About Us

This is the official blog for the comic book club held in the book lounge of Waterstone's Liverpool One.

The group meet at 6pm on the third Monday of the month to discuss their thoughts and opinions on the comics selected.

It's a fun and friendly atmosphere and all are welcome: from those who have never read comic books, manga, or graphic novels before (call them what you like), to those who never read anything else.

The group, and this blog, are administered by Glyn Morgan, the Bookseller responsible for the Graphic Novels and Manga sections of the store and a big comic book fan who is currently studying for his PhD at the University of Liverpool.

If you would like to comment on any of the comics we've read, this month or in the distant past, please feel free to contribute to the comments section of the relevant posts.

Visit this club's big sister: The Science Fiction/ Fantasy Book Club

A Note on the Blog

Although this blog may appear slow paced and close to death in fact the group is very much alive and now entering its second year. Most of the group discussion (not done in person in Waterstone's of Wagamama's) takes place in the Facebook group - feel free to join. In the meantime I will try to keep a copy of the reading list here for general consumption. - G

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Y - The Last Man: Vol I - Discussion

There were differences of opinion on whether Yorick was clich├ęd nerdbait, an affectionate sketch of a manchild, or that his purpose was to encourage the reader to pay attention to the more interesting and sympathetic supporting cast.

The counting down to the plague was well structured and exciting - great pace.

Readers who'd read beyond the first volume were surprised on rereading at how little plot within these issues. They also expressed enthusiasm for how complex the plot was, that it developed, and that there were no throwaway filler chapters.

The story had a before and after - it wasn't in a bubble. (Later volumes expand on this).

Good humour throughout.

Some felt that it was a comicbook about what men thought women would get up to without them. And that the premise was braver than the execution.

Is the fall too quick? Is it condescending to say that women would revert so quickly to savagery and infighting?

Some felt that supermodels as waste collectors was a little too on the nose.

Batman: Year One - Discussion

Some of the group felt that it wasn't actually a good introduction to the character - it starts at the point that all the movies start at. They wanted a return to the character's childhood and teenage years.

There was more Gordon than expected, which was popular. Both the parallels with Wayne's existence and the contrasts with his struggles were interesting.

Some felt that Gordon's role, battling from within the system, was ultimately more interesting and more heroic.

Miller's ever-present conceit of newscasts and comments from the outside world was noted.

The storytelling was efficient - the plot was trimmed down and purring.

The artwork harked back to artists like Tarzan's Alec Severin.

The art was often expressionist, relying on chiaroscuro and other emotive techniques.

Both the artwork and the story return to the past.

Batman: Year 100 - Discussion

I'm just going to throw up bulletpoints rather than turn our discussion into an elegant Glynnish narrative for a couple of reasons. First of all, there was plenty of disagreement and debate, so picking out a single strand is too tricky for this editor. And secondly, I'd never get it done. I barely got this done.

Throw in any thoughts or additions you like in the comments.

So here's Batman: Year 100:

There were differences of opinion on the art - some found it messy and undisciplined, others found it raucous and dynamic. Influences were noted including luchadors and Latin culture. It was often difficult to follow - the Batmobile's mechanics and structure were 'questionable'.

Supporting characters were more interesting than the supposed hero.

There were questions about the plot - what had Batman been doing a week previously to the events in the comic? Why did the telepath take so long to appear? Why did Gordon choose that password?

Robin was well used and given things to do, an often difficult task with the character; at the same time had a fairly limited role.

The dense art combined with oblique text made deciphering the plot difficult.

Other comments welcome.

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Batman: Year One by Frank Miller, Batman: Year 100 by Paul Pope, and Y: The Last Man by Brian Vaughan

"One Man Can Make a Difference: or, Attack of the Colonated Titles"

Batman: Year One

Lieutenant James Gordon takes up a new post in the crime-ridden and corrupt city of Gotham, while billionaire Bruce Wayne returns to the scene of his parents' deaths, intent on avenging their memory. Each faces trials and challenges of their own, only for their lives to become irrevocably and potentially tragically intertwined...


Batman: Year 100

Gotham, circa 2039: welcome to the future. Psychic police, satellite surveillance and a completely intrusive government ensure that personal privacy is a thing of the past. When a government agent is murdered in Gotham, a contingent of top Washington operatives is despatched to find the killer. Launching his own investigation, GCPD cop Jim Gordon - grandson of the Commissioner - discovers that the man wanted for the murder shouldn't even exist; after all, surely the Batman is dead!

Y: The Last Man
On July 17, 2002, something (referred to as a plague) simultaneously kills every living mammal possessing a Y chromosome — including embryos, fertilized eggs, and even sperm. The only exceptions appear to be New York residents Yorick Brown, a young amateur escape artist, and his male Capuchin monkey, Ampersand. Society is plunged into chaos as infrastructures collapse, and the surviving women everywhere try to cope with the loss of the men, their survivor guilt, and the knowledge that - barring a rapid, major scientific breakthrough or other extraordinary happening - humanity is doomed to extinction.

Monday, 17 January 2011

Tank Girl by Jamie Hewlett/Alan Martin and The Umbrella Academy by Gerard Way/Gabriel Ba

Tank Girl

From the depths of the outback comes a wildly anarchic, in-your-face heroine for a new age of madness...Tank Girl! Join everybody's favourite beer-swilling, chain-smoking, kangaroo-worrying lunatic as she blasts her way through a dazzling array of bizarre adventures, including bounty hunting, delivering colostomy bags to the Australian president, appearing on Dame Edna, a short-lived career in the bloody and vicious world of kangaroo boxing...and many more outrageous and mind-warping thrills!

 

The Umbrella Academy, volume 1

Gerard Way, of "My Chemical Romance", makes his comics writing debut in this outrageous superhero epic that Grant Morrison called "An ultraviolet psychedelic sherbet bomb of wit and ideas. The superheroes of the 21st century are here at last..." In an inexplicable, worldwide event, forty-seven extraordinary children were spontaneously born by women who'd previously shown no signs of pregnancy. Millionaire inventor Reginald Hargreeves adopted seven of the children; when asked why, his only explanation was, "To save the world." These seven children form The Umbrella Academy, a dysfunctional family of superheroes with bizarre powers. Their first adventure at the age of ten pits them against an erratic and deadly Eiffel Tower, piloted by the fearsome zombie-robot Gustave Eiffel. Nearly a decade later, the team disbands, but when Hargreeves unexpectedly dies, these disgruntled siblings reunite just in time to save the world once again.

What did we think?
Discussion coming soon [really, really ;-)   ]

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

The Ballad of Halo Jones and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Century: 1910 by Alan Moore


 The Ballad of Halo Jones
Meet Halo Jones. Not brave, nor clever, nor strong, she was just somebody who had to get out. Escaping the Hoop, Manhattan Island's land of mindless leisure, is the first step in a cosmic adventure that will take Halo to the ends of the galaxy, through war and peace, trial, despair and triumph.




 
 

League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Century: 1910

The fourth volume detailing the exploits of Miss Wilhelmina Murray and her extraordinary colleagues, Century is an epic spanning almost 100 years. Chapter one is set against the backdrop of London in 1910, 12 years after the failed Martian invasion and nine years since England put a man on the moon. With Halley's Comet passing overhead, the nation prepares for the coronation of King George V, while far away on his South Atlantic island, the science-pirate Captain Nemo is dying.



What Did We Think?


(Discussion coming [really] soon)

Maus by Art Spiegelman and We3 by Grant Morrison

Maus

The story of Vladek Spiegelman and his wife, living and surviving in Hitler's Europe. By addressing the horror of the Holocaust through cartoons, the author captures the everyday reality of fear and is able to explore the guilt, relief and extraordinary sensation of survival - and how the children of survivors are in their own way affected by the trials of their parents. A contemporary classic of immeasurable significance.






  
We3

From acclaimed writer Grant Morrison (Seaguy, JLA) and fan-favourite artist Frank Quitely (JLA: Earth 2, The Authority) comes an incredible new story of cruelty, courage and humanity...When three experimental "animal weapons" escape from their government facility, the full might of the military is mobilised to bring them down. But labrador "1", cat "2" and rabbit "3" have a different agenda - finding "home"...at any cost. However, when the even more horrific Weapon 4 is unleashed, will any of them survive? This astonishing story mixes humour, violence, pathos and insight, for a truly unique look at the animals around us!

What Did We Think?

(Discussion Notes to Follow)