The Comics Place's top 10 Comic Recommendations for this year's Social Distancing Season!!
Make the most of your couch time with comics!
Listen, we get it! You're at home pacing around, trying your best to not think about why you're not leaving your house. Every “Social Distancing” season brings about its own hardships... “How can I make 100 packets of Top Ramen last?” (It just will), “How much Peanut butter is TOO MUCH peanut butter?” (No amount if you're Justin), “Is starting an ENTIRE new campaign of Zelda: Breath of the Wild worth it?” ( I'd try and track down some more shrines before committing to that) or “Do I cave and FINALLY watch The Wire?” (You absolutely should). Well The Comics Place has your back! Jeff has compiled a list of Books, new and old, that would make for perfect distractions during your voluntary isolation.
THIS Social Distancing season we're recommending books that tap into the power of positivity. Also, books that will take a while to get through. Books built to last more than one or two sittings, these are maxi-series or long running series that should keep you company all season long. So here's a list of books that we, or whoever your Local Comic Shop is, should be able to get you with no problem. This list might lean a little heavier on the superhero titles than normal, but to quote Mr. Rogers “In times of fear look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping”.
Darwyn Cooke's New Frontier: This is an easy pick for me. Darwyn has the ability to tell a complex and moving story while simultaneously tapping into what makes superheroes worth looking up to. It's not just muscles, invisible jets, and green rings. Compassion, goodness, & self sacrifice are what make the Justice League who they are. Whether you're familiar with this story, or have never read a definitive take on how the Justice League was formed, now is a perfect time to be filled with the hope and promise that Darwyn filled this book with.
All Star Superman: Once upon a time I found myself in the middle of the night, dang near on the verge of a panic attack, desperately looking for something to pull me out of the hole I'd found myself in. I found All-Star Superman #10. For those of you who've read that, you now what I mean. For those that haven't, this 12-issue series is a distillation of everything that makes Superman worth believing in. I'm sure we've all heard somebody say at some point something along the lines of “I just don't like Superman. He's boring. He's got TOO MANY powers.” In that situation I pull out one of the 3 or 4 copies of All-Star Superman I've always got squirreled away somewhere on my person. It's quite possibly my favorite superhero story of all time. And it's Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely, so it's going to take a while to get through
Ms Marvel: One of the most positive and wonderful heroes of modern comics, Kamala Kahn is a complex and deeply relatable character that will remind you of the goodness inherent in all of us. Kamala is as close as I can think of to a modern equivalent to what Peter Parker was when Spider-man first came on the scene. Kamala is your average goofy teen growing up in Jersey City. She loves junk food, video games, spending time with her friends and writing superhero fan fiction. The daughter of Pakistani immigrants, she is a beautiful representation of this countries first and second generation Muslim youth, balancing traditional family and religious values and the interests of a modern American teen. With or without her powers, all Kamala wants to do is help people and is something we should all strive for right now. Ms. Marvel is a great series to read right now because its a whole world ready to consume you. And It's a happy world. No germs!
Jonathan Hickman's Fantastic Four: So far, we've covered books entrenched in positivity and moral fortitude. This is still one of those, but if you're looking for something really cerebral to keep you mind busy this is the book for you. Jonathan Hickman's 3 year run on the Fantastic Four turned Marvel's First Family from a team that I largely considered historically important above all else, to one of the most exciting and interesting groups I'd ever read. Hickman has a way of making a story feel like a giant machine that you'r watching slowly come to life and burst through the Earth's surface. If you like his X-men stuff, this is that with less moral ambiguity.
Invincible: This is for those of you who need a SERIOUS commitment. 25 volumes, some of the most fun I've ever had collecting monthly single issues. This is Robert Kirkman's less celebrated sister-series to The Walking Dead (I promised myself I wouldn't bring that series up in this list...) If you're living in a post-superhero world, Invincible is the book for you. It's meta-heroics. It's like the best super-story you've ever read, and then 15-degrees off from that. It's hilarious and heart-breaking, beautiful and brilliant, masterfully written and even MORE masterfully drawn. You can collect this series in giant 48-issue compendiums (better priced than you'd think)and totally shut off the outside world. Hands down Jeff's favorite Robert Kirkman series.
Saga: If you're reading this, than I'm SURE you've heard of Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples' Pop culture titan “Saga”. I might just be standing on top of a Facebook mountain right now yelling into the void, because most people have read Saga... But if you've been putting it off, now is the perfect time to deep dive into it. It REALLY is as good as everyone says. It's family, it's fantasy, it's space opera. It will take you out of WHEREVER you head is putting you right now.
Sex Criminals: This is where the laughs live, everybody. You need levity? OF COURSE YOU DO! We ALL do right now. And where does the levity lie? In time-stopping orgasms of course! Chip Zdarsky and Matt Fraction hid more heart and giggles into a single panel of Sex Criminals than most “humor” books have in a single volume. It's a sensitive look at the incredibly multi-dimensional idea of individual sexuality. And at the same time, I don't think I've ever laughed so hard reading a comic. This Social Distancing Season, chose to get lost falling in love with two lost people falling in love.
Final Crisis: Okay, let's get polarizing folks. I'm trying to bear in mind a bit of the “bang for your buck” mentality here. And Grant Morrison's Epic “Final Crisis” is a book that should be read, re-read, put down for a week, and then read again. For sure, some say it doesn't make any sense. Others, Like Jeff, think it makes WAY TOO MUCH sense. And yeah, it is a bit of an “end of the world” story, but its also filled with hope and super-heroics. So if you find yourself with way more time on your hands than you were prepared for, why not spend some of that trying to solve one of the biggest comic book puzzles there is. Does it make sense? Does it not? You decide!
Ed Piskor's X-men Grand Design: Have you, like many of us, found yourself REALLY enjoying the Dawn of X comics that started with House of X & Powers of X? Has it made you feel like you... I dont know... don't know enough about the history of the X-men? It CERTAINLY has made some of us feel that way. So why not sit down with ole' Ed Piskor and get the entire history of the X-men told to you in a succinct stylized way. Piskor takes all of those strange story retcons that happened over the last 50 years and strategically places them in canon at the times they would have happened. The result is a seamless single story that starts you with the appearance of the first mutant in the Marvel Universe and takes you up to the 1980's. So brilliant it inspired a similar story in the form of “Fantastic Four: Grand Design” by his Cartoonist Kayfabe collaborator Tom Scioli. I can't think of a better way to spend this year's Social Distancing Season than taking in the complete history of our favorite mutants.
Stumptown: Alright, we thought this one would be fun to thrown in for all you interactive “home-project” types (of which we often consider ourselves). Looking to draw up a compare and contrast list? Stumptown is an incredible follow up to books like Alias/Jessica Jones & Queen and Country. Greg Rucka writes some of my absolute favorite damaged and driven protagonists. But here's where it gets fun, you can watch darn near the whole first season of the Stumptown show thats been airing this year on ABC/Hulu. How well does it follow the book? Does Cobie Smulders accurately convey the nuance of Dex's character? And how much does it look like Matthew Southworth's art? And to top it all off, you can listen to our podcast interview with the artist, Matthew Southworth who is one of the most creatively diverse folks we've gotten to talk to. Stumptown is a great excuse to whip out the school supplies that may be gathering dust until public schools open back up.
And that does it for this list! Stay positive, and if you find a great way to pass the time this “Social Distancing Season” let us know. Stop by the shop and pick up one of these great books to get in to, OR feel free to pay over the phone and we'll hand deliver them to you! (Well, not hand... we'l put them safely in a bag and leave them on your doorstep)
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