Fact 1: Most people think they don’t like comics.
Fact 2: Those people are wrong. Okay, not all of them, but like, 97%.
Fact 3: I need to come up with a snappier name for this series of posts.
Superheroes are running shit in Hollywood these days. I mean, for real, Marvel Studios films are legit cultural touchstones now. They’re in the zeitgeist, baby!
Still, you’d be hard-pressed to get most people to actually pick up a comic book or graphic novel.
Depressing side note: As I wrote that last sentence, I realized it’s probably just as difficult to get someone to pick up any sort of book, but that’s too depressing for me to contemplate right now. We’ll pretend it’s just comics so that I can continue on with my original plan. Right? Right.
As such, I’m going to start writing about (as the overlong series title suggests) comics for people who think they don’t like comics. Then, we can all laugh about how foolish and misled you all were, basking in the glory of my service to humanity. Or, you know, we can drink cocktails and talk about great stories told in a beautiful medium.
First, before I get started, I’m skipping superhero comics (at least for now). Since these posts are — at least ostensibly — aimed at non-comics readers, my sense is that superheroes may be a bridge too far. However, let the record show that there are some brilliant, deep, intellectually stimulating, and emotionally poignant stories in the superhero genre.
Also, did I mention Saga?
Saga, Saga, Saga, Saga, Saga!
Did you read that post, run out to buy Saga, read the first volume or two and then come back? Good, welcome back! I should have asked you to grab me coffee while you were out. Whatevs, let’s get started.
With this, the inaugural post of a series that will undoubtedly go on and on into the mid single digits, my first recommendation is:
Paper Girls – by Brian K. Vaughn and Cliff Chiang
Hey, look! Brian K. Vaughn is back in the post!
As you’ll know since you just read a volume or two of Saga, the guy has a pretty incredible imagination. The stuff he dreams up is often beautiful, horrific, downright bonkers, and/or awe-inspiring; in many cases all at the same time.
More importantly, he creates deep, rich, enjoyable characters. In his previous work (two of my favs being Runaways and, you guessed it, Saga) it’s impossible not to fall in love with the people who populate his stories. Fair warning: he’s not afraid to kill his/our darlings, so prepare to have your heart broken once or twice if you start reading all of his stuff.
As for Paper Girls, it’s about four… well, paper girls. Three veterans and one newly minted member of the ranks are going about their business in Cleveland on the morning after Halloween, 1988. They’re out there delivering the morning’s news, being 80s teens, figuring out life, etc. Then, as teens are wont to do, our titular paper girls find themselves thrust into the middle of a war between factions of time-travelers from the future.
Shit gets cray. Drama ensues. Wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey adventure is had by all; complete with overlapping timelines, future versions of themselves, and plenty of WTF?! moments at the end of issues to keep you reading.
The book is also gorgeous. Thanks, Cliff Chiang!
Whether you think you like comics or not, you should give Paper Girls the old college try. And Saga! Please read Saga. If those aren’t your cup of tea, I’ll be back soon with another offering.