Growing up, I wasn’t really an avid comics reader. Of course, I was aware of and sampled Batman, Superman, Spiderman, Fantastic Four, Archie, and other offerings; I leafed through various issues at the corner store, the offerings often displayed in this rotating wire column. I couldn’t then have told you the difference between an X-man and a Teen Titan. When I could get a copy I enjoyed Vampirella, no doubt part of the genesis of my love for dark-eyed, dark-haired vixens, and I enjoyed an occasional horror or weird stories edition. Mad magazine, I guess, counts, doesn’t it? And I was titillated when I could get copies of Heavy Metal, as much for the erotic material as for the sumptuous artwork. If there were any series I truly wanted to read and tried to obtain, they were Sgt. Rock and Sgt. Fury. A lot of my current knowledge of different comics came from my children, as they started watching shows and reading comics.
And then along came graphic novels, perfect for me because I hate reading things out of order and I want the whole story uninterrupted. Graphic novels still do not make up the bulk of my reading, and they are usually a filler, picked up while waiting at the library or bookstore, and consumed quickly. And I tend to like those with advanced graphics. As I approach nearly 100 volumes, I thought I would recount some of my favorite series.
Y: The Last Man, by Brian K. Vaughn. An excellent ten-volume series about Earth after almost all men have died off, leaving competing groups to fight over the last few specimens, including Yorick Brown and his pet monkey. Well drawn, with interesting and fast-paced storylines, a touch of naughtiness, and a dystopian world. What’s not to like. These are definitely a guy-pleasing set of stories, fantasy wise.
The Sandman, by Neil Gaiman. This series, also with ten volumes, by one of my favorite authors, was not always my favorite, as the almost constantly changing array of illustrators made my head ache at times. There were many different stories, often only loosely connested. But some I truly loved, and I enjoyed the overall series, especially Death. I also have liked some of his other comic offerings.
The Walking Dead, by Robert Kirkman. Ok, what can I say. I like zombie stories, as I was an early victim of Romero's movies. This ongoing series, which has spawned a television show that I also enjoy, continues to capture my readership. I have always liked stories about a small groups battling off an enemy horde, whether it be those at the Alamo, at Thermopylae, or Dien Bien Phu, or imaginary battles such as occurs in movies like Aliens.
Fables, by Bill Willingham, another ongoing concern, about the wars among fables who live in two communes (protected from prying eyes by magical wards) in New York. Have also enjoyed the offshoot Jack series. The series is a bit spotty at times, but overall I have enjoyed most of the storylines. I don't always like when they change illustraters, but what can you do.
House of Mystery, by Matthew Sturges. Somewhat new to this series, but have enjoyed it. By some of the same people as Fables, I believe. A group of characters are trapped in a kind of purgatory, placed in a isolated inn, and they try to figure out why they are there and how they can escape.
FreakAngels, by Warren Ellis. I came to this series online, and enjoyed it immensely, largely because of the beautiful drawings, compelling characters, and interesting storyline, about twelve young people with psychic abilities who accidentally drowned England, and their attempt to mend their mistake.
I should also include a few series I read occasionally, often based on television shows I enjoyed, such as Buffy, Serenity, Angel. I also like The Punisher and 100 Bullets, and the occasional single graphic novel. You can always check out my selections on Goodreads.