Hey. I know you love the Marvel movies. I know you think Suicide Squad looks fun. I get that you binged Daredevil and Young Justice on Netflix. Here’s the thing, though: the comics were better. Not all comics are good, mind you, but if you ignore the source material you are missing out on amazing art and fantastic stories… and some absolute junk that’s worth making fun of.
In no particular order, I present the 7 best comics you can pick up today at your local shop. Trust me, they’re good. How do I know? I’m a scientist.*
7. “Saga” by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples – It’s sort of a Millennial Star Wars. It’s hard to describe it without giving too much away. The characters are all at times entirely enjoyable and at other’s so absolutely obnoxious you will hate them. Which somehow fits perfectly into the point of this series: It’s told through the eyes of a child growing up in a twisted, divided universe. It puts family, strange space adventures, and “Lying Cat” into a comic book for people “too smart” for comic books. Plus, guys with tube TVs for heads!
6. “The Vision” by Tom King, Gabriel Hernandez Walta, and Mike Del Mundo – The best paranoia of The Stepford Wives or maybe even Invasion of the Body Snatchers combined with intrigue, weirdness, and the Vision. The Vision builds himself a synthetic family that can’t quite seem to fit in, despite Vision being a beloved and famous hero. The best (and most terrifying) gag is Vision recounting the times he has saved the world in his head to show that he sort of thinks everyone owes him something. Spoiler: About half of those times were defeating Ultron.
5. “Old Man Logan” by Jeffrey Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino – Wolverine feels dangerous again. This is the classic Wolverine every kid from the 80’s and 90’s imagines in our mind, but a little bit more intelligent than some of those comics before it. Here he’s on a quest to prevent a future that may or may not even exist anymore, even if that means having to kill people that don’t yet deserve it. Some of those people are… Well… Check it out. I’d skip the original series. Just start with the current ongoing monthly title.
4. “Astro City” by Kurt Busiek, Brent Anderson, and Alex Ross – A lot of the comic book movies seem to believe that the most interesting question is, “What if superheroes existed in the real world?” They are gravely wrong. The real interesting question is, “What would my life be like in a comic book?” Most stories are nearly standalone arcs of 1 to 3 issues told through the eyes of everyone from famous heroes to retired villains to regular people working regular jobs to aliens seeing humans invade. It masterfully combines what we loved from classic Marvel and DC comics into a post-modern take on the superhero.
3.“Batman” by Scott Snyder, Greg Capullo, and Danny Miki – This is one of my favorite classic style superhero books (alongside Amazing Spider-Man) right now. It’s the comic book we all grew up with. Action. Ridiculous villains. Paradigm shifts that eventually head straight back to the norm. But, still, the art is fantastic and the writing is fun. This book is the perfect read for someone who wants escapism.
2.IDW Publishing – I am going to cheat and go for an entire publisher instead of a single comic. IDW has been bringing fun comics based on popular intellectual properties (like TMNT, Ghostbusters, Transformers, and Godzilla) for a while now. Currently, IDW is producing a fun series of what ifs called “Deviations”, where important moments from things you loved as a kid are flipped. The Turtles trained by Shredder? The Ghostbusters didn’t cross the streams? I would say these are perfect comics for people who aren’t into superhero comics and hate indie comics, like a brother, niece, or boyfriend who might love comics if they didn’t have caped guys on the cover. Know someone who doesn’t read but watches 80’s movies religiously? Get them hooked with one of IDW’s books.
1. Any comic book that you want to read. Seriously. Go to a comic book store or a convention and pick up a comic book that looks interesting to you. Go to a book store and buy a graphic novel. Don’t you dare tell me you don’t have time. Finding just one series that you like means that once a month you get a new book. Once a month you spend 30 minutes reading that book and enjoying the art. Then a few dollars goes into the pockets of the people making that book. If enough people enjoy it, you might see it as a TV series or a movie. Find out who wrote it and find other books by that person. Enjoy the art? See if they sell commissions online.
Support comics. It’s that easy.
*EDITOR DISCLAIMER: Kurt Broz is indeed a scientist