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Several people have made noises to me recently about being curious about comics but unsure where to start, and I realized I had never addressed precisely that question before. Here, then, is a list of suggestions as made by someone who's very enthused about comics but only been actively reading them for eight months.

These are all fairly recent comics, some of them still ongoing, which I personally have read and enjoyed and think would be approachable to someone with very little knowledge of comics continuity, either because they're standalone titles (the Image stuff) or because the writers kept away from the continuity tangles of the larger universe inhabited by the characters (the Marvel stuff). I also stuck to stuff that's available in trades, so that you have a hope of acquiring them through your local library. However, they are all also available via Comixology, the one-stop shop for digital comics by the big publishers.

Image
Saga, by Vaughan/Staples, two volumes so far (a third out in March). Surrealist star-crossed lovers space opera with really gorgeous art. I wrote a big ol' promotional post for this one, so I shall point you there. Also see my Saga tag for general enthusing.

Glory, by Keatinge/Campbell, two volumes total. Big epic-type thing about a really alien (yet humanoid) alien. Just neat. This is another one I wrote a whole post about, here.

Morning Glories, by Spencer/Eisma, six volumes so far with more to come. LOST-esque boarding school horror with genius kids doing horrible things to survive their horrible environment. I've read the first four volumes, and I still don't really know what's going on, although I'm starting to get some idea. The horribleness of the setting is offset quite a bit by the brightly lit and colored artwork.

Marvel
Hawkeye, by Fraction/Aja, two volumes so far. This is Hawkeye from the Avengers movie, but "on his day off." The writing here is just FUN. So much fun. The art is also wonderful, sort of old-fashioned looking with a limite color palette. AND the comic features not only main Hawkeye Clint Barton but also backup teen Hawkeye Kate Bishop, who is the bee's knees.

Journey into Mystery Featuring Sif, by Immonen/Schiti, two volumes total (here and here). It's a comic all about Sif, from the Thor movies! I find the plotting a bit hard to follow, but the character is wonderful, and the art is wonderful. In fact, I made an LJ post about just the art, with many lovely pictures.

Thor: God of Thunder, Aaron/Ribic, several volumes now but I'm specifically recommending the first two, which make up one arc. Personally, I don't give a darn about Thor, but this comic has a great sense of epic, heroic scale, and the art is a perfect match. Also, you don't need to know ANYTHING about anything else Marvel ever, so it's easy to get into.

Further Recommendations
After those, I've got a laundry list of Marvel things that either aren't quite finished yet and therefore not as readily available, things I'm behind on but have liked so far, and things I personally haven't been excited about but which friends of mine have liked.

Captain Marvel, DeConnick/various, two trades and then this trade that crosses over with DeConnick's other Avengers title, Avengers Assemble. Ms. Marvel promoted to Captain, being fierce and badass. I felt this was about rah rah woman power to the point of sacrificing character, but the Tumblr Carol Corps obviously feels differently.

Daredevil, Waid/Samnee, four trades and a fifth in April. Classic street-level heroism with neat old-fashioned art. I kinda just don't care about Matt Murdock, but I can see the appeal of the approach this book has. I might try it again later.

Young Avengers, Gillen/McKelvie, two trades and the third/last in March. VERY metafictional teen superhero book, very queer, very fun. I'm way behind on it, is all. Has the bonus of a fairly active fandom, with fic and everything. NOTE: If you think you might want to read Gillen's Loki run of Journey into Mystery, you'll want to read that first, as this comes after and has spoilers.

FF, Fraction/Allred. Extremely warm, human, fairly silly book about the "replacement" Fantastic Four. Fraction at his best, and Allred's retro-poppy art is a real treat. Not on the main list because its trades are weird and confusing and sometimes share with the parallel Fantastic Four title. The first three trades, in order, are here, here, and here, and there should be one more coming out eventually.

Fearless Defenders, Bunn/Sliney, one trade and another out in February. Pulpy adventure with all-women team and canon lesbians. I never quite connected with this, and the art bugs me - lots of butts and boobs and unlikely anatomy - but I know many people were very sad to see it end.

Runaways, various/various, a bunch of trades across three separate runs (known in comics as "volumes"); the first run is this one. A slightly older series about a bunch of kids who, discovering their parents are supervillains, decide to run away from home. I've only read a couple issues, which I liked, but this comes recommended by basically every person I know (although everyone has a different opinion about the point at which the series goes to crap).

NEXTwave, Ellis/Immonen (the husband of the Immonen who wrote the Sif book above), two trades. Another slightly older series, supposedly a step outside regular Marvel continuity, that is basically a parody of everything Avengers. You've heard of Nick Fury? One of our main antagonists here is Dirk Anger. The art is wonderful, and some of the characters are great (Monica Rambeau and Elsa Bloodstone are my favorites), but the humor often went a little too silly for me, and the "lolmisogyny" felt tired and juvenile and just annoying. A perennial fav for many comics readers, though.

Crossposted from Dreamwidth. Comment here or there. (comment count unavailable DW replies)

Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
timeofchange
Jan. 20th, 2014 03:05 am (UTC)
Great list. I will have to look at some of these. I love Comixology.

Also, Saga! Lovelovelove.
snickfic
Jan. 20th, 2014 03:56 am (UTC)
SAGA. <3 <3
claudiapriscus
Jan. 20th, 2014 09:21 am (UTC)
Great recommendations. The only thing I think I'd disagree with you on is Young Avengers, because it spoils Journey into Mystery (Loki edition), which is how I got started on comics and even after all the binging is still among my favorite things.

Scarlet Spider is also fairly newbie friendly, I think.

On Captain Marvel: Everyone needs a little rah rah rah woman power sometimes. I was cool on the first six issues or so, but I've liked the few issues beyond that I've been able to read. It's kind of a funny thing to say, but I think what I enjoy most about it is Carol's friendships with other women.
snickfic
Jan. 22nd, 2014 02:35 am (UTC)
You make a good point about Young Avengers. Since I've never gotten around to reading Gillen's JiM run, I tend to forget about it. I will make a note. :)

I'm not opposed to rah rah woman power, but it really felt to me like Carol was a cipher; her only characterization seemed to be "stridently stubborn." But I do definitely hear you about the female friendships. Those were the parts I liked best, too, especially in #1 and in the Monica Rambeau issues.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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