Bookshot Special: Some Graphic Novels, Just For Kicks

Saga (Brian Vaughn/Fiona Staples)

I had heard about this, but never actually tracked down a copy and read the first couple of volumes and it more than lives up to the hype. The story of Marko and Alana, who are the star-crossed lovers on opposite sides of an intergalactic war that never ends- they fall in love and have a baby and everyone wants them dead. All they want is to find a safe place to be a family. This might have to join Saga author Brian Vaughn's other work, Y: The Last Man on my 'must own' shelf as it grabs you from the word 'go' and sucks you right into the action.

And the action is beautiful... it's like a grand mish-mash of science fiction and fantasy and the art is beautiful and compelling and oh hell, I'm hooked. And if you haven't read this, you need to track it down and read it. It's worth it.

The Mighty Thor (Walter Simonson)

I listen to Jay and Miles X-Plain The X-Men on the regular and every time Thor comes up, they always mention that Walter Simonson's Thor is the Thor, the place to start, so finally, I tracked down Volume 1 of the collection and checked it out- and holy heck they were absolutely right about that. What impresses me the most is how dense and literate the volume is- there are at least three or four different threads being woven throughout the volume and just when you think that they couldn't possibly all get paid off in any meaningful way, it turns out that they can and then some.

I want to read all of these- and hell, to be honest, I'd probably buy them to add to my collection as well. Along with Bloom County and Tintin, these were the most engrossing, interesting stories that I think I've come across in a long time- you can see where Thor: Ragnarok is drawing their inspiration from. (I'm also hearing good things about the current run of The Mighty Thor- so I want to check that out as well.) In short:  Thor is awesome. I dig it.

The Immortal Iron Fist (Fraction/Aja/Brubaker/Zonjic/Kano/Foreman)

I'm incredibly annoyed. Not because this wasn't an excellent graphic novel- it was- but because having watch the television show and compared it to this, I became incredibly irritated at what a waste of space the television show was. The Immortal Iron Fist changes the game and deepens the character in ways that Marvel should have explored for the television show. I would love to see this brought to either small or the big screen or maybe even both. Taking the Iron Fist and making it a burden/title that gets passed down through the generations opens up storytelling possibilities like you wouldn't believe. It makes the character interesting- the history of the character interesting and now it opens up the potential for stories of different Iron Fists in different time periods as well. I already have the entire Matt Fraction run on Hawkeye, I feel like The Immortal Iron Fist makes a strong case for addition to my stack of graphic novels- and in fact, I might add it to my wishlist right now.

This Danny Rand, I actually like. His Netflix counterpart on the other hand still has work to do with me before I actually get some enjoyment out of his show. TL;DR: this Iron Fist is far, far superior to it's Netflix counterpart. Give me more of this, please.

DC: The New Frontier (Darwyn Cooke w/Dave Stewart)

True story: I ordered this once from Amazon in the latter stages of a 16 hour shift running on no sleep whatsoever. I have no memory of ordering it all. And, to top it all off, I sent it to the wrong damn address and never actually got the effing book. (Amazon, being Amazon was generous in the ease of their refund policy.) So needless to say, I was curious to get my hands on this one.

Having done so, I understand why people speak so highly of this book. The art is gorgeous and the concept amazing- it sort of serves as a bridge between the Golden Age Heroes and the dawn of the Silver Age in the 1960s (we go from Justice Society of America to the Justice League) and we get to meet all the heroes that emerge in that era along the way- Green Lantern, The Flash, John Jones- even Aquaman shows up, but old stalwarts like Wonder Woman and Batman are already there. Set in the 50s it follows the decade from when post-war public opinion turns against masked heroes and sends them all into hiding (gee, that sounds familiar: Incredibles, much?) and the tide turns back once more as all the heroes, old and new must join forces to confront a threat greater than they ever imagined.

So far in my exploration of the medium, I've fallen toward the Marvel end of the spectrum as it were. Characters like Green Lantern fascinate me but I've never really been able to connect with them- I like The Flash on television and have enjoyed Batman, but preferred Smallville over any other depiction of Superman I've seen on the big screen. This book, I think, is an ideal introduction to the DC side of things and I enjoyed it thoroughly. This one ranks right up there with Watchmen as one of the best graphic novels I've ever read.


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