Alphabetical Index of DC / Vertigo

Blue Beetle: Road Trip

Blue Beetle: Road Trip is the second book in the series about the young superhero, and it’s where the stories really start clicking. Jaime Reyes has an alien scarab bonded to him, and it gives him the power to fly, to create armor, to fire blasts… and to get in over his head fighting intergalactic threats. Jaime’s got a background different from most teen superheroes: he lives in El Paso, and he’s Hispanic. The art (especially the colors by Guy […]

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The Cowboy Wally Show

Back in the 90s, Kyle Baker’s The Cowboy Wally Show was one of the great lost graphic novels, a legitimate cult classic. People would pay hundreds of dollars for a copy due to its impressive reputation and rarity. (It was originally released by a book publisher in 1988 before being brought back into print in 1996, then picked up by Vertigo in 2003.) There are two lessons to be learned from this: 1. Today, when comics with a spine are […]

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Why I Hate Saturn

Why I Hate Saturn is only the second graphic novel by Kyle Baker (Nat Turner, The Bakers: Babies And Kittens), but it’s one of his best. The unusual format — illustrations in black, white, and a light sepia tone, with dialogue or narration underneath the panels — suits the conversational-driven story. Anne is a jaded alcoholic urbanite, full of wisecracks about everything and everyone around her. She hates the beautiful people because she’s not one of them, the kind of […]

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The Spirit Archives Volume 14

Will Eisner is one of the acknowledged geniuses of the comics field. While he didn’t actually invent the graphic novel (with 1978’s A Contract With God), he did make numerous strides in fighting for acceptance of the medium as an artform. One of his advances was his Sunday Spirit sections, seven-page stories included in weekly newspaper supplements. The Spirit Archives collect these tales in handsomely re-colored hardcovers. With 24 volumes out so far, giving them a try can be intimidating. […]

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The Plastic Man Archives

Of all the Golden Age Archives of early comics DC has made available — Superman, Batman, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman — the best read is The Plastic Man Archives. Many of the others have more historical significance to the superhero genre, but Jack Cole’s stories of his stretchable accidental hero are so creative and odd that they’re great reads, even 60 years on. The first volume reprints the Plastic Man stories from Police Comics #1-20 (August 1941 – June 1943). […]

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Burnout

Danni and her mother have moved to a logging town in Oregon. Dad split, and she doesn’t like Mom’s new boyfriend, because she doesn’t like the person Mom becomes around him, more concerned with others than with herself. In Burnout, Danni’s grumpy and bitter, a very typical teen. She doesn’t like her surroundings, but she can’t do anything to change them, so her pain comes out as complaints. Then she develops a crush on Haskell, her morose soon-to-be-step-brother with secrets. […]

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Incognegro

Incognegro weaves historical elements — lynchings, blacks passing for white, the Harlem Renaissance — into an entertaining, action-packed thriller that makes its points violently, so that they strike home. Zane Pinchback is a reporter for a black newspaper in the early 30s. He’s light-skinned enough to pass for white, so he ventures down south to report on the murders of black men that the white papers don’t bother covering. He’s tired of it, though, afraid of continuing to risk his […]

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Cairo

I look to comics to show me experiences I haven’t had and get me thinking about new perspectives, with bonus points for unusual, interesting settings. Cairo has all of the above. It’s written by G. Willow Wilson, a journalist who lived and worked in the area, which gives the fantastic events verisimilitude. It starts with a drug smuggler, but it quickly sprawls out through his connections and those he meets through chance (or more likely, destiny). His sister is friendly […]

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