)
I read these in those gray-toned trade paperbacks ages ago and still feel the impact. The time has just never been right for me to plow through the four gorgeous Omnibus collections DC put out back-to-back. But I’ll get a chance at some point!
And now the really embarrassing bit: I’ve never read so much as a panel by the masters of two of the world’s three major comic book traditions. Deeply, deeply sad. Well, now that I’ve outed myself, there’s no place to go but up, and I understand these are the books to start with.
19. Or Else #2 by Kevin Huizenga (Drawn and Quarterly)
The short story “A Sunset” in this issue of Huizenga’s series is the best comics short story I’ve ever read, I think. There’s nothing else like it. I want to be able to study it whenever the mood strikes me.
20. Boy’s Club #4 by Matt Furie (Pigeon Press)
I also want to be able to laugh at dick jokes until my sides hurt.
Well, there you have it — my imaginary “Read Instantly” queue in all its glory. I’ve showed you mine, now you show me yours!