So, You Want to Read Comic Books?: Part 2 - Classic Superheroes

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You’ve seen The Dark Knight, Guardians of the Galaxy, The Avengers and loved them all. Now, you’re curious to read the original stories. But every time you pick up a comic book, you’re overwhelmed by backstory, back-issue references, and parallel universes. After all, it seems like some of the major comic book heroes and their storylines have been around forever. Superman, the most iconic superhero, was first introduced to the world in Action Comics #1 in June 1938. So, where do you start?

In Part 1 - Film Familiarity, we looked at characters you might know from the movies and discussed good entry-level comics for their stories. Now, we're going to look at classic heroes--the characters you've learned about through osmosis, based on their impact on the culture at large. Tomorrow, we'll conclude with Part 3 - An Independent Outlook, addressing titles that don't fit "traditional" comics categories, but are nevertheless noteworthy. 

All-Star Superman by Grant Morrison

A new vision of the World's First Super-Hero! Now in trade paperback, this volume collects the first six issues of the acclaimed series and features Lex Luthor, Jimmy Olsen, Lois Lane, Bizarro, and more!

Written by the esteemed Grant Morrison this take on the Man of Steel is considerably more "human," so to speak. We see Superman dealing with problems we all must face one day. Incredibly moving, and yet highly entertaining, this story is a must read for fans of this legend.  

Ms. Marvel, Vol 1: No Normal by G. Willow Wilson

Kamala Khan is an ordinary girl from Jersey City - until she is suddenly empowered with extraordinary gifts. But who truly is the all-new Ms. Marvel? Teenager? Muslim? Inhuman? Kamala has no idea either. But she's comin' for you, New York!

Kamala Khan is an excellent character. I adore the fact that she writes fanfiction, worries about fitting in, and has to deal with her parents’ traditional expectations. Also, the banter between her brother and her father is hilarious. This is a great read for anyone seeking a modern take on a classic character. If you can't get enough of Ms. Marvel, try A-Force next!

Batman: The Killing Joke by Alan Moore

One bad day. According to the grinning engine of madness and mayhem known as The Joker, that's all that separates the sane from the psychotic. Freed once again from the confines of Arkham Asylum, he's out to prove his deranged point. As the horrifying origin of the Clown Prince of Crime is finally revealed, will the thin line that separates Batman's nobility and The Joker's insanity snap once and for all?

This is one of the most important storylines in the Batman series, and has shaped the relationship of the characters to each other--and how the Joker himself is viewed--for a generation. I must caution those who choose to read this title as it is quite explicit. If you find yourself ready for more, then a good follow-up to this story is Gail Simone’s Batgirl.

Red Sonja, Vol 1: Queen of Plagues by Gail Simone

Red Sonja, the She-Devil with a Sword, intends to pay back a blood debt owed to the one man who has gained her respect... even if it means leading a doomed army to their certain deaths! An epic tale of blood, lust, and vengeance, Queen of the Plagues takes Red Sonja from the depths of her own grave to the heights of battlefield glory.

If you like Game of Thrones, then you will love this version of Red Sonja. The Red Sonja title was re-launched with a stronger, more focused character than we have seen in the past. Still, thanks to flashback sequences, new readers won't feel out of the loop. This is a well-written story, and a must for fans of strong female characters.    

The Uncanny X-Men, Vol 1 by Chris Claremont

Wolverine, Nightcrawler, Storm, Colossus. Endowed with unique abilities, these mutants were summoned by Professor X to rescue the original X-Men, an underground organization sworn to protect those that fear and hate them. Relive their original adventures - discover the human within the hero and the truth behind the legend!

Chris Claremont is pretty much the architect of the X-Men world that most of us are familiar with today. This book hails back to the earlier days of the X-Men, and allows the reader to see the evolution of some of their favorite characters. Also, be sure to look for the beginning of the Dark Phoenix saga. In my opinion, it is one of the best X-Men storylines to date. 


Don’t miss Houston Public Library at Comicpalooza, the best multi-format pop culture convention in the southwest, June 17-19! Stop by our table in the Exhibitors' Hall, and look out for our panels this weekend:

Friday June 17, 2016

Comics are for Everyone, 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM
Review of Kids Comics, 11:30 AM - 12:30 PM
Superhero Storytime, 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM and 4:00 - 5:00 PM
Using the Web to Find Rare Comics, 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM
The History of American Comics, 2:30 PM - 3:30 PM

Saturday June 18, 2016

Paper Circuits, 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM
X-men and Social Movements, 11:30 AM - 12:30 PM
Superhero Storytime, 11:30 AM - 12:30 PM
Real Wonder Women and You, 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM
History of LGBT Comics, 2:30 PM - 3:30 PM
Cosplay Your Plushie, 4:00 PM - 5:00 PM


So, You Want to Read Comic Books?:
Part 1 - Film Familiarity
Part 2 - Classic Heroes
Part 3 - An Independent Outlook

--Marlena A., Freed-Montrose Neighborhood Library

Comments

wonderful, really loved the books

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