So… Is It Good?

A blog featuring the various writings of E. H. Lau.

Archive for December, 2015

A Superheroes Comic Book Buying Guide

Posted by cyberpfalcon on December 14, 2015

I wrote a little superheroes comic book buying guide for work (hence, the references to work), and I thought that I’d share it here.
It started off as a joke, and probably won’t get accepted. XD

So, you decided, that maybe for 2016 (this newsletter is coming out way too late for holiday buying), you would give superheroes comics a try. Or maybe you just want to buy for someone else. Well, here’s a handy dandy guide for you to start with!

I assume that most of you are going to skip this (I mean, c’mon, a comic book buying guide in a work newsletter?), but if you do decide to read this, the following message is very important:

Pay attention to the age ratings given.

Yes, it was so important that I had to make the font bigger and bold. Seriously, if any of you give a copy of The Killing Joke or Watchmen to a little kid, and then complain to me about it when the aftermath happens, I’m going to laugh at you, and then be very cross with you, and then point you to the big, bold words above.

So, with that out of the way, let’s get started with…

Perennial Classics
This is it. The classics. The ones that have withstood the test of time. The ones that are pretty much ALWAYS in print.
Obviously, I can’t name ALL the classics, or this would go on for several thousands pages, but here are a few.

Batman: Year One (written by Frank Miller, art by David Mazzucchelli)
Batman: The Long Halloween (written by Jeph Loeb, art by Tim Sale)
Batman: Dark Victory (written by Jeph Loeb, art by Tim Sale)
Age Rating: All 12+ Only
These three comics are three of the most influential Batman stories ever written. They make their mark in nearly every adaptation of Batman, and have had a profound effect on the Batman mythos.
Year One takes a look at Batman’s… first year as Batman; The Long Halloween focuses on the relationship between Batman, Jim Gordon, and Harvey Dent; while Dark Victory introduces Robin.

Batman: The Killing Joke (written by Alan Moore, art by Brian Bolland)
Age Rating: 15+ Only
Oh boy. This is probably one of the most brutal stories about the Joker ever printed, and probably one of the best. A personal favourite of mine, this story depicts an attempt by the Joker to drive Jim Gordon to insanity, and Batman’s desperate quest to stop this.
I know it says 15+, but I’m taking these from comiXology… Word of advice, this story is not for the faint of heart.

All-Star Superman (written by Grant Morrison, art by Frank Quitely)
Age Rating: 12+ Only
Widely considered to be one of the best Superman stories of all time. It all starts off with a plot by Lex Luthor and… saying any more would just be spoiling it!

Spider-Man: Death of the Stacys (written by Stan Lee and Gerry Conway, art by Gil Kane and John Romita Jr.)
Age Rating: 12+ Only
I… honestly wished this book had a less indicitive title, but yes, this book is about the death of the Stacys. This is one of the best, and most tragic, Spider-Man stories ever told.

Secret Wars (written by Jim Shooter, art by Bob Layton and Mike Zeck)
Age Rating: 12+ Only
Note that this is not the 2015 series with the same name. Whether or not that one will become a classic remains to be seen.
This one, however, is a great, fun crossover with a ton of Marvel Superheroes! A being known as the Beyonder places a bunch of heroes and villians on Battleworld, and the winner gets a wish!

Watchmen (written by Alan Moore, art by Dave Gibbons)
Age Rating: 17+ Only
This is probably the most well known title from one of the greatest comic book writers ever, Alan Moore. The story focuses on the investigation of a government sponsored superhero, which pulls several other superheroes out of retirement, as well as the personal and moral struggles of said superheroes.

Recent Recommendations

The Dark Knight Returns (written by Frank Miller, art by Frank Miller)
Age Rating: 15+ Only
The classic Batman vs. Superman movie, this one sees a retired Batman coming out of retirement to face an even more decadent Gotham after a decade of his absence. If you want to get hyped up about the upcoming Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, get this one!

Justice League Vol. 1: Origins (written by Geoff Johns, art by Jim Lee and Scott Williams)
Avengers Vol. 1: Avengers World (written by Jonathan Hickman, art by Adam Kupert and Jerome Opeña
Age Rating: 12+ Only
Two great starting points for the two premier teams of DC and Marvel respectively!

Jessica Jones: Alias Vol. 1 (written by Brian Michael Bendis, art by Michael Gaydos and Bill Sienkiewicz)
Age Rating: 17+ Only
The original comic that the new Marvel TV series, Jessica Jones, is based on. This comic focuses on a retired superheroine who is now working as a private investigator. Volumes 2 and 3 are already in reprints, with 4 coming out early next year!

Not Recommended

Civil War (written by Mark Millar, art by Steve McNiven)
Age Rating: 12+ Only
To be honest, I actually like this comic.
However, I can’t recommend it to you, even though the upcoming Captain America: Civil War is based on it. It requires a lot of background knowledge leading up to the event to enjoy, and, while the idea of a Superhero Registration Act dividing the Marvel Superheroes into two sides is great, it is marred by a somewhat flawed execution. Not to mention that this story does not properly end, since Marvel was using it as a big “status quo change” for their universe.
Here’s to hoping that the upcoming Captain America: Civil War doesn’t mess it up as well!

Signing Off
Well, I hope you enjoyed that list.
I wanted to include more, but, unfortunately, I could only pull from DC and Marvel this time.
If I get to do this again, expect to see more from other publishers, and probably more recent recommendations over the classics. And it would be nice to not stick to only superheroes as well…
Until then, read more comics!

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