I don’t know why, but comic books just weren’t something that I was into when I was growing up. For some reason, however, I found it necessary to collect the Marvel comic trading cards in the 90’s. You know what I’m talking about, folks. They were like baseball cards with superheroes. I’d spend hours curating my collection and organizing them first by heroes vs. villains and then by the particular teams they were on. My collection, which fits into one three-inch binder, is still in the house somewhere. I think it might be in one of the boxes under my bed. Anyway! Despite all of that, I just didn’t get into comic books. For a hot minute, I was into manga and then I made the leap over to graphic novels, a few of which ended up being the trade paperback compilations of on-going comic titles. That all changed within the last year. Perhaps it was because I was worried about having a huge swath of uncovered territory marring my perfectly good geek cred. Whatever it was, I’m now starting to amass quite a few books and I’m strangely comfortable with that. The other day, a friend of mine asked for some recommendations and I figured this would be a good opportunity to talk about some of the titles I’ve been reading. So, here goes!
Ms. Marvel (2014 – )
When I first saw the announcement that there would be a new Ms. Marvel and she’d be a Muslim teenager from New Jersey, I promised myself that I’d go to the comic book store and at least pick up the first issue. Well, that first issue was amazing. Every issue after that has been similarly awesome. Kamala is such great character and I love how they’ve handled her and her religion. At its heart, this comic is about Kamala’s search for identity and self-discovery. There’s so much great stuff packed into each issue and I especially loved the arc where she teamed up with Wolverine. The way she fangirls all over him? It’s priceless and I can totally relate to that. The art is fantastic and the writing sets the perfect tone. This title is a prime example of diversity done right in comic books.
Loki, Agent of Asgard (2014 – )
I’d heard some things about Loki: Agent of Asgard and how it was going to tackle Loki’s attempts at rebranding. Or something. Honestly? I’m not quite sure what Loki’s attempting to do. Truthfully, I’m not sure he really knows either. All I can say is that he’s an enigma who’s got some great art and writing behind him. What sold me on this title was when they had a few panels of Loki singing in the shower in the first issue. Not only is he singing in the shower, but he’s singing a song from the musical Wicked. I thought that was pure genius. It’s stuff like that which keeps me returning month after month for the latest issue. Between Loki’s shenanigans and the great side characters and stories, this title is a must-read.
The Wicked + The Divine (2014 – )
I’m not going to lie: I bought The Wicked + The Divine because of the cover art. Sure, the premise sounded pretty neat. Seriously, though, it was the art that sold me. This is the first few lines of the official blurb for the book: “Every ninety years, twelve gods incarnate as humans. They are loved. They are hated. In two years, they are dead.” I didn’t honestly get the symbolism until the most recent issue when writer Kieron Gillen explicitly put it all out there. Essentially, this comic is about the relationship creators have with art. It is beautiful. It sometimes doesn’t make sense. It sometimes makes me emotional. It’s, well, it’s art. It’s wonderful. Not only have I been buying each individual title, I’ve pre-ordered the trade paperback because, well, the art. Man. The art.
Lumberjanes (2014 – )
Lumberjanes came up on a list of indie comics with female protagonists and I figured I’d give it a shot. Lo and behold, it’s charming and nutty and awesome. It’s about a group of girls at a Summer camp and the really random supernatural shenanigans that ensue. The art fits so well with the setting and characters. It’s juvenile without being childish. Each book also comes with a random art project you could do. I haven’t made the attempt at any of them because I’m not terribly good at art, but let’s get back to talking about the sheer amazingness of this comic. Seriously, Lumberjanes is a wonderful little gem and I want everyone in the world to pick it up and read it. It would also be especially good for younger folks (not that it’s not awesome for adults). It’s always good to start them young and Lumberjanes would be great for that.
Storm (2014 – )
Storm got her own title! Seriously! Do I need to say anything more than that? Oh. Okay. Well, she’s still rocking the awesome mohawk. She’s also laying the smack down when necessary while helping folks out. She’s just the amazing and gorgeous Storm. It’s high time she got some more of the spotlight and they’re doing a great job. I’ve also loved how they’ve been tying it in with the Death of Wolverine plot line that’s been going on. Sorry for the spoilers there, but they haven’t been exactly subtle about marketing that. It’s kind of a Big Thing in comic books now. I haven’t read the latest issue (I’m staring at it right now), but I can guarantee you that it will make me cry.