Talk Comics To Me

I’ve never been a hardcore comics fan, but I’ve admired the medium since my friend Justin very sensibly got me addicted to Sandman. (If you have any literary-snob type friends who sneer at comics but like a well-crafted SF novel, give them Sandman next time they start an anti-comics rant. That’ll shut ’em up.)

Cover of Sandman: The Dream Hunters
Cover of Sandman: The Dream Hunters

Alas, he became a husband and father and religious man, and I moved away, and thus my entertainment executive was lost. With no one feeding me comics on the regular, I’ve lost touch. That’s true of all fiction, mind – since I became a geoblogger, I haven’t often had time for recreational reading. The things I’ve missed! And I was a DC/Vertigo girl, so I know very little of Marvel.

This, I realized whilst watching The Avengers recently, was a terrible oversight. Fucking Natasha, people. I am in love with her. I mean, down-on-one-knee-and-pop-the-question in love. I don’t want to have her babies, but if she has any, I will babysit them. I need to know her. Please tell me she is as epically badass or better in the comics. Tell me what to read.

Cover of Jenny Sparks
Cover of Jenny Sparks

Also, I hear Thor is becoming a woman. (I had a great time explaining to B how the gender-swap is completely believable because Loki became a woman – well, mare – and even gave birth in the Norse myths.) Captain America is going to be black. Apparently, these two facts have greatly upset some of the least desirable denizens of the manosphere. The wretched tears of shattered menz taste like victory. I’ll be reading those stories once they’re in graphic novel form.

What else is out there? What are some of the best story arcs I’ve missed? Which graphic novels do you think every person on earth should read?

Talk comics to me, people!

Cover of Transmetropolitan: The New Scum
Cover of Transmetropolitan: The New Scum
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Talk Comics To Me
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25 thoughts on “Talk Comics To Me

  1. 1

    ah, at least you know of Warren Ellis. I like pretty much anything he does. He did a great Dr. Doom in the Marvel 2099 universe. Transmet is just perfect. He did a book “Crooked Little Vein” that you should read ,though it’s one weird book and I am not responsible for recommending it :)

    I currently love the current Captain Marvel comic, with Carol Danvers and her “cat”. My all time favorite graphic novel is old school X-Men, “God Loves Man Kills” I also love early Planetary and The Authority comics. They eventually went downhill.

    I personally despise Neil Gaiman’s work but that’s just me.

  2. 3

    this is getting sad isn’t it? You tapped a vein. And more:

    Hellstorm – Damon Hellstrom, the son of Satan doing stuff. It got cancelled before it got a good resolution, it does some good religion stuff.
    Global Frequency – also a short run but most excellent.

  3. rq
    5

    hexidecima
    So Agents of SHIELD is worth watching, yes? I’ve been wondering about that.

    +++

    Wait, Neil Gaiman became a religious man???
    And I have yet to read his Sandman novels, but I once bought one of my brothers a book about the artwork that was absolutely stunning, which made me think I should read the books, too. One day I will have time for everything.

  4. 6

    Dana:
    Thanks for checking out my blog.

    Fucking Natasha, people. I am in love with her. I mean, down-on-one-knee-and-pop-the-question in love. I don’t want to have her babies, but if she has any, I will babysit them. I need to know her. Please tell me she is as epically badass or better in the comics. Tell me what to read.

    ‘Tasha currently appears in her own ongoing book. I believe it is up to issue 11 or 12. It’s by writer Nathan Edmondson and artist Phil Noto. Here’s a sample of the first few pages of issue 11 if you’re interested in seeing what it looks like. Not sure if that’s enough to get a feel for the writing though.
    Also, given that it’s up to issue 11, I’m sure there’s been a collection of at least the first 4-6 issues. Hold on, I’ll check.
    Yes, there is a collection.

    As for other books, you really ought to check out Ms Marvel. The title character is a teenage Pakistani-American Muslim. I haven’t read the book, but I’ve heard nothing but good things about it.
    Its “sister” book, Captain Marvel, by Kelly Sue Deconnick is also a much loved and very well done book. It’s on Volume 2, so you should easily be able to find the collections of Volume 1 (I think there are 2 or 3). If you’re willing to wait a week or two, I’d say check out Amazon or Ebay.
    Good luck in your searches!

  5. 8

    The woman who introduced me to Sandman years ago is now a big fan of Saga. I haven’t started on that one yet. I have been keeping up with the Adventure Time comics, though.

  6. 9

    You might want to check out the Preacher series. Powers (now Powers Bureau) is also worth a read. The first volume “Who Killed Retro Girl?” is especially good.

  7. 10

    oh most definitely watch Agents of SHIELD. It’s Joss Whedon at his very best, IMO. It is an excellent rumination on what it means to be family as well as being a rocking good spy story. The story line with the character Ward is so complicated. I love it! It starts slow and then the shit hits the fan circa Winter Soldier and then they are on the run fighting against HYDRA.

    It will go on hiatus soon and will have a short series with Agent Carter (Peggy from the first Captain America movie) as a replacement. you can find the Peggy Carter oneshot on Youtube and the same with the Agent Coulson one shot, both which are very much worth watching.

  8. 12

    Art Spiegelman’s Maus isn’t just a comic that you should read before you die—it’s a work of art that you need to experience in your lifetime.

    Based on the life of Spiegelman’s father (a Polish Jew and concentration camp survivor) during WWII, Maus gained notoriety by portraying all of the characters in the story as animals. The Jewish characters are portrayed as mice, Germans as cats, British as dolphins, non-Jewish Polish as pigs, and Americans as dogs. The choice to bring animals into the story isn’t just a gimmick. Each one is carefully considered and adds depth to all of these different segments of the population. This is a comic which transcends the comic book/graphic novel genre to become an important work of fiction.

  9. 15

    Fables by Bill Willingham, et al.
    Basically, all your favorite and feared characters from old stories now living on the down-low in New York. With it’s spin offs of various characters, you could be reading forever…but how could you go wrong with Goldilocks as a highly skilled spy and assassin?

    Atomic Robo by Brian Clevinger
    Nicola Tesla invented and raised an ‘atomic man’ who is still kicking butt and supporting ‘adventure science’. Here are some of the available free comics, I think you will particularly enjoy “When Science Attacks”. http://www.atomic-robo.com/free-comics/

    I also second the above recommendations for Saga, Transmetropolitan, Global Frequency, and Planetary. I’ll add another of Warren Ellis’ works to that list, with the added bonus of being free: Freak Angels http://www.freakangels.com/

    If you want to branch out into ongoing webcomics, I have a list of about 4 dozen that I follow regulary…

  10. 17

    Digger, by Ursula Vernon. It is/was a webcomic that concluded a couple of years ago, won a Hugo award, and had a successful Kickstarter for the print version.

    http://diggercomic.com/blog/2007/02/01/wombat1-gnorf/
    (Art style changes over time for the better.)

    The title character, Digger (her name is short for Digger-of-Unnecessarily-Convoluted-Tunnels) is a very practical wombat engineer who gets lost while tunneling, and ends up in a very strange place. A very humanistic story. Also, Ms. Vernon was an occasional poster at the JREF Forums.

    A not-terribly-spoilery writeup at TV Tropes:
    http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Webcomic/Digger

  11. 20

    I am constantly amazed at the quality of manga here in Japan – current titles that have caught my interest include ‘Moyashimon’ by Masayuki Ishikawa (seems to have influenced my son to try for agricultural university), ‘Jin’ by Motoka Murakami (although I have to admit that I watched the TV drama before reading the manga), ‘Thermae Romae’ by Mari Yamazaki (again, saw the movie before reading the Manga… Latin dialog with a thick Japanese accent, but a really entertaining story) and ‘Saint Young Men’ by Hiraku Nakamura (Jesus and Buddha take a sabatical from heaven and live as roomies in student digs in downtown Tokyo).

    I have seen Moyashimon translated to English, and I have seen some translations of Jin online. Not sure about Thermae Romae, but I have just noticed that the prospective publisher of Saint Young Men in North America declined to publish it ‘until the readership changes here’…

  12. 24

    Was going to suggest that. :) Another similar comic is “Bone”, by Jeff Smith, which runs along a similar theme. Gorgeous artwork, sort of “Pogo” meets “Lord of the Rings”. You can also buy the entire comic in one big phone book.

    Also, Girl Genius by Phil and Kaja Foglio, available both in trade paperbacks and free online.

  13. 25

    Just a few things off the top of my head, and I haven’t considered these in terms of the female characterization or anything…

    100 Bullets – Just a really cool neo-noir series
    The era of X-Men comics where Storm lost her powers (happens in #185) – This was an interesting arc to me because, unlike as so often is the case with depowering female characters, Storm proves herself time and again despite the lack of powers… No poor dear lost her powers, she takes over the X-Men
    The Mutant Masacre (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mutant_Massacre) – I have always loved the way that X-Men comics talk about discrimination and violence, and this story arc was probably the best from my memory for that
    Chronicles Of Wormwood – SUCH a good series, with the added bonus of an Australian Pope. Essentially the Son of Satan wrestles with not being inspired to bring about the end of days. With a talking bunny.

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