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Nerdy for newbies: comic books

This one will be a little more circuitous because comic book story lines go in “arcs,” and they’re not all made equally. I’ll list here my top 10 favorite comic book stories to help some of the tentative newcomers delve into this particular realm of geekdom. Note they are not in order of greatness, because I love them mostly the same.

1. “Saga”

Saga volume 1 from imagecomics.com
Saga volume 1 from imagecomics.com

This Image comic has become quite popular. It’s relatively new, so you won’t have to worry about wading through a ridiculous number of issues like with “Batman,” and it has a relatively old concept — Romeo and Juliet tragic love — with a fresh varnish of space travel and magic. It’s incredibly crude at points, and the characters are hilarious and layered. You won’t be bored, that’s for sure.

2. “Y: The Last Man”

All of the male creatures on the planet spontaneously die except one man and his monkey. It follows his journey through this land of Amazon warriors and distress. While that’s all very interesting, it also totally speaks to the “woman roar” part of me. Don’t worry: A lot of those women are flawed as hell, and the man gets his heroic moments and his moments of failure, as well, so it’s a fairly balanced depiction. It’s also really cool to see the comic’s view of what would happen if about half the population vanished.

3. “Batwoman”

From comicvine.
From comicvine.

Up to issue 26, this was the best comic of the New 52, hands down — in my humble, but fervent, opinion. The art was just, wow, and the storyline, yes. Of course, the creative team walked out on DC after getting rebuffed several times on their plot. You may have heard they were especially upset over DC not allowing Kate Kane (Batwoman) to marry her fiancée Maggie Sawyer. Either way, it had a great dark, gothic feel, and there was a brilliant marriage with its plot, which was rife with supernatural beasts and betrayal. This one, with “World’s Finest” and a few others, was axed leading up to the big DC event “Convergence,” but that just means it’ll be easier for you to snatch up the whole thing.

4. “Buffy: the Vampire Slayer”

This is the continuation of the hit TV show “Buffy: the Vampire Slayer” and, along with “Angel & Faith” and other side stories, continues the events of that wonderful world. The season eight run was a little out there, though still excellent. I attribute that to them finally being liberated of a limiting budget — the whole show was fairly campy — but they got back to the roots of Slayer and her Scoobs versus the darkness soon enough. If you liked the show, you’ll like the comics.

5. “Batman” (the Hush arc)

Yes, I’m only prescribing the arc here; the “Batman” comics are fairly awesome, but they’re not for everyone. This arc was just particularly well written, and it’s one I revisit quite a bit. Lots of cool villains and heroes pop through this comic, like Catwoman, the Joker and Huntress — the awesome Bertinelli version. Hush is this stalker bent on crushing Batman, like any good villain, but there’s a twist that is executed fantastically.

6. “Teen Titans” (2003 version)

From comicvine.com
From comicvine.com

This series spans 100 issues, not counting the annuals and whatnot, and many different teen heroes pop in and out. I’ve never read past issue 88 — which is explained in the previous blog — but what I have seen demonstrates a complex plot that stays fresh without resorting to ridiculous means. Of course, it also has to do with Ravager being a pretty solid member, but oldies and goodies like Raven, Robin and Kid Flash make the comic.

7. “Astonishing X-Men”

“The X-Men” have been revisited again and again, much like “Teen Titans,” but this run hit me as particularly good. It focuses mostly on Kitty Pryde, who happens to be my favorite X-lady, and on Emma Frost. She’s on the side of the good guys and is bizarrely in love with Cyclops, of all people — which I’ll never get — but he’s leading them as they combat enemies on many fronts, including within.

8. “Thor”

From the Marvel Wiki.
From the Marvel Wiki.

This is one of those big deals that people will talk about for quite a while. A woman has taken up Thor’s hammer Mjolnir and fights to protect Midgard. Meanwhile, Odinson is left to recollect his dignity at losing the right to Thor’s might. The new Thor takes on these challenges with a strong will, humility and a fantastic sense of humor.

9. “Convergence”

This is a many-issue storyline spanning several different series; it’s the big event DC’s New 52 has been leading up to. If you, like me, don’t want to have to follow all of the comics involved, there is a central one just titled “Convergence.” I believe the second issue just came out, so make sure to jump on this. It’s a two-month ordeal that will depict the DC Universe taking on a big new threat that Brainiac orchestrates. And hopefully, dear comic book god, we can move on from the New 52.

10. “Star Wars”

Previously, Dark Horse handled “Star Wars” comics, but I’m sure you can see the writing on the wall. Disney is concocting a new “Star Wars” movie, and this is the cherry on top. I’ve really enjoyed it so far; there’s a “Star Wars” issue, a “Princess Leia” and a “Darth Vader” one that I’ve collected so far. They’re running pretty high in some places, so catch them soon. You get to see Han Solo and the gang take Vader on yet again, and it’s wonderful.

Speaking of Star Wars, Disney released a new trailer that had me in tears:

*Sigh* “Star Wars” is getting lots of love, and I’m not complaining.

I’d like to thank Taylor Slifko for the awesome featured image and end it here, folks.

May the blog be with you.

About Marina Head

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