Stuff I’ve read recently that I dug.

So…I like comics. I know, you’re saying to yourself “I never would have gotten that impression”, but it’s true. I like comics. A lot. I especially like reading new comics, getting exposed to new talent. So here’s a list of stuff I’ve read and dug recently (and no, these aren’t all new creators, maybe just new to me.)

Dancer by Nathan Edmonson and Nic Klein. I really liked this story, I’d heard a lot about this book but never read any of the single issues (I’m a trade paperback kinda guy for the most part), but I was impressed. I was already a fan of both of these guys, Edmonson for his Who Is Jake Ellis series, and Klein from his Viking book.

Danger Club by Landry Q. Walker and Eric Jones. This is a fantastic book. The kind of superhero story I want to write. In fact, I hate these guys for making this book, because it’s so good. Violence, secret agendas, bloodthirsty sidekicks, and Eric Jones has some unreal art. Definitely a winner for me.

Olympus by Nathan Edmonson and Christian Ward. Okay, I know I’m a few years behind on this one, but I picked up the trade recently and really liked it. I liked the idea of using the old Greek/Roman history and shoving it into the present. And Ward has some pretty whacked out artwork in this. Pretty awesome.

Hell Yeah by Joe Keatinge and Andre Szymanowicz. Again, Hell Yeah is the kind of comic I want to write, so I hate these guys too. Dimension travelling mixed with the slacker children of the first generation of superheroes mixed with some punk rock and people getting killed with swords. I also love how the book incorporates the title and story title into the pages as they progress. Lots of fun. Know what else is awesome? You can read one page Tiger Lawyer strips by my buddy Ryan Ferrier. Tiger Lawyer is awesome.

Choker by Ben McCool and Ben Templesmith. First, you get Templesmith on anything and it’s awesome, but McCool’s story is pretty great too. I love the idea of the ‘alien hand’; it’s super creepy because I can picture it happening to me.

The Victories by Michael Oeming. I’ve always dug Oeming artwork, since I read the first issue of Powers, but never read anything he’d written. Man, he’s just as good a writer as he is an artist! I love this book, the kind of screwed-up team book that I love to read. I never bought into groups like the Avengers all getting along. I prefer a team with some strife and in-fighting. This has all of that and more.

Gladstone’s School for World Conquerors by Mark Andrew Smith and Armand Villavert. This is just a great idea for a comic. The children of the world’s supervillains all going to school to learn how to be supervillains? That shit writes itself. Another idea I wish I’d thought of. Man, all you guys need to stop making such awesome comics for a while…

Graveyard of Empires by Mark Sable and Paul Azaceta. I admit, I bought this strictly for the Azaceta artwork…but the story was awesome too. Zombies in the Middle East. The Taliban rising from the dead and devouring their way through US forces. I can’t even really do it justice; you should really check it out.

Near Death by Jay Faerber and Simone Guglielmini. Again, I admit to having picked up the issues of Near Death for the Murder Book backups by my buddies Ed Brisson and Jason Copland, but I totally got sucked into this book. A hitman who dies and comes back to life two minutes later after having gone to hell and having seen all the people he’s killed decides save a life for every one he’s killed, so he doesn’t end up back in hell. It’s such a brilliant high concept. Wish I’d thought of it.

Harvest by AJ Lieberman and Colin Lorimer. I really dug Lieberman’s Term Life book, and was interested to see what he’d do next. Harvest is a pretty disturbing book, but it’s also utterly fascinating. A comic book about black market organ harvesting? It’s like the comic book equivalent of a slasher movie where someone gets left in a motel bathtub full of ice, missing their internal organs. Creepy and unsettling and fantastic.

Here’s something interesting: Every single one of these books is a creator-owned book, and with the exception of The Victories (published by Dark Horse) these are all comics published by Image Comics. There was a time in my life when everything I bought was Marvel or DC. Now almost everything I buy is creator owned. There’s two reasons for that. One: creator-owned comics are a risk, and anyone willing to take that risk deserves to be rewarded for it. Any one of the creators on that list could get a gig at Marvel or DC and get well-paid for writing one of the established books, but they would rather create something of their own. I respect the absolute hell out of that, and every single book here, and every single book Image publishes, inspires me to want to create more of my own properties.

I think, right now, we’re in the age of the Creator. When you have some of the biggest guns in the industry working on their own books (Grant Morrison on “Happy”, Ed Brubaker’s “Fatale”, Jonathan Hickman on “Manhattan Projects” and “Secret”, the list goes on), that’s a pretty good sign of where the interest in the industry lies, and where the industry is slowing starting to turn.

There’s a bunch of books coming out in the next little while I’m psyched for too: I Love Trouble by Kel Symons and my buddy Mark Robinson; I can’t wait to get a copy of the Grim Leaper trade by Kurtis J Wiebe and Alusio Santos; Clone by David Schulner with art by Juan Jose Ryp (who I love); the Hoax Hunters trade by Michael Moreci, Steve Seeley, and Axel Medellin; and of course, hitting shelves tomorrow: Comeback by my buddy Ed Brisson with art by Michael Walsh.

Now’s the time for Creators and for Creator-Owned. I’m glad to plunk down my hard-earned dollars to support these guys. Hell, I’m proud to plunk down my hard-earned dollars. These guys are out there doing the damn thing. Congrats to all of you.

Do yourself a favor and listen to “Ire Works” by the Dillinger Escape Plan.

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