The Unread Canon #11: Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World

It is my very learned opinion that Bryan Lee O’Malley made an excellent choice in the structure of his first two “Scott Pilgrim” books.  In the first book, we didn’t have much ground to stand on in regards to the character-based drama/comedy, and so those bits fall at least a little bit flat.  In return, however, O’Malley gave us one of the coolest comic book fight scenes I’ve ever seen.  In Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World, however, the fight is almost an afterthought to the growing supporting cast, but because of what he started building in Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Little Life, the focus on Scott’s weird friends and weirder world just flat-out works.

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The Unread Canon #9: The Walking Dead: The Best Defense

“The Best Defense” is the fifth volume of The Walking Dead, and it’s pretty different from what’s come before.  Previously, each volume was a solid stand-alone story.  Yes, each one built off of everything that came before, and did so VERY, very well… but they were nonetheless essentially standalone stories.  You could conceivably read, enjoy and understand “Safety Behind Bars” without having read “Days Gone Bye” or continuing on to “The Heart’s Desire”, and while you’d miss out on some interesting and important character development, I think you’d find each story enjoyable in its own right.  But while “The Best Defense” is an engaging, enjoyable read, it’s also almost purely wrap-up from the previous arc and set-up for the next one.

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The Unread Canon #8: Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Little Life

Everyone has a set of entertainment by which they’ll swear, the ones they’ll eventually convince every friend to watch/listen to/read.  Sometimes, those suggestions are echoed time and again all over the place, and even the most jaded, world-weary or dirt-poor fan of the medium has to get curious about just what all that fuss is for.  That’s why I’ve started The Unread Canon, my attempt to experience a great deal more of comics than I already have and take a look at the books that, over the past few years (or, in some cases, decades) have achieved passionate, vocal critical and fan supporters that have nevertheless managed to slip by me and to try and look at how they grew, how they aged, why they work, or why they might not work so well anymore.

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The Unread Canon #7: The Punisher MAX: Mother Russia

Everyone has a set of entertainment by which they’ll swear, the ones they’ll eventually convince every friend to watch/listen to/read.  Sometimes, those suggestions are echoed time and again all over the place, and even the most jaded, world-weary or dirt-poor fan of the medium has to get curious about just what all that fuss is for.  That’s why I’ve started The Unread Canon, my attempt to experience a great deal more of comics than I already have and take a look at the books that, over the past few years (or, in some cases, decades) have achieved passionate, vocal critical and fan supporters that have nevertheless managed to slip by me and to try and look at how they grew, how they aged, why they work, or why they might not work so well anymore.

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The Unread Canon #6: The Walking Dead: The Heart’s Desire

Everyone has a set of entertainment by which they’ll swear, the ones they’ll eventually convince every friend to watch/listen to/read.  Sometimes, those suggestions are echoed time and again all over the place, and even the most jaded, world-weary or dirt-poor fan of the medium has to get curious about just what all that fuss is for.  That’s why I’ve started The Unread Canon, my attempt to experience a great deal more of comics than I already have and take a look at the books that, over the past few years (or, in some cases, decades) have achieved passionate, vocal critical and fan supporters that have nevertheless managed to slip by me and to try and look at how they grew, how they aged, why they work, or why they might not work so well anymore.

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The Unread Canon: The Walking Dead: Safety Behind Bars

Everyone has a set of entertainment by which they’ll swear, the ones they’ll eventually convince every friend to watch/listen to/read.  Sometimes, those suggestions are echoed time and again all over the place, and even the most jaded, world-weary or dirt-poor fan of the medium has to get curious about just what all that fuss is for.  That’s why I’ve started The Unread Canon, my attempt to experience a great deal more of comics than I already have and take a look at the books that, over the past few years (or, in some cases, decades) have achieved passionate, vocal critical and fan supporters that have nevertheless managed to slip by me and to try and look at how they grew, how they aged, why they work, or why they might not work so well anymore.

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The Unread Canon: The Punisher MAX: In The Beginning

Everyone has a set of entertainment by which they’ll swear, the ones they’ll eventually convince every friend to watch/listen to/read.  Sometimes, those suggestions are echoed time and again all over the place, and even the most jaded, world-weary or dirt-poor fan of the medium has to get curious about just what all that fuss is for.  That’s why I’ve started The Unread Canon, my attempt to experience a great deal more of comics than I already have and take a look at the books that, over the past few years (or, in some cases, decades) have achieved passionate, vocal critical and fan supporters that have nevertheless managed to slip by me and to try and look at how they grew, how they aged, why they work, or why they might not work so well anymore.

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The Unread Canon: The Walking Dead: Miles Behind Us

Everyone has a set of entertainment by which they’ll swear, the ones they’ll eventually convince every friend to watch/listen to/read.  Sometimes, those suggestions are echoed time and again all over the place, and even the most jaded, world-weary or dirt-poor fan of the medium has to get curious about just what all that fuss is for.  That’s why I’ve started The Unread Canon, my attempt to experience a great deal more of comics than I already have and take a look at the books that, over the past few years (or, in some cases, decades) have achieved passionate, vocal critical and fan supporters that have nevertheless managed to slip by me and to try and look at how they grew, how they aged, why they work, or why they might not work so well anymore.

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The Unread Canon: The Walking Dead: Days Gone Bye

Everyone has a set of entertainment by which they’ll swear, the ones they’ll eventually convince every friend to watch/listen to/read.  Sometimes, those suggestions are echoed time and again all over the place, and even the most jaded, world-weary or dirt-poor fan of the medium has to get curious about just what all that fuss is for.  That’s why I’ve started The Unread Canon, my attempt to experience a great deal more of comics than I already have and take a look at the books that, over the past few years (or, in some cases, decades) have achieved passionate, vocal critical and fan supporters that have nevertheless managed to slip by me and to try and look at how they grew, how they aged, why they work, or why they might not work so well anymore.

Having completely missed The Walking Dead when it first began (and then, having continued to miss it for years on end), I figure now is a good time to start looking back at the evolution of everyone’s favorite zombie comic.  Robert Kirkman began The Walking Dead in 2003.  Seven years ago.  These days, that’s an incredible feat even for mainstream superhero books produced by the Big 2, let alone a drama/horror book published by Image.  While zombies have in recent years experienced a MAJOR resurgence, from runaway hit novel Pride and Prejudice and Zombies to zombie film mash-ups like Shaun of the Dead or Zombieland, it’s still something of a surprise to see the episode hit 70 issues, with recent critical juggernaut cable station AMC ordering a pilot for the show (filming begins in May).  What was it that has so grabbed audiences?

Beware spoilers ahead

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As a Note

Hello, faithful reader(s)!  Cal here.

Normally, it being new comics day, you’d be seeing new reviews popping up pretty soon.  Unfortunately, a recent trip to the ER has rendered me unable to drive and, uh, well, basically broke.  I’ll still be posting up reviews from time to time, thanks to some help from a few friends, and with hope, our other fabulous reviewers will help fill the void.

However, I’ll be starting another column here, titled THE UNREAD CANON.

No, I’m not talking about the canon of either the Marvel or DC Universe.  I’m talking about the CANON.  The stories that you say, “You have to read this!” to your friends whilst waving a stack of floppies about like a mad(wo)man.  I’m talking about the stories that define a character, the runs that set up titles as meaningful or important.

I’m sure you can think of a dozen… and I’d LOVE to hear recommendations.  Right now, the three that will probably be coming up first are Garth Ennis’ Punisher MAX, Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead and Brian Michael Bendis’ Ultimate Spider-Man.  Initially, I’ll be examining them one arc at a time, but we’ll see how that pacing works.

I’m focusing on things I HAVEN’T read before, or at least that I haven’t read much of, which is why some classics you might love aren’t on the list.  Of course, they also could be missing because I haven’t heard enough recommendations to go check them out.

Have a favorite?  Sound off in the comments and let me know what books you think I should look at next!

I hope you all have a fantastic week!

– Cal