Sunday, February 23, 2014

Who's the Best... One-Shot or Graphic Novel?






22 comments:

Edo Bosnar said...

I guess I'll be obvious and just say "The Death of Captain Marvel." A really sad but good story, that holds up quite well.

Runner-up, although it's not a one-shot: Will Eisner's "A Contract with God" trilogy.

Another runner-up:
"God Loves, Man Kills" - yes, it's a bit preachy at places, but it's still a good story and really rather nicely distills the "mutants as persecuted minority" theme that runs through the X-books.

And two more recent ones that may not necessarily be the best, but which I found thoroughly enjoyable for different reasons:
"The Professor's Daughter" by Joann Sfar and Emmanual Guibert. Cute, whimsical, funny - just a real treat.
"Mighty Love" by Howard Chaykin - again, rather cute. And despite the "Suggested for Mature Readers" warning on the cover, pretty tame in comparison to some of Chaykin's other stuff.

Anonymous said...

Hey, I was gonna say "Death of Captain Marvel"! :) It does hold up well.

I also liked "Parallel Lives" by Gerry Conway about how Mary Jane knew Spidey's secret ID right from the beginning. I'm probably in the minority on liking that one, but I thought it gave MJ some real depth (finally) and showed how she and Pete were really kinda made for each other.

Mike W.

Matt Celis said...

Mysterious Suspense #1 (and only). The story "What Makes a Hero?" by Steve Ditko is essentially a "graphic novel" (how I hate that term--it is the product of comics readers ashamed to admit to reading comic books). It's the most mature and thoughtful super hero story I've ever read. Deeply philosophical. Makes the Denny O'Neil "improvement" of the Question for DC all the more repugnant if you're familiar with the REAL Question's ethics and rationality as established by his creator. I think it's the greatest one-issue story out there. I have both the actual issue and the reprint in Action Heroes Archives vol. 2 (recommended to anyone who likes heroes who think instead of just punch-'em-inna-face all day).

dbutler16 said...

The Death of Captain Marvel and God Loves, Man Kills immediately jump to mind. I've read both in the past couple of years and they both hold up well, probably because they're both about more than just superheroes.

david_b said...

'Death of Captain Marvel' is easily one of the most majestically written graphic novels to date, back when there was quite frankly still 'no rules' or no set format of which to follow for graphic novels. One story I'd dare say was WORTHY of it's format.

Having said that, 'Mad Love' which was just a fun, nutty read from start to finish. Each panel was pure fun.

Not many more accolades to 'The Killing Joke'. It certainly made the industry stand up and notice the Batman-Joker relationship, unlike any other venue or story before or since. Tim Burton certainly did, virtually recreating the entire current Bat franchise nearly out of a single story (for better or for worse..).

Could one even count just how many other writers wished they would have written that..? Or fan who wished their favorite hero-villain relationship would have had such a stirring treatment done like 'Killing Joke'..? Remarkable.

Anonymous said...

From perusing my collection, I was not a big fan/buyer of the one-shot or graphic novels. Of those that I own, the one I enjoyed the most was Bat-Man Capt America by Byrne. The format worked the best for Byrne by allowing him to tell a solid self contained story. (And kept him from inserting his mother, I mean, a female character, into the mythos and metaphorically slaying, I mean, deconstructing his father.) It was light hearted, a good read and stayed firmly in the character of a mid-40's comic.

The Prowler (could it be? could he be.... Lego bound? Only time will tell).


Bruce B. said...

I really need to read Byrne's Batman/Captain America one-shot. Sounds really good.

Did anyone else read (and enjoy) the recent Teen Titans: Games? George Perez and Marv Wolfman finished up a project they started working on back in the 1980s. Not my favorite Wolfman/Perez collaboration, but just having those guys back working together on those characters was pretty awesome.

Doug said...

Bruce --

Karen and I (well, Karen's husband) each have a copy of "Games"; she has read it, I have not. If I recall, she said she was sort of lukewarm on it. It's on my "gonna get to it someday" list. But if it indeed rekindles some of that early NTT love, I think I'll like it.

Of the three books I chose to picture today, does anyone have any feelings on Iron Man 2020 or Revenge of the Living Monolith? How about Deathtrap: The Vault? Did anyone ever read the Batman graphic novels (you know -- like a really long story told with pictures? Funny, never thought of the term as an attempt to be highbrow) Bride of the Demon or Son of the Demon? I recall both of them fondly. Another Batman book I need to get back to is Arkham Asylum -- haven't read it since it came out.

Doug

Doug said...

A note to those of you who enjoyed the Super Blog Team-Up last Wednesday:

Fantastiverse's post on the retcon of Bucky Barnes into the Winter Soldier is now live. Check it out, and if you didn't see any of those other blogs' contributions, please do!

Doug

Edo Bosnar said...

Man, if we open the field to Elseworlds books, then - just like in the recent best mini-series thread - I could go on forever.
And yes, Batman & Captain America is one of the best Elseworlds stories, and also probably the best Marvel/DC crossover.

As to the titles you pictured, Doug, I've only read Revenge of the Living Monolith, which was pretty good. I also liked Emperor Doom and Walt Simonson's Starslammers is quite excellent, although I don't consider it a one-shot, because he (eventually) did a follow-up series.
As for Son of the Demon and Bride of the Demon, I have both but have yet to read them.

Matt Celis said...

Surprised by all the love for Byrne's Batman/Cap...I found it mediocre at best (like most of Byrne's output). I read it and said "eh" and passed it along to a friend. What did you like so much about it?

mr. oyola said...

Does Watchmen count even if it was originally a 12-issue series?

If not, then. . . well, not sure I have anything that was not originally a series, except Alison Bechdel's Fun Home, which is fantastic, but as far from the superhero genre as you can get. :)

Karen said...

Despite the accolades it gets, I really dislike The Killing Joke. That is not Batman to me. I can't see him standing around having a laugh with the Joker after he's brutalized Barbara and Commissioner Gordon. That one just went way past my tolerance point.

I still like Death of Captain Marvel. Knowing that it was inspired by Starlin's father's fight with cancer makes it all the more poignant.

Matt Celis said...

I'm with you on Killing Joke and apparently Alan Moore has regrets as well. To me it's neither the Joker nor Batman, neither is portrayed in a manner consistent with their history. Seems more like one of those stories where the writer had a plot he wanted to use and didn't care whether the characters have to act out of character to make the story play out as intended.

Anonymous said...

I liked The Killing Joke, but it was harsh and I understand why others might not care for it.
If we're Talking about one-shots, Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely's Earth 2 is one of my favorites. I loved the scene where Aquaman walks up on the Crime Syndicate's version of Green Lantern, calls him a "gutless moron" and lays him out flat with one punch.
Go, Artie.

Garett said...

I like Edo's Death of Captain Marvel, Mighty Love, and Contract with God. I have fond memories of Simonson's single Doctor Fate Story, and the JSA story where they fight Hitler in DC Special 29 with art by Staton.

Garcia Lopez had a cool story with great potential in Doctor Strangefate--DC/Marvel crossover that I'd love to have seen as a regular comic. I always go back to the Batman vs Hulk oversize comic by him as well--very entertaining, unique Joker story.

Somehow the Superman vs Muhammad Ali book should've been incredible--Adams at his peak, same time as the first Superman movie, and the charisma of Ali. But after reading it, it doesn't stick in my head.

Bicentennial Battles by Kirby is fun--just read that again a few days ago. Probably my favorite of Kirby's later Marvel work. Cool to see Barry Smith inking Kirby.

I'm curious about Teen Titans: Games. I flipped through it at the shop, but it didn't seem up to the old standards, although close. I would like to read it at some point.

Rip Jagger said...

Cast my vote for The Death of Captain Marvel. Jim Starlin took advantage of an upscale format to tell an upscale story which has had reverberations for decades.

Rip Off

Anonymous said...

Kirby's Hunger Dogs is probably my favorite. There was something that struck me as sad and poignant about it.
Others might not care for the melodramatic dialogue, but it worked for me. And the coloring was fantastic. It conveyed a sense of gloom and Wagnerian melancholy to the thing.
It is basically about the Kirby wrapping it all up, his final comment on some of his most personal characters. M.P.

Matt Celis said...

Typical nonsensical writing. As if GL's ring wouldn't protect him. As if GL is stupid enough to allow Aquaman to walk up and do that. Geez, that's pretty bad hack work.

Edo Bosnar said...

Actually, Matt, even before, when the evil counterparts to the DC Universe heroes were on Earth 3, most of them were brutish and pretty stupid - and that portrayal was generally maintained in Morrison's Earth 2 if I recall correctly.
Anyway, Grant Morrison is generally hit or miss for me, but I rather enjoyed Earth 2.

William said...

Dang it, I was out yesterday and missed this conversation. But I'll chime in belatedly anyway.

My pick for Best Graphic Novel is definitely "Batman: Mad Love" by Bruce Timm and Paul Dini. I am a huge fan of BMTAS, and Timm is one of my favorite artists ever (second only to Byrne in my book). So, when Mad Love came out it immediately shot to the top of my list of great stories. I even recently bought the hardcover "Mad Love and other stories" which reprints all the Dini and Timm Batman comics that were produced during the heyday of the TV show. It's a great book and I highly recommend it.

A favorite One Shot story of mine is "Avengers 1.5", another comic with art by Bruce Timm, but this time Roger Stern handles the writing chores. It was a really fun comic in an age where comics aren't always so much fun anymore. It's an Avengers story starring the original line-up, and done (sort of) in the style of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. It is designed to fit perfectly between the original Avengers #1 and #2, and it features the Avengers vs. Doctor Doom. I'm sure everyone around here as seen this book. I love it so much, it's actually on my Top 10 favorite Avengers comics of all time list.

Although it's true that the Death of Captain Marvel is a very well done story, I don't love it as much as others seem to. Mainly because it was just too depressing for my tastes. Also I liked Mar-vell a lot as a character and I didn't like that they were killing him off. I still miss him not being around.

Edo Bosnar said...

Oh, man, I just remembered one that I can't believe I forgot - because it truly is one of the best Marvel graphic novels: "Triumph & Torment" by Stern and Mignola.

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