Disclaimer: this might not mean they came out this year, but 90% of them did. I think.
As I wrote in March 2016, comics to me seemed unapproachable. I felt like it was difficult to get in on the ground floor without missing something, and I still to an extent think I’m right. It’s tough to keep up with single issues if you’re not in a comic shop at least twice a month, so there are some comics I’ve fallen behind on unwillingly (Poe Dameron, for example, or Hellboy because I thought I was getting into a new series with issue #1 and then suddenly there was a different title and I got confused).
Who knew that later that year I would be working for some of this biggest comic conventions in the U.S. come that September.
So now, I do my best to pick up new things from creators who frequent our shows, but also because I have really started to love these books. The art, the stories, the ability to shop in local community stores no matter where I am… all of it makes me happy.
So here are a few of the books I’m recommending to anyone who might listen to me, who like me, knew nothing about comics until I just started doing it.
Motor Crush (Babs Tarr, Brenden Fletcher, Cameron Stewart)
If you wanted to see what a badass babe at the top of her motorcycle racing game would be like on an official circuit and off, this is perfect. With a touch of “wait… is she drinking gasoline or something…?” The color scheme of the whole book is this awesome pink and grey, the story develops more and more each issue to drive your curiosity. I really love reading a book so in tune with diverse characters as well, nothing seems forced or out of place. I also really love the addition of new technology in this series, with this pseudo celeb blog cam floating around the main character Domino, looking for the next big piece of news. I love these characters and I get actively excited for each new issue to come out.
Curse Words (Charles Soule, Ryan Browne)
Wizord is this other worldly being that is employed to destroy worlds. He stops on Earth and sees how human beings get along with each other (for better or for worse) and finds sympathy in us, but also sees ways he can help make us a better society and decides we aren’t worth being destroyed. He and his trusty shapeshifting companion Margaret are trying to make sure that Wizord doesn’t lose his magical power and isn’t destroyed by Earth’s misunderstanding governments & Wizord’s old boss.
The story is so different, and peppered with quips that make you smile or want to start cheering by yourself in each read. I am truly enjoying this comic and would recommend it to anyone. The worlds that we get to see here are so rich with lore that I want to just dig in as much as I can.
Saga (Brian K. Vaughan, Fiona Staples)
Prior to my “I don’t understand comics” chatter with friends and coworkers, the first recommendation most people would make is Saga. It’s got everything you could want in a comic. Forbidden romance, characters on the run, creatures and beings from other planets that are so fascinating to look at and understand, weird sex you can’t look away from, war and drugs (if you want that I guess?) and a narrator that sometimes if you forget is who it is, makes your head tilt a bit. This series has been going on for a while now, and I’ve been keeping up with the trades because collecting single issues at this point is so beyond my ability. Book 7 came out this year, and the ending to that book was a true kick-to-the-stomach. My heart broke in 20 different ways and all I could wonder was how they were going to resolve this. These books and stories are so awesome, and I now understand why my people were recommending this. While it is very much a comic, it tells a much different type of story to me. There’s no “Superhero” in the traditional sense, it is in truth a story. A very sci-fi inspired story, which is approachable to anyone who might be as I was, hesitant to understanding the world of comics.
The Unstoppable Wasp (Jeremy Whitley, Elsa Charretier, Megan Wilson)
I didn’t realize there were only 8 issues of this until I hit the 8th issue. For me, I was excited because this was a superhero “reboot” story, with a few characters I had actually started to know and understand (moon girl and devil dinosaur appear in this, which I had also started to pick up and fell behind in). It was a diverse set of smart ladies that she sought out for her research club, and it was endearing to watch Nadia learn nuances of everyday life after spending most of hers in a facility. I felt for her, I loved watching her grow, and I cried on the last issue because it was the heartfelt ending I wanted for her. I hope that I get to see more Nadia soon.
Jughead (Chip Zdarsky)
The first page of the first issue of this comic, I stopped to take a picture to text to my friend saying “wow this is me.” Jughead is obsessed with video games and food, loves his dog and is canonically asexual. Having an asexual character that I can read about is certainly a new one for me. It broke my heart a little knowing that Riverdale didn’t pick this up, but having watched that series, it is a whole different beast. I personally think that a lot of the hatred (and certainly not all of it, please do not misread me here) towards the LGBTQAI+ community comes from lack of education or understanding of the topic. Seeing a canonically asexual character in pop-culture would seriously do us some good, showing everyone that people can be people. You can go on living as you are, and they can do the same. Peacefully. Without hatred or judgement. It’s not rocket science, that’s for Nadia.
I knew that the Archie series is something that I would like, and seeing that I could pick up issue one of this series and Archie itself was exciting for me. I also knew from general pop culture references that Jughead was a comic relief type of character, so we would get along swimmingly. Once they introduced Sabrina into this series, I got even more excited. I grew up watching Melissa Joan Heart as Sabrina, with Salem her sassboat of a cat and her two crazy aunts who I loved. Reading this series has brought so many of my favorite things together and I would recommend it to anyone who likes to see an imagination run wild.
I’ve read a lot this year, which is not something I ever expected to say in my adult life. There was a lapse in time where I didn’t enjoy reading, and I’m glad that I’ve found this new culture to dive into. I’m reading a lot, I’m exposed to this entire community of cool, smart, talented and funny people, and I’m excited to see what 2018 will bring for this genre.
Based on these, what would you recommend for me to pick up next? What is cool and coming out soon? Give me that sweet sweet recommendation.