Have you been enjoying Comic Week over at The A.V. Club? Here at the GB offices we wanted to celebrate comics in our own way, by sharing a few of our favorite series and recommending even more comics for you to read.
Starting with myself, as a Canadian, I would be remiss if I didn’t talk about We Stand On Guard from Image Comics. The brand new series from Brian K. Vaughn (Y: The Last Man, Saga) and Steve Skroce (Amazing Spider-Man, Wachowski storyboard artist) is set in the year 2112 during a war between Canada and the USA. I know, you’re thinking about the John Candy film Canadian Bacon, but this is nothing like that.
The first issue introduced us to both the Canadian squad of freedom fighters and some of the heavy war machines the US has employed in the Great White North. The series has definitely grabbed my attention with the engaging art and obviously interesting subject material seeing these two long time allies at war. It’s a great time to get on board with this series, and is sure to have everyone talking as new issues drop.
As for the new readers or those looking to find something outside of the superhero world, I always recommend 100 Bullets by Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso. This hard-boiled noir action espionage thriller blends so many genres while telling an incredibly captivating story. It starts with a briefcase containing an untraceable gun, 100 bullets, and information. What follows is a series of stories and interweaving characters that turns into an epic that quite honestly changed how I read comics. Gritty art and even grittier characters combined with a fast paced story that will have you turning pages faster than Johnny 5. Some form of adaptation has been in the works for years, so when it finally does go through, you’re going to want to be ahead of the curve on this one.
Let’s kick it over to Tabitha Davis now, with another new series to look out for and her recommendation to any and all new readers.
While there are more than a few great new comics hitting shelves this month, none have piqued my interest like Wolf, a new series from Image. Set in my hometown of Los Angeles, this new paranormal noir crime fantasy follows a suicidal paranormal P.I and his new found ward. While I am a long time lover of all things weird and creepy, it was how writer Ales Kot described his new work to The Guardian that really got me excited.
“It follows a suicidal paranormal investigator around the time he meets a young girl who might be the key to the impending apocalypse,” he says. “It’s about vampires, werewolves, concrete, desert, blood and magic. It’s also about Los Angeles, about California, and the ways we define ourselves. And about myths, racism, the prison-industrial complex, and menstruation.”
With heroes like David Lynch, Neil Gaiman and H.P. Lovecraft, not to mention Kot’s unique perspective as a Czech emigrant, Wolf promises to be creepy and insightful. That’s how I like ‘em. Kot is teaming with artist Matt Taylor and colorist Lee Loughridge on this, and the pages that have come out are darkly beautiful. Looking forward to see where the gents take this one.
For those who are like me, and take forever to keep up with their reading and comics to do list, I recommend The Walking Dead. Known to the masses as the AMC hit show, Robert Kirkman’s original comic has been blowing readers away since 2003. Kirkman and artist Charlie Adlard make a great team (co-creator Todd Moore did art for the first 6 issues), and the comic is everything you hope it would be. The gore and violence of the zombie outbreak come alive (…err…undead?) in this series, but that isn’t even the scary part. Kirkman explores the darkest side of human nature, the fact that humans can become either their best self or deranged when faced with real trauma. And we get trauma galore.
If you’re worried that because you watch the show the comic won’t be anything new, think again. While the show stays true to the comics overall themes, nothing can prepare you for meeting the OG (Original Governor) bad guy. Since the comic is currently nearing its 150th issue, new readers can binge on trade paperbacks of past issues. I will warn you, if you think the television show is too intense, maybe pick some lighter reading, as this one takes you into the dark and leaves you there. In the end, either book you decide to pick up, it’s obvious that Image sure know what they’re doing.
Next up is Adam Parker-Edmondston, who is loving the current swell of alternate reality stories from Marvel & DC.
I love comics in all their different shapes and sizes, but what really floats my boat is a good crossover. Whether this is two companies best characters going at each other with everything they have, or the annual DC/Marvel universe destroying main event, I can’t get enough of characters being in peril. Does this make me a bit odd? Possibly, or it just means I adore an epic saga. From the Age of Apocalypse and Crisis on Infinite Earths, to Bloodlines and the Clone Saga, no matter how daft it may seem I will lap it up. At the moment, both DC and Marvel have produced some fantastic multi-dimension storylines. Convergence is another in DC’s long history of infinite world epics, but this time Brainiac has taken some of our favorite characters from all over their timelines and thrown them all together in a battle for the ages. Marvel’s Secret Wars is also currently ongoing and is set to change the Marvel universe as we know it.
But what interested me more was Spider-Verse, a well-crafted dimensional affair, which has Spider-persons from all over the multiverse teaming up together to fight against Morlun and his extended family of Inheritors. For Spider-Man fans this is an absolute treat, especially when you look to see how many Spider characters you can identity! Taking shows like Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends, the 60’s Spider-Man and the recent cartoon series Ultimate Spider-Man and putting them all in the mix makes for a cracking read! Heck, even Spider-Ham has a central role to play in this one so how can you not love it?
Finally let’s check in with Aaron Reese and his celebratory picks.
Comics Week is something to truly celebrate, not because it’s our due diligence as fan boys, but because we’re seeing a true rift in comics. Comics are mimicking reality, introducing a myriad of diverse characters and stories. Among them is Image Comics’ break out series, The Wicked + The Divine. Wic+Div takes a pantheon of 12 gods of various mythologies and reincarnate them as pop star archetypes (there are blatant Rihanna, Kanye and Florence + The Machine nods) allowing them power and stardom for two years. It’s a fascinating look at fandom, mythology and pop culture all blended into an easy, but thrilling read for readers of all types. It’s by far one of the sharpest stories I’ve read in a while, with an immensely diverse cast.
If you’re looking for a classic to delve into, try X-MEN ’92, a mini-series that runs in correlation to Marvel’s Secret Wars crossover. Since Battleworld is a patchwork planet of different realities, it allows for Marvel to tell separate and distinct stories for each region of Battleworld. In ’92, we see quintessential ’90s X-Men; A goddess airborne Storm crying out to the winds, a super sassy Jubilee, a disgustingly charming Gambit and of course, a forever cranky Cyclops all working together in standard X-fashion. It’s a welcomed blast from the past that’s just plain fun!
How are you celebrating Comics Week? What are you currently reading and what should we be checking out? Let us know in the comments section below or join the discussion on the GrizzlyBomb Facebook Page!
Images: Marvel, DC, Image Comics, Vertigo Comics