Sean Maher's Quality Control

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Great Crapper Comics, Day Three: Format

Okay, it's time to get a little shallow.

Because as much as I love my Absolute Planetary, gorgeous oversized Cassaday art and all, I think I'd hurt myself if I tried to bring it to the bathroom.

Today's crappy category is Format.

Yeah, there's nothing really wrong with grabbing the usual 7" x 10" trade and sitting down with it until your legs go numb. But some books really lend themselves to the experience simply by virtue of the physical form they take, and I wanna look at a couple of 'em today. Come on, it's not the silliest thing I've done - it's not like looking in the toilet before I flush to "see how I did."

Not that I do that.

(Of course I do that, dummy.)

So.

Jeffrey Brown's Miniature Sulk is a book I really dug a couple months ago, as any of you Bookshelf Comics readers know. It's a tiny wee thing, but it makes for some big belly laughs here and there, and it fits nicely wherever you want to toss it down when you're done. Fits nicely in the categories of Duration and Attitude as well, and remember - it'll all come down to high performance in multiple categories when we're choosing the winners.



I'm also really digging some of the digest format books that the American publishers have been swiping from manga. They're a perfect size to hold with one hand, allowing for uninterrupted reading if you need to take a sip from your poolside beer. Yes, I drink a beer sometimes while I'm reading comics and taking a dump. Yes, that's completely vulgar and disgusting. Yes, it's as much fun as it sounds and you should try it right away.

Anyway, some of the best digests I've been reading lately are the first "season" of Brian K. Vaughan's Runaways, as well as Mark Millar's run on Superman Adventures and some fantastic Dan Slott work on Batman Adventures. Slott in particular is so good, I think he might get his own theme week, maybe when his new Thing series debuts in November.



Of course, comics don't have to be small to be enjoyable to hold while I'm in the most vulnerable of states. They just can't be unweildy. A great example of "the best of both worlds" is Hard Boiled by Frank Miller and Geof Darrow. It's nice and oversized so you can pick up all the wicked details in Darrow's artwork, but it's still a slim volume that doesn't weigh too much. I bring my Love and Rockets Palomar hardcover into the can, somebody's gonna get hurt, y'know?



AiT/Planet Lar keeps bringing the contenders with some uniquely shaped books that work perfectly. I've noticed James Sime keeps a copy of the ever-glorious 1000 Steps To World Domination in the Isotope staff bathroom, and I salute his choice. Other good ones include True Story Swear To God: 100 Stories, which collects a bunch of Tom Beland's daily-style comic strips (very funny stuff), and Last of the Independents (mentioned yesterday), both of which open in a "widescreen" format, allowing for a lot of space if the ol' ballroom's feeling crowded and I need some flexibility in how I actually hold the comic.



A number of folks have mentioned the Essential collections that Marvel's been putting out. The benefits here are many. First, they're printed on crappy paper and they're dirt cheap so you won't feel to bad about exposing them to toxic environments. Second, they're all stuff that was written decades ago when comics writers new how to write a story in just a few pages. Third, they're all stuff that was written decades ago so they're completely ridiculous and silly, which fits nicely with yesterday's Attitude category. My personal favorite is Essential Super-Villain Team-Up (Dr. Doom in every issue!), but I've seen a whole lot of people giving love to the Essential Luke Cage: Power Man collection. That cheap crappy paper can come in handy, too, if you find yourself with an infinite crapper crisis.



And of course, I can't forget that there are a bunch of serial comics that make great reading on the can while maintaining that slightly disposable feel that removes the guilt from the experience. These can be mini-comics or mainstream 7" x 10" floppies. One of the best mini-comics I've read in a while was The Last Sane Cowboy by Daniel Merlinn Goodbrey. Trippy, interesting stuff, perfectly paced for slamming one out and just good enough to win the Isotope Award for Excellence in Mini-Comics, too. And in serial comics, I don't think I've gotta do much more selling of The Goon, a perfect book for this competition, focusing as it does on self-contained stories with lots of guts and attitude and making a great addition to my floor decor.



Well, it's new comics day, so I'm gonna head out now and see who my next partner in crime might be. Get some good ones, everybody.

3 Comments:

  • At 1:44 PM, Blogger zilla said…

    here's where the Far Side and PvP trades are money (half-height wide screen format). I HATE digest for some reason... but the tiny little Lone Wolf and Cubs are money.

     
  • At 4:05 PM, Blogger Jason said…

    Digest sized are great for work. Slip it in the back pocket and no-one will know you plan on wasting extra time while torquing the butt-cable.

     
  • At 12:04 AM, Blogger Sean Maher said…

    Jason, a while ago you asked why you could not be a genius. Today, I say you ARE a genius. Torquing the butt cable... truly, this is an acheivment to last the ages.

    Zilla, I can't fucking stand the LW&C trades. I can't READ them. Maybe it'll be easier now, 'cause I got glasses recently, but for Christ's sake, could they possibly make that lettering any smaller? Weak sauce, says I.

    A little disagreement is good for the digestion, I've always heard. :)

     

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