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Here it is, folks. The final cover, by the awesomely talented Clint Langley, for my forthcoming comics debut. On sale September 2nd.

DARINGMYSTERY_DC11

I began working with Marvel on this almost a year ago, and now I have a new project brewing with them, as well as a couple of other things I’m trying to develop elsewhere.  When all this started, I’d been away from comics for a long time, and so I’ve had to immerse myself in an effort to learn the craft from some of the best writers working today. I thought it was time I told you about some of my favorites.

This is by no means meant to be a definitive list of the best graphic novels available. I’d already read many of the giants in the field years ago, and there are many more great books I want to read that I haven’t had time for yet. This is merely a list of the things I’ve enjoyed most in the past year of comics cramming. For those of you who don’t read comics and are curious, keep in mind that all publishers now put out bound trade paperbacks of their titles. These usually comprise five or six issues each, and they’re an easy, economical way of catching up.

Invincible

Robert Kirkman is easily one of the best writers out there, and it’s very possible that my favorite on-going series is his Invincible. What begins as a fairly routine tale of a teenaged superhero quickly turns into a wrenching emotional narrative. Kirkman manages to strike an incredible balance between intense drama – and the strength of this series is that it is driven by the character’s and their relationships, not by action – and broad comedy. Many of the characters are cheeky nods toward canonical DC figures, and somehow Kirkman’s serious and ironic sides are never at cross purposes.

walking dead

The other Kirkman title I’m following is Walking Dead. The truth is, I have no driving interest in zombie stories. When my friend John Minton, who runs the terrific Atomic Comics in San Antonio, put the first collection in my hands, I bought it mainly to be polite. Then I was hooked. Tony Moore’s stark, black and white illustrations provide the perfect accompaniment for Kirkman’s razor sharp scripts. This is a painful, harrowing, very human story of a struggling band of survivors in a world in which almost everyone has turned into a zombie. Many aspects of the set-up are fairly standard to the genre, but the characters themselves, and things Kirkman subjects them to, are always, fresh, original and daring. It’s not for the squeamish, but it is truly great story-telling.

ex machina

Brian K. Vaughan is probably best known for his series Y: The Last Man (which I have not yet gotten to, but it is high on my list), but I absolutely love his series Ex Machina, about a former superhero who becomes mayor of New York City. Dramatic, exciting, and often very witty, this is the perfect combination of municipal politics and science fiction. Great art by Tony Harris.

Powers

Powers, scripted by Brian Michael Bendis, is comics noir, a police procedural set in a gritty world or superheroes and super villains. This is the story of two police officers, one of whom is a former superhero, who investigate crimes in the superhero community. Blunt, stark, and often jarring, it is buoyed up by Bendis’s trademark witty dialogue. This is very accomplished crime fiction.

Avengers

Bendis is also the author of New Avengers and Dark Avengers, both of which I follow. I started reading New Avengers because it seemed like a good way to get up to speed with the Marvel continuity, but I was drawn in by Bendis’s engaging dialogue (reminiscent of Justice League America in the Giffen and DeMatteis days). To be perfectly honest, the past few issues of New Avengers seem to be treading water, but the first few bound collections are great stuff, and I’m hoping things will rebound.

Cap

Even when I read comics as a teenager, I always figured Captain America would be impossibly dippy and never cracked the cover of a single issue. But after just about everyone I know who follows comics told me that Captain America was the best mainstream superhero title going, I had to check it out. There’s no better place to start than volume 1 of the Captain America Omnibus, featuring the first 25 issues scripted by Ed Brubaker and drawn by Steve Epting. This is serious espionage – a tense, often cynical ride though the Marvel universe.

One Response to “”

  1. Juan Garcia says:

    I’m a big fan of Kirkman. You’ll have to check out his Marvel Zombies series (1st one), especially with your enjoyment of Capt. America.

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