If you follow me on Twitter, you know I’ve been talking about comics a lot lately. My dream goal is to open a comic shop in my little New Zealand town since the closest shop is over four hours away. Until then I have to rely on digital services like Comixology and online ordering. It doesn’t come close to the feeling of browsing a comic shop and seeing all the art for yourself though. From following sites like Comics Alliance and the Mary Sue and creators like Kate Leth and Madeleine Flores, I’ve discovered some pretty awesome comics without having to step foot into a store though.
It can be intimidating to get into comics, especially ones with decades-long histories. But today I want to tell you about some comics that I think are super easy to get into – whether because they’re fairly new or because the writing makes it easy to follow along, even if you don’t know the history.
Help Us! Great Warrior
I actually started following Great Warrior, the adorable little warrior blob, when she was just a webcomic
that Madeleine Flores kept on Tumblr. You’ve probably seen parts of the webcomic before – this one about some eyeliner loot is one of my favorites:
The comic book tells a more structured story than the webcomic but features the same Great Warrior, loving food and kicking ass when she needs to. I think the first few pages of Issue 1 really set the tone for how amazing this comic is – she tames a wild beast and tries to decide whether to call it Banjo, Dirtbug or Buckets. Then later when she’s in the middle of a fight with a demon dinosaur thing, she realizes she forgot to put on deodorant. It’s got magical fantasy goodness and also heaps of silliness. The third issue only just came out this week, so you haven’t missed much yet. Definitely go out and pick up the first three issues – you won’t regret it!
Okay, don’t freak out. Yes, Batgirl has been around for a long long time. Yes there have been many iterations over the years. BUT! The most recent run of Batgirl from Cameron Stewart, Brenden Fletcher, Maris Wicks, and Babs Tarr is amazing. It might seem weird, but I recommend starting at issue 35 (so, only 5 issues ago). That is when the new writers and artists began working on this series. Story-wise, starting in issue 35, Batgirl is trying to start over fresh. This makes it pretty easy to follow along since most of the people you see in the comics are people she’s just met. Sure, there are some characters from her past but with the way the dialogue is written it’s easy to pick up on the context of their relationship to Batgirl. Probably the only two things you need to know going into this series at issue 35 is that Batgirl is Barbara Gordon, daughter of Commissioner Gordon of the Gotham Police Department, and that her friend Dinah is a fellow vigilante named Black Canary.
I love this series because it incorporates a lot of technology and social media into the plot and art without being stupid. You know what I mean – how many times have you seen a TV show or movie or book try and pull off referencing social networking or IT stuff and just coming across as totally out-of-touch? Batgirl definitely doesn’t do that. Another great thing is that even just from issue 35 – 40, you can see Batgirl and Barbara go through a lot of character development. She struggles with how much she should be in social media and how to deal with her thesis advisor.
Again, since I’m suggesting you start at issue 35, you don’t have much to catch up on. Especially since the next issue isn’t coming out til June (how am I supposed to wait that long?).
I just recently finished Volume 1 (Issues 1-5) of this comic. Kate Leth recommended it on her podcast so I picked it up. At first I wasn’t too sure if this would really be that good but by the end of Volume 1 I was definitely into it. Rat Queens is about a team of four mercenary ladies – an elf, a human, a dwarf, and a smidgen (think halfling or hobbit). They aren’t very well liked in the town they work in and have to deal with that fact. I really like this series because it’s got some great diversity of characters in it. Pretty much everyone has a distinct body shape, which is something you don’t often get with female characters in comics unfortunately. This series is also just full of lots of good rough-and-tumble fantasy fight sequences against giant trolls and assassins and the like. There’s also some stuff on the sillier end of the fantasy spectrum – like the little bluebirds that nest in Orc Dave’s beard for some reason.
Volume 2 with the next set of issues is coming out April 29, so if you’re like me and prefer to buy a chunk of comics at once that will be quite handy! I’ll give a bit of warning
though – this series does feature strong language, gore, and other adult themes. So if that’s not your thing you might want to pass on Rat Queens
I’m super obsessed with Lumberjanes. I’d been waiting for months for this to come out after reading about it on the Mary Sue. I didn’t just want to settle for digital copies – I wanted to get the actually books! Finally when I went to the States I was able to get the first 5 issues.
Lumberjanes is about a group of girls at a summer camp. They encounter some really weird stuff going on at night near their camp and they become determined to figure out just what the heck is going on. This series pretty much has everything you could want: detailed, vibrant art; characters with distinct personalities that develop as the issues go on; crazy fantastical plot; and puzzles to figure out. It’s great fun to see the various characters react to the crazy situations they find themselves in and change from experience to experience. An issue I often have with comics or books or TV shows is that characters don’t really seem to change how they deal with different situations even though real people would probably develop over time. There’s also a lot of silliness and humor in this series too.
One of the absolute coolest things about Lumberjanes though is that it is an all-ages comic made entirely by women! Story, illustration, inking, text – everything! That’s pretty rare in comics. So not only is this series just plain great to read, this series is helping to promote more women and diversity in comics.
Volume 1 (issues 1 – 4) just recently went up on Amazon, so now is a great time to get into Lumberjanes. There’s only 12 issues out so far, so again you aren’t very far behind. I promise you’ll just go right through these – they are just so much fun to read.