9.22.2008

To Live & Die In... Comics

I found this interesting survey from Tom Spurgeon at the Comics Reporter; I’ll be answering all of the questions instead of one from each group as the instructions indicated...

Favorites

1. What is your favorite stand-alone publication of the last five years?

I’m not sure what the intent of “stand-alone” is, but I’ll take a shot. Poor Sailor by Sammy Harkham. If a collected mini-series counts, then I’d probably say Dr. Thirteen: Architecture & Mortality.

2. What is your favorite ongoing serial comic that's published an installment in the last three months?

Scalped by Jason Aaron & R.M. Guera

3. What is your favorite webcomic?

Not a big webcomic guy. I’m so drawn to the tangible nature of printed books.

4. What is your favorite ongoing newspaper strip?

I always liked Fox Trot. It’s good natured, but still manages to be pretty witty and observant about the relationships between kids and adults.

5. What is your favorite comics web site that is not a link or commentary blog?

ComicBookResources.com
If that counts as “commentary,” then BrianWood.com

Comic Shops

6. What's the best experience you've ever had in a comics shop?

Hanging out in a shop so much as a kid that the owner offered me a job; it became my first “real job” with regular pay and perks and everything! Lots of fun, this was in the mid-80’s.

7. What's the worst experience you've ever had in a comics shop?

When I moved to San Diego three years ago, I made it a point to visit every LCS in the county, having been spoiled by the wonderful retailers in the San Francisco Bay Area. I went to one, who shall remain nameless, in a very... let’s say “trendy” part of town. If I name the neighborhood, it would certainly out the identity of the shop. The place was dirty and cramped and faded and smelly, fitting most every negative stereotype the industry has to offer. The moment I walked in, I knew I’d never return. Mostly Marvel and DC on the shelves, no discernible order. I just stood there doing a wide scan of the place. Without any sort of introductory preamble or even mere acknowledgment of my presence, the emo boy from behind the counter shouted in my direction “What do you like better, Marvel or DC?!” Not feeling like playing this little game and wanting to reject the premise of the entire discussion, I calmly replied “Uh, I really prefer something like Oni Press” (which was just the first independent publisher that popped into my brain). To which he scoffed and replied “Psh, snob!” In disbelief, I squinted and raised my voice “Excuse me?!” Emo sees that I’m clearly agitated and attempts to change the subject. “Are you reading 52? I love 52! What about 52? Isn’t 52 great?” he vomits out. “Yeah, I read all of 52. It’s shit,” I say as I turn and walk out.

8. List the names of the comics shops that have been your shop in your lifetime of buying comics.

Lino’s Comics
Heroes
Spacecat Comics
Lee’s Comics
Wacky Hijinx
Comickaze

9. If a comic shop has opened within 50 miles in the last two years, what exactly makes you think it will or won't survive until a fifth anniversary?

Nothing new has opened to my knowledge, but in general I’d say the formula for success is strong customer service, sales and cross-promotion, depth and breadth of selection, a welcoming environment to every demographic, and location, location, location.

10. What is something you've done in a comics shop you're sorry happened?

It’s mostly selling comics when I needed the money; transactions that I regret and books I wish I still owned. Whether it was the pristine copy of Uncanny X-Men #168 (the one with the tattered Kitty Pryde on the cover), Strange Tales #120 (first team up w/ Iceman and Human Torch), my run of high grade Kirby Mister Miracle, Green Lantern #1 (yes, the one from 1963), or the Limited Edition Leather Hardcover of Sandman: Season of Mists (my favorite arc of the series, signed with a sketch by Neil Gaiman no less), the common thread is that I wish I’d kept them. The financial gains at the time now seem insignificant in hindsight, but I read and enjoyed them all.

Greats

11. Who is the Greatest Living Cartoonist?

Paul Pope

12. Name the female cartoonist highest up in your personal pantheon.

Jessica Abel

13. Name the cartoonist with a non-white South American or African heritage highest up in your personal pantheon.

This is an awkwardly worded question. If I understand correctly, Rafael Grampa.

14. Who is the world's most under-appreciated cartoonist?

Two answers… One, Nathan Fox. He’s going to be a superstar. He’s the next Ryan Kelly or Farel Dalrymple, or Paul Pope or something. He’s fantastic. Two, Cliff Chiang. I know he’s already broken into the industry, but I don’t see why he doesn’t work more. His style is so refined and beautiful. He should be on many, many books. I would buy anything he drew.

15. Name a cartoonist you know is great but whose work you find hard to enjoy.

Eddie Campbell

Nostalgia

16. What was the first comic that you remember buying after the last time you stopped buying comics?

Sandman #17

17. What comic do you plan to revisit one day?

I’d like to one day purchase all of the EC Archives and really absorb them.

18. Name a comic that was even better when you tracked it down than you remember it being the first time.

Kirby’s Mister Miracle

19. What is the worst comic in your collection that you keep for reasons other than its quality?

It’s not a bad comic at all, but I keep it purely for reasons other than its inherent artistic quality. I have a copy of Uncanny X-Men #121 that’s been CGC’d at 9.8. It’s the first full appearance of Alpha Flight. It’s worth a bajillion dollars and that’s basically why I’ve kept it. It’s also the last vestigial remain of my Silver Age collection. Among many other things, I had a CGC’d run of Uncanny X-Men from #94 (the first appearance of the new team, which basically changed the entire course of Western Civilization) all the way to #266 (first appearance of Gambit). So, this issue is just a leftover piece of nostalgia from the collecting days. It's a fun issue and has Snowbird on the cover (who I dig), but it's also my own personal reminder that comics really aren't worth anything other than the joy you get from reading them.

20. One word only: what is your primary non-comic association with comics?

I have no idea what this question is asking.

Self-Improvement

21. What one site not your own or a friend's does CR not in your opinion cover near enough?

Another strangely worded question, but I don’t really read CR so I can’t say.

22. Name a comics figure this site has never interviewed you'd like to see interviewed.

Ditto

23. Name a comics figure this site has interviewed you'd like to see interviewed again.

Umm, more Paul Pope can never hurt.

24. Name an under or unreported news story from your perspective.

Why are the comic shops in San Diego so lackluster?

25. Name a resource this site could house that would be valuable to you.

See #21 & 22

Bonus Section: Not Comics

1. What is your favorite sandwich?

The “Knuckle Sandwich” from Erik’s DeliCafe in San Jose… it has salami, sprouts, cream cheese, and red onion slices, all on marbled rye. It’s inventive and freakin’ delicious; it also helps that there's no mystery involved, you can recreate it at home in exacting detail.

2. Name three US vice-presidents in the order that they occur to you.

Al Gore, “Tricky” Dick Cheney, and George H.W. Bush, who now seems not so bad in comparison; he also wrote a great memoir.

3. Name a movie that shouldn't have been remade and a movie that should be.

Shouldn't: The Getaway, that new one was horrible.
Should: I’d love to see a remake of William Friedkin’s To Live & Die in LA, keep the odd techno-80’s Wang Chung soundtrack, and you could even have William Petersen reprise his role, but change up everything else.

4. Otto Graham, Joe Montana or Tom Brady?

Is that a football question? Ick.

5. If you could have any middle name in the world not "Bronislaw," what would it be?

Dante

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