Friday, December 7, 2012

Cricket's Required Reading

Its been a while since I’ve felt compelled to write about something comic related. In fact, its been months. Life changes and so do my taste in comics. But since finding out that my wife was pregnant with a little girl... I’ve really grown more aware of what i’d like to share with her. Now, yes I know... she’s a few years away from reading and some things I’ll have to wait until I feel she is more mature to enjoy and comprehend. But Like I told Tracie, Comics are what broke me into the world of art and literature. Expanded my mind socially and showed a world that isn’t black and white. Comics expanded my imagination and vocabulary and played a role in my moral compass. They are as much a tool to my education as any text book I had growing up. I don’t want to be the kind of dad that pushes his hobbies onto his kids, but there are some things I just can’t wait to share with her, when the time is right. This got me thinking, what are those things? What do I want to share that shook my foundation and made me latch onto this illustrated love affair? Well here is my list... when the time is right, This is Cricket’s required reading.

1. Superman Annual 11 1985
Written by Alan Moore and Drawn by Dave Gibbons. This is one of my all time favorites. It shows the importance of family and friends and their role in who we are. Its a tragic story of Superman’s hidden dream for something perfect, but knowing he has larger obligations as a hero. For a mid 80’s story, it also heavily focuses on the importance and friendship of the DC Trinity. This was an early love in comics for me and one of the reasons I latched on to Superman as a kid.

2. Robin (5 issue mini series) 1992
Written by Chuck Dixon and Tom Lyle. This story introduces Tim Drake into the crazy world that trained his mentor, Batman. Tim has to follow a similar path as Bruce did, but find his own way as well. This is a fun story that makes you love him and cheer for him to become Robin but at the same time make you realize that its a scary life. This story made me love the character and I long for those simpler times as a reader. You know when there was only 3 Robins... wait. I'm not opening that can of worms.

3. The Flash (Approximately the Terminal Velocity era) 1992
Written by Mark Waid and a handful of artists, this is special for many reasons. One reason recently, this is one that "Aunt" Tracie and I have talked about this era a lot. Its introduces the Speed force and makes the Flash a deeper character than he ever had been before in DC history. It gave him purpose and richness. And it introduced a world of incredible supporting characters. (Ahem: Bart Allen - Impulse) Its just a fun period of story telling using superheroes and I loved it.

4. The Ray (6 issue mini series) 1993
By Christopher Priest & Joe Quesada. This is an odd one to me. The story is good. But nothing unique. What is special, is the art. The black and yellow streaks and siloute. I never saw a hero illustrated this way and to be honest, nothing has come close since. Joe Quesada at his best. One of my all time favorite Super hero designs.

5. JLA (1997)
Grant Morrison & Howard Portermake FUN epic superhero comics. The magnificent seven, reunited. (for the first time?) Superman has long hair and Aquaman has a hook. And Green Lantern is an artist... but it feels so right. The way a team should be. One of my favorites.

6. Mad Magazine, What The, and Spider Ham (Times and creators... who can name em all)
Comics can be fun, and make fun of them selves. These books are always fun to pick up and giggle at. Sometimes potty humor, sometimes serious. But always fun.

Look, as I think about this, its hard to narrow down the best things and important things. Comics have such heart and humor. Because she's a little girl, I have no idea what will appeal to her. What she'll like and what will bore her. Originally I liked Star Wars, and I saw an illustrated Darth Vader in a spinner rack. My mom picked up that and a Green Lantern... and thought. Cool. But it wasn't until Crisis on Infinite Earths, #7, where Superman is holding the lifeless body of his cousin, Supergirl... did I realize how real and deep comics could be. I had no context, I didn't know about the Multiverse, I couldn't figure out why there was 2 Supermans. All I know is, Superman was holding his dead cousin and it hurt. I was 10 years old and I can recall reading that book vividly in my friend's basement.  And ever since then... I was hooked. I can't wait to show her: Blue Beetle, or Hickman's Fantastic Four, or All Star Superman, or Ultimate Spider-man, or Heck... All of it! What will catch my daughter's eye? Maybe nothing... But I'll tell you this. She will have one hell of a library to read from, if she likes this medium.

1 comment:

  1. Personally I think while you should share those that succeed it is also important to keep the "failures" alive as well. The books that failed to catch on can teach you so many things. Not only that life can be unfair but also that just because you didn't find success doesn't mean you failed.

    I mean just look at Marvel's New Universe which is still one of my favorite comic related properties period. It was so ambitious and ahead of it's time that you can't but help look back on it with some awe. Also perhaps the most important thing you can learn from them is that while you may be rejected by the world as a whole, there is someone that will always treasure what you did. I mean not only did we get newuniversal a few years back (by the way Ellis fuck you for never finishing it), but Hickman is doing a revival of the New Universe in his Avengers run. Which honestly is the only thing that could make me care about the Avengers. Though I do like that he is using Captain Universe in his line-up, he loves obscure Marvel characters as much as me it seems. If he starts including Marvel UK characters he is getting a cake.