Top 30 Comic Series That Aren’t Marvel or DC

Marvel and DC have the comic book market pretty much on lockdown. They are the Coke and Pepsi of their industry and probably always will be. That being said, there are a ridiculous amount of great comic books out there that don’t fall under the Marvel and DC banner. This is a list of my thirty favorite comic books series put out by the smaller and more independent comic book publishers.

1. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
2. Cerebus
3. Maus
4. Hellboy
5. Bone
6. The Walking Dead
7. Love & Rockets
8. The Fade Out
9. Star Wars (the Dark Horse era)
10. Madman
11. Spawn
12. Hawaiian Dick
13. Kill Or Be Killed
14. The Wicked Righteous
15. It Came Out On a Wednesday
16. Hack/Slash
17. Fatale
18. The Umbrella Academy
19. Red Sonja
20. Wolverton: Thief of Impossible Objects
21. Vampirella
22. Scud, the Disposable Assassin
23. Jawbreakers
24. The Maxx
25. Iron Sights
26. Feast Or Famine
27. Doctor Who (IDW era)
28. Tokyo Ghost
29. Cyberfrog
30. Black Hammer

Comic Review: Transformers: Infestation 2

Published: February, 2012
Written by: Chuck Dixon
Art by: Guido Guidi
Based on: Transformers by Hasbro

IDW Publishing, 57 Pages

Review:

IDW’s Infestation crossovers have been a mixed bag. Mostly, they are just okay but I do like the Infestation 2 event more than the first one. The first dealt with zombies while the second is more creative and cool in that it deals with Lovecraftian horrors.

I had higher hopes for this one than the others I’ve read, as it is written by Chuck Dixon, a guy who wrote some of my favorite BatmanG.I. Joe and Punisher stories over the years.

So out of the ones I’ve read thus far, I liked this the best.

Dixon did a pretty good job of merging the Transformers and Lovecraftian worlds together. I wasn’t sure if it would work out, as the previous Transformers Infestation story didn’t connect for me. But Dixon’s writing served the story well and the art by Guido Guidi really brought it all together stylisitically and tonally.

My only issue with it was that two issues isn’t enough real estate to truly explore this idea. Not a lot happens and this is all sort of over pretty abruptly. That’s not Dixon’s fault and he penned a solid tale within the constraints he had to do so.

Ultimately, this was a satisfactory installment of the Infestation stories.

Rating: 6.75/10
Pairs well with: Other releases in IDW’s multi-franchise Infestation and Infestation 2 crossovers.

Comic Review: G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero – Classics, Vol. 7

Published: February 24th, 2010 (IDW reprint version)
Written by: Larry Hama
Art by: Ron Wagner, William Johnson, Arvell Jones, Marshall Rogers, Tony Salmons
Based on: G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero by Hasbro

Marvel Comics (original printing), IDW Publishing (reprinted), 235 Pages

Review:

I read through the first six volumes of the classic G.I. Joe comics run pretty quickly, several months ago. So I took a lengthy break to read a lot of other stuff before coming back to it. There are fifteen volumes in total, so I’m now about halfway.

This collection takes place around the time where almost all the iconic characters were going through redesigns. This also features a lot of the characters that debuted in G.I. Joe: The Movie. What I consider the truly classic era is pretty much over by this point, as we get the battle armor Cobra Commander, the gold headed Destro, as well as Jinx, Chuckles and other Joes from that time frame.

As far as the cartoon and the toyline, this is where things started to decline. However, in comic book form, this era ain’t half bad and I really enjoyed Larry Hama’s stories here.

The first big arc deals with Stalker and a couple other Joes who have been captured and are being held captive in a concentration camp in a fictional country ruled by a communist dictator. The story here is pretty dark. Granted, it’s not as dark as it could be but this is a comic written for pre-teen boys as a marketing vehicle to sell toys.

We also have the death of the original Cobra Commander in this collection, as well as the rise of the second Cobra Commander, the man who murdered the original. Tied into that is the continued story of the first Commander’s son, Billy. He continues to train under the Arashikage ninja arts with his teachers Storm Shadow and Jinx.

I guess the best part of the story, at least for me, is where Snake Eyes and Scarlett fake their own deaths in order to recuse their friends from the concentration camp. This does a great job of strengthening their bond, as well as giving us some solid character development for my favorite G.I. Joe couple, Flint and Lady Jaye.

This collection ends kind of open ended but that’s how these volumes go, as each one strictly covers ten issues. I think the last few volumes get a bit shorter though.

Ultimately, this was another solid string of stories in the ongoing G.I. Joe saga. It propels things forward, gives us some new material that feels fresh and has me hopeful for the other volumes that follow.

Rating: 8.75/10
Pairs well with: Any of the original Marvel G.I. Joe and Transformers comics.

Talking Pulp’s Pull List – 4th Quarter, 2019

This is my personal pull list as it stands, right now. From month to month it changes, as I read a lot of limited series stuff but I figured that doing a quarterly update would be cool for my readers that keep up with current comics.

So this is what I have my local comic shop pull for me each month, most of which I will review every time I get to the end of a story arc.

I’ve broken them out by publisher and alphabetized the list to make it flow easier.

And if there’s anything you like that I’m not reading, tell me in the comments.

Marvel Comics:
-Absolute Carnage
-Age of Conan: Valeria
-Conan the Barbarian
-Dead Man Logan
-Doctor Doom
-Excalibur
-Fallen Angels
-Fantastic Four: Grand Design
-Ghost Rider
-Invaders
-King Thor
-Marauders
-New Mutants
-Punisher Soviet
-Savage Avengers
-The Savage Sword of Conan
-Venom
-Venom Island
-X-Force
-X-Men

DC Comics:
-Batman and the Outsiders
-Batman: Curse of the White Knight
-Batman Vs. Ra’s al Ghul
-Deathstroke
-Detective Comics
-Doomsday Clock
-Gotham City Monsters

Dynamite Entertainment:
-Red Sonja
-Vampirella
-Vampirella/Red Sonja
-Vengeance of Vampirella

Image Comics:
-Coffin Bound
-Spawn

IDW Publishing:
-G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero
-Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder In Hell

Dark Horse:
-The Orville

Comic Review: Transformers ’84 – One-Shot

Published: August 21st, 2019
Written by: Simon Furman
Art by: Guido Guidi
Based on: Transformers by Hasbro

IDW Publishing, 38 Pages

Review:

Lately, I feel like I’ve been having bad luck with IDW’s Transformers comics. However, this was kind of cool and actually achieved what it set out to do, which was to tell the story that set up the events of the original Marvel Comics Transformers run.

More than that though, this also gave us some solid art that felt true to that original Transformers era, even down to Megatron’s black helmet.

While this is far from a perfect comic it was enjoyable and hit the right notes.

The art really drew me in from page to page. I loved the illustrations, the inks, the colors and the shading techniques that were reminiscent of ’80s newsprint comics.

This was also pretty hefty for a single issue one-shot, which is another plus.

Honestly, I wouldn’t want to mess with Marvel’s ’80s continuity but I’d be a fan of a Transformers comic book series that was done in this style. It brought me back to 1984 and while nostalgia is a tricky mistress, I didn’t care because I was happy with the end result.

Rating: 7.25/10
Pairs well with: the original Marvel Transformers comics, which this is a prequel to, as well as other IDW Transformers titles.

Comic Review: Transformers: Infestation

Published: February 2nd, 2011 – February 16th, 2011
Written by: Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning
Art by: Nick Roche
Based on: Transformers by Hasbro

IDW Publishing, 51 Pages

Review:

I like Dan Abnett but I didn’t like this.

Dude seriously just dialed it in and wrote a pretty basic, unexciting Transformers meets zombies storyline.

I mean, it’s probably not his fault as the zombie thing has really run its course and this actually came out in 2011 when The Walking Dead TV show had just started.

However, it really doesn’t add much of anything worthwhile to the zombie genre or Transformers lore. I guess the zombies can effect robots too but that’s probably just done for convenience because how else would they be a threat to giant robots?

Anyway, this was a really quick read and it almost felt pointless. It has no real bearing over anything. I guess it is tied to the larger Infestation crossover event but I’m not sure how it all comes together and the only other one I’ve read was the G.I. Joe one. But I don’t really want to read anymore of these.

Just adding zombies to shit doesn’t make shit better. Give me a story, a decent story. But Abnett probably also needed more than 51 pages to do that.

Honestly, Dan Abnett is a solid writer but this is not an example of his best work. For better stuff, check out his recent and lengthy run on Aquaman, as well as the cancelled-too-soon comic The Silencer.

Rating: 4.5/10
Pairs well with: the other IDW Infestation comics.

Vids I Dig 074: Toy Galaxy: The History of ‘MASK’: 1985 Toyline and Cartoon

From Toy Galaxy’s YouTube description: It was birthed at the retro pop culture nexus in 1985, had a relatively short lifespan and it’s fans have been teased with a reboot or resurrection multiple times since.

We are, of course, talking about MASK. That uniquely amazing toyline combining action figures, vehicles and transforming.

Here is the history of MASK.