Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Pages to Panels: Another Bookish Guide to Getting into Comics (5)

It's been awhile since I posted a Pages to Panels, and since I'm so sketchy with reviews right now is a doubly good time to share.

Like my first Pages to Panels post, this one is to help match your (book) reading style with some popular comics. Some of the series are ongoing while others have already been completed. One of the toughest things I find with comics is waiting for new issues (I just want to read them NOW) so if you're like that then I recommend going for some of the options that have already been completed.

So here are another three series I think you should all be reading. If you want to go back to some of my earlier pages to Panels posts, the links are all at the bottom of the page.


1. Fatale - Ed Brubaker, Sean Philips (5 volumes, completed)

I reviewed the first volume of Fatale awhile ago and was absolutely captivated with the effortless blend between horror and noir. It's astounding how well it was done and it was subsequently added as further proof in my very long "Ed Brubaker is a comics god duh" list. The horror elements of this novel are very Lovecraftian but when I was trying to decide on a single book/story to add to the banner it occurred to me that I felt like threads of The Mist were present in it. Not in any narrative sense but thematically or stylistically? I'd have to reread The Mist to work out why it jumped out at me as an obvious comparative choice, but in my gut it feels right. That said, the horror isn't really present in the graphic novel, at least not in the first few volumes. It's almost more that it's something that's hovering around the corner that keeps catching the corner of your eye when it adjusts its position.

Similar comics you might also likeNeonomicon (Alan Moore), Batman Black and White (various authors), Dead Letters (Christopher Sebela)

2. Doom Patrol - Grant Morrison, Richard Case (6 volumes, completed) 

I've mentioned it before but Grant Morrison is weird. But he's the best kind of weird, he opens up your head and forces in all these absurd and fractured concepts that make you look at things differently. Doom Patrol is a comic for the untraditional. The heroes aren't your standard Supermans or Aquamans, they're a motley crew of damaged and unexpected heroes. There's a sentient street, a schizophrenic, a robot and a lot that can't really be explained with a single word. Similarly, the villains aren't your run of the mill variety. My favourite were probably The Brotherhood of Dada, which features a villain who has every power you haven't thought of. The book does a great job of subverting your superhero expectations and will keep your forever on your toes.

Similar comics you might also like: Animal Man (Grant Morrison), Top 10 (Alan Moore), Deadpool (various authors)

3. The Wicked and the Divine - Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie (1 Volume, on going)

Now before all of you American Gods haters write off this comic, the main reason I used it as a comparison is because of the way it utilises mythology. Where American Gods used myths to reflect on culture and cultural identity, The Wicked and the Divine uses it to look at popular culture and celebrity status. If you didn't like American Gods I think you will still like The Wicked and the Divine, and if you don't I doubt it has anything to do with a Neil Gaiman novel.  In WicDiv 12 Gods from the pantheon (which Gods changes every cycle) return to Earth every 90 years to live again. During that time they inspire and distract and torment and are credited as a critical component of societal progress. In this iteration the Gods have come back as musicians (hence the Bowie comparison above, who Lucifer is directly modeled off) except this time an internal conflict has erupted between the Gods. The art and character design in this comic is exceptionally well done. There's a level of minimalism in the panels which keeps the highly saturated colour choices from becoming overwhelming, as well as keeping the focus on our Gods. I think the second volume has either just been released, or is about to be.

Similar comics you might also like: Unwritten (Mike Carey), Saga (Brian K. Vaughan), ODY-C (Matt Fraction)

Read my previous Pages to Panels posts: 


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