Monday, 10 February 2014

Atoll Comics Round 11

Or changes to my top-ten

Due to poverty and an urge to buy better comics, I have decided to be super-selective about which superhero comics I read. Harnessing the Awesome Power of Maths, I have determined that I can afford to read 10 ongoing titles. So I get to read 10, and only 10, titles published by either Marvel or DC as well as one trade paperback a week of my choosing.

A complication of this is that I am forced to drop an on-going title if I want to try reading a new on-going title, an act of very tough love. Being financially responsible is the worst.

I will be adding Ms. Marvel and dropping Young Avengers.

Why Ms. Marvel: In short because it isn't comics as usual. 

On the day I bought Ms. Marvel #1, the news that Geoff Johns and John Romita Jr. would be writing Superman dropped. While I am sure it will be a perfectly fine comic, I'm left wondering what new or exciting thing is going to come out of that? I suspect that it will be a couple of talented, but very mainstream creators making what I suspect is going to be vaguely nostalgic Superman stories with a new, modern twist. And... ehn? I came to comics in my early twenties and Superman isn't a thing I have a deep nostalgic love for. I'm glad it's out there for people into that, but I'm much more interested in a comic that isn't a retread of the same storylines and manages to try something new and interesting. I love me some superheroes, but I'm finding myself growing ever more bored with business as usual, PACK OF CAPES PUNCHES WORLD CATASTROPHE! I'm finding, more and more, that it's superhero comics with some kind of different take on the genre, or an interesting perspective or thematic approach that are catching my imagination these days. And I think Ms. Marvel is poised to tell me a story I've never really seen before and talk about some interesting and important ideas. Which is why I'm giving it a try.

The concept of the series is that Kamala Khan, a 16 yearold American teenager of Pakistani descent with a very Marvel name suddenly gets superpowers. She is a Muslim and Captain Marvel fangirl and she lives in Jersey City where she tries to navigate, well, life with all of its teenage drama, cultural complexity, and, presumably, the added challenge of superheroics. The comic is written by G Willow Wilson, drawn by Adrian Alphona, and coloured by Ian Herring, which is maybe the perfect group of creators for the story. G Willow Wilson is a great writer who I think is poised to offer a really interesting perspective on the story (among other reasons, she herself is a Muslim living in America), and Adrian Alphona is an artist I really like (Runaways is a favourite early comic for me) and whose style has a youthful, energetic style and sense of cool that is perfect for telling a teenage story. If the first issue is any indication, Ms. Marvel looks like it is going to be both a thematically interesting and really well made comic that looks poised to be fantastic. It is absolutely a top-ten comic.

(I think Ms. Marvel is also an Important comic. For one, I think it's pretty cool to see more mainstream comics that star under-represented groups because everyone deserves to see themselves reflected heroically in comics and because its always interesting to learn about people whose lives are different. But I think it's also Important because it's a comic that is maybe designed to appeal to a different kind of comics consumer. When I bought Ms. Marvel #1, a 38 year old, overweight dude, nazally wheezed that this was "The Ms. Marvel comic no one asked for". I was in a hurry and arguing with garbage skow humans is a waste of energy so I didn't suggest that I very much asked for this book, but I did make a point of interrupting his nazal-wheezing to add Ms. Marvel to my Pull List because screw his stupid face. My point here is this man is a disgusting jackass who represents a side of comics that I think most people find highly loathsome, and that there are people that aren't 38-year old caricatures who might also want to read comics. And I feel that since mainstream comics cater to 38 year old dudes so extensively that they have maybe curbed the market on 38 year old dudes who are interested in comics. Which might mean that if comics want to grow the market (which is good for everyone) they need to start making content for people in their 20s and teens, children, women, and people from diverse cultural and religious backgrounds with various sexual orientations and gender presentations. Basically everyone who isn't an old white dude. And if wheezy garbage skow is any kind of survey, Marvel has succeeded in that.)

(Incidentally, wheeze-bag is very excited for the Johns-Romita Jr run on Superman.)

Why not Young Avengers: Because it's over. Young Avengers was a comic that was beautiful and experimental and expertly crafted and now it's gone. A fact that simultaneously makes me very happy and quite sad. Like all great things that end it has left a space, both in my heart and in my Pull List, and so I formally say goodbye and welcome something new.   Lion King.

(For those keeping score, I think Young Avengers was another Important comic by being diverse and by having a story that also appeals to non-38 year old wheeze dudes.)



  1. I've heard a lot of good things about Ms Marvel. I think I might give it a try, especially since I'm a big Alphona fan (from the good old Runaways days).

    By the way, I've read your posts about Young Avengers and I love them. I've been reviewing the series issue by issue, and I'm sad to see it's over.

    1. Thanks! I'm pretty bummed too, but we do have The Wicked and The Divine to look forward to. I suspect I'll need to read it in issues for the blog fodder (and because it should be pretty great!)

      Ms. Marvel is definitely worth checking out. The first issue is maybe a biiiiit piloty, but it looks like it will be pretty great going forward. And Adrian Alphona is great on it.