By Chris Morris
Has anyone else heard of Graphic Audio? I say this because they are an amazing resource for anyone who is a fan of DC or Marvel comics, but I literally never hear anyone talking about them or read articles about them. And on that note:
What is Graphic Audio?
Well, Graphic Audio is a company that records audiobooks based on DC and Marvel comics (among many other categories, check out graphicaudio.net for more info). But not audiobooks in the sense that it’s one guy narrating plus doing all the voices, including the women’s, for hours on end. They record with full casts and full on sound effects. They do a great job bringing these characters to life. They started exclusively with DC and now seemingly have moved over to Marvel. Some audiobooks are based on popular story lines and some are based on original stories. And all are excellent.
It’s September and my job requires me to head back on the road so I need some listening material. After discovering podcasts and Audible.com, I have to admit I’ve drifted a bit from Graphic Audio, mostly due to their seemingly new exclusive deal with Marvel (I’m a DC guy, true and true. Except for the New 52, of course. Oh, and the movies too. And…well I digress…).
Here’s a short list of Graphic Audio books I own and what they are based on:
Based on popular story lines:
Infinite Crisis #1 & #2
52 #1 & #2
Crisis on Infinite Earths
No Man’s Land #1 & #2
*Notes: No Man’s Land and 52 are the stand outs here. With 52, they do an especially brilliant job with the Black Adam storyline. No Man’s Land has Oracle as it’s narrator and they didn’t include Azrael and a few other details, but other than that, it’s an incredibly faithful adaptation, one that makes “Dark Knight Rises” laughable in comparison. Countdown is the only one I would possibly recommend skipping, but only if you had to. The way they are able to juggle so many characters in Crisis on Infinite Earths and Infinite Crisis is frankly mind boggling.
Based on original stories:
Batman: The Stone King
Superman: The Never Ending Battle
Flash: Stop Motion
Wonder Woman: Mythos
Green Lantern: Hero’s Quest
Batman: Dead White
Last Sons (Superman teams with Jonn Jonzz and Lobo)
Trail of Time (Superman teams with Etrigan and Jonah Hex)
Green Lantern: Sleepers #1- #3
*Haven’t listened to these yet:
Enemies and Allies (Superman & Batman)
Wayne of Gotham
*Notes: I highly recommend JLA: Exterminators and Superman: The Never Ending Battle. In Exterminators, it’s not just a JLA story but the Teen Titans, JSA and others show up as well. Wonder Woman: Mythos is great as well. There was a time where Green Lantern was a focus (remember back in the day when ol’ GL was going to replace Wonder Woman in the DC Trinity???) and his three-part series Sleepers, starring not only Hal Jordan but both Alan Scott and Kyle Rayner, is well done.
The one hero who seems to get the shaft is Batman (which is ironic, as normally all mediums seem to trip over themselves for The Dark Knight.) It may be a question of preference, but all Batman centric books, besides No Man’s Land, aren’t as good as the other audio books. But that’s just my Humble Opinon…
For Marvel Comics:
I’ve only listened to one Marvel Graphic Audiobook:
Civil War, which I believe was the first GA Marvel book released. I enjoyed it, except for a few problems. They used the same voice actors who I had heard portray members of the JLA for years so that took a while to get used to. And in a rare audio misfire, their Iron Man, when talking while wearing his mask, was really…tinny, if that’s a word. Also, Civil War involved many Marvel heroes and being a DC guy, there were parts where I had no idea what was going on, just as I’m sure if a Marvel fan tried out Crisis on Infinite Earths…some minor brain-melting may occur.
I recently purchased Ms. Marvel and Astonishing X-Men: Gifted. Something to watch for is that these audiobooks are based on the novelizations of comic book story lines and the writer of the book might be different then the writer of the comic. For example, Astonishing X-Men: Gifted is credited to Peter David but in tiny letters on the cover you’ll see “Based on the Graphic Novel by Joss Whedon” which is the real reason to get this, in m opinion. Marvel audiobooks I intend on purchasing in the future are Iron Man: Extremis, New Avengers: Breakout (based on Brian Michael Bendis’ Avengers run when Spiderman joined the team) and The Death of Captain America (by Ed Brubaker). Also Graphic Audio has released versions of classic tales such as X-Men Days of Future Past and Secret Wars, plus one-offs starring Ant-Man and Guardians of the Galaxy, specifically Groot and Rocket Raccoon, specifically because of the movies. Among those in the “Coming Soon” section are Kevin Smith’s Daredevil storyline “Guardian Devil” and what seems to be an original Deadpool story, both of which I intend on buying.
I’m disappointed that GA seems to be exclusive with Marvel, again being a DC guy, I would have loved to hear their version of Mark Waid’s Kingdom Come or John Ostranders’s Suicide Squad or Gail Simone’s Birds of Prey. They did Infinite Crisis but how about the four lead in companion series; Villains United, The OMAC Project, Rann-Thanagar War and Day of Vengeance, not to mention Brad Meltzer’s Identity Crisis that started it all. Or the Death of Superman? Or Batman: Knightfall? Or…well I digress…
And, again I ask, is it just me who knows about these? I very recently saw a comic book store selling these and I had to do a double-take as that was the first time I had ever seen this. Normally these are sold at truck stops for truckers (and well people like me) to listen to on long drives. Did it never occur to Graphic Audio to target the comic book fan demographic? Did comic book store retailers not want these in their stores? It’s strange to me.
Each audiobook runs approximately 5-6 hours, with two parters like No Man’s Land being around 10 hours. Compared to most audiobooks I read that go around 15 hours minimum, these are a piece of cake to get through. And again it’s not just one dude alone in a room doing all the voices. It’s a full cast with an orchestra and amazing sound effects. These are highly entertaining and I highly recommend them.
Check out all the titles at graphicaudio.net and enjoy!
Chris Morris is a filmmaker, world-traveller and comic book writer who has just launched an Indiegogo campaign “The Supers: the 3rd Best Super-Team in the World” that you can check out here…in fact you NEED to check it out here!
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