Fanboys are a cowardly and superstitous lot . . .
May 7, 2011 1:35 AM   Subscribe

The comic book bug has bitten me again. What are some good ones currently being published that I should put on my pull list? (secret identity snowflakes revealed inside!)

So, on the recommendation of a friend, I picked up Nate Thompson's Nonplayer. Gorgeous pencils, so much so I'm willing to see how the writing plays out. While at the Comic Book Store, I also picked up Brian Michael Bendis' & Alex Maleev's Moon Knight (a favorite character of mine poorly handled over the years- hoping Bendis can make him totally bad ass and scary again). I just finished up Moore's Neonomicon as well.

That's the extent of what I'm collecting now. Is there anything else out there I should be paying attention to? To help, here's some ideas of what I tend to like:

Writers/Artists: Gaiman, Moore, Grant Morrison, Warren Ellis, James Robinson, Jeff Smith, Mark Waid, Matt Wagner, Jeph Loeb, Tim Sale, Darwyn Cooke, Harvey Pekar and Frank Quitely. Superhero characters I had an affinity for included Nightwing, Green Lantern (The Kyle Rayner run, though-- Hal Jordan should have remained worm food as far as I'm concerned), Silver Surfer, and Shazam (AKA the REAL Captain Marvel). I loved just about everything Vertigo was putting out in the 90's and have a huge space in my heart for anything Jack Kirby and Will Eisner ever created. I am also open to any idie/underground comics that are good, having cut my teeth on Love & Rockets and Heavy Metal when I was a kid (I had the best older cousin EVER).

Please note, I am not interested in back issue bin diving so much. I'm more interested in what's out there NOW. Also, NO GEOFF JOHNS! He's the main reason I stopped reading comics several years ago. I'd like to send him through a time tunnel back to 1963. We'd both be much happier.
posted by KingEdRa to Media & Arts (16 answers total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
As you mention Jeff Smith, are you picking up his ongoing series Rasl? Great stuff, very unlike Bone.

(I assume you know Love & Rockets is still being published, though glacially.)

Other new stuff I always pick up: Carla Speed McNeil's Finder; Bill Willingham's Fables.
posted by zompist at 2:11 AM on May 7, 2011

In case you don't know, KingEdRa, Saturday is Free Comic Book Day in the U.S. Maybe stop by your local comic shop and ask around tomorrow?
posted by cgc373 at 2:31 AM on May 7, 2011 [3 favorites]

Definitely hit up your local comic book shops today (Saturday) to take advantage of the aforementioned Free Comic Book Day. They give away promotional issues of a wide range of contemporary comics so it's a great way to sample a bunch of current series without spending any money.
posted by Jacqueline at 3:54 AM on May 7, 2011

Grant Morrison's Batman Inc. is really doing it for me.

Jeff Lemire's Sweet Tooth has been going for a little while and I really like it.
posted by tealsocks at 4:03 AM on May 7, 2011

Are you only looking for monthly pamphlet-style comics? That's the impression I'm getting here, but fwiw, in my experience a lot of what's most interesting in comics right now is going on via webcomics and graphic novels. There's been a big move away from monthlies, particularly in independent circles, and a lot of younger talent is skipping the pamphlet format entirely.

(However, I won't bore you with recs if that's not what you're looking for!)
posted by Narrative Priorities at 6:21 AM on May 7, 2011

Best answer: Pick up Xombi. It's only two issues in and is very, very good. The art by Frazer Irving is superb with fantastic colors that he does as well. It has a bit of the wackiness of The Tick/Venture Brothers with characters like Nun the Less, a Catholic special operative who can shrink down to small sizes.

Nick Spencer's Infinite Vacation is really neat. There's two issues out already. Here's a preview which summarizes the wacky sci-fi premise better than I could. His (Spencer's) Morning Glories is a current darling, too. I think it's a little paint-by-numbers with it's Lost meets Gossip Girl concept, but it's absolutely worth checking out.

For superhero fare, Morrison's Batman, Inc. is great and Scott Snyder and Jock's Detective Comics is telling a great Batman and Jim Gordon mystery.

Scalped is one of the best comics being published right now, but it's up to issue 40 or so, so you may not be up for getting caught up. The one-line pitch is Sopranos on an Indian reservation. Very gritty and very good.
posted by davextreme at 6:22 AM on May 7, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: The Unwritten! If you liked Sandman's forays into literary metanarrative, you'll love The Unwritten. Buy the first three collected volumes to get up to speed.
posted by limeonaire at 6:37 AM on May 7, 2011 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: In re webcomics & graphic novels: I'm good on that front, as I'm able to track down stuff on the intertubes and bookstores, though I'm all ears if you have something.

Also, let me clarify about back issue bin diving: I have no problem with jumping into the middle of an ongoing series. What I'm NOT interested in is going digging for an already concluded series. That's what graphic novels are for, in my mind.

I guess what I'm trying to get a handle on is what are quality titles whose "rack presence" is limited to the current issue.
posted by KingEdRa at 6:41 AM on May 7, 2011

Best answer: Still The Unwritten. The collected volumes I speak of are slim—this is an ongoing series that's only been around a couple of years. I think they just passed the 25-issue mark?
posted by limeonaire at 7:18 AM on May 7, 2011

Best answer: If you're not listening to it already, I recommend the "House to Astonish" podcast. I'm no fan of monthlies, but I trust that show to fill me in on what's going on and what's good. Their reviews seem level-headed and free of fanboy nonsense.
It was recommended to me by Brandon Graham, who also writes semi-regular blog posts about the piles of books he acquires. He goes deep into the longboxes, which I understand isn't your main interest, but he may also tip you off to some good current stuff. Also, his enthusiasm is contagious.
Apologies for the lack of links, I'm writing on an iPod.

Oh, and of course I must nth the "talk to the dudes at the comic shop". Good luck!
posted by TangoCharlie at 10:43 AM on May 7, 2011

Response by poster: Just got back from FCB Day. Holy Crap, Lemaire! The Unwritten really is nothing short of amazing. So good, that I actually bought the trades, too. Thanks for the tip. Infinite Vacation was sold out, but I added it to my pull list, based on the online preview I read. Talkin with the staff at the shop, the consensus seems to be that everyone's jumping off Batman, Inc. after Morrison leaves, so I'll wait for the trades on that one.

And if you haven't done so already, grab that 2000AD FCB Day issue ASAP.
posted by KingEdRa at 11:12 AM on May 7, 2011 [1 favorite]

My favorite ongoing superhero comic (with gorgeous art!) is Invincible by Robert Kirkman.

Umbrella Academy is also good, but much more for the plotting than the art--it's very clever work (or maybe I'm just a sucker for time travel and dysfunctional families).
posted by johnofjack at 12:24 PM on May 7, 2011

If you like Nonplayer, you may like Brandon Graham's King City. Stunning art, and some of the more original writing I've seen in the last couple of years. I spoke to Brandon at TCAF today, and he says the trade should be coming out shortly.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 3:55 PM on May 7, 2011

Echoing The Unwritten. Bendis and Maleev's new one, Scarlet, just reached the end of its first arc. That's a definite pick-up.
posted by greenland at 4:57 PM on May 7, 2011 [1 favorite]

My most recommended series would be Fables. The cover art summarizes it pretty well.

Garth Ennis' The Boys is a portrayal of what a world with superheroes would probably look like. In short, superheroes are pretty terrible individuals and the government has 'the boys' kick the shit out of them when they fall out of line.

I don't know if you're including Japanese comics in this thread, but I'd highly recommend Takehiko Inoue's Vagabond even if you don't normally read manga. The story is vast and most of the panels are works of art. It's quite a meditative experience reading the series.
posted by lemuring at 7:41 PM on May 7, 2011

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