Sanctum Sanctorum: Our Comic Collection
This year, we have plans to stir things up a little more with our posts. You’ll still get lots of our in depth reviews as well as our contribution to regular memes and lots of lists to help fill up your to-read piles, but we’ll also be adding a few more of our bookish thoughts in new and interesting ways.
Sanctum Sanctorum is our new monthly roundtable feature on topics that make us tick. Behind the scenes, we often have discussions on various topics and, even when we are all in agreement, we each approach these topics from very different and interesting angles!
We’d love to hear your thoughts on these topics too! Feel free to answer the questions in the comments!
How did you get into comics?
Tiara: I’m pretty much quoting myself from another source, but I started reading comics when I was five-years-old. (I started reading VERY early as a child.) The first comic I remember reading was Uncanny X-Men #159 where Storm was bitten by Dracula. (I have a lifelong love of vampires, too. Wonder why?) Much of it didn’t make much sense at the time because of my age, and I’m sure that my grandparents had a good time trying to explain some of the themes to my still budding mind. That comic remains one of my favorites to this day, and Storm is my favorite X-Woman of all time.
Wendy: My brother. He handed over his collection of Classic X-Men when I was about 10 years old and I dived right in.
Mogsy: This will probably come as no surprise, but I came to comics through my interest in art. As a kid, I was only really good at drawing animals, but I wanted to branch out and improve on drawing humans. I bought comics to study the art and emulate it, too young to realize superheroes and heroines probably aren’t the best subjects when it comes to learning human anatomy and proportions. Oh well. The stories were fun.
Make mine Marvel? Or Batman forever?
Tiara: Make mine Marvel. All Marvel everything, but I did start reading more DC over the years. I’ve always felt like DC was better at telling their stories, but Marvel was better at making you care about their characters on a personal level.
Wendy: Since Marvel’s X-Men was my first introduction, that perhaps coloured my opinion significantly, but even looking at the Big 2 now, I still lean toward Marvel. Their characters were far more approachable and relatable, and with the Classic X-Men stories that I started with, Chris Claremont so specifically wanted to make them human first, superheroes second. There are a lot of moments and characters in those books that have truly influenced who I am. That doesn’t mean I don’t read DC comics, though I tend to focus on their side stories that often fall outside of canon or some of their larger story arcs, such as Wonder Woman: The Hiketeia, Lex Luthor: Man of Steel, Joker, All-Star Superman, Superman: Red Son, Injustice: Gods Among Us, Batman: The Killing Joke, Batman: Knighfall, Catwoman: No Easy Way Down. The characters remain at a distance–gods to idolize, rather than relate to–but the stories are very good.
Mogsy: Marvel all the way. I’ve tried multiple times to get into DC comics, but for some reason it never sticks. Even when they did that whole One Year Later and other universe “resets”. I just don’t find their characters all that interesting, I guess. Honestly, I don’t even like Batman all that much. (*ducks and prepares for the barrage of rotten vegetables thrown my way*)
What does your current comic collection look like?
Tiara: Loads of indie stuff. I don’t know if it’s even fair to call most indie comics “indie” because they’re starting to make such a name for themselves. Yeah, there are still Marvel titles that I pick up from time to time, but I find that I’m enjoying most of the stuff that isn’t considered “mainstream” (whatever that means now). Image started this for me some years ago around the time they started publishing Chew. From there, I started seeking out different lines and stories to read that weren’t from the Big Two. Right now, I’m into a ton of excellent books like Saga and Rat Queens.
Wendy: A lot of Image comics like Saga, Sex Criminals, and Rat Queens are on my shelf. They are considered “indie” simply because they aren’t the Big 2, but Image really is pretty big and serves as a place for the writers and artists from DC and Marvel to tell the stories they want to tell, without being bound to established properties. I’ve been leaning more toward the Top Cow side of things lately, as they seem to make a bigger effort to find the new talent, such as Larime Taylor, while still being an outlet for their own staff like Stjepan Sejic. I’m also slowly discovering actual indie comics, some of which have begun online as webcomics, like Nimona or Hinges. The thing I like most about these indie comics is that they usually aren’t superhero comics, which seemed to be the only thing comics were about back in the day.
Mogsy: My newest stuff is all on my shelves in the form of trade paperbacks, mostly indies and Image comics like the titles Wendy mentioned. I can’t afford to pick up single issues every week anymore, so I mostly wait around to see what’s good out there before buying the collected editions. The big part of my collection though is the old stuff, which is all in boxes in my closet. I have a ton of Marvel and DC from the days I used to work at a comic book store because I had to keep up with all the big titles (just part of the job…someone’s gotta do it! 😉 ). But the oldest stuff in my collection is very mixed. I had lots of stuff from Image Comics again because I thought they had the best artists (so titles like Fathom, Crimson, The Darkness, Witchblade, Danger Girl, Battle Chasers, etc.) as well as some smattering of Vertigo (like Y the Last Man, Preacher, Hellblazer, Fables). You know, in general lots of mid-90s to early 2000s stuff. Oh! I also had all of the early CrossGen titles. Round of hands, who remembers CrossGen!
Team Tony or Team Cap? Your thoughts on 2009 Marvel’s Civil War event in relation to the up coming Captain America movie (even though the directors have said they aren’t relying too closely on this particular source material):
Tiara: Team Cap, and it wasn’t mostly because I agreed with him. Marvel just made Tony really deplorable in that event like they made his character just so ridiculously unlikable, even for Tony Stark. It took me years to even read another Iron Man comic after that event, and I didn’t even disagree with some of Tony’s sentiment in Civil War. I thought much of it made sense, but Marvel made him so dislikable during that time. Even in later comics, Tony realized how much of an asshole he was and used himself as an example why people should calm the fuck down and think about things during Avengers vs. X-Men (even if he did have a “LOL Fuck Science!” moment in AvX). With Civil War, I wanted an event that really made me feel torn between these two ideas, where it was more gray and I could see the good/bad on both sides. Maybe some people did feel like that, but I never could. But this gif sums up my general feeling about the whole thing (and most other Marvel crossover events):
Wendy: I had quit reading Marvel comics because, after things returned to normal following the Age of Apocalypse event, things just went down the drain with the storytelling and resurrecting and silliness. When I came back, Civil War was where I decided to pick things up. Uuuuuugh. Such a painful story. I didn’t know much about the Avengers, much less the two characters in question, but I was quick to determine that Captain America was my preference since the writers did such a great job of burying Tony’s valid concerns under his sudden fascism that involved all sorts of questionable, utterly out of character behaviour. This got even worse in Avengers vs. X-Men, making me wonder why I still give Marvel any of my money when I know their new crossover events are just cash grabs filled with inconsistent writing and people punching each other for the sake of punching each other.
Still, I have some hope for the movie. The directors are the same ones who did Captain America: The Winter Soldier, which I loved, and they have already stated that the movie will not follow the comic plot too closely. The trailer still seems to be a whole lot of punching each other for the sake of punching each other, but hopefully the characters remain true to themselves and there’s a truly valid reason for all this punching. But mostly, I’m here for Falcon:
Mogsy: This is still a sore point for me, even after all these years since the Civil War event. I’m Team Iron Man, and I’ll give you the explanation I gave everyone back when folks and I used to have these huge epic discussions over this very question (it’s just what you naturally did when you worked in a comic book store, hang around and have these huge epic nerd discussions). Tony Stark/Iron Man has always been one of my favorite characters. Maybe not THE favorite, but I certain liked him more than Captain America. Then the Civil War event hit, and I swear every Civil War event writer and their mothers started demonizing Iron Man. He’s always been a bit of a jerk, but what galled me was that they went out of their way to make him worse than the guy who kicks puppies for fun.
In a matter of months, he went from lovable jerk to despicable jerk, making decisions which I thought were frankly out of character for him. You’d think I’d drop him like a hot potato at that point and support Cap, but nope. I believe in loyalty to your favorite characters, and it’s not gonna change just because a few writers decided to force Iron Man into a villainous role by poisoning his personality, simply to give the story “more twists” (uggggh). Especially when Tony’s position was perfectly logical. Most people I know actually started on his side because he made sense. Honestly, who didn’t shed a tear when Miriam Sharpe handed him a figure of Iron Man, her dead son’s favorite toy, to remind him what he was fighting for? But no, that’s too easy! So they took the least creative way of turning people against Tony–by quickly and clumsily transforming him into a fascist dick. I understood why people flocked to Cap’s side after that happened to Tony, as they did a really good job making people hate him. But don’t you see, that’s not really him. And regardless, the original reasons behind the Superhuman Registration Act are still quite sound, and I wasn’t about to abandon Iron Man just because a bunch of writers determined he was the guy they were going to throw under the bus.
But that’s okay; admittedly it was kind of a fun experience being on the side with less support. So fight the good fight, Tony. You may be an arrogant asshole, but you’re still my arrogant asshole.