Comics Worth My Time

I love reading comics. Between my housemates and me we have a nice little library going, mostly of trades. Sometimes friends hang out and we just drink some beers and read some comics. While visiting my buddy Starving down in DC this past weekend we dropped by Big Planet Comics in Bethesda. I enjoyed taking a stroll around the store, and picked up a couple trades. One that I’ve been looking forward to for a while (Daytripper, because I really liked Gabriel Ba’s work on Umbrella Academy), and another that I’ve contemplated reading (first trade of Runaways).

The superhero comics are awesome, and are the foundation of what got me started as a kid. My brother’s bedroom held shelves upon shelves of wonder when I was a kid. Thor was a pretty awesome read, as was Uncanny X-Men. I read as much as I could of those. I didn’t get into Silver Surfer the way my brother did… but I had a favorite above all others: Dr. Strange.

Dr. Strange was real fun, and totally blew my mind. Imagine someone kinda like Dr. Morpheus, but less hokey (if you watch Venture Brothers). I re-read those issues dozens of times, more than anything else my brother had. I definitely know that leads to my appreciation for some of the Hellblazer storylines. I occasionally come back to Original Sins, Rare Cuts, and Dangerous Habits.

In the last year I checked out Lucifer because I’m a Sandman fan, and it’s nice to take a character and explore. That and my buddy Oz lent it to me. I definitely found the Divine Comedy to be a highlight in that run  Yes, i still have 3 books to go.  I posit that I may change my mind.

So in case you can’t tell, my tastes aim towards dark weirder stories, but I do like to check out other work from artists and writers I like. Since Lucifer was a lot of fun, I picked up My Faith in Frankie, which is pretty adorable and something I’d never read if I didn’t really like the writer. Mike Carey also led me to The Unwritten, which is an awesome crazy trip through literature. If you’re into literature and like suspense it is well worth it.

That’s pretty much all I have for “lighter” fare, because while I’m into crime solving and hijinks of that sort I’m going to say that the first volume of The Vinyl Underground caught my attention enough that I’ll go back for more. Papparazi fleeing main character with an interesting crew of people great at figuring out mysteries, but they’re all kinda tragically damaged? Yes please. I need to pick up the second book.

Mystery and supernatural? Try Proof. Nothing like an underground government agency protecting various cryptozoological creatures under the leadership of a dapper suit wearing bigfoot. I thought Volume 4 was particularly great as it tied in to really intense feelings I had listening to radiolab’s story about a chimpanzee raised by a family and the really sad story of trying to reintegrate her to a natural setting. Well, that and anything dealing in creepy circuses is probably going to draw my attention.

If you need more gore with your crime and supernatural characters, try Criminal Macabre. I have not gotten into any other Cal McDonald stories because I am sidetracked as a complete and utter Ben Templesmith fangirl. If Criminal Macabre tickles your need for the dark and messed up, but you miss the bitterness of Constantine, but still… with a little bit more humor than all that? You need Wormwood, Gentleman Corpse. Seriously… the Four Horsemen of the apocalypse as badass skull headed dudes in leather jackets that ride segways? Yes please. Oh, and they delay ending the world because of a worm living in an animated corpse? You think I’m giving away awesome plot? Nah.

The Exterminators also did an awesome job of running with the grotesque and bizarre. Since I’ve had my moments of contemplating how the world will end with a hostile takeover by cockroaches, it only seems fair that I’d like this comic.

It dawns on me that maybe this love follows my silly addiction to somewhat ridiculous crime shows like Bones, Fringe, and Lie to Me. My most recent ringing endorsement is on the same path: read Chew. If you like comics, and you think that craziness in the food industry is hysterical, if you’ve ever made up a character for D&D that had some freaky weird power just because it would make for great storytelling… you will understand why I adore this comic. Heroes who loathe their superpower make for fantastic storytelling in my book.

It amazes me that this is the stuff that makes me happy when I sit to read, but both of the stories I am writing myself are so much more… well… clean. Maybe that is part of why I’m having such a hard time making headway. Still, I’ll take any recommended distractions.

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