Finished Joss Whedon's FRAY...What next?

I’m a huge Buffy fan and I’d read a bit about Fray at Amazon and always meant to check it out but never quite got around to it. Last Tuesday I was looking for something different to do and wound up flexing my inner-geek and spending 1 1/2 hours and $65 at a comic-book store. This isn’t so much a thing I do, so I was really surprised at a) how much I enjoyed hanging around the store, and b) how much I enjoyed the comic. (Er graphic novel. Whatever.) Storyline aside–and it’s really quite a good story–the artwork is amazing. I mean it was seriously beautiful. I loved the character of Fray and the whole storyline involving Loo was really moving. Plus super-fun Joss Whedon style twist inside. I don’t want to mess with spoiler tags so I’ll leave it at that. My question for you comic-book dopers is what should I check out next?

In addition to Fray I picked up a stand alone (one shot?) Spike and Dru written in part by James Marsters (it was so-so but again beautiful artwork), a re-issue of Serenity #1 (freaking AMAZING renditions of the characters) and a movie tie-in of Serenity which I’m steadfastly avoiding for now b/c it has the Serenity shooting script and I wasn’t one of the lucky ones who’ve already seen it. The salesclerk, who astutely noted “wow, you must really like Joss,” mentioned that Joss Whedon was a big comic book fan and wrote for a few series, but I’m afraid to pick up in the middle of something without knowing the mythology.

Can any of you recommend another series for me? It doesn’t have to be Joss Whedon, but I do like to be invested in the storyline. If it’s something that requires background knowledge on prior events, would you also let me know if/where I can find the information needed to make sense out of your recommendation?

Thank you!!!

You should pick up the Astonishing X-Men trade by Whedon. Much better than Fray IMO, and the second part comes out in a month or so. And if you think Fray had good artwork wait until you see John Cassaday’s. One of the best super-hero comics on the market. Also I wouldn’t worry too much about knowing all the background because they fill you in pretty well as you go along.

You also might want to try Y the Last Man. Definitely a character driven book and another of my faves.

Was there only 8 issues of Fray, or did they make more?

Revtim, there was only the one eight issue mini of Fray, although Joss Whedon has talked about revisiting the title at some point.

izzybella, you might want to consider pickigng up selected trades of Hellblazer. There are some excellent TPBs available and there’s fun to be had comparing similarities in the backgrounds of some of the BtVS characters.

It’s not always the easiest series to jump in on. The short version of my recommendations list is Constantine: All His Engines, Hellblazer: Haunted, Hellblazer: Dangerous Habits, and Hellblazer: Original Sins. The long version of my recommendation list is availabie in this older thread.

One of the very best comics on the stands - although you’ll probably have to order it from an on-line vendor or directly from the publisher, is Finder, which is available in a series of self-contained TPBs. (The one exception is Sin Eater, which is one story split into two volumes).

There’s more occult fun to be had with Nobody, from AiT/PlanetLar. That’s a completely self-contained work. It’s a very dark book though, so consider yourself warned.

For some to-die-for gorgeous art and coloring, check out any of the Aria TPBs.

More that just occurred to me: Rex Mundi (two TPBs thus far) and Out There (which may or may not have been completely collected before being canceled)., and Fables, which had a slightly slow but promising start and has turned in some excellent storylines thus far.

Sorry that dental pain prevents me from providing details on all these series, but finding reviews and information on-line should be relatively simple.

Pain makes me stupid. I forgot two of the best contenders:

The Courtney Crumrin series, and Uzumaki (a complete story in three volumes).

I know there a was a Fray story in one of the Tales of the Slayers volumes.
The net seems to think it was a TPB from Nov 2001 called, simply “Tales of the Slayers.”

If I recall correctly, that one also has some of my favourite Buffyverse comics in it, most of which were wriiten by Joss and folks from the show (Daivd Fury, Amber Benson, Jane Espenson (sp?)).

There’s also Tales of the Vampires, too, as a trade paperback. Good stuff.

It’s a comic. Graphic novels are different, and the effort to import that term to describe comics is driven by poseurs who like to pretend they’re too cool to read comics but want to anyway. Well, I’m cooler than any of them, and I say it’s a comic book.

As noted, Whedon is writing Astonishing X-Men, a collection of the first 6 issues of which is available in comics stores and most large bookstores. Issue #12 just came out this past week, so the next collected volume should be showing up in the next several months, if not sooner. I don’t think it’s as good as Fray, but so far I’ve only read those first six issues. It’s not bad though.


LOL! You are cool, Cliffy!! Thanks for the clarification on comic vs. graphic novel. The salesclerk at the store was talking a mile a minute and it’s kind of like an entirely new language. I’m just fine with the “comic” verbiage if it’s definition is something like Fray. I will check out the Astonishing X-Men as recommended by you and Asylum.

Selkie, I seem to recall some doper flack about Constantine the movie. I did see it when it came out and thought it was okay not not stellar. I gather from the general unhappiness on the board that it did a disservice to the comic. Is the general idea at least similar to the comic? Just don’t want to get lost going into it.

I really appreciate the input. Please keep the suggestions coming. I plan on printing this thread and taking it with me to the comic store.

It’s similar, but all you really need to know reading Hellblazer is that John Constantine is a world-weary Brit (NOT an American from L.A.), an ex-punk rocker, a con artist, an occult expert, and a magician. He’s not a villain, but he certainly isn’t an upstanding hero like Superman or Captain America. His motives are never fully revealed in any of the stories, nor are his origins. But he’s a dangerous man to cross, and even though he usually does the right thing in the end, he often resorts to some very dark and shady means to accomplish his goals. He always wears a rumpled trench coat, and most artists draw him to look like Sting (the musician, not the wrestler).

I only started watching Buffy a few months ago, but I was immediately drawn to Giles and Spike, and I think both characters have several parallels to the comic book version of Constantine. Giles has his mysterious past as “Ripper,” with a penchant for violence that only came out when he was protecting his friends (usually against Ethan Rayne). Plus, he is a well-read occult expert, who spent his younger years dabbling in dark forces he couldn’t always understand or control. Spike is a blonde Brit who is cynical and cool, but dangerous and often untrustworthy. He gets off on playing two sides against each other, and he may do some heroic things while still always looking out for number one. There is some of both characters in Constantine, so as a Buffy/Whedon fan, you might be more apt to like him based on those comparisons.

Cliffy, you are aware that it’s Will Eisner who created, or at least popularized, the term “graphic novel”, right?

Izzybella, Big Bad Voodoo Lou answered your Hellblazer question better than I probably would have, but if you have any additional questions, just ask. The movie dumbed down the comic pretty significantly, FWIW.

I wouldn’t get too worried about the specific comic terms, because there are no hard and fast definitions. Hwoever, for your convenience when dealing with comic store personnel, here are a few general definitions that you’re probably safe using:

Comics: The medium in general.

Comic book - the classic floppy pamphlet form, stapled spine, which may contain a complete story but is usually a serial installment of a larger story that is spread out over multiple issues. Sometimes referred to as a “floppy” or a “single.”

Trade Paperback (TPB) - a square bound volume consisting of reprints of material that was original published in serial comic form. Fray, for example, is technically a trade paperback.

Original Graphic Novel (OGN) - A full length original comic story, square bound, not previously published in serial pamphlet form

Graphic Novel (GN) - Usually a generic term for a square bound book, whether TPB or OGN

There are blurry lines among all these forms, and plenty of room to argue the specifics, but at least this should give you some idea what your local sales person is talking about when s/he is talking.

I would add that “comic book” & “trade paperback” are publishing format terms. Collections of previously published material are sometimes called “graphic albums” as opposed to trade paperbacks of original material. (“Trade” paperbacks are basically the ones with big pages, as opposed to the little “mass market” pb’s.)

And yeah,** Finder ** is pretty neat. Also very bizarre.

Whee! A fellow Finder fan! Not nearly enough of us out there… yet :smiley:

I have yet to find any written description or review that conveys what experiencing that book is like. The closest comparison I’ve been able to devise is that it’s like receiving a dream feed from the mind of a very creative person.

Y’know, if you’re ever interested in flexing some outer geek… :wink:

Ever seen Hellboy? The artwork is highly idiosyncratic, and some of the supporting characters are a little thin, but it’s got a lot to recommend it, chiefly an extremely offbeat and literary sense of humor that might appeal to Whedon fans. Not really the same, but equally valuable and interesting.

Is Uzumaki the same story as that freaky movie with the same name.

Yes, the movie is based on the comic. I liked the comic quite a bit better, in part because the “unlimited effects budget” of the medium conveyed the atmosphere better than I think the medium of (live action) film is able to yet.

Finder is one of those things I don’t typically lend or recommend, 'cos it’s so out there.

If you’re into really weird SF (Sheri Tepper & James Tiptree come to mind) then okay. But some random comics/action/tv fan? Uh… I don’t need you to blame me when your brain melts.

I did lend some to a cousin once. I think “King of the Cats,” &/or “Talisman.” But the stuff with the weird phenotypically defined clans? Eh…

Sure, but I don’t know of Eisner ever using the term to describe anything other than a graphic novel. (And even if he did – I ain’t scared of him! ;))

A graphic novel is an item of storytelling through sequential art that exists on its own and is originally published in complete form. Ergo, GN is synonymous with OGN.

What Borders calls a graphic novel is actually, more often than not, a TPB of things that were originally published as comics. These are not graphic novels. Calling them graphic novels is done because the people using the term deparately want to divorce the name “comics” from actual comics, which is what they’re reading/selling. There’s no reason to be ashamed of reading comic books. By trying to pretend that the comics they’re reading aren’t actually comics, people who use the term graphic novel to refer to things that are actually comics do a disservice to the art form by continuing to ghettoize it.

Re: Finder – It was talked up constantly back in at the old Warren Ellis Forum before it shut down, and I bought the first TPB. I couldn’t get through it. I appreciated all the detail that Speed put into the world, but there wasn’t any compelling story therein, IMO.