It’s Wednesday. For the rest of the world, this means the middle of the week, the day when the memories of a great weekend disappear and the promises of ever having fun again start to dissipate. For me, it’s the greatest day of the week because Wednesday is New Comic Day! Just like every Tuesday is the date for new music to ship, Wednesday is when comic book stores get flooded with the week’s new material. I’ve enjoyed this weekly bundle of joy since I was a little David D. Throughout all of these years, I’ve come across a ton of comics I know my friends and significant others would really enjoy if they approached the books with an open mind. Still, my recommendations tend to fall on deaf ears. But you guys trust my suggestions, right?
So, here are five comics I know you’d love.
Planetary — The greatest comic series ever created. Warren Ellis is a brilliant writer and John Cassaday grew tremendously as an artist during the series’ duration. The book is an homage to the genres and characters that make comic books and fiction in general so amazing. Sherlock Holmes, Dracula, and re-imagines versions of comic book characters we grew up with. The story is almost too complex to explain, but I’ll try:
The Planetary organization is one that specializes in archaeology of the world’s weird happenings. The mysterious company hired the services of Elijah Snow, born on January 1st, 1900 and holder of the power of temperature manipulation. That’s pretty much all I can tell you. Each issue slowly peels away at the shrouded big picture, leading to a major shocker in issue 12 that sets the story into high gear. By that point, you’ll be hooked beyond the point of return.
If you like Inception, you’ll like Planetary. They’re both major mindf*cks that leave you questioning everything until the very end. And even then, you still won’t be sure you know what happened.
Y: The Last Man — The premise of this one is a little bit more simple: in one instant, every male on the planet died except one guy in New York and his monkey. The guy, Yorick, only wants to go find his girlfriend, who was studying abroad in Australia when all the men disappeared. The book takes us on Yorick’s five-year journey with twists, cliffhangers, heartbreak and awkward hilarity along the way. Writer Brian K. Vaughan treats a relatively trite concept with such originality, that he truly constructs a fascinating new world run by women. By the end of the 60-issue run, you’ll feel like you traveled the world with a group of friends.
You’ll like this if you like Lost. The seemingly never-ending well of cliffhangers and “what the hell is going on” moments make Y:The Last Man just as addicting. It’s not coincidence that, after reading the comic, the Lost creative team brought Vaughan on as a writer for the show.
Top Ten — At first look, this one seems like the most cartoonish comic on this list. The story was written by Alan Moore – who wrote the Watchmen – and takes place in a city where literally everybody is a superhero. Every man, woman and child either has some super power or is involved in some super hero team. One important question arises – who polices a city of super powered citizens? Enter Top Ten. They’re the city of Neopolis’ police force. Each character is fully fleshed-out and three-dimensional. The crimes range from prostitute killings, mythological homicides and intergalactic mouse invasions. The “season” is twelve issues that play out like a crime drama.
If you like Law & Order or Hill Street Blues, you’ll be all over Top Ten. The book is gritty, hard-hitting and, despite the presence of tights and heat-vision, deals with real-life bigotry and social commentaries.
Ex-Machina — The storyline here revolves around Mitchell Hundred, the world’s only superhero. He’s retired and was elected mayor of New York based on his heroics during September 11. Hundred’s superhero past is a backdrop for the political stories laid out in the book. The story, also written by Brian K. Vaughan, has the mystery that we’ve come to expect from him. Hundred’s past slowly unveiled as his political life gets torn to shreds. The dialogue is sharp and Tony Harris’ art is a perfect compliment.
Ex-Machina is like a comic version of The West Wing. Of course, the super powers make a difference, but the morality plays in each issue are very similar to the television counterpart.
Daredevil — Though Daredevil is an ongoing series that has been around for decades, its best run didn’t come until Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev took over a few years ago. Bendis took Matt Murdock’s life and turned it upside down. Psychological breakdowns, crazy ex’s and a secret identity on the front page of the New York Post are just a few of the storylines that made this run so dynamic. Maleev’s dark, shadowy art accentuated the grimy Hell’s Kitchen setting, helping tell the story. What makes this run so great is the way that no stone goes unturned. Bendis is a master of dialogue and each word and character motivation bounce off the page. The end of the run brought a surprise one would never have expected in a superhero comic.
Not to blaspheme, but Daredevil is the closest thing to The Wire that a comic has ever gotten. But, y’know, with white people. Like The Wire, Bendis deals with everyone from the lowly criminals to big-time journalists and politicians. Each character is handled almost to perfection, too.
There’s the list. Read these books and you’ll be able to maintain your Freshness without feeling like you’re reading comics for kids. Pass them on to your friends and/or significant other and you’ll look like an open-minded, smart person. Or they’ll ignore you, giving you plenty of alone time to catch up on your reading.
Just Hold On, Lil Boosie’s Coming Home…In August 2014! *
Just Hold On, Lil Boosie’s Coming Home…In August 2014! *