Comic Book Starter’s Guide
Comic books are like wine, there is a bottle out there for everyone. The comic book medium has been around for over seventy years and is home to some of the most original and ground-breaking stories the world has ever seen. But knowing where to start is daunting, and jumping in blind can have some serious repercussions. Here at Sound on Sight, it’s our job, nay, our duty, to make sure you are reading top tier books. So have a gander below and on behalf of all comic fans out there, let me be the first to say; Welcome friend, you’re in good hands.
The Superhero Lover:
Batman: Year One (1987). Written by Frank Miller, Illustrated by David Mazzucchelli, Coloured by Richmond Lewis, Lettered by Todd Klein
If you watched any superhero movie and thought to yourself, ‘gee I’d like to see more of so and so’ then odds are you’ve seen at least one Batman movie. Batman: Year One is great place to start. Frank Miller’s re-telling of Batman’s origins is still considered the definitive origin story of any hero to this day. Quiet, introspective moments mixed with outstanding action set pieces shows that a great hero story needs brain just as well brawn to truly become a classic.
The Ultimates Vol. 1 (2001). Written by Mark Millar, Illustrated by Bryan Hitch, Coloured by Andrew Currie, Lettered by Chris Eliopoulos
Quiet moments are all well and good but when it comes to reading an over-top super hero romp, look no further than The Ultimates Vol. 1. The re-telling of the formation of the Avengers (here called The Ultimates, to keep in line with the debut of Marvel’s Ultimate Comics line) each panel is a cinematic treat. This series paved the way for Marvel’s movie universe and from page one it’s easy to see why. Mark Millar is a great action writer and he has an unabashed love of pop culture which makes this book essential to anyone who was around during the first Bush administration.
Blankets (2003). By Craig Thompson
If superheroes aren’t your thing then look no further than Blankets. Craig Thompson’s autobiographical coming of age tale is heart wrenching and beautiful. Thompson avoided the cynical world view that plagues a lot of comics and replaces it with a wide-eyed innocence that makes the reader remember what it was like to be a kid and what it feels like to fall in love. A true classic in every sense of the word, just remember to keep a box of tissues close by.
The Horror Fan:
Severed (2012). Written by Scott Snyder and Scott Tuft, Art by Attila Futaki
People love to be scared and in the world of comics, it doesn’t get any scarier than Severed. Taking place in 1916, Severed tells the tale of a young boy who longs to journey the open road of pre-World War America. It starts out well and good until the boy meets a stranger who is more monster than man. Preying on our collective fear of the unknown, this book shows us what the world was like when we knew our neighbours, greeted everyone with a smile, and the seemingly horrific repercussions that followed. Snyder and Tuft give us a terrifying tale that will make you hold your kids tight and make sure the front door is forever locked.
The Holy Grail:
The Watchmen (1986). Written byAlan Moore, Art by Dave Gibbons
What else can be said about the book that changed the industry? A lot really. The Watchmen is the most revered, discussed comic series of all time. Set in an alternative 1980’s, the world is on the brink of nuclear war, tension is boiling over in every panel, and on top of that, a retired superhero has been murdered. What starts as a simple murder mystery soon unravels into a tale of regrets, paranoia and genocide. Be advised though, this book is thought provoking, original and will be impossible to put down.
Green Arrow # 17 (2013). Written by Jeff Lemire, Art by Andrea Sorrentino
A lot of people are trailblazers, who buck all the trends and like to be a part of something from the ground up. Green Arrow #17 has yet to be released, but if the buzz around the twitter-sphere is any indication, this book could be the one that takes the character of Green Arrow to Batman-esque levels. Jeff Lemire is known for giving his characters, no matter how outlandish, heart and is one of the most critically acclaimed writers in the industry today. Make sure you get your hands on this book when it drops this February.