Recommend me some fun comic books with superheroes
April 23, 2013 6:30 PM   Subscribe

What's worth reading from DC or Marvel, or the other guys in the last decade or so? I'm looking for superhero comics written recently enough that I can buy the trades new easily. I'll leave my likes and dislikes below.

I like witty writing, interesting art, and comics that don't take themselves too seriously or contain excessive amounts of grim darkness. I'm interested primarily in superhero stuff this time around because I usually don't read much of it, and I'd like a change of pace.

Examples of comics I've liked:
Anything by Warren Ellis/Grant Morrison/Alan Moore/Brian K Vaughn. (If you were thinking of recommending something, I've probably read it, sadly)
Astonishing X-Men (Whedon)
Invincible Iron Fist (The Matt Fraction/Aja one)
Hawkeye (again, Fraction/Aja. My comics guy just sold me this one and it's great)
Scott Pilgrim
Justice League (the old Giffen/DeMatteis version which was sort of jokey)

What I don't like:
Too much melodrama
Grim Darkness
Misogyny/women in refrigerators
Excessively muscley art (you know, like He Man. It's weird)
Excessive retconning shenanigans to the point where I have to spend a lot of time on Wikipedia (hi, DC!)

Basically, I want fun action that doesn't take itself too seriously. I appreciate any recommendations you can offer!

(Oh and please no manga, that's not what I'm feeling like at the moment)
posted by selfnoise to Media & Arts (31 answers total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
Try the New 52 reboot of DC. Hopefully that will address retcon shenanigans to some degree.
posted by Tanizaki at 6:33 PM on April 23, 2013

Mark Waid's (ongoing) run of Daredevil is definitely fun action that doesn't take itself too seriously, although lately it's gotten more serious. It broke away from the grim Daredevil that preceded it both in writing and in art style. There are four trades out so far: one, two, three, four.
posted by jedicus at 6:43 PM on April 23, 2013

It's probably too old, but I liked Astro City when I read it as a kid, derivative as I'm sure it was.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 6:45 PM on April 23, 2013 [2 favorites]

Captain Marvel, by Kelly Sue DeConnick and several different artists. Action-packed but lighthearted series starring Carol Danvers, USAF pilot turned superhero. The first six-issue arc has been traded, and issue 12 just came out, so you don't have much to catch up on -- if you want to wait I believe the second trade comes out at the end of May.

Ultimate Spider-Man, starring Miles Morales, a young boy who takes up the webs after the death of Peter Parker. (This is set in the Ultimate Marvel continuity, and there are actually a couple dozen volumes of Peter's adventures as Spidey before he dies around issue #150 of his series, but Miles' adventures are new reader friendly.)

Astro City is back in print.
posted by bettafish at 6:52 PM on April 23, 2013 [3 favorites]

We have similar tastes.

Check out the Benidis run of Daredevil. It's a little grim, but I'd argue no more so than Morrison or Moore.

You might also want to check out New Frontier.
posted by murfed13 at 6:55 PM on April 23, 2013

Invincible by Robert Kirkman sounds like it would be right up your alley. It gets more serious as it progresses but never grim.

I would actually avoid the New 52. Too much melodrama and grimness for no good reason.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 6:57 PM on April 23, 2013 [2 favorites]

Yep, definitely second Ultimate Spider-Man and the Carol Danvers Captain Marvel.
posted by jedicus at 7:02 PM on April 23, 2013

Try the New 52 reboot of DC. Hopefully that will address retcon shenanigans to some degree.

I will respectfully disagree with this. Their continuity is possibly worse than ever, what with "Superman has been rebooted; Batman hasn't. Wonder Woman has been rebooted; Green Lantern hasn't. Oh, and they're all in the Justice League together, where completely conflicting back-stories will have to be ignored, forever."

Honestly, I'd be hard pressed to name something from DC at the moment that fits your criteria. All-Star Superman is Morrison, so you've probably read it; Lemire's Animal Man is good, but pretty dark. Anything by Paul Cornell is probably worth your time.

Otherwise: Mark Waid's Daredevil run; Kieron Gillen's Journey into Mystery; any of the Runaways that you haven't read; DeConnick's Captain Marvel; maybe Matt Fraction's Defenders; Prophet, over at Image (don't worry about weird continuity; the Vol. 1 trade picks up at issue #17, and it totally doesn't matter). Young Avengers? Either the new ongoing, or the original team, which introduced the younger Hawkeye from the new Fraction/Aja series.

Uh ... man, I know I'm forgetting something.
posted by Amanojaku at 7:02 PM on April 23, 2013 [1 favorite]

Seconding Invincible (which is not Marvel/DC but is very much a superhero comic in the classic style).

Also, neither Marvel/DC or exactly superhero, but you should run out and buy all of the Atomic Robo trades immediately. Because SCIENCE. And the ghost of Thomas Edison. And Doctor Dinosaur. And all the things.
posted by murphy slaw at 7:12 PM on April 23, 2013 [2 favorites]

Oh, lord yes, Atomic Robo. Because CRYSTALS!

Also, the PS238 collections.
posted by blurker at 7:31 PM on April 23, 2013

Oh, the Atomic Robo suggestion reminded me of The Umbrella Academy. Totally gonzo, but better than it has any right to be.
posted by Amanojaku at 7:57 PM on April 23, 2013

Seconding DC's "New Frontier." Nice balance of sincere/cynical, light/serious, never gets overly dry. Cool retro artwork. Overall just a nice ode to the history of DC.
posted by TheSecretDecoderRing at 8:00 PM on April 23, 2013

Jeff Lemire's Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E from DC (sadly cancelled) definitely has at least one trade and there should be another coming out soon (if it isn't out right already) that wraps the series up. Not as dark as his Animal Man and twice as fun. Jonathan Hickman's Fantastic Four/FF run that just ended after several years was amazing and has been traded. Nthing Waid's Daredevil, McConnick's Captain Marvel and Prophet (especially if you loved Heavy Metal/Metal Hurlant back in the day). The first 6 issues of Brian K. Vaugn's Saga are traded and it's seriously GREAT.
posted by KingEdRa at 8:04 PM on April 23, 2013

Girl Genius. Starts off sorta slow, but OMG addicting. Not... exactly super...hero, but read.
posted by Jacen at 8:24 PM on April 23, 2013

Seconding the current run on Daredevil. Probably the best thing going on in comics right now.
posted by converge at 9:08 PM on April 23, 2013

I'd third Invincible. It's one of two books I buy regularly these days thanks to the New 52 reboots/redesigns ruining DC. (The other one I buy is Mudman by Paul Grist, whose art I love.)

You might like the David Lapham/Kyle Baker Deadpool Max issues. They were pretty insane. (Come to think of it, has Kyle Baker's The Shadow run ever been printed in paperback?)

Jaime Hernandez of Love and Rockets fame did a superhero book last year called God and Science: Return of the Ti-Girls that's surreal and fun and full of gorgeous Jaime Hernandez artwork.

Have you bought Flex Mentallo yet?
posted by MegoSteve at 9:37 PM on April 23, 2013

Thirding or fourthing or whatever Mark Waid's Daredevil.
Adding Jonathan Hickman's run on Fantastic Four and FF. You can get trades of both series, and there's an omnibus coming out in October.
Also, the Ultimate Wolverine vs. Hulk miniseries by Damon Lindelof & Lenil Yu.
posted by D.Billy at 9:41 PM on April 23, 2013 [1 favorite]

nthing Astro City; it's really great.
posted by topoisomerase at 11:06 PM on April 23, 2013

Astro City is where it's at. Seriously. You'll thank yourself.
Mark Waid's stuff is generally good as people have said, and if you like Hawkeye maybe try Fearless Defenders, Captain Marvel, and Young Avengers when they hit the trades. Savage Wolverine might be a goer when it gets collected but I'd be iffy aboutn recommending it considering Cho's hard is heavy into pinups.

Avoid X-Men anything otherwise at the moment.

If you liked the Grant Morrison JLA you could do worse than hunt down 2000 AD's Zenith.

Avoid New 52 for now. I saw some promise early on but... no.
posted by Mezentian at 5:18 AM on April 24, 2013

Wolverine & the X-Men is a really fun book right now, if you can get past the fact that it refuses to acknowledge that CYCLOPS WAS RIGHT.

Also check out X-Statix if you haven't already read it.
posted by joelhunt at 6:00 AM on April 24, 2013

Do you have an iPad? Because if so, Marvel's Unlimited app might be right for you. I've been going through Slott's She-Hulk, Waid's Fantastic Four, Morrison's Astonishing X-Men, Brubaker's Captain America, David's Incredible Hulk, Fraction's Iron Man, and Way's Deadpool for the past few weeks. Were I to try to buy all that stuff in trade, I'd go broke, so if you're okay with reading on a screen with an interface that's decidedly sub-ComiXology, you can save some big bucks too.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 6:17 AM on April 24, 2013

Planet Hulk was pretty fantastic, and I'm not really a fan of the character- it's basically John Carter of Mars starring the Hulk, and it's fairly self-contained.
posted by mkultra at 7:31 AM on April 24, 2013 [2 favorites]

DC is a hot mess right now, as far as I'm concerned. Avoid, avoid, avoid.

There is some recentish DC stuff worth reading. Darwyn Cooke's DC: The New Frontier; All-Star Superman; the John Rogers run of Blue Beetle (if you can find it-- they let the first trade go out of print, the bastards).

They're issuing the Giffen/DeMatteis Justice League in trade right now, if you want to reread it.

Alan Moore in 'fun retro adventures' mode is great-- Tom Strong, Top Ten (especially the Forty-Niners prequel) and Promethea are all worth a look.

Also nthing Astro City. It's fantastic, especially The Tarnished Angel.
posted by nonasuch at 8:26 AM on April 24, 2013

I asked a similar question a few months ago -- you might like the check the recommendations there.
posted by Zed at 9:31 AM on April 24, 2013

Glory and Prophet. Both from Image, have their first trade collections out (six issues each for a tenner) and are brilliant. For me, they scratch the same itch as Vaughan's Saga.

Considering I used to run the world's number one Astro City website (also the world's only Astro City website), Astro City is a nobrainer.

The old Justin Gray, Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Connor Power Girl series was a great little old fashioned superhero series. Connor is one of the most underrated artists currently doing superhero comics.

The whole Cosmic Marvel mythology that Dan Abbnet and Andy Lanning started half a decade or so might be slightly too grimdark for you, but if you like science fictional superheroics on a cosmic scale, as well as repurposed obscure Kirby monsters, talking cosmonaut dogs and laser wielding rocker raccoons, this is for you. (Annihilation, Annihilation Conquest, War of Kings, Realm of Kings, Nova, Guardians of the Galaxy)

Slighly lighter cosmic Kirby krackle: Joe Casey and Tom Scioli's Godland.
posted by MartinWisse at 2:11 PM on April 24, 2013 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks everyone! This was hugely helpful, and now I have a big Amazon wishlist ready the next time I go into the comic store.

I have to say, that new Prophet series looks awesome. It's wonderful that someone took a Rob Liefeld character and put them in what looks like a crazy French comic from the 80s.
posted by selfnoise at 5:50 PM on April 24, 2013

Also nthing Astro City. It's fantastic, especially The Tarnished Angel.

Holy Hell, yes, that. The Tarnished Angel is superb.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 5:53 PM on April 24, 2013

It totally doesn't answer the question, but I discovered this morning that there is a new Astro City series starting soon. Kinda a good time to get on board that train.
posted by Mezentian at 7:29 AM on April 25, 2013

I'm going to suggest ignoring the Nu52 reboot of DC in favour of Marvel NOW!, which is a similar idea (big shuffle up of characters and creators, break point for new readers) but actually fun - all the books I've ready out of it have been great so far, especially the Fantastic Four. Also Young Avemgers just did something sublime.

Predating that Keiron Gillen's Journey Into Mystery is well worth checking out and Fraction's Hawkeye and Waids Daredevil have both been on rolls.
posted by Artw at 7:32 AM on April 26, 2013

I'll ditto the recommendation of Hickman's Future Foundation/Fantastic Four, but be warned that Marvel incredibly screwed up the trade reprints and you have to alternate between different volumes for it to make sense.
posted by Zed at 9:55 AM on April 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: So, just a further follow up on my progress:
Mark Waid Daredevil: Bought. Awesome. Scratches the same itch as Hawkeye.
Prophet: Ordered.
Glory: Flipped through it in the store, looks intriguing, on the list.
Cptn Marvel: Flipped through it, didn't grab me. Maybe the art?
Atomic Robo: See above.

I'll revisit this post again later along with the other recommendations, as I am... outta money!
posted by selfnoise at 10:08 AM on June 13, 2013

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