Read These Comics: Courtesy, Your Friendly Neighborhood Valkyrie

Staying up to date on ongoing series is a significant part of my job, as is sharing my recommendations, but why should the customers who set foot in the shop be the only ones to benefit from my discoveries?

 

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Instead of fighting it, I’ve decided to embrace the fact that comics and comic book-related things are taking over my life. While it’s always exciting to get in at the start of something I hope will be huge, working at Golden Apple also means I sometimes  stumble over older gems I never knew existed. Hopefully my discoveries will lead someone else to new treasures. Here are some of the comics I’m currently digging:

(Don’t really understand what I’m talking about? Try this primer for a simple introduction to comic book lingo.)

Graphic Novels:

  • RUNAWAYS (Marvel) – The first book in one of Joss Whedon‘s favorite series has been out of print for some time, but now the entire 18-issue first arc is available (with the second volume due out in November), and it’s wonderful. Brian K. Vaughn (Saga) introduces us to the Runaways, six wonderfully individual and memorable teens who discover their parents belong to a supervillain cabal. From mad scientists to evil mystics, unfriendly aliens to crime lords, all the best kinds of supervillainy are represented by the Pride. Too bad the kids don’t want to be bad guys, so they react in the most teenagerish way possible: they rebel…by becoming heroes. Plus, there’s a genetically engineered velociraptor from the 87th century.

Ongoing Series:

  • THE WICKED AND THE DIVINE (Image) – After a stellar turn on Young Avengers, Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie reteam for this series about a 90-year cycle wherein twelve young people are given the powers and personas of gods – with the catch that they only get two years to enjoy it before they go boom. It’s smart, sharp, and bold with beautiful art and a brilliant colorist. If you love mythology, music, or making fun of celebrity culture, you’ll love the series Twitter calls ‘WicDiv.’ (‘Cause the full title makes a lousy hashtag.)
  • LAZARUS (Image) – In Lazarus Greg Rucka has divided the planet amongst families (including our ‘protagonists’ the Carlyles) who rule their lands like old-fashioned lords with new-fashioned tech. Outside the families themselves, being a serf for the family is about the best anyone can hope for, and recent issues have done a great job delving deeper into the structure of the society while still focusing on character. The titular character is Forever Carlyle, a woman who repeatedly rises from the dead, part of the job as her family’s chief protector. She’s tough, loyal, and intelligent, but she might not be the unquestioning killing machine she’s supposed to be, and she might not be a Carlyle at all.
  • ROCKET RACCOON (Marvel) – I read the first issue before I saw Guardians of the Galaxy, but loved the second issue even more. Very funny, lovely art style, an excellent adventure for those, like me, who wanted Guardians to just keep going.

Single Issue Shout-outs:

  • BODIES #1 (Vertigo) – Four time periods. Four crime scenes. One body. While the premise is a hook, what I especially love about Si Spencer’s story is the use of different artists to denote the different eras, and the complex characters, including an amnesiac in the future, and a female Muslim detective in 2014.
  • HAWKEYE #19 (Marvel) – After a long gap, Matt Fraction and Dave Aja finally returned Hawkguy to us with this stand-out issue wherein Clint Barton has been deafened by the brutal events of issue #15, and struggles with communication. Much like the ‘Pizza Dog’ issue of Hawkeye, where we got to see the world from Lucky the dog’s point of view, this issue is largely without words, and features an ambitious use of American Sign Language.
  • MS. MARVEL #6 (Marvel) – My favorite issue so far of the wonderful Ms. Marvel featuring teen superhero Kamala Khan. She bumps into Wolverine while investigating a bad guy and turns into a major fangirl. Also, there are sewer alligators. Can’t beat sewer alligators.

Gem of the Week:

  • FIVE FISTS OF SCIENCE (Image) – Published in 2012, I stumbled across this alternate history story by Matt Fraction (Hawkeye, Sex Criminals) while restocking shelves and it was love at first sight. Apparently Mark Twain and Nikola Tesla were real bros, and in this one-shot graphic novel, Twain decides that the solution to the world’s constant wars is mutually assured destruction – in the form of a Tesla-designed Jaeger suit. Also includes Tesla fighting crime on the streets of New York using alternating current, a constant refrain of ‘For Science!’, and a badass Austrian baroness.

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