(a note, found in the Lair, scribbled on an old memorandum about knitting and quantum entanglement)
Remember when we were chatting the other day, and you mentioned that your comic book adventures sort of hit the pause button after the 90s? Dude … it’s time to hit play again. Seriously. Such wonders await you. I’m envious.
Submitted for your approval: a list of comic book series that I have devoured and adored. Check these out:
Let’s start with Rising Stars by J. Michael Straczynski. This series is about a group of people born with special abilities after a mysterious comet hits their town. Be warned: this is not your typical superhero story. Straczynski presents a layered exploration of power, responsibility, and the human condition. The characters are complex and the story arcs are compelling. I believe you will find the themes of identity and destiny especially intriguing.
Next up is Stormwatch by Warren Ellis. This series revolves around a United Nations-sponsored superhero team dealing with global threats. Ellis’s take on the team is a departure from the earlier superhero mold; he infuses the series with a sense of realism, asking tough questions about the ethics and politics of superhuman intervention on a global scale. It’s a stimulating read that I think you would enjoy, given your interest in narratives that grapple with real-world issues.
Ellis’s work on “The Authority” is another one you shouldn’t miss. A spin-off from “Stormwatch”, this series takes the superhero team concept to a whole new level, challenging the status quo and subverting traditional genre conventions. The series is known for its cinematic storytelling and ambitious scope. Its bold approach to power dynamics and societal structures might resonate with you.
Then there’s The Wicked + The Divine by Kieron Gillen. This series presents a world where gods are reincarnated as pop stars every ninety years, only to die two years later. It’s a fascinating blend of myth, pop culture, and human drama. Gillen’s exploration of fame, mortality, and divinity is both insightful and entertaining. Given your love for mythology and contemporary culture, I believe this series will captivate you.
DMZ by Brian Wood is another series that I strongly believe you’d enjoy. This story takes place in the near future when the United States is engaged in a second civil war, leaving Manhattan as a demilitarized zone (DMZ). Our main character, Matty Roth, is a young photojournalist navigating the complexities and dangers of New York’s [present war-torn landscape. Wood’s story brings to life the harrowing realities of conflict and the way humans find resilience in the face of adversity. His portrayal of a society in turmoil provides a backdrop for a story of survival and moral quandaries. “DMZ” would be a fascinating addition to your reading list.
Ex Machina by Brian K. Vaughan is another series that marries the extraordinary with the mundane in a compelling way. The series follows Mitchell Hundred, a former superhero who becomes the Mayor of New York City. Vaughan uses this premise to delve into the complexities of political leadership and the challenges that come with it. It’s a unique blend of politics and superhero tropes that I think you’d find engaging.
Lastly, I recommend “Hellblazer”. Everyone knows John Constantine these days, but if you’ve never read the original material, you’re in for a treat. This is the Constantine devoid of superpowers. Even the magic he practices is equal parts sorcery and grift, and you’re never quite sure which he is employing in the moment.
I hope these recommendations inspire you to dive into the rich world of comic books you’ve missed lo these many years. I cannot wait to hear your thoughts!
Go get lost in these. See you in a few months,