A comic recommendation

I don’t read comics very often, and when I do, I’m lucky enough that my comic book geek friends often recommend me the best of the best.

Last weekend, I read the first issue of Wormwood: Gentleman Corpse, and I have to say, I’m in love. The artwork is gorgeously Gorey-esque (and, well, gory), the characters are oddball and charming (what’s not to love about a sentient maggot who possesses the body of a corpse?) and the glimpses of backtory fascinating. If you’re into humorous horror, this comic will be just your ticket.

Yeah, it’s not a romance novel, but comics are pretty damn trashy, right?

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  1. 1
    Ann Aguirre says:

    Barry Ween is good too.

  2. 2
    nina armstrong says:

    You might also like the Fables series by Mark Buckingham-Prince Charming is a complete jerk whose 3 exes (Sleeping Beauty,Cinderella,and Snow White) have yearly meetings to bitch about him. What’s not to love?
    It’s DC’s Vertigo line.

  3. 3

    I second Fables. I’ve been reading it since it came out and it’s absolutely wonderful.

    It’s written by Bill Willingham, though. Buckingham is the artist.

    There’s a lot of good stuff out there. I know of one romance writer who’s going to be writing Wonder Woman for DC, too (although her name—and it’s a big name—escapes me just at the moment. Hey, I only had four hours of sleep), and a smaller company is doing comic adaptations of the Anita Blake books.

    Comics are cool, man!

    Can’t agree with Barry Ween, though. I thought the writing was self-conscious.)

  4. 4
    Keishon says:

    Candy, do you read manga? Deathnote is pretty good. Also, I’m hooked to the Hunter Killer series comic by Top Cow, art by Marc Silvestri. Excellent comic but the lag between issues is a problem. It has been four months since Issue #5 and Issue#6. The comic book store called me today to say that Issue#6 is finally in. I find that I don’t have the patience to wait for these single issues. Another good comic series is LOCAL by Bryan Wood is really, really good, too. The author picks a small town in each state, tells a story, there’s only one main character who shows up in all the comics so far and we bascially follow her during her travels and interactions with the locals.

    I would love to get more comic recs if you all feel inclined to do a post on such a topic in future.

    Just sayin ;-)

  5. 5
    Sanachan says:

    I’m slowly getting back into comics myself, so I don’t have a lot of current recommendations. I’ve heard DC’s Birds of Prey is a good series, but haven’t had a chance to check it out yet. For an interesting read, I do recommend this column on girl-wonder.org, for an interesting look at comics from a feminist point of view. I believe there are some recommendations for more comics on that site. Sometime later this fall Marvel will be putting out a series called White Tiger (I’m pretty sure that’s what it’s called) that will be written by Tamora Pierce, who does great YA fantasy. I’m recommending it in advance since she’s a great writer.

  6. 6
    nina armstrong says:

    December Quinn,
    Thanks-that’ll teach me to comment while on allergy drugs. It is awesome isn’t it?
    Have you gotten the related Jack of Fables? the first one just came out.
    Nadine

  7. 7
    lil says:

    I think Neil Gaiman’s Sandman series is terrific.  It’s the story of Dream, one of the seven Endless.  His siblings Death, Despair, Desire, Destiny, Delerium, and Destruction also populate the story.

    Also Veils by Pat McGreal, a visually beautiful, erotic tale. (Technically it is a photo and hand drawn graphic novel)

    Persepolis:The Story of a Childhood by Marjane Satrapi.

    And for some reason, I love Sailor Moon.

    lil

  8. 8

    Of course I did, Nina! I wasn’t sure I would like it—Jack’s never been one of my favorites, I’m a big Snow White/Bigby fan—but I did! Willingham is incredible.

    Lil, Sandman is one of the best comics ever! It’s one of my “read once a year” books! I love Gaiman-I got to meet him a coyple of years ago too, which was a huge deal.

    Anybody heard about Alan Moore’s Lost Girls? I’m a HUGE Moore fan—Watchmen and From Hell are among my favorite books, of any kind, ever—but I’m a little leery of Lost Girls although I’ve heard it’s amazing.

  9. 9
    kardis says:

    I’ve heard it’s amazing too, but I sadly haven’t gotten to it yet. Now I also wanna check out Fables… :cheese:

  10. 10
    nina armstrong says:

    I’ve looked at Lost Girls-it’s not to my taste particularly-you might want to go to Neil Gaiman’s blog and read his review of it. I didn’t like it largely because I absolutely hate and loathe anything to do with Peter Pan so..
      Re Jack of Fables-I thought so to-but it works.
    ..Although I could wish for the scene in which Cinderella,Snow and Brier Rose having seen the third movie, are totally pissed at the idea they’d’ve slept with Jack…

  11. 11
    MIchelle says:

    Ok, I am clueless, but whats the difference between manga, yaoi, comics and graphic novels?  Thanks.

  12. 12
    Helen says:

    Michelle, I know I’m prolly going to be corrected on things here, but as far as I understand it:

    ‘Comics’ can refer to the comic strips seen in the newspaper (Calvin and Hobbes, Doonesbury, etc.), or to the stapled magazine-type serials available on newstands: comic books (The Uncanny X-men, Spiderman, etc.)

    A graphic novel, rather than being a stapled magazine kind of publication, tends to be more robustly/durably bound, with paperback-like covers. Thickness and other dimensions can differ, but taking a random page from a graphic novel will give you something that looks like a random page from a comic book. Graphic novels are essentially longer, more complex, more involved comic books. Okay, I’m waiting to be pelted with rotten fruit for that last sentence, but I can’t think of another way of saying because a GN is longer, more ground can be covered…

    Manga is the Japanese term for all of the above. Outside of Japan, the term seems to apply to work from Japan, or whose style is in keeping with comics/graphic novels from Japan.

    Yaoi (which sounds like it ought to be, but isn’t really a Japanese word…I think!…) refers to work (including manga, anime, comics, and fan art…not plain text, basically) whose focus is on sexual guy-guy relationships, with varying levels of explicitness (Yuri for girl-girl action).

    Okay, let the corrections begin. I’ve probably made some mistakes – it’s gone 2am here, plus I didn’t look anything up, because I’m just lazy that way.

  13. 13
    Jen says:

    Myromancestory.com has really good graphic romance novellas.  They’re a lot more like the classic version of the 1950s.

  14. 14

    Lol, Nina, and I join you on the hating Peter Pan. Not a Pan fan myself, either.

    I’ll check out Gaiman’s review, thanks. I have his blog bookmarked but don’t check it very often. Guess it’s time, huh? :-)

    Helen, you’re basically right re graphic novels (I don’t read manga or Yaoi so I can’t say there.) Some graphic novels are released in harcover, though, and a large majority of them are collections of comic book issues. My hubs and I read Fables, for example, in graphic novel form rather than buying the loose issues, simply because that way we get the whole story arc at once.

  15. 15
    Michelle says:

    Thanks Helen, I appreciate it.  I will have to hit amazon and look into manga, graphic novels.  Sounds interesting.

  16. 16
    Nina Armstrong says:

    December-
      Thanks for that..btw I’m in LA this week and just spent the day at Disney..I could not even look at the sign for Pinocchio’s Daring Adventure reide-like at all. We won’t even go into my reaction to “Geppetto’s Holiday Workshop”…
    nina

  17. 17
    Dinah says:

    Yeah, it’s not a romance novel, but comics are pretty damn trashy, right?

    Can be, yeah.  :) So long as there are recs flying about, can I add Y:The Last Man (Vertigo), Runaways, Alias (both Marvel), and Blue Monday (Oni Press) to the list?

    Y deals with the adventures of one Yorick Brown and his pet monkey Ampersand, literally the last man standing after all of the males on Earth were mysteriously wiped out.

    Runaways is written by the same author as Y, but within the mainstream Marvel Universe (think Captain America and the X-Men,) and follows a group of teenagers who just discovered that their loving parents are really supervillains.

    Alias is also part of the Marvel Universe and is just a fantastic little book about Jessica Jones, a private detective who is also intricately tied into the superheroing community. I really cannot recommend this book strongly enough, although a base level of knowledge of the MU really does help.

    Blue Monday is a quirky little book. It’s like a little Valentine to the high school punk/mod/ska scene in the mid-1990s. The heroine Bleu loves Adam Ant, the Cramps and Buster Keaton, and dreams of finding that ace guy who’ll swoop in on his scooter and take her away, but until then will have to settle on surviving high school with her friends.

  18. 18
    Cherry Blue says:

    I second Y: The Last Man Standing, as well as Blue Monday, and I DEMAND that you read The Sandman. The way that Gaiman weaves mythology, religion, and folklore together all into a really contemporary, even visionary story that is this poignant and amazing is genius.

    Also, may I recommend Strangers in Paradise by Terry Moore. It’s about two women who really love eacother, and then a man is brought in to it.
      Really it’s that story that will have you be giggling with the charactersat the witty parts and feeling like your world is shaken when tragedy strikes.

  19. 19
    Denise says:

    I just stumbled on to your site and found this thread.  Better late than never, right? 

    I just wanted to do a little of that correcting Helen was afraid of, because I am an unrepentant manga fan.

    In Japan (as well as several other Asian countries) manga is not only for geeks and children, like it is considered in the US.  (No offense to any of you—that’s just the attitude I’ve come up against.)  Like Helen said, manga can be and usually are complex, involved stories that range from short stories, one volume novels, to 20+ book series.  In America these are translated and called “graphic novels”, where your more developed American comics fall, as well.

    All genre styles can be found in manga, from sci-fi to teen-age drama, housewife depression to paranormal, and true crime drama to moral fables for children.  There’s literally something for everyone.

    As for the romance side—there’s plenty of regular het romance in manga, but there seems to be a myth that most manga are “yaoi” or “yuri”.  Yaoi (which is an abbreviation for a phrase that basically means “no plot, no point, no purpose”) is basically m/m porn.  Usually very light in the character development and somewhat like two men inserted into a bodice-ripper.  This is horribly warped in the US to include *all* m/m relationships, where in Japan there are several sub-genres including June and shounen-ai.  June (promounced Juu-neh) is usually a long, drawn out romance between two older men, while shounen-ai (literally “boy love”) is more innocent coming-of-age romance; neither of them focus on sex, but on the character’s feelings.  This is the same with yuri (f/f), shoujo-ai (girl love), etc.

    As for recs, if anyone’s interested after all that…
    Crime/Supernatural:  Death Note—The story of a high school senior who stumbles across a notebook that gives him the power to kill people just by writing down their name.  He immediately sets out to wipe out all the criminals he can, to create a perfect, crime-free world, but is he right to do so?  Murder is murder after all, and his father, a police chief, is one of the few brave men determined to track down the mysterious criminal killer.

    Comedy:  Cafe Kichijouji—An ‘episodic’ short series (only 3 volumes, I believe) about the strange, unique workers in a average, everyday cafe.

    Drama/Supernatural:  “Please Save My Earth”—The intertwined stories of six high school students and one elementary boy who find out that their strange, shared dreams are acutally memories from their previous life.  They had been aliens secretly studying the progression of life on Earth when they had been suddenly stricken with a deadly disease.  The problem?  One of them is not exactly sane and is using their superior power and knowledge to hurt those around them for a purpose unknown.  This series is currently at 19 translated volumes, I believe, and does have some references to shounen-ai—a very complex situation as one of the boys was formerly a woman when the feelings were formed.

    “His and Her Circumstance” deals with teen-age romance and pregnancy.  I haven’t read it myself, but have heard plenty of good things.

    Comiedic again, “Ouran High School Host Club”, again has shounen-ai hints and even some light-hearted twincest.  If that’s a little strange for you, give it a shot.  The story is beyond adorable.

    And so, so many more.  Manga/graphic novels popularity has taken off in the last five years or so…now if only they were cheaper…

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