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31 Days of Comics – Comic That You Love That You’ll Never Read Again

Our pal Seth Hahne, of GoodOKBad fame, came up with this 31 Days of Comics challenge, one of those things where each day of the month you’re given a different category that you then make a choice of a comic to fill that category. I figured it would be a fun bit to do, so here we are! Click here to see each of the categories so far!

We continue with Day 14, which is a Comic That You Love That You’ll Never Read Again

Read on for my pick and then you can share yours!

This is more difficult for me than for most, since you never really can tell which classic story I’ll be needing to re-read to do a write up for any given list. To wit, no offense to Akira, I liked Akira a lot, but I wasn’t exactly planning on re-reading it but then it was on one of the various annual polls so I had to (and then I ended up re-reading it for some other reason, so that’s probably a bad example, but whatever).

So while most of you folks can pick a comic that you liked a lot that you just don’t think you’ll ever read again (likely for reasons involving the comic’s plot being difficult to re-read, I’d imagine), I have to toe a very specific line. The comic has to be good enough that I “love” it but also there has to be a reason why I wouldn’t want to re-read it and it also has to be not famous enough for me to end up featuring it for another reason on the blog.

Hmmm…this is a toughie.

I guess I’ll go with…

Stitches

David Small’s Stitches is an astonishingly haunting comic memoir that, as great as it is, is so rough that it is hard to re-read. It is not for the faint of heart to see a young boy be given radiation by his doctor father for years to help cure some sinus problems he had had for some time only to have the radiation cause a tumor to grow in his throat, leading to a horrific operation, a gross scar and a lack of the ability to speak for years!

And that might not even be the most messed up aspect of Small’s life story!

No, that’s the undercurrent of oppression that goes on in his household, which we see vignettes from from over the years.

Small is a great artist, and he does a superb job of depicting the stark horror of his life when he needs to.

This is a wonderfully horrible book.

29 Comments

Easy this time.

Crisis on Infinite Earths.

I loved the book back in the day and still have fond memories of it – but last time I read it I found that I could no longer stomach the stilted dialogue and excessive exposition. Generally, comics from the mid-80s and earlier that I can enjoy these days are pretty scarce – and most of them are written by someone British or Frank Miller.

Hmmmm. I guess Cerebus for me. I got into it in the early 90s when I was looking for something different, and it was probably the first non-superhero comic I’d ever owned. It was interesting, but I was still a teenager and some of Sim’s high concepts went way over my head. I eventually sold off my colection of phone book editions. As an adult, I’d probably find it a lot more interesting, but I’m not inclined to spend my money on the phone books again.

My first thought is “From Hell”, which I remember really loving, but it’s so dense that I probably wouldn’t take the time to dig into it again. But thinking about it makes me want to re-read it, so I probably will do that eventually.

Fact is, since I moved my collection out of my parents’ attic, I’ve spent the last several years re-reading stuff I never thought I’d get around to again (it’s just a staircase away), so I guess my answer is “never say never”. I got nothin’.

my pick would have to be v for veddetta for after reading it the first time and so how far v was willing to go to meet his goal even torcher eve to turn him into him . decided not for me.

I had originally thought this would be something emotionally devastating. For my similar film list, I chose Grave of the Fireflies and Ordinary People, two films that are emotional wrecking balls. But as I mentally sorted through my inventory of comics, I didn’t find anything that affected me similarly. There are plenty of deeply sad or tragic comics around, but none that just leave a flatout destroyed Me in their wake. I think comics’ ability to invoke the emotions work on a different level than the film medium does. It’s the same with comics horror. I’ve probably cried harder reading comics than I have watching film, but the final evaluation of those experiences are different (mostly because I’m happy to return to those comics over and over again even while I won’t touch certain films, like, at all).

So I had to figure out a different way to think of the question. I’m going with What very good book do I no longer feel the need to read again. For that, I’m turning to Joe Sacco’s Safe Area Gorazde. Though written years after the Serbian conflict, many of its concerns are amber-trapped mosquitos, relics of a very particular time in history. Or at least that’s my memory of it. It was good to get a sense of a cultural event that even a decade later was still a pretty big deal. However, now almost twenty years later, it seems less important to the way we currently think about the world. The individual stories contained will still be important and valuable and I’d recommend anyone who hasn’t read it to do so at their nearest convenience—but the grander political landscape is too altered, I think.

Honestly, thinking about it, I might be enticed back to engage in some of the book’s pericopes, the individual narratives describing things like a family’s attempt to survive or a family suddenly standing at violent odds with longtime friends and neighbours over the Bosnia/Serbia question. But I wouldn’t likely sit down and reread the entire book again.

Trigan Empire was a painted British Sci Fi comic that began publication in 1965. It fascinated me as a young lad, especially the framing device. From Wikipedia: “The first strip told of a spaceship crashing into a swamp on Earth, the crew frozen to death, with many written volumes inside in an unknown language. Studies of the crew reveal them to be humanoid, but around 12 feet tall… a man manages to decrypt the volumes, and begins to relate the tales.”

I’ll never read it again because I somehow lost my copy. I remember all the parts I loved, and I think it has more value for me as a memory. Tracking down another copy will somehow ruin the delicate sugar sculpture of nostalgia, I think.

Captain Haddock

January 15, 2014 at 9:25 am

Stitches is one of my favorite graphic novels of all time, but unlike you, I keep revisiting it. All the stuff you mentioned, I have to constantly reread and each time I do, I get something else out of it. Give it a whirl, Brian, you won’t be sorry!

A great recent book that I won’t read again (even thought I loved it) would probably be Punk Rock Jesus. I’ll probably admire the art again on occassion cause Murphy drew the heck out of that book, but I don’t know that I could deal with the roller coaster of emotions I went through. Then again, it’s only been a year, I’d be happy to change my mind further down the road :)

If I love it, I’ll read it again. So I guess I got nothing.

My correct answer would probably be the same as Fraser’s. This said, I used to have A LOT of comics I loved when I was a kid which I lost, gave away, destroyed and never got reprinted, therefore thinking I would have never read them again.

Then came the Internet. :-)

Apart from that, I think “From Hell” would be the closest choice. And I really loved it.

I don’t want to say “never” but I have a comic in my collection called (iirc) Karma? It’s a story about an adult molding a son into an instrument of revenge in a twisted way. It was a devastating read but extremely we’ll done.

I’ll probably never read From Hell again. I loved it, but it took me two weeks to get through it. A film example would be The Lord of the Rings movies. I just can’t do that 10 hours again.

I’d say most of them, because I just don’t have the time to peruse back issues and reread stuff. I don’t even have time to read all my new stuff. But specifically Akira is a good example. Liked it, but when will I have time to go through all that again? Maybe Lone Wolf and Cub is very much like that too. It almost has to be something finite because I probably won’t go back and read Captain America: ALL again. But maybe a story in there again, possibly.

Oh, I know! I got the Brubaker ‘Captain America’ run from the library, the first hardcover (25 issues, I think?), and it was really really good, but it was long enough ago that I’d have to re-read it before I read anymore, and I have very little inclination to get it again.

I guess I’ll have to go with large part of Cerebus too. I might consider reading Jaka’s Story again, and maybe leaf through the phonebooks for a bit here, a bit there, but probably wouldn’t care to immerse myself there anymore.
But they are still awesome.

“From Hell” is the first thing I thought of. Great, great book, but I’ve never felt the slightest desire to go through it again in the 15 years or so since I first read it. I doubt I ever will.

This is a tough one. I’ll say the first four issues of the first volume of The Authority. I remember reading it at the time it came out and loving the widescreen action of the series. I especially liked how the first story arc finished with the Midnighter slamming the Authority’s spaceship into a skyscraper to defeat the villain while quipping that great line, “I love being me” Then September 11th happened and the real world became a bit too much like a comic book.

I haven’t felt the need to return to that story since then. Not because I think it’s a bad story or that Warren Ellis shouldn’t have written it, but its like how you always associate certain songs with particular events in your life, I associate 9-11 with that comic and being reminded of that day and all the people who lost their lives takes all the fun out of enjoying fictional chaos and mayhem on the comic page.

Yeah, Stitches was pretty good stuff, but I don’t see wanting to reread it any time.

Right now, I loved Nextwave, but haven’t gotten around to rereading it in ages. But never is too absolute!

Yeah, this one is tough.

I’d have to go with Cerebus. 300 issues once around is enough…

Grant Morrison’s Joe the Barbarian. Loved the artwork/panel design and the story’s inventive but what I remember is the joy of unexpected story. I’ll never get that again on the re-read.

grave of the fireflies film .. heart wrenching

Weird pick but for me it is Walking Dead.

I was reading it in trades as they came out and loved it. But then I became a father and each trade got progressively more uncomfortable to me to read. I was enjoying the story but the intensity of it (particularly the issues impacting Carl) stayed with me longer and longer

Maybe when my son is older I can go back and revisit it

From Hell was definitely the first thing I thought of, but in the interests of diversity, here’s another answer: Steranko’s Nick Fury stuff. I definitely won’t get rid of it because I really love flipping through it and checking out the art and page designs. But as far as literally reading it, I don’t imagine ever doing that again. The prose is generally pretty awful. But damn that art is so good.

“Strangers in Paradise.” I absolutely loved it and still own the second half of the series in trade. I MAY go back and re-purchase the first half and give it a all-the-way-through reread but the trades I have aren’t ones I pull off the shelves to browse through because I feel like I need to read the story in its entirety.

Everything from 1991-1996 except Sandman. What were we all thinking?

When the Wind Blows

I finally read it for the first time a couple years ago. It is one of the best comics ever. And so sad and soul draining, I never want to read it again. I don’t even know if I can bring myself to see the movie, even with music by David Bowie.

I would say I would never reread Mark Gruenwald’s Squadron Supreme. I bought it awhile back and loved it, but its something I love in the context of when it happened rather than objectively by itself. So inclination to reread it again.

Jimmy Corrigan. Pretty much anything by Chris Ware can be summed up like this: mind-blowingly brilliant but kind of like acid on your soul.

Actually, I’ll also add The Kid Who Collect Spider-Man. Great touching story the first time I read it, but in high school I actually had a friend die of leukemia and I just can’t read anything with kids dying in a hospital ever again.

X-Men (Vol. 2) 1-3: I loved the final Claremont arc and that whole era as that’s really when I got into X-Men for the first time…but Claremont totally ruined it for me when he crapped all over it in X-Men Forever.

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