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So after looking at my last post, I realized that I had included no super hero comics, which of course is the way that a lot of us got in to comic books to start with. With this in mind I went in to a research spiral, one of my favorite places to go, and was really surprised how few titles in the not big two companies fell in squarely in to that category. Now, take this list with a grain of salt, as I obviously haven’t gotten to jump in to all of these
Created by Robert Kirkman and Corey Walker, Invincible (Mark Grayson) is the teenage son of Omni-man. Invincible is sworn to protect the earth. Invincible is the story of Mark coping with his newly discovered powers that he inherited from his father — namely super strength and the ability to fly — as well as the reality of his origins. All of this of course is combined with his struggles as a (not so) normal teenager.
Astro City (Image, Astro, Vertigo, Windstorm)
Astro City originally ran from 1995 to 1998, but was picked up again in 2005, to become another continuing series. Written by Kurt Busiek, it centers around the title city, the home of superheroes and villians alike, and looks at how they deal with their every day lives. The best example is the Samaritan who, with the ability to fly, contemplates that he spends every waking moment flying and protecting people, but never actually gets the chance to just enjoy the feeling of flying.
Miracleman is Alan Moore’s revamp of the British character Marvelman, taking a much darker look at Michael Moran, a freelance reporter who, after remembering a trigger word, remembers his earlier life as Marvelman, later to be renamed Miracleman to avoid legal overlap with Marvel Comics. As I said, Moore’s take on the character is a much darker one, looking at his ability, or rather inability, to handle his abilities. This deeper look in to the character is continued in Neil Gaiman’s run on the comic as well.
Promethea (America’s Best Comics)
Written by the ever wonderful Alan Moore, thiis comic follows Sophie Bangs, in an alternative 1999 New York City, as the chosen woman to embody Promethea, who is tasked with bringing forth the apocalypse. Now, this series was ended in 2005, with 32 issues total, but it can definitely still be found in back issues and trades.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (Mirage Studios – Viacom — IDW)
Four baby turtles brought to maturity by a radioactive goo known as Mutagen and taught ninjitsu by Master Splinter. This is a story that many people know and love. Originally created by Mirage Studios, later sold to Viacom, with the announcement in 2011 that IDW had secured the rights for a new series (which is currently running), as well as the rights to reprint previous issues. I include these guys in super heroes, though I know some people will call it a stretch, I think that they fall in to the category pretty squarely and provide a really good story to jump in to,
At this point, most people know or at least have an inkling of who Hellboy is. Coming out of Dark Horse comics in 2003, and written originally by Mark Mignola, Hellboy was summoned by Nazi occultists in 1944, and found by the Allied forces, specifically Dr. Trevor Bruttenholm, who founds the Beaureau for Paranormal Research and Defense, which Hellboy eventually goes on to work for. If you’re still figuring out what kind of comics you like, Mike Mignola’s Hellboy, Weird Tales, Volume 1, has a variety of takes on this title, from comedic and almost childlike to darker and more twisted. I highly suggest picking this up if you get the chance, as it gives you a great range of takes on the same character.
Noble Causes (Image)
Coming from Image Comics, Noble Causes is written by the expansive seven man team of Brian K Vaughan, Jay Faerber, J. Torres, John Layman, Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning and Gail Simone. This series follows the lives of the Nobles, a family of superhoes who fight villians, as they are want to do, but focuses on how that affects the family dynamic. This was supposed to be an ongoing series, but was ended in 2009 at number 40.
Spawn follows the post-life adventures of Albert Simmons, who is killed while on a mission in Botswana, and who, after being sent to hell, makes a deal with a creature known as Malebolgia, to be returned to earth to see his wife, in exchange for becoming a Hellspawn. After his initial story arc, he simply becomes known as Spawn and takes on an anti-hero role. Now, I love a good anti-hero story, so this one has definitely made its way on my next to read list.
Mr. Majestic (Wildstorm)
Following the story of Majestros, also known as Mr. Majestic, Wildstorm comics created their world’s superman style character in their universe. Stranded on Earth with other Kherubim lords during the Kherubim/Deamonite war, and Mr. Majestic banded together with Maximum Man and The High to create The Big Three during World War Two, and eventually joined the government group Team One during the Cold War. If you are superman fan, this would definitely be a good place to jump in. Its definitely a different take and a different version, but its a good correlation, and a good way to jump in to a style that you know you’ll probably like.
Black Beetle (Darkhorse)
Finally! An ongoing series to talk about! Black Beetle started as a ten minute doodle back in 2006, and in 2009 was picked as a fan choice to be created by Frank Francavilla. Set in what Francavilla describes as a mixture of New York and Gotham, it follows the title character, a vigilante detective style character, and is written in a very pulp-noir style.
If you have any suggestions, please feel free to send them to me on twitter (@_ZenGirl) with #Otherside or tumblr (tumblr.com/zoemikel-stites). What are your favorite super hero comics?
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