One year ago, I embarked on an experiment called 52 Pick-Up: one new book, each week. Something outside my comfort zone. Something new. Some are classics I’d yet to get around to, others brand new books a bit off the radar. But none are my standard fare. The idea? To change how I – and hopefully you, the reader – look at comics. It’s not all capes and tights, and that’s what this little adventure has been all about. But what happens after the review? Has this exercise changed anything? Let’s see, shall we?
Week 1 – The Music Box #2, IDW Publishing
I’ve read each issue of the series, with mixed results. There’s the rub; this book has an entertaining premise that allows for quite a wide range of stories and – as such – quite a varied experience. Still, I would continue to recommend it. The book’s run is currently over, but I’d support a return engagement if ever one were attempted.
Week 2 – Asterios Polyp, Pantheon Books
I stand by my review of this book. A fantastic yet sometimes obtuse piece of fiction, Asterios Polyp is as real as it is surreal, and I’ve no doubt I’ll read it again one day.
Week 3 – Conan: The Weight of the Crown One-Shot, Dark Horse
Conan has never really spoken to me as a character. I haven’t returned to his kingdom since first reading this book – I don’t expect I will anytime soon, either. The book’s not bad, by any means, and if Conan IS your cup of tea, I would highly recommend it. But this book isn’t going to make a believer out of any serpent worshippers, either.
Week 4 – I Feel Sick, Slave Labor Graphics
Like Conan, this just isn’t MY cup of tea. I have, however, since seen Invader Zim and have nothing but praise for it. Vasquez certainly possesses an interesting and unique mind – just… enter at your own risk.
Week 5 – Political Power: Barack Obama, Bluewater Comics
I haven’t checked out any of the other books from Bluewater, but I DID get a subscription to Cat Fancy magazine.
Week 6 – Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter – Guilty Pleasures Vol. 1, Dabel Brothers Publishing
Sorry Daisy, but no… this book and all of its sequels remain must-not-reads for me.
Week 7 – Mice Templar: The Prophecy, Image Comics
I’ve got everything past “The Prophecy” in my care – now that 52 Pick-Up is over, it’s time to start reading again. I can’t wait!
Week 8 – Atomic Robo: Revenge of the Vampire Dimension, Red 5 Comics
Atomic Robo is one of those characters I completely forget about… then I see a new issue and realize I’ve missed two. The difference between Robo and most such books? I immediately find those missing issues and get to reading!
Week 9 – Broken Trinity: Pandora’s Box #1, Top Cow
Broken Trinity and Artifacts are both on my pull list to the end. These are good goddamned comics.
Week 10 – Sparta, USA #1, Wildstorm
Yeah… still no.
Week 11 – The Waking #1, Zenescope
I haven’t checked out any of Zenescope’s futher offerings, but it doesn’t mean I wouldn’t if one caught my eye.
Week 12 – Mythoi Birth: Taros, Semantink
Mythoi is only going to gain steam when its new artist hits, and soon, you’ll all be clamoring for Birth and the first few ongoing issues, to fill in the gaps in your collection. Get them now, and get on board one of the most entertaining tales of deities and demons out there.
Week 13 – Chew #1, Image
I’ve yet to work up an appetite for more Chew. But, again, I’ll have a bit more time on my hands now… maybe it’s time for dessert.
Week 14 – God of War #1, Wildstorm
“To be honest, I completely forgot about this book. That’s probably not exactly a ringing endorsement.” Yeah… it happened again. I wonder if the book’s wrapped up yet.
Week 15 – Kill Shakespeare #1, IDW Publishing
I can’t lie… with all of the other books I was reading, Kill Shakespeare got cut from my pull list. I suspect, however, it’ll read even better in trade.
Week 16 – Hellcyon #1, Dark Horse
I saw a book the other day called “Halcyon” and actually thought it was this. Started flipping through, realized they were different things, and put it down. I should point out… I was flipping through out of morbid curiosity, not genuine interest.
Week 17 – Cowboy Ninja Viking #1, Image
Jose loves this book. I do not.
Week 18 – Sky Doll #1, Marvel
Sky Doll having been a Soleil joint is what drew me to The Song of Excalibur. That should speak volumes as to how much I enjoy this property, even if I don’t always know what’s going on.
Week 19 – Bram Stoker’s Death Ship: The Last Voyage of the Demeter #1, IDW
In the end, this was a fine series, and an interesting departure from my norm, but nothing essential.
Week 20 - RASL, Cartoon Books
I haven’t gone back to Smith’s works yet, and I’m not sure I will. When reading similarly outlandish books, I always think of RASL with a bad taste in my mouth, and that’s more than likely enough to keep me at bay.
Week 21 – My?tery Society #1, IDW Publishing
My?stery Society was a fantastic read. If you didn’t get it, track it down. What a fun story, top to bottom.
Week 22 - Cowboys & Aliens, Platinum Studios Comics
The movie’s trailer has me hooked, despite my lukewarm feelings towards the book. If you see the film and love it, you may want to track this down to see the source material. Or, you may want to forget about it completely, and leave your movie going experience untainted.
Week 23 - Days Missing, Archaia Comics
Brilliant. Simply brilliant.
Week 24 – The Stuff of Legend – Volume I: The Dark, Th3rd World Studios
The Stuff of Legend was the best thing I read in 2010, and may well retain that mantle in 2011. It’s just that good. Find it. Read it. Love it.
I haven’t checked out the second volume yet, but I have it, waiting for a day when I’m looking for something a little less light.
Week 27 – Star Trek: Leonard McCoy, Frontier Doctor, IDW Publishing
What a joy this series proved to be. I haven’t gone back to any other Star Trek comics, but I’d read a second volume of this if it were developed!
Week 28 – Captain Swing and the Electrical Pirates of Cindery Island #1, Avatar Press
Pretty sure this only ever made it to two issues. Damned shame.
Week 29 - Muppet Robin Hood, Boom! Kids
I haven’t dared read any other of the Muppet books, so unpleasant was my experience here.
Week 30 – Zombies vs. Cheerleaders, Moonstone
I was sent the follow up to this book. It was far more tongue-in-cheek and hit a lot more of the high notes I feel the first installment was going for. If Moonstone publishes something of interest? Yeah, I’ll check it out.
Week 31 – Demo vol. 2 #1-3, Vertigo
I still never went back to the first volume of Demo; maybe… some day.
Week 32 – Philip K. Dick’s Electric Ant #1-3, Marvel
Despite its flaws, this is a book I think back on with almost nothing but fondness. It’s the sort of story that, as the details blur in your mind, you begin to appreciate the big picture more and more.
Week 33 – Yours Truly, Jack the Ripper #1, IDW Publishing
I… don’t even remember having read this. ::shrugs::
Week 34 – Yaku
I don’t know if any more of Yaku’s exploits have seen print, but I haven’t gone looking for them, either.
Week 35 - I Killed Adolf Hitler, Fantagraphics
Unique and entertaining, this will be one of the books I think of when I think back on 52 Pick-Up.
Week 36 – Helen Killer, Arcana Comics
I loved it. Unabashedly. Hope we get more of it, or something similar at least.
Week 37 – Castlevania: The Belmont Legacy, IDW Publishing
Week 38 – Anna Mercury, Avatar Press
Anna Mercury will appeal to fans of both Aeon Flux and Aeon Flux: The movie. Seriously, though, if dystopian sci-fi is your cup of tea, then pour yourself a cup of some of the best Ellis has to offer.
Week 39 – Emitown, Image Comics
This still isn’t the kind of thing I really have any interest in, but it’s there for those who do, and presented well enough to make it worth checking out.
Week 40 – Scud – The Disposable Assassin, Fireman Press Ltd.
Ahhhh, Scud… upon further investigation, this story certainly has its charm.
Week 41 and 42 – Tron: The Betrayal #1 (of 2), Marvel Comics and Warlord of Mars #1, Dynamite Entertainment
I’ve now seen both Tron movies and The Betrayal’s role in bridging the gap is appreciated – though it DOES take the steam out of certain reveals from the new film. As for Warlord of Mars, I have NOT read on.
Week 43 – Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II, Dark Horse Comics
If you love Star Wars comics, check it out. If you don’t? Well, this wasn’t MY gateway drug. Doubt it would be yours.
Week 44 – Superman: Earth One, DC Comics
Nothing anyone said has made me change my mind: a fine story on its own, it fails in doing what it was meant to. I may check out future installments out of sheer curiosity, but it will be less for what this was, and more for what I hope they WILL be.
Week 45 – The Unwritten, Vertigo Comics
I’ve got all of the issues up to current waiting for me, it’s just another case of finding the time.
Week 46 – Echoes, Top Cow Publishing
The first issue sold out. I’m not at all surprised. Read. this. book.
Week 47 – Tracker, Top Cow Publishing and Heroes & Villains Entertainment
Underwhelming at best, Tracker had little impact on me as a whole.
Week 48 – X’ed Out, Pantheon Books
I’m nervously awaiting reading the second installment of this tale. I have NO idea what to expect.
Week 49 – Twenty-Seven, Image Comics
I’m intrigued enough to want more; that should say something.
Week 50 – Digital Visions #4, Visionary Comics
I may revisit Cabra Cini at some point. The others? Probably not.
Week 51 – The Song of Excalibur, Soleil
I really hope further adventures see print, but if not, I’m happy with what we’ve been given.
Week 52 – Motel Art Improvement Service, Dark Horse Books
I WILL be tracking down Shutterbug Follies. This was great.
… so, here’s the end result to this whole experiment. Completely independent of what I thought of any one of these books, I’d say 52 Pick-Up was a total success. It’s gotten me looking at everything on the shelf, and considering each and every book on its own merits – not just whether or not there’s an “X” featured prominently in the title. Not every new adventure will have a happy ending, but the simple fact is that the book I most look forward to each month is The Stuff of Legend.
I am a changed man – a born again comic fan preaching to anyone who will listen. I’m talking about throwing out your preconceived notions. I’m talking about broadening your horizons. I’m talking about FUCKING COMICS! Can I get a hell yeah!?
What about you, PoP!ulation? Did you take the challenge? Do you disagree with any of my findings? And do you still have some suggestions for where my new adventures should lead me?