Back in 2016, I wrote about mak­ing my way back to comics. Then last week, I read this cool post from Jason Dettbarn where he talks about how he started read­ing comic books. I was in­spired to share a lit­tle of my story, and just like Jason, of­fer you some rec­om­men­da­tions of where to get started.

A Little History #

Like a lot of kids, su­per­heroes were a big part of my up­bring­ing. Geekery in gen­eral has al­ways been part of me whether I un­der­stood it or not. The orig­i­nal Star Wars tril­ogy were my fa­vorite movies as a kid. I re­mem­ber be­ing so ex­cited by the pre­quels and thank­fully not un­der­stand­ing how ter­ri­ble they were un­til many years later.

Superman was my fa­vorite su­per­hero back then, and I re­mem­ber hav­ing at least a few of his ac­tion fig­ures. That is un­til my Mom threw them away. My mom has al­ways been a bit of a clean freak, and she never let me col­lect any­thing. As op­posed to a lot of par­ents” who keep their kids stuff in their old room, I’m al­most pos­i­tive my par­ents have noth­ing of mine ex­cept a few ran­dom things I might’ve left in their garage. But, I di­gress. This is stuff I should talk to my ther­a­pist about.

Growing up, I felt that read­ing was­n’t for me. I painfully read books we were as­signed in class (except To Kill a Mockingbird and Of Mice and Men. I liked those). Now I un­der­stand it’s all about find­ing the read­ing ma­te­r­ial that ap­peals to you.

That brings us to 2012. I was in Charlotte, NC for a work con­fer­ence when I de­cided to go into a comic book store next to a cof­fee shop I’d found on Yelp. Lining the shelves were hun­dreds of dif­fer­ent books, and for a new reader like me, no clear place to start. As luck would have it, DCs New 52” event had just be­gun, so I bought Superman #1, and Batman #1. Unfortunately, I was­n’t im­pressed and went on with my life.

Then in 2016, in an­tic­i­pa­tion of Captain America: Civil War, my cu­rios­ity of the story that in­spired the film com­pelled me to buy the col­lected edi­tion hard­cover. I was hooked. The story was en­gag­ing, the char­ac­ters cap­ti­vat­ing, and the way the plot tore through the re­la­tion­ship be­tween char­ac­ters was heart­break­ing.

And that brings us to to­day. I’ve got a shelf with my grow­ing list of trade pa­per­backs, and a plas­tic short box from BCW that’s run­ning out of space.

Comics I rec­om­mend #

The fol­low­ing are some all time rec­om­men­da­tions. Some of these are still go­ing, other have fin­ished up.

Analog #

This is an en­joy­able read, and I be­lieve is be­ing made into a movie. Analog takes place in a world where the in­ter­net is­n’t safe so se­crets are trans­ported by peo­ple. It’s a spy thriller that has some very pointed crit­i­cism at our so­ci­ety.

Cover #

The premise of this on­go­ing se­ries is so meta. It’s about a comic artist who… get’s roped into be­ing a spy? You’ll have to read and find out. As of writ­ing, this ti­tle is only on is­sue #2, so you’ll have to look for it at your lo­cal comic book shop.

  • By: Brian Michael Bendis & David Mack

Oblivion Song #

300,000 peo­ple from Philidelphia are lost in Oblivion. What the heck is Oblivion? How did this hap­pen? How come only one per­son still cares? Just some of the ques­tions I re­mem­ber ask­ing my­self when I dis­cov­ered this gem thanks to my lo­cal comic shop co-owner, Tony. One of my fa­vorite books right now.

Paper Girls #

A group of teenage girls in the 1980s cross paths with time trav­el­ers, and their cu­rios­ity takes them to places they’d never imag­ined. This comic is beau­ti­fully drawn and Matt Wilson’s col­ors are stun­ning.

Saga #

I don’t want to give too much away, but this is for­bid­den love mixed with the best of sci­ence fic­tion and fan­tasy. This is def­i­nitely for ma­ture read­ers, so if you of­fend eas­ily, keep it mov­ing.

Sex Criminals #

Again, if you of­fend eas­ily, you may want to skip to the next one. This is the story of a woman who re­al­izes that times stops when she or­gasms. I mean, just take a sec­ond and think about that type of power. But is she the only one? This comic tack­les a lot of hu­man is­sues, in­clud­ing but not lim­ited to the way we view sex, men­tal health, re­la­tion­ships, and more.

The Amazing Spider-Man #

Many have writ­ten Spidey, but in my lim­ited ex­pe­ri­ence, Nick Spencer re­ally gets the char­ac­ter. His run is clas­sic Spider-Man, filled with great hu­mor, a messy life, and a sur­pris­ingly un­com­pli­cated love life.

All-New Wolverine #

Back in 2015, a new per­son took the man­tle of Wolverine, and her name was Laura Kinney aka X-23. This se­ries was a touch­ing story of a per­son who had been tor­tured, ex­per­i­mented on, and cre­ated to be a killing ma­chine who de­cided not to be de­fined by those ex­pe­ri­ences.

Parting thoughts #

I was twenty-four when I started read­ing comics reg­u­larly. Jason—who in­spired this post—was thirty-six. Comic books are for peo­ple of all ages; the sto­ries within are for all gen­ders.

As you can tell from my rec­om­men­da­tions, I’m read­ing a lot more than just su­per­heroes. Don’t get me wrong, su­per­pow­ered peo­ple are great, but comics are so much more than them. No mat­ter who you are, what genre you love, what style art you like, there’s a comic book for you.

Up Next