Trade Happy and Shout Outs

I know, I know…it’s been at least a month since I’ve written a new column.  The combination of family and Christmas, as well as the end of our semester at school, has taken up just about all of my free time lately.  But the good news is that I’m not teaching Journalism this term, so I’ll have more time on my hands.  Hopefully, I’ll be able to get this out more regularly than in recent months.

Trade Happy

The reading I have been able to do—other than my weekly comics—has been mostly in trades.  Actually, I’ve been trade-happy the last month or so, sometimes even reading two in a weekend.  So for this installment of Life in the Gutter, I’m going to share some of my reading in trades.

Y: The Last Man (Volumes 6-10)


It’s sad that it took me over a year to read this whole series.  I usually would pick up a volume any time I was in a bookstore, provided they had the next one I needed.  The windfall on reading the rest of the series over break was thanks to a bookstore closing that had all their books 30 percent off; I picked up the last five volumes as soon as I saw them.

I admit to knowing about a character death toward the end of this series before I even started reading it.  I knew it was coming.  I anticipated it.  I started guessing when exactly it would happen.  But when it actually happened, I was shocked.  To me, that’s the mark of an excellent comic. 

This series had so many twists and turns.  I know it’s been over for a while, but I would still recommend it to anyone.  Seriously.  I would recommend it to anyone.  Not just comic fans, either.  This book had some amazing plot points in it, and really made me think about some of the concepts that were being put forth. 

And really, it all came down to two words: monkey poop.

Gotham Central Deluxe Edition Volume Two: Jokers and Madmen


I read this volume a couple weekends ago in one sitting.  I woke up on a Saturday, grabbed a cup of coffee, and got comfortable for the duration.  Three cups of coffee later, I closed the volume and started wondering to myself when the smart Hollywood people would decide to make this into a television series.

Come on, it’s Batman without Batman.  It’s the Bat-signal and Gotham City and a couple recognizable villains and maybe even an uncredited guy in the shadows who just happens to be wearing a cowl.  In the morning that I read this volume, I started genuinely caring for these characters.  They were cops and they had real problems related to their jobs, but they also had some serious issues outside of work that were dealt with in a very real way.  This is television drama at its best, and it hasn’t even been on television yet.  And the best part of it is that it wouldn’t mess up the Batman franchise of movies.

Teen Titans: Year One


I read this one in one sitting as well, but it didn’t leave as much of an impression as Gotham Central.  The whole story felt very punchy to me.  Sure, it was all connected in the end (sort of), but I felt like I was trudging through it.  And considering how short it really was, that’s saying something.

Justice League of America: The Unjustice League


This was one of those “fill in the blank” books for me.  I had what happened previously and I knew what happened after, but I hadn’t read this particular story arc yet. 

I loved the parallel at the beginning of this story with the relaunch of the new Justice League book.  Lex, Joker, and Cheetah playing the roles of Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman as they decide who to invite to their little party was entertaining, to say the least.

The book went by fast.  I might have zoned out on most of the action in the book, which means that I either was really tired when I read it or it just wasn’t that good.  Hmm…I don’t know.  Maybe I’ll have to go back and re-read it sometime soon.

Christmas presents!


I just started Superman and the Legion of Super-Heroes last night.  I read the first issue and I’ll probably have it finished in the next day or so.  I like it so far, but my knowledge of the Legion is very limited.  Wikipedia might be my new best friend soon.

What I’m most excited about is the Death of Superman, World Without a Superman, and The Return of Superman that is next on my list.  It amazes me that I haven’t read this yet, even being as big of a Superman geek as I am.  But now I have it, and I’m getting myself geared up to read all three volumes. 

Quick Monthly Shout-outs


I don’t have time to go in-depth on these books, but I at least want to give a shout-out to some of the books that really have me hooked right now.  They are in no particular order.

  • Blackest Night: Wonder Woman #2
  • Booster Gold
  • Adventure Comics
  • Action Comics
  • Red Robin
  • Batgirl
  • Blackest Night: The Power of Shazam
  • Blackest Night #6


That’s it for this week, folks.  Remember that you can e-mail me with questions, comments, etc. at

By Mandy Stegall

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