This is mainly an Marvel Comics/movies/Lord of the Rings/art blog with a slight smattering of Teen Wolf, Parks and Recreation, Community and more.
I am always happy to answer any asks sent my way!
This blog is occasionally NSFW and mostly spoiler-free.
Indeed I can!
Every event is different, some are crossover events (in which there may or may not be a separate core series, and a lot of the important things happen in special issues of ongoing series), and some are completely self contained. From what I have heard, Age of Ultron (abbreviated AU, not to be confused with Alternate Universe) is going to be mostly self-contained.
AU will be 10 core books. The first six will be spread out over March and April, and the final four will be spread out over May and June. To give you an idea of what to look for, here is the cover of issue one!
There are six issues of currently ongoing series that will tie in to this event. While they are not vital, they will add a lot to the event storyline. Those books are:
I am SO GLAD to hear that! You’ve picked the three best comics I can recommend. David Aja is my all time favorite artist, and Carol Danvers is my hero. You’re a nerd after my own heart!
So, as you like what you’ve read so far, let me recommend some more in the same vein to blow that sweet, sweet christmas $$$ on!
Okay! I think that’s a pretty decent list of recommendations that you didn’t actually ask for. This goes for everyone else looking for post-christmas cash to burn. Just wait. You’ll get hooked. And then every month, you’ll come crying to Mama Flatbear, hopelessly in love with comic books.
Address all complaints to Iamsosorryaboutyourbankaccount@gmail.com
That’s not a real email address.
And I’m not sorry.
1. A-babies vs X-babies was a one-shot book written by baby maestro Skottie Young, and drawn by Gurihiru Studios. Sadly it starts and ends with one issue, but what an issue it was!
2. It absolutely IS possible to start from the beginning of both runaway series…es, but right now it might be a little tricky. I know there are some re-prints of Hawkeye coming out, but I can’t say for Capt. Marvel. The first trade for CM should be out soon, but if you can’t wait, you can always pick up the books and then start pre-ordering them online, here and here.
3. OH BOY ARE YOU IN LUCK! You’re coming in smack-bang in the middle of a little re-tooling that Marvel is going through. Affectionately referred to as MARVEL NOW!, not only are the majority of Marvel’s existing books starting over with new creators and story arcs, there are also five new titles for you to get your sticky fingers on! Note: do not touch comics with sticky fingers. Some of the new titles have already come out, and this will continue through until March next year. You can find all the information you need right here!
I would personally recommend Avengers, which starts today. Thor: God of Thunder which is two issues in, and the new Deadpool book. Two issues in, it has rekindled my love of a character I was thoroughly sick of.
And as always, I’m pushing Avengers Assemble, which I believe to be the BEST book for new comic readers. It’s easy, fun and approachable, and the seamless blending of Movie and Comic Universe characterization makes you feel like you already know and love these super dorks. The new story arc has started with Issue #9, and it’s the perfect starting point. You’re mad if you don’t pick this book up!
Hope that helped! And remember kids, PRE-ORDER your books online and in stores - not only does that ensure that you will get your preciousss comics, but it shows Marvel which books are popular and will continue to sell!
Marvel really needs to consider adopting ‘what the hell are these characters even thinking?’ as a tag line.
Some suggestions for the new and aspiring comics reader!
Avengers Assemble. If you are looking for a great book to slip on like a comfortable, silky nightgown (that metaphor got away from me), this is the one for you. It’s approachable for the movie crowd, but faithful enough to the rest of the comics reading audience. It’s fun, it’s fast paced, and it has a great roster of non-movie characters for you to meet and enjoy! Just like a silky nightgown. It’s only one book in to a new story arc by god-tier writist Kelly Sue Deconnick, so now is the best time to jump on!
Thor: God of Thunder. Only two issues in, this is the first book I’ve read in a while that made me go ‘Wow. Thor is a GOD. An actual honest-to-god-god’. This is a great way to break yourself in to the lovable Golden Retriever of the movie universe, and see how he rolls in the comics.
AVENGERS! The brand, spankin’, shiny and new AVENGERS starts TOMORROW! That’s issue number one, people. NUMBER ONE. With a roster of EIGHTEEN CHARACTERS, not only do you have the warm embrace of kids you know and love (Steve, Tony, Carol, Clint and more) but you’re meeting all sorts of new ones. Some that even I have never heard of! More than that, the art is absolutely stunning. Some of the best I’ve ever seen. And here’s the thing - I snuck a preview of this book at work tonight, and the Steve/Tony shippers are going to SHIP THEIR PANTS.
See what I did there?
Seriously though buy those books.
Damn you’ve come in at the right time! Marvel’s new title, Thor God Of Thunder started literally last week, and it is INCREDIBLE. Jason Aaron has set up an incredibly chilling story, and the magnificent Esad Ribic is my DREAM artist for Thor. Definitely a book worth picking up.
I also recommend Rodi and Ribic’s Blood Brothers, which will always be one of my top five self contained stories. It focuses more on Loki, but is amazing nonetheless. If you’re REALLY wanting to commit, I would be remiss in not mentioning JMS and Copiel’s work on Thor. To this day, that is my favorite run on any Thor book. Lady Loki, Balder kicking ass and taking names, Bill of Bills, an Iron Man Throwdown, and a bridge scene that will make you cry for a month. BONUS: It leads you seamlessly into Dark Reign, Seige, and then Fraction and Gillen’s magnificent side-by-side on Thor and Journey into Mystery.
AND LAST BUT NOT LEAST, this one right here. Kid-friendly and a fun book, but one of the best you will read.
And there came a day, a day unlike any other, when three tumblr users found themselves united in an attempt to get every single person in the world reading comic books. On that day, Team Read F***ing Comics was born—to answer asks no single blogger could answer! Through the years, their pull lists have grown, changing many times, but their fandom has never been denied! Heed the call, then—for now, READ F***ING COMICS!
(Btw if it looks like Mary is grabbing my ass up there, well, never say I don’t draw the truth.)
HOLY SHIT TUMBLR HAVE I GOT A TREAT FOR YOU!
See that page I just posted? Just there, above the bold text. That is my all time favorite page from any comic ever. Thor and Beta Ray Bill, conversing through Gloria Gaynor’s I Will Survive.
Who is Beta Ray Bill, you ask? THIS IS BETA RAY BILL!
What page from, you also ask? I AM ABOUT TO TELL YOU! This is from Thor and the Warriors Four, my all time favorite mini-comic. It was a little four issue run, written by Alex Zalben and drawn by, wait for it, Gurihiru studios. You know. The same studio that drew Avengers vs X-Babies that you’ve all gone so batshit over? WHAT’S THAT? YOU WANT MORE OF THAT GORGEOUS ART? WELL!
Thor and the Warriors Four is a story about Power Pack, four siblings with extraordinary powers (Some of you might know Julie Powers from Avengers Academy!). Hit with the news that their grandmother might be dying, the kids decide to embark on a trip to Asgard, and employ Thor in order to get their mitts on some of those golden apples, the ones that make the gods…godly.
Naturally, there are hijinks along the way, they get waylaid by evil and nefarious plans, and the whole four issue run is just fucking fantastic. I’ve read this cover to digital cover more times than I can count, and it never gets less funny, less tearjerking, less heartwarming, or less fantastic.
WAIT, YOU’RE NOT SOLD ON IT YET? HOW ABOUT SOME SCANS!
HOW CAN YOU NOT LOVE HORSE THOR? COME ON! HE’S A THORSE!
Did I fail to mention that everyone in Asgard gets turned into a baby by SOME NEFARIOUS MAGIC USER WHO COULD IT BE? Because they do. And it’s so fucking precious that I can’t stand it.
IS THAT SOME BABY WARRIORS THREE? Ya’ll best believe there is a tattoo of baby upside down Hogun in my future.
I DON’T UNDERSTAND WHY YOU HAVEN’T JUT SCROLLED TO THE BOTTOM AND CLICKED THE LINK TO GO BUY THIS.
Guys, you can get this entire thing for $8. Let me make this clear, I do not work for ComiXology.com. I don’t get anything out of this. I just re-read this comic tonight and it fills me with such love that I have to share it. And you’re getting TWO stories, because each issue has a fantastic backup story about Hercules babysitting said Power Pack. GODS. KIDS. HORSE THORS.
I am begging you all. Buy this book. It’s so fun. Then come back here and TELL me about it, and we can TALK about it, and that’s the best thing about comics, right? This is a great gateway comic, too. It introduces you to WONDERFUL characters that you can follow into other books! GO AND BUY THIS COMIC.
…what. You want one more picture? Okay. Just one.
I thought that might get your attention.
I don’t mind at all!
I will start with Carol, because I’m NOT BIASED AT ALL. I started reading Carol with her own series that started in May of 2006. It lasted for 50 issues and was collected in the following volumes:
The really great thing about this series was that it lasted through some of the biggest Marvel events: Civil War, Secret Invasion, and Dark Reign. This series was a biiiig big part of me getting into comics, and I will recommend it to anyone. I was heartbroken when it was cancelled, but considering it resulted in the Captain upgrade…well. Silver lining, right?
Janet is a different story. I love her, but my only real exposure to her was in the original Ultimates, which I will not recommend to anyone. I can direct you to her Comicvine.com entry here, which might be of some use to you! There is, however, a rumor that she will be coming back from the dead (COMICS, EVERYONE!) shortly. I will keep an eye on it, and if it turns out to be true, I will set you up with a good place to start reading!
DELICIOUS WINTER SOLDIER.
Okay, there are technically two Winter Soldier arcs. The one that’s 11 (I think) issues in is the current one, that is about Bucky post-fear itself, when almost everyone still thinks he’s dead (As a result of getting the majority of his chest blown out). It’s him and Natasha dealing with the sins of their past, and it is REALLY REALLY GREAT. You can find the first collected trade and the most recent issues in your local comic store, or right here in digital copies!
The first Winter Soldier arc is the one you will usually see me screaming about. It was the story arc in the Captain America that ret-conned Bucky’s death, reinvented him as The Winter Soldier, and brought him back into Steve’s life. It’s an incredible book for so many reasons -
The entire collection has recently been re-issues in one big whopping $25 trade, which is a hell of a deal. You can pick it up at your local comic store, or you can get Vol. One and Vol. Two in digital!
Fair warning: The end is going to kill you. It will break your heart. So I suggest also looking for the story arc that follows, which is called Red Menace. That will supply you with CONSIDERABLY MORE emotional closure, as well as introducing some of the most kick-ass British superheroes out there (LADY JACQUELINE HOLLA.)
Enjoy! And come cry in my ask box when you can’t handle all of your Bucky feels!
I’ve unlocked god(ess) level? SWEET!
You may not feel that way after reading this, however.
I do not like the Young Avengers. At all. PLEASE LET ME MAKE THIS CLEAR, I DON’T THINK ANY LESS OF ANYONE THAT DOES LIKE THEM! It’s just not a team for me. The first two collected volumes were pretty good, and Young Avengers Presents was interesting, although if I’m honest, I only read it for Clint Barton ho ho…
But! I DO know just what to recommend!
First up, have you read Young Avengers: Children’s Crusade? The series only just finished (seriously, that shit took like two years to come out), and it was kind of under the radar for a lot of people. If not, check it out! It’s the end of the YA, basically, but the story wraps it all up very neatly, and the art is just stunning.
And now here’s MY favorite. If you’ve read Young Avengers, you’re probably aware of Runaways. If not, here’s the down-low: A group of children realize their parents belong to a Supervillian Society known as The Pride. Terrified and outraged, they go on the run and hijinks ensue. The Avengers, a Velociraptor, Skrulls, Robots and some of the best comics out there ALSO ensue!
The first two volumes are absolutely fantastic, and the book was created by Brian K Vaughn, who exists solely off of the hopes and dreams of the comic fans that he loves to emotionally torture. Also fantastic is the story arc Dead End Kids, which sees the Runaways transported to new York in 1907, after sucker-punching The Punisher. That arc was written by none other than Joss Whedon!
If you like YA, you will LOVE Runaways. Even if you don’t like YA, you’ll love it, as I’ve demonstrated! In fact, I have the first volume currently sitting on the couch beside me. Enjoy!
(And for the second ask, that arrived just as I was writing this post - good timing! - I think Avengers Assemble is a great book for you.!)
Okay no, ignore that! There’s no such thing as a consistent bro-ship in comics lately, unless you look at Luke Cage and Iron Fist, but even that has become scarce! However I DO have a few books to recommend!
Avengers Prime. This was one of the breakout books of Marvel’s recent The Heroic Age, which brought Steve back into the Marvel Universe, and attempted to repair a lot of the post-Civil War damage. It’s a fun, engaging limited series and while the big three are separated for a lot of it, the book basically exists to repair their friendship.
Avengers Assemble. This brand new series runs alongside the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and is your best bet for some Big Three Bro Time! A great place to jump in is coming up in November with issue #9, new writer, new story arc!
And of course, Marvel Adventures! All of the bromance, none of the drama of the regular universe! Specifically look for the Thor and Cap volume (Marvel Adventures Super Heroes vol. 2 #13-16).
Enjoy your bros!
Guru? I don’t know about that. Sequential-art addicted Marvel zombie mind-slave? That sounds more like me!
Here’s the thing with getting into comics, and this is what I have told everyone that has come to me in the past (including a handful of peeps like yourself, with a burning need to Know All The Canon): You’re not going to know everything.
You’re never going to know everything. There’s just too much. I don’t know everything. I know very little, in fact. Go on. Ask me something about the X-men. The X-what? See? Nada.
The best thing to do, and this is my little trick that I personally used, is to find a character that you LOVE and use them as a gateway drug. Jump on that character’s back and follow them from book to book! It’s the best way to get into new books and introduced to new characters, while still having something familiar to cling to. I used Hawkeye and Captain marvel, which, by the way? Right now they are PERFECT characters to use for such a trick.
As for a jumping-in point? You’re in luck! Beginning in October, Marvel is doing a relaunch of several of their major titles, as well as adding in a few totally new books. This relaunch is aimed to streamline a few stories and specifically bring in a new reader such as yourself. You can read more about Marvel Now right here!
In particular, I would recommend checking out Avengers Assemble. Kelly Sue Deconnick will be taking over writing duties with issue #9 (November 2012), and the series works as a great bridge between the movie-verse and the comics-verse.
Now…Ultimates. I am loath to recommend Ultimates to any new comics reader, particularly someone with only the MCU as prior reference. What started out as a great idea, and a perfect way to introduce people slowly into the greater Marvel Comics universe, quickly turned into a total disaster. It has a few shining moments of greatness - the first two volumes are pretty decent. But the further it goes on, the more disgusting and disturbing it becomes. Captain America in particular is tainted with moments of slight racism and thinly-veiled homophobia that are hard to read.
It IS a good introduction to a lot of characters, and a good way to break into reading a comic book format. You don’t need any prior comics knowledge at all to read the series, and it was actually the first series I ever read. But if you do start with it, please, PLEASE take it with a grain of salt, and stop after Vol. 2. Ultimates is a good break-in, but it’s not very representative of the characters portrayed within.
If you want something simple to start with? I recommend Marvel Adventures. While marketed as a book for younger audiences, this series was a GREAT introduction for a lot of people. Easy stories, stripped-down and simplified characters, and self-contained plots. You can find collected volumes at your local comic store, on Amazon.com, or ComiXology.com!
GOOD LUCK!!! There is NOTHING that makes me happier than hearing that someone is willing to brave the intimidating world of comics! It’s not easy - I’ve been down the rabbit hole for about six years now, and there are still moments where I feel lost! Just accept that it’s going to happen, and remember - Comicvine.com is your friend!
I like comics! Do YOU like comics?
How about…FREE comics? ComiXology is giving away FREE COMICS RIGHT NOW. 20 Issues from 2012 so far, and they are REALLY GOOD. And they’re FIRST issues, too! Want to jump in on a new story? Having trouble tracking down a firstie?
HERE’S YOUR CHANCE!
There are a few on here that I have read myself, and loved. For my beloved followers, I would like to recommend…
Saga #1. Brian K Vaughn is a powerhouse when it comes to comics. he has written several of my favorite series, and has ripped my heart out and stomped on it at the end of each one. I expect Saga to be no different. It’s beautiful, fantastical, deeply bizarre and yes, there are boobies. Pick it up, this comics is flying off the shelves at my local comic store.
Fatale #1. HOW OFTEN do you hear me talking about Ed Brubaker, eh? At least twice in the past hour, in fact! Like his Steve and Bucky? Like his face? Check out his noir-horror book that I have yet to read, and am literally downloading right now to do so. Just read the description. Go on. You’re gonna flip.
Thief of Thieves #1. Robert Kirkman is the king of indy comics right now. Who is Robert Kirkman, you say? Heard of a little thing called The Walking Dead? Yeeeah. I fucking love crime comics, and this one is at the top of a growing pile of awesome.
The Manhattan Project #1. What if the research and development department created to produce the first atomic bomb was a front for a series of other, more unusual, programs? What if Jonathan Hickman was the best new comics writer of the year, and recent memory? OH WAIT THAT LAST ONE IS TOTALLY TRUE.
America’s Got Powers #1. I hate myself for loving this comic. I really do. It’s a goofy concerpt - super powered post-teens on a reality show. But oh god, it’s fun. It’s so, so very fun. For those of you intimidated by the monthly-release format of comics, check this out. It’s a limited series of 6 - a nice ice-breaker!
Planetoid #1. This is one of the most gorgeous books I’ve seen start this year. When the writer is also the artist, there’s a liquidity to the story that really sucks you in. I need to catch up on the other issues, but I read this when it came out and it really resonated with me. I’m excited to see what comes next!
Mind The Gap #1. I LOVE JIM MCCANN. I LOVE HIM. The only person in the world who loves Hawkeye more than yours truly. More than that, he penned the inclusive and inspirational Return of the Dapper Men. Cards on the table, I’m two issues in and I still have NO IDEA WHAT IS GOING ON, but I feel like something big is coming. Also? Support your openly gay comics creators, please. (And his husband is adorbs.)
SO THAT’S THAT. Go and get some free comics, babies! Here is the link to the WHOLE FREAKING LOT OF THEM, which is SO MUCH MORE than what I’ve listed above. For those of you intimidated by the format of comics, here is your chance to give it a whirl the best way possible - free, and on your computer, where you can take exactly as long as you want. So go on! Don’t just waste your time listening to me!
(And as always, if you like the books, read more! Go to your local comic store! Go to comiXology.com! READ COMICS!)
I think I know just what you mean!
Transitioning from a normal novel into reading sequential art can be incredibly difficult, and intimidating. No one should feel bad for finding comics to be really daunting - the simple fact is, they are!
Don’t try to pick up a random comic and dive right in. Every book is different, and chances are you will just end up frustrating yourself and getting mad. Not sure how every book could be different? Check this out. THIS is a page from JHWIII’s run on Batwoman, while THIS is a page from Darwyn Cooke’s Watchmen prequel, Minutemen. A world of difference! I’ll give you a few minutes to soak in that incredible art, from two of the greatest artists and writers currently working.
It’s okay. Take two minutes. I understand.
Good? Okay. Good.
Now more than ever, comics are an explosion of style and expression. While frustrating, the current MASSIVE variation of artists currently working is one of the best things about the modern comics age. For me, looking at someone like Jill Thompson's work was a great way to ease in to more intimidating panel layouts, and more complicated books.
Okay. Now that I’ve done my art spiel, here’s the real trick to understanding comics as you read them. This book right here. It will absolutely change your nerdy little life, and will send you head-first down the rabbit hole.
(Aspiring writers and artists? You ALSO need this book!)
There is a copy of this book on my comics shelf that has been beat to shit from re-read after re-read. Even now, living and breathing comics, I still refer to it for my own education. It’s a godsend.
What else can I recommend? Take your time! If you’re trying to push through a comic and just pick up the story, you’re wasting the medium. Analyze each panel, chew it, digest it, really get into the pages. Sometimes I physically put my fingers on the page and trace the story from panel to panel. Never rush, take your time. Read a book twice, three times!
Don’t be hard on yourself. Some comics are just straight up confusing. The new DC Animal Man is a beautiful book and a fascinating character, but I had to give it up for confusion. Some artists and books try to do too much with the medium, and alienate the reader. if you get confused, don’t worry about it. Put the book down and walk away. If you come back and it’s still a hot mess? It might not be you!
Here are some examples of books that eased me in to comics, and that I still read today. Pick them up from your Local Comic Store, or follow the ComiXology links!
Stardust (Neil Gaiman and Charles Vess)
- Yes, this is not a comic, but here’s the thing. If you can get the Charles Vess illustrated version, do it. Do it! Neil Gaiman is also an accomplished comics writer, and he’s a great stepping stone into comics. The layout of the story, and the accompanying illustrations are a great bridge between novels and comics. (amazon.com page)
Beasts of Burden (Evan Dorkin and Jill Thompson, Dark Horse comics)
- Yep, I’m nuts for Jill Thompson. Her watercolors are a constant inspiration to me, and her open, simple page layouts make for an incredibly satisfying, easy read. Beasts of Burden is currently in a collected trade, and there’s also a cross-over with Hellboy! Caution: These comics will make you laugh, smile, cry, and hug your pets until they claw their way to freedom. (amazon.com page)
Bone (Jeff Smith, Cartoon Books/Image comics)
- All cards on the table here, I have not read Bone. My study is full of Bone toys, comics, and calenders, and it’s all Marchingjaybird’s. Come to think of it, we have Bone playing cards as well. I am suggesting this series because although I have not read it, I KNOW it’s good. It’s fun, engaging, interesting, and most importantly? Incredibly easy to read. More than that, there is a HELL of a lot of it! Start at the beginning, and by the time you reach the end, you will be a pro. Jeff Smith has a current ongoing series, called RASL. (comixology.com page)
Watchmen (Alan Moore, Dave Gibbons, DC comics)
- Okay. I am going to get some flack for this, and probably deservedly so. This might not be a good comic for anyone to start on, but the fact is, it’s what I started on. Watchmen has its faults. A lot of the subject material (Rape, homophobia, hate crimes, murder, child molestation, pretty much everything form every episode of Law & Order SVU ever) is incredibly hard to swallow, and it took me about six months to read the entire thing. But love it or hate it, Watchmen is the best example of how far you can push comics, and how far you can stretch the medium. There’s a reason it has so consistently topped the NYT’s Graphic Novel Bestseller list.
Watchmen won’t be an easy read, it isn’t for anyone, but the fact is - it’s an engaging read. It’s not just a comic, it’s letters, photos, newspaper clippings. It’s packed with supplemental material that will keep you focused and interested from cover to cover. Attempt this if you are brave. Love it or hate it, you will learn a lot from Watchmen. (comixology.com page)
Interested in something you can buy weekly? Find yourself a comic book store, go in, and browse! If something hooks you, sink your teeth in! Right now, I suggest Matt Fraction and David Aja’s Hawkeye, and Avenging Spider-man. Both are great introductions to loads of characters, and the panel layout is simple, interesting, and absolutely fantastic.
I think that’s all I can help you with! And I hope it does help. Comics are incredibly intimidating, but NEVER be afraid to sit down with a book and really take your time going from panel to panel!
(Note: If you meant the weekly/monthly single issue release of comics, and not the actual physical layout, send me another message and I will answer that one as well.)