SavageNosh’s Words of Wisdom: Comics You Should Read Based on the Crap You Like
Comics are becoming popular. I never thought I’d say that. To many pretentious nerds who want to safeguard their fandoms from any bright-eyed new comers, this means doomsday. To me, this means I get the chance to say HEY CHECK OUT THESE AWESOME COMICS THEY WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE ALSO GIVE ME YOUR NUMBER SO WE CAN TALK ABOUT THEM LATER BECAUSE I HAVE NO FRIENDS OK THANKS
For the majority of the comics I will recommend, you can jump right into them without having to know too much about their history. In general, I would recommend getting the trade paperbacks or graphic novels instead of the single issues. Single issues are the flimsy 12 page comics that you may immediately think of when someone says “comics”. Trades and graphic novels look like actual books and can be collections of many sequential single issues. I never really liked singles just because they were too short for me and hard to keep track of. But feel free to try either.
Comic Trade Paperbacks and Graphic Novels:
So, without further ado, here are the comics I would suggest based on your current interests!
1. If you like all the new Marvel movies, try:
This series retells the X-men tale from the start. You get to re-meet all the classic characters in a way that streamlines all the complicated crap that can turn people off from comics. The X-Men are made to feel like real, human teenagers instead of the god-like characters they have recently become. You end up liking all the characters (even the bad guys) because they are so well written and relatable. I don’t know about you all, but this series renewed my longing to get into Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters (still convinced my mutant power is to find really good parking spots).
2. If you like science fiction, the Fifth Element, Firefly, or any Joss Whedon stuff, try:
Basically you have a modern story about a pair of child-rearing star-crossed lovers on the run from their warring people but set in a spacey, sci-fi universe. What’s refreshing about this comic is that it has some really great, no-bullshit dialogue and deals with very real issues. It’s also a comic that isn’t afraid to make fun of its own genre (which can really jump around from sci-fi, romance, and comedy). When it starts with the line “Am I shitting? It feels like I’m shitting!!” you know you’re in for something great.
3. If you like murder mysteries, detective dramas, Sherlock, Dexter, or Sin City, try:
BATMAN: THE LONG HALLOWEEN
This will always be one of my favorite Batman comics. When I first picked this up, I was really not expecting such a complex, well-thought-out Batman murder mystery that incorporated all the main baddies and paid tribute to the birth of Two-Face. Like, holy shit. It was as if each issue was a perfectly crafted puzzle piece and when you got to the end you were left with a beautifully symmetrical puzzle that displayed a really messed up, blood-splattered image. This story arc actually “ends” unlike the previous two (Ultimate X-men continued for 8 years and Saga is an ongoing series) so you can be satisfied with the ending even if you don’t read any Batman comics after that (I don’t know why you wouldn’t).
4. If you like slice of life/coming of age, or more “realistic” stories like Amelie, Grave of the Fireflies, or Angela’s Ashes, try:
I absolutely love seeing how other people grew up, and these comics are a fantastically enthralling way of showing how much life can suck. Blankets is about a boy growing up in a Christian family and dealing with the everyday cruelties that comes with growing up as a submissive, unassuming male. Persepolis is about a girl growing up in war torn Iran and her struggles as she tries to find out who she is and what she stands for. Persepolis really gave me a great deal of perspective on my own life. As a fair warning, the art style and format of Persepolis is extremely simple, so if you are turned off by a minimalist art style, this probably isn’t for you.
5. If you like rom coms, teen dramas, or love triangles in fantasy settings (Pride and Prejudice, Vampire Diaries), try:
INUYASHA, RANMA 1/2
Technically, these are manga (Japanese comics), but these two got me started on comics when I was in junior high. These are written by the same author (Rumiko Takahashi), so if you like one, you’ll like the other. InuYasha has a lot of cool fantasy violence as it mostly takes place in feudal Japan where demons and monsters existed apparently, so it’s definitely not pure romance. Ranma ½ is one of the best rom com comics I’ve read about a martial artist boy that changes into a girl when doused in cold water. It goes into some of the wackier Japanese comedy (martial arts tea ceremonies anyone?), but the cast is fantastic and you’ll be rooting for the main characters to JUST KISS ALREADY DAMMIT.
6. If you’re a huge fan of “what if” stories try:
SUPERMAN: RED SON, MARVEL 1602, FLASHPOINT, HOUSE OF M
I lied: Flashpoint and House of M may be a little complicated and more enjoyable if you already know a lot of the characters. It’s more of a “WHAT THEY DID WITH *INSERT CHARACTER* WAS SO COOL” than a “what a great way to learn about these characters!” Flashpoint is an alternate DC universe where everything is screwed up and House of M is an alternate Marvel Universe where everything is perfect (well… kinda. You’ll just have to read it). Red Son and 1602 are trades that you could probably pick up straight off the shelf without knowing too much. 1602 (written by Neil Gaiman) is about the lives of popular Marvel characters if they lived in 1602 Europe and the Americas. It’s more “classically” written and feels more like a novel than a comic, though the art is absolutely beautiful and immerses you in the time period. Red Son is the retelling of the basic Superman story. It’s basically Soviet Russian Superman. With Soviet Russian Batman. There’s your review. Go buy it.
7. If you’re a fan of Charlie’s Angels, Kill Bill, Angelina Jolie, or badass women in general, try:
BIRDS OF PREY (the Gail Simone and Ed Benes run)
Many people have written Birds of Prey, so remember to check out the comics done specifically by Gail Simone (writer) and Ed Benes (artist)! Start with the trade paperback “Of Like Minds” and move on from there. THIS is what got me into DC comics. Kick ass women busting crime and building character. Also, Benes draws the sexiest women ever.
8. If you like weird ass shit:
.…Wtf was this even about.
Thanks for reading, everybody. I might do another one if this proves to be helpful to all you new or returning comic-goers. Feel free to ask me any questions or suggest your own comics! And SPREAD THE LOVE, DAMMIT. The more I can talk to people about how awesome Sex Criminals is without sounding like a creeper, the better.