I seem to be getting busier these days. With work, children, writing and a hundred other things that I’m too exhausted to write down here, I need a break…I just want at the end of the day to rest my head. Relax, gear down my brain. You throw that sucker into park while your still moving and there goes your brain transmission. Reading is one of the ways I love to relax, but sometimes books are too wordy. Me like simple, me like pictures [said in your best caveman voice]. In my interest to still feed my creative artistic side, with my need to be entertained and my nerdy self indulgent need to never grow up, I have rediscovered comics. I have always been interested in comics for the art, being a graphic designer the art is one of the first things that attracted me in the first place, and on the advice of a friend and mentor, several years ago, I bought my first comic. It was called The Killing Joke, a tale of the origins of the Joker and his efforts to drive Gotham City Police Commisioner Gordon insane. Great reading and even better art.
I had gotten comics as a kid but nothing like this. This was a mature comic, with a warning on the back cover no less! It dealt with real bad guys and real world problems, I was intrigued. I would read comics sporadically over the next couple of years. Then I left them behind again. College became a priority and between rent, food and beer, there wasn’t much cash left for comics.
Being a fan of nerd culture and listening to podcasts, watching television shows and reading magazine articles on various nerd centric subjects, certain comic titles started to pop up. I would listen, but never take action. Until one day I heard of The Walking Dead, a comic book about a police officer named Rick Grimes and how he survives in a zombie apocalypse. First off anything zombie I’m in, so it didn’t take a big push. After the first issue I was hooked, you see it wasn’t just about the zombies, it was about the drama. Yes every once in a while you would get to read about a bad ass zombie confrontation, but the parts that interested me were the well written interactions between the characters. After reading the comic for many issues the zombie gods blessed us with a TV show on AMC, that is simply diversionary recreational bliss – translation…it’s freakin’ good.
The Walking Dead I downloaded on my iPad, this negated me having to go to the comic book store, this started a flood of comic books into my already art and written word hungry brain. I use a program on my iPad called Comics by comiXology and if you don’t have an iPad there is always the website. Easy to use and it has a great interface. The only problem is they have the buy the next issue button at the end of every comic and like a hamster on crack, I bounce my little paw on that lever until I hit the end of the run. You can either read comics like you would a print version, page after page, or you can read in a guided format which transitions you from frame to frame focusing you on the action and the dialogue.
Comics are the pre-cursors to a lot of the blockbusters coming out these days, The Avengers, to name just one. You name it, if it is popular in geek culture, then more than likely it started out as a comic book. They aren’t all just about super heroes either, there is romance and angst, horror and love stories, dramas and cop buddy tales. There is everything. The meek will inherit the earth but first they have to read the latest issue of Daredevil Vol.3. Honestly, if a movie and a book had a baby it would be a comic book. So to all of you people that think comics are for kids, check out a few, they just might surprise you!
A short reading list and a description of things I found cool in the comic book world (I know there is a warehouse full of good stuff that I haven’t read yet, so if you know of other good comics, leave a comment, please):
The Flash (2010-2011) – My favourite superhero, he’s fast and conflicted, great read.
Chew – The story of a detective who is a Chibopath (he gets psychic impressions from whatever he eats) hilarity ensues
Daredevil Vol.3 – Matt Murdock a blind lawyer who’s secret identity is Daredevil – The man without fear
The Bionic Man – A reboot of the original TV series in comic book form, written by Kevin Smith (yes, the director)
Give me Liberty – From the 1990s and written by Frank Miller it is a story about a dystopian future, more true today than it was back in the nineties
Green Lantern (2005-2011) – Better than the movie, trust me
Atomic Robo – The adventures of a pretty cool robot