Goodbye 2014: Once again, please forgive me while I indulge in some wrap-up for 2014. I did a lot of reading this year. Being out of work does tend to give a person some free time to catch up on some reading. All total, it looks like I finished 75 books for the year. For the subject of this blog, I read 18 Showcase Presents volumes* and 19 Essential volumes**.
In addition to the Essentials and Showcases, I read a mix of older reprints as well as new original graphic novels. Some of my favorite reads of the past year included:
- The Guns of Shadow Valley by Dave Wachter and Jim Clark. This was a digital comic that used a Kickstarter campaign to fund a collected edition. The collected edition was later distributed by Dark Horse Comics. If you are a fan of The Sixth Gun, you should give this a read.
- The Adventures of Superhero Girl by Faith Erin Hicks. This is another digital comic that saw the collected edition distributed by Dark Horse. This book won the 2014 Eisner Award for Best Publication for Kids.
- Velvet TPB Vol. 1 by Ed Brubaker and Steve Epting. Set in the 1970s, this spy thriller featured equal parts of James Bond and Modesty Blaise. I could not put this one down!
Please seek out each of these volumes – you won’t be disappointed!* Showcase Presents volumes read in 2014: All-Star Comics 1; Wonder Woman 3 and 4; The Trial of the Flash 1; Superman Family 3 and 4; House of Mystery 1; The Unknown Soldier 1; Metamorpho 1; Eclipso 1; Super Friends 1; Challengers of the Unknown 2; Bat Lash 1; Blackhawk 1; Jonah Hex 1; Supergirl 2; Captain Carrot 1; and House of Secrets 1. ** Essential volumes read in 2014: Howard the Duck 1; Iron Man 4 and 5; Thor 4, 5, 6, and 7; Dazzler 1; Wolverine 1, 2, 3, and 4; Marvel Horror 1; Man-Thing 1; Ghost Rider 1 and 2; Punisher 2; Dr. Strange 3; and Rampaging Hulk 1.
Hello 2015: OK, for many years I have been a loyal listener to the Collected Comics Library podcast produced by Chris Marshall. Each January, Chris announces his “Adopt a Character” for the year, in which he focuses on reading more about one character, a specific run of a book, or even just focus on a particular creator, over the next year.
For 2014, I had three “Adopt a Character” goals which I came very close to fulfilling!
- I want to re-read the Mike Grell Green Arrow series from the late 1980s and early 1990s. OK, I read the first 60 issues, as well as the annuals that came out during that associated time frame. Grell was on the book until issue #80, so I feel this one is 75% accomplished.
- With the Essential line, I have accumulated a back log of titles featuring various Avengers characters. On my shelf to read, I have four Thor volumes, three Hulk volumes (including the Rampaging Hulk volumes) and two Iron Man volumes. I did read all four Thor books, I read the two Iron Man books, and I read one of the three Hulk books. So consider this 77% accomplished.
- With the Showcase line, I have accumulated a back log of two titles, Wonder Woman and Superman Family. I did finish off both lines, reading two Wonder Woman books and two Superman Family books. Consider this item 100% mission accomplished!
So for 2015, I am wanting to target a couple of titles for my Adopt a Character.
- I do want to finish the Mike Grell Green Arrow series. I have tracked down most of the Oliver Queen issues of the title after Grell left, up to issue #100, so my plan is to read the last 40 issues plus annuals.
- With the Essential and Showcase lines, I have two long-boxes of books to read. As much as I try to balance 1 DC to 1 Marvel read, I may need to focus more on Marvel this year, as those are the majority of the books due up for review in 2015. Keep reading for more on the blog going forward.
- Finally, I am looking to find something new to jump into, so I am going to put it out there for my audience. Tell me a title I should be reading, either current or from the back issue bins. Please comment on this post with your suggestions, and the best one will be added to my to-read list for 2015.
Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes!: So, as 2015 starts up, I do need to make some changes with this blog going forward. Beginning with this Saturday’s post, I will be posting just once a week. I published 104 reviews in 2014, and I’m quite proud of that fact. But a lot of that was as a result of being out of work for 10 months this year. I had lots of time to read and write. But I am also a big fan of earning a living and supporting the family. I’ve had a lot of job interviews lately, and I feel really good about two of them. So my hope is that I return to full-time work sometime this month. To allow time to read and write reviews, in addition to my other project (keep reading!), I think it is best to scale back my workload with the Essential Showcase blog.
In addition, I am also running into a material shortage. Looking at the numbers, I have just over 100 books (as of today) left to read and/or write reviews of in my collection. If I kept up the same pace of two reviews a week, this blog would come to stop in February of 2016. If I cut back to one review per week, this would take the blog into late spring of 2017. I am having fun with this blog and would like to keep it going.
As for my other project, my friends and I started our own podcast last summer, titled the Worst. Comic. Podcast. EVER! I hope all of my Essential Showcase readers are also giving the podcast a listen. In the upcoming year, we are challenging ourselves to do so much more with the podcast, in terms of interviews and conventions, as well as the blog that hosts the podcast. I want to free up some of my Essential Showcase time to work on the WCPE project. Thank you for your understanding, and please give us a look if you haven’t already.
All right, let’s have a great 2015! Let’s enjoy some books and stories along the way. And please be sure to leave me reading suggestions in the comments!
Congrats on making such progress with your goals for 2014! Even if you didn’t achieve “100%” on every one, the fact that you set them likely made for a lot more progress than you would have seen otherwise.
Sounds like you have some great goals for 2015, too. As far as suggestions, I’d be interested to see your take on Marvel’s Star Wars series given your deep knowledge of the Marvel and DC comics that were being published at that time. Perhaps the Dark Horse volumes will drop in price now that the rights have reverted to Marvel?
As far as new material, I’ve recently gotten into Mark Waid’s Daredevil (finally!). There’s a very classic sensibility about the book; Waid himself has described it as being more in line with the Silver Age version of the title than with the Frank Miller years and beyond. Waid’s run will finish up in just a few months, and one of my goals for this year is to get through the whole thing.
Greetings, Marc, and happy new year!
It’s funny you mention the original Marvel Star Wars, as that is something I have been mulling over in regards for something on the WCPE blog. Many moons of Yavin ago, I used to own the entire series, than foolishly gave them away during my college years when I thought I was too old for comics. Ha! I had been sporadically reacquiring issues here or there, but then did get the DHC Omnibus editions over the last couple of years, including the two volumes of “Wild Spaces”. I did re-read the entire series in 2013 from the Omnibus collections, and have thought about doing some kind of comparison between the original Marvel series, the DHC series from 2013-14, and the new 2015 series from Marvel. I’ll keep you updated! (On a side note, my LCS will be having Star Wars writer Jason Aaron for an in-store signing event on January 14 with the debut of the new Star Wars #1.)
I am a huge fan of the Daredevil run by Mark Waid and friends, beginning with their first issue four years ago. I think I even suggested to readers to check out that run with my review of Essential Daredevil Vol. 1. You are in for a treat with that title, so enjoy that read! I may have to pull that one back out again and start over just for the fun of it!