Week 15: “The World of Comic Books”
A friend of mine recently asked me why I dislike most of the Marvel Cinematic Universe films and I responded with the fact that most all of them are based on comic books I stopped reading almost fifteen years ago and the films are geared more towards people who currently read them rather than those who read them at the height of the comic book boom of the ‘90s (and the implosion of the ‘00s). I still read comics, just not superhero comics and almost nothing from DC or Marvel comics who make their bread and butter from the genre. Most of what I read will appeal more to this crowd so I decided to dedicate this week’s column to the comics that I read.
I love a good horror story and nothing gets better than George A. Romero’s return to the zombie genre with Empire of the Dead (from Marvel comics) which sees his undead ghouls inhabit the supernatural world of the vampires. Despite having rarely ever played the video games I also love VIZ Media’s Resident Evil: The Marhawa Desire, which takes place before Resident Evil 6. This is a guilty pleasure since I’m a huge fan of the films (both live action and animated). Another great comic based on a previous licensed property is what IDW is doing with the Godzilla franchise. A lot of limited series have come from the creative minds at IDW by a wide variety of creators and the results are mixed at best but I love a good monster destroying cities story whenever I can get one.
Mike Mignola is one of the greatest comic book creators out there right now. In addition to the Hellboy character who’s currently in Hellboy In Hell, there is the ongoing adventures of Abe Sapien, B.P.R.D.: Hell on Earth, Baltimore, Lobster Johnson, and Witchfinder. He and his talented group of creators have crafted one of the greatest interconnected universes of characters that continue to defy expectations. These comics meld horror, myth, legend, and the supernatural seamlessly.
Most of what I like to read is creator owned. Tim Seeley (of Hack/Slash fame) has created one of the most original undead stories in Revival (Image Comics). Next to Kirkman’s The Walking Dead, Seeley is one of the great creators out there because he writes for us horror fans (much like Mignola) and this is a title everyone should be reading. Kirkman’s own Outcast (Image Comics) is slow coming but because I enjoy most all of his work I’m willing to stick it out. Brian Wood’s The Massive (Dark Horse) is also one of my favorites. It is one of the best reads out there and by far one of the most imaginative stories about a post-apocalyptic world. This goes double for Chuck Dixon’s return to the frozen apocalypse of WInterworld (IDW). This is a welcomed return for Dixon as I’ve missed his own work away from the comic book majors.
I’ve taken some chances with a few new titles like The Woods (Boom! Studios) and Pretty Deadly (Image) and Black Science (Image) which interested me just by reading the synopsis on the back cover. The Woods reminds me of The Drifting Classroom manga, which is a great thing since I loved that story and The Woods has a very promising start (I’ve only read the first collected volume so far). Black Science mixes horror and sci-fi in a very time jumping and action way and it never stops and it’s completely unpredictable which is why I love it. There is no set up or narration, it just starts from the word go and never stops. Another great science based story is The Manhattan Projects (Image) which will test your ability to follow one of the most complex and entertaining Lynchian comics out there. It doesn’t get more weird yet fascinating than this one. I also love Kevin Eastman’s re-imagined Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (IDW) which is heavy on action and science fiction with less of the fantasy that previous versions became filled with.
That’s pretty much the bulk of what I’m trying to keep up with right now. There are plenty of other great stories out there in addition to these but I just don’t have time to get around to everything. Maybe you don’t either which is why I’ve presented you with a few of my favorites but if you don’t read comics then this is has all probably been a waste of time.