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The 2016 Comic pull list.

I, Michael Ryan, read a lot of comics. So much that I have a “Pull list” where my local comic store, each week, sets aside all the comics I subscribe to so that I do not miss any issues on days when I can’t get there on Wednesday. My pull list on file was full of titles I no longer care for, ones that aren’t worth the money, and ones which ceased to exist, so I went and re-wrote it. So now, with you, I will look at my pull list to examine why I read each of the titles where I gamble roughly $4 a month that this or that book will be worthwhile.

Uh, almost every one of these descriptions includes a reference to some other comic. So it will help you understand this all if you are well versed in comics and their authors, but if you aren’t then I would like to think in most instances you will be able to understand me from context.

Robin: Son Of Batman
Peter Tomasi’s run on Batman & Robin was the overlooked gem of the new 52. Weaving though whatever events, gorgeous artwork, developing Damian and having a lot of fun guest stars. Now the artists has become the writer and after years of working with Tomasi he’s learned enough to keep the pace. Although with Damian’s sidekick being a giant orange monster the book is distinctly more unhinged than it was before, but that’s fine, Robin riding a pet Kaiju is cool.

plist1aWe Are Robin
Robin is my favorite character, and I like Do-it-yourself teen superheroes, so this book is here for me. After “The Movement” and “The Green Team” are already forgotten I don’t realistically expect this book to last more than 12 issues, but it could be fun. Weirdly the book’s biggest problem right now is the coloring is too murky and the handful of new characters need to beome distinguished from each other instead of acting as a herd.

Snyder’s run on Batman now in it’s “sans-Bruce” phase- I wonder if all the longer runs on Batman eventually pull off the same idea? It’s not the first time Bruce has gone MIA and had a substitute. It’s not even the third time. So I’m wondering how this will play out. Will it be a favorite like the Court Of Owls story-line, or will it outstay its novelty like Year Zero did?

Detective Comics
Francis Manapul’s run had some amazing art but the story never really did anything cool. Now Peter Tomasi is proven to write fun, energetic comics, and it’s nice that DC is getting mileage out of the current Jim Gordon as Batman status quo before Bruce returns.


I was hoping it would be ‘Final Crisis DC’s Big Deal Thing’. Instead it was more like ‘Seven Soldiers Morrison Playing On The Fringes’. That said, it was all very fun to read his trying to push conceptual scale to the psychedellic level. I want more playing around in the alternate earths. Take Marvel’s Exiles series, push it into DC, and give it some LSD, and that’s Multiversity. Maybe it takes some waiting, but it’s worth it.

Earth-2: Society
In the original Earth-2 it was nice to see the story of a whole world in a single book, and without the usual Trinity standing around. I understand why it was upgraded to a weekly event but Earth-2 World’s End felt like 24 issues of Things Just Get Worse with diminishing art quality. Thankfully the new book with the remnants of humanity rebuilding on a world (leftover from the terrible Covergence event) quickly came back into form.

With Batgirl’s success paving a way for the Tumblr generation of readers, I like to think this book manages to stay bearable because it’s actually a remake of a seventies comic I would have loved to read if I was born in time. The book is so over-the-top with its messages it’s almost anti-subtle but still earnest. Apparently it’s not selling but DC is letting it survive because they know it can be something good to have in stock when election season hits.

Static Shock
It’s on my pull list, if DC isn’t embarrassed to not be publishing a Static title, they should be. But a Web-series is coming so that might jump-start a print title.

The flagship of the Valiant line which actually isn’t currently solicited. When Valiant was releasing a shared-universe line of comics I hopped on Harbinger, and I was well rewarded. With Valiant having movies coming up, I’m sure it will be back soon.

Quantum & Woody
I can’t believe that this book (when Valiant remembers to publish it) is part of the shared universe. It’s crazy but just restrained enough that it doesn’t dislodge the events of neighboring titles, it feels like Nextwave but without the whole “Haha, internet is funny” thing Nextwave had. Now come on Valiant, get Magnus: Robot Fighter back on the scene.

Cable & Deadpool
Wait this is only, like, three issues? Damn.
As a wee lad I liked Cable since he had the biggest guns. As an older fellow I like him because of his colossal power which is kept in check because due to a constant internal struggle. Deadpool’s page-by-page thinking works with Cable’s cold grimness. A lot of people won’t give Cable a chance. And a lot of people who do; aren’t able to figure him out. It’s nice to know I’m better than both of those kind of people.

plist4aIron Fist
…Is not currently solicited! But Marvel’s Daredevil series on Netflix really got me hyped for Iron Fist, so on the assumption a comic is coming, this is on my list. I ought to read the collections of Matt Fraction‘s run some time.

Is.. perhaps over? The writer was promoted to taking Magneto to Uncanny X-Men, apparently abandoning his developing plot-line but now being allowed to play with other characters. Tragically I won’t be reading that because Greg Land is the artist.

It’s Mark Waid,  sometimes he’s astounding (Kingdom Come, The Flash), and sometimes he’s not (Red Circle’s The Fox, Incredible Hulk). But I love me some Lady-Thor and I want to support Miles and if anybody can get me to start liking the new Nova, it’s the made who made me love 20 Legion Of Superheros characters in four issues. (circa 2004).

Squadron Supreme
Well it’s Toronto homeboy and convention staple Leonard Kirk on art, that’s cool. James Robinson did a great not-quite-DC universe when he started Earth-2. Let’s see if he can do it again. But in the back of my head some part of me will be whispering memories of Cry For Justice to me.

He does whatever a Spider Can. Dan Slott gets Spiderman, it’s a mix of sensational fun, tense drama, and friendly yuks. I really ought to write a big piece on why Superior Spider-Man totally was a great redemption story. (I… think I’m missing a couple Spider-Verse issues though) I completely support Miles Morales, but I’m not going to suddenly start reading his book just because he’s in this universe.

Dan Abnett is a solid writer. I read all that Annihilation stuff, it’s cool. Once he replied to an e-mail I sent him!. I also read all of Greg Pak’s exceptional run on Hercules (and not-exceptional run when it was just ‘Herc’). So maybe it can be fun again. Dan Abnett knows how to reach into the corners of the Marvel Universe and bring the best sides of C-listers into the spotlight, which will likely give Hercules a fun supporting cast. Although if the first few issues aren’t outrageous, I might swap this subscription in favor of Totally Awesome Hulk.

Squirrel Girl
A rare instance of me jumping onto a book, I skipped all of the original run on this title since I figured I had sufficient Ryan North in my life because of his run on Adventure Time. But even I can give in to peer pressure and also support a local author.

Editor’s note: Squirrel girl reminds me of the joke comics Bart Simpson would make fun of Milhouse or Martin for reading

So the first few issues weren’t on fire like Journey Into Mystery was. They weren’t bad, and Angela went on a whole adventure seemingly not as a bad person, but still a huge jerk with a major moral journey to go on before she’s anything close to Avengers material. So now she’s the queen of Hel, somehow. And she’s now wearing pants which messes up my plans to cosplay as her. I’m reading this as a fan of Thor and supporting women in comics, but so far this book needs something to spice up how grim it is. Like Squirrel Girl showing up.

I loved “Thor: God Of Thunder” and while the first chapter of this saga wan’t subtle, the action delivered and I appreciate the main character’s insecurity in her new role, even if the Thor/Odinson distinction is a grammatical bother. It’s just a shame that a major story point happened in the lackluster “Original Sin” miniseries.

Okay, Agent Of Asgard was fun but warrants me rereading the title to actually be able to figure out how the plot was working with multiple Lokis wrapping evil plots around each other. This title… isn’t currently coming out! But since Loki is the beloved child of Tumblr I imagine a new one will be announced any moment now. It helps that another Thor movie is inevitable.

Sonic & Sonic Universe
Ian Flynn knows how to keep this book working, a lot of high-energy fun, a character who is heroic but kind of smug. The only problem these titles had were the hundreds of back-issues making the storyline obnoxiously complex. However a legal pout from an ex-author caused that all to be washed away and what’s left is just the best stuff.

From basically the exact same team as the Sonic books. The actual Megaman saga has been a haphazard collection of games and side-games and whatever spread across different systems. This takes the whole mess and blends it into something linear and cohesive with all the mythos and Basically-Astroboy charm I love from the games, and I don’t need to buy different systems or have talent jumping on vanishing blocks! This title is going on pause right now, but if Udon’s Street Fighter comic can endure, I know Megaman will be back soon.

Also the “World’s Unite” crossover between Megaman and Sonic was a better multiversal event than DC’s done in at least a decade.

Afterlife With Archie
This book personifies how Archie Comics became the cool company that for a long time I struggled to convince myself they were. Kevin Keller sure whatever it was bound to happen. This book? Takes a really basic idea and uses the creepiest art with mature content that I never expect to happen in Riverdale unless The Punisher was in town. A zombie crossover that makes me regret wasting so much time on shallow Marvel Zombies.

The Maxx
Come on, do I need to explain this one? I don’t know how many times I watched the MTV series (always marathon it in single sitting). Now IDW’s reprints of the series have reached the material that takes place after the show ended, but I still get to read everything in the show character’s voices. This series is high on my “eventually marathon” list, since with a month between issues and a story spread between minds and perspectives it’s easy to get lost.

I missed Ex Machina, and Y The Last Man, so I’m not missing this one. I feel like now that he’s established to have an almost perfect record, editors are giving writer Brian K Vaughan free reign to put any idea he wants into a Firefly-esque set-up and I am okay with that. Although I suspect in response to the early controversy around #12 there’s an extra scoop of Penis and Boobs whenever possible, but it doesn’t disrupt the flow. If you’re a fan of Josh Weeton, this is the book you owe it to yourself to investigate.

“JMS” plays around with darkening the Superhero traditions in a creator-owned field. Garth Ennis did it with The Boys, Mark Waid did it with Irredeemable, Millar did it with a lot of stuff. Is JMS entitled to his shot? Absolutely.

Formerly named “Transformers: Robots In Disguise” but that title has confusingly been moved to another continuity. Of the two core Transformer books this is the one that’s all about moving the story-line forward. And including the action-figures for the sake of product placement. It’s not as fun as its brother title but it still has enough compelling characters. I mean, Soundwave, Starscream, ’nuff said. Too bad the stuff with the humans is so dull.

plist9Transformers: More Than Meets The Eyes
This is the book that’s the flagship of the new era of Transformers. After the war is over, there’s lots of adventure, and when not galavanting there’s a lot of hijinx and drinking and yuks to cover up characters being terrible insecure and traumatized by the complications of interpersonal drama. This book has recruited a LOT of people to the Transformers fandom, and most of them are very concerned with shipping.

Transformers: Windblade (later renamed “Till All Are One”).
New character to the brand, new complications. A cute new arrival to Cybertron finds herself stuck in the middle of the planet’s post-war power struggles. Although the departure of super artist Sarah Stone really sucks a lot of the appeal of the book, it’s still stimulating.

Transformers/G.I. Joe
This is the comic that is everything a silver age fan wants. Usually saying you like “Silver Age” means you get a rather vanilla modern re-visioning of characters. Like the New52 Legion title. This comic book is all about an insane style where anything can happen. It’s Hasbro: The Brave And The Bold. Insanity on an exhausting level that’s for people who want to just enjoy excitement, the antithesis of people who read comics just to write Wiki articles about them.

plist10Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
IDW’s handling of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is pretty great. Again it was a much appreciated fresh start detached from the past comics of wildly varying quality and focus. IDW has a core series and a second sequence of miniseries to flesh out the world of mutants and ninjas and occasional crossovers. Between the comics and the Nickelodeon television series, It’s a really amazing time to be a fan of Ninja

While not on par with Turtles, the Ghostbusters are memorable and charming enough to sustain a few miniseries written by a creative team that understands the appeal of four middle aged working-class dudes up against spooky stuff. I like eighties nostalgia more than I like horror. And I love imagining they all have their voice actors from the Ghostbusters cartoon.

Okay, so My Little Pony opened my mind to less-masculine media than I would have considered reading five years ago. And as I just established, I do enjoy distilled Eighties. Add those two together and Jem is a pretty solid comic for my interests. If you were genuinely annoyed by the “Jem” movie trailer then you really ought to be reading this comic instead.

My Little Pony, My Little Pony: Friends Forever
It’s not exactly the same as the show, it’s a bit sharper and the characters go off-model. That’s good since it’s a different medium and a very slightly different audience. It’s light fun, but fully self-aware of it’s own absurdness. The “Friends Forever” series focuses on self-contained stories about unusual character pairings, which is perfect for fans of the Lenny and Carls of the Pony universe. A lot of pony fans complain about how long the off-season is, but with 24 extra issues a year, a little literacy gets me a non-stop stream of bonus Pony substance. Also there’s no singing, which I am okay with.

Alright IDW, give me the crossover you know I want. Need a writer? Call me.

Overall there’s a lot of titles to keep me occupied from month to month. I’m sure some will be gone soon. Books are cancelled, writers change, and quality vanishes. In their place I’ve promised myself to consider a few titles from “BOOM” studios. Or just maybe I’ll save money!

But seriously Marvel, call me if you want a sweet Iron Fist writer.

Michael S Ryan, September 25th 2015

Thanks to Squish for giving me a proof-read on this one.

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