When most people see comics, they think about Marvel’s latest blockbusters and Batman, either that or just the phrase ‘comics are for children’. Sure Marvel and DC are a huge part of comics, but they’re not limited just to superheroes.
Maybe you want to read a story but you don’t have a lot of time. With work, studies and writing it can be hard to fit reading in. Films and TV are a good compromise, but don’t rule out comic books as a legitimate form of storytelling.
The Wicked + the Divine by Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie (Image)
Every ninety years twelve gods return as young people. They are loved. They are hated. In two years, they are all dead. It’s happening now. It’s happening again.
Twelves gods from a mix of pantheons are reincarnated as young people. These Gods throw themselves into the public eye in order to reach as many people as possible and the Gods in WicDiv do it through music. They’re essentially pop superstars. The main character, Laura Wilson, is very relatable to anyone who has ever been a teenage fangirl and during her obsession with the Gods she becomes involved with Lucifer who claims to have been framed for murder. Laura is the only person who believes that Lucifer is innocent so she tries to uncover who is really responsible believing that in return Lucifer will give powers to her as well.
WicDiv has it’s own twists and turns. Each of the characters, especially the Gods, are so distinctive and flawed. With the knowledge they only have two years to live, this comic really brings forward the feeling of mortality. Yet despite the fact they’re more than human, the characters feel essentially human to the core. The artwork by Jamie McKelvie is spectacular and the colours really bring to life the world.
Saga by Brian Vaughan and Fiona Staples (Image)
If there’s an opposite of a honeymoon, it’s the weeks after a couple’s first child is born.
If you haven’t had the pleasure of reading Saga, I recommend picking up a copy. Saga is a space opera for fans of science-fiction and all things Star Wars. Like Star Wars it’s about a family in the midst of a war, the difference is the family is together and Alanna and Marko are fighting to keep their daughter safe.
Soldiers from two difference races who are at war, it’s surprising enough that they found each other. The story starts with the birth of their daughter and concludes with them on the run with bounty hunters and soldiers from both sides of the war desperate to end them and their daughter. This is a story about bringing up a child in the midst of war and on the run, but also about family and hope.
This story isn’t just about Alanna and Marko, it’s about the bounty hunters on their tail, the royal robot family that literally have TVs for heads and an interplanetary war. But it’s also a story about family and love and if that isn’t enough Fiona Staples artwork is some of the most beautiful ever created. Although one word of warning; this is definitely adults only. There’s plenty of graphic content, with no shying away from sex and violence.
Nimona by Noelle Stevenson (Harper Collins)
Nimona is quite simply spectacular. The art style isn’t just a reminder of Nimona’s origin as a web comic, but also sets the tone of the story and conveys the setting. In a medieval inspired world, supervillain Lord Ballister Blackheart gets a new sidekick from the Agency, Nimona. But there’s something different about Nimona, not only is she a flamboyant shapeshifter but there are secrets she’s keeping. Together they intend to expose the Institution of Law Enforcement and Heroic, and their golden hero Sir Ambrosius Goldenloin.
The further into the story you travel the deeper you get. There are secrets between Blackheart and Goldenloin, and though nemeses there’s a reason they haven’t killed each other. Nimona takes the usual superhero/villain tropes, flips them on their head, gives reason behind the actions and throws it all into a fantasy world of knights and dragons. The growing relationship between Blackheart and Nimona is just as important as his history with Goldenloin.
Runaways by Brian Vaughan and Sara Pichelli (Marvel)
“How is it possible that our parents lied to us?”
“Let’s see: Santa, the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny, um.. God. You’re the prettiest kid in school. This won’t hurt a bit. Your face will freeze like that…”
“Everything’s going to be okay.”
While in the general Marvel universe (which can often be difficult to jump into due to the amount of characters/superheroes) Runaways features an independent group of characters. It begins when a group of children find out their parents are supervillains. Knowing their parents have killed someone they run away and attempt to expose them, along the way discovering secrets about themselves and their own powers.
Runaways takes the superhero world everyone knows and loves but looks at it from a different perspective. All the characters powers are inherited from their supervillain parents. Instead of being the first to come into their powers, they’re the second generation and if they wanted the opportunity to get help growing into their powers from their parents is an option. Instead they choose the good fight and help each other adapt, forming their own dysfunctional family. Runaways is a new ways of seeing superhero stories. It also provides an entry point into Marvel comics for those who don’t want to do their research getting up to date on what’s currently happening.
These are just a few of my favourite comics and a good starting point for anyone interested in reading the medium. Do you have any comic book recommendations of your own?