Wednesday, March 30, 2005

The trouble with comics

My friend Ben IMed me yesterday out of the blue. I hadn't talked to him for a while, so we caught up a bit. Then he asked me to recommend some comics. Specifically, ones with action. Even more specifically, stuff he could start reading from the beginning. I started rattling stuff off, Preacher, Powers, Ultimates. But no, he was more interested in something that had started recently, something that he could pick up in issue form that was awesome and he could get in with on the ground floor. That nearly made me laugh because there's practically nothing, is there? This is not an industry that's interested in new, accesbile ideas.

To be fair, I did suggest Seven Soldiers and Livewires, but Seven Soldiers required quite a bit of explanation ("So you see, there are seven miniseries, and they're all sort of tied together, and sort of not..."), and Livewires is only a six-issue miniseries.

In my magical pixie world, DC and Marvel pare down their core titles (no more than two books for each major character) and spend time developing new ideas that might actually appeal to someone other than their ever-dwindling fanbase. In reality, each company prepares mega-crossovers that seem to appeal only to their company faithful. Thank goodness for Seven Soldiers. That might be the mantra of 2005, but I guess we'll have to see how "House of M" and "Infinite Crisis" play out. (I'm off to get "Countdown" in about 15 minutes.)

So Ben, if you're reading this, I stand by my recommendations. You can't go wrong with Preacher, Sleeper, Ultimates, and Powers. I might add Queen and Country to that list, but it might be a little more low-key than what you're looking for. It's British spy fiction, but it's not James Bond. But all those titles are stuff you'd need to pick up in TPBs.

As for stuff in singles right now, it's occured to me that you might want to look into the current runs of Captain America and New Avengers. Both of those are less than five issues in, and both are pretty good (what I've read of them, at least). Say what you will about Quesada's "start them over with a new #1" policy as far as an attempt to goose sales, at least it gives you a good place to point and say "There's a spot to start."

Those of you who read lots of comics, if I'm forgetting something or you have a title to recommend that I don't read, let me know.


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