Buying floppy comic books from week to week is expensive. It’s a real bummer because there is something special about spreading a pile of comics on your bed and randomly picking a new series to read. That being said, Trade Paper Backs are a great deal, and Image Comics has begun to sell first Trades for under $10. This is the best time to find new amazing comics to follow, and with DC having just relaunched a few years back along with Marvel about to do something similar, this year is a golden opportunity. These books represent those that I had the most fun with so far this year.
My Top 5 from the first half of the year, in a totally random order.
Jason Aaron & Russell Dauterman
After Jason Aaron’s excellent run on Thor came to an end last year the best possible thing happened… Jason Aaron continued writing Thor, this time allowing the mantle of the God of Thunder to be taken up by a woman. This series is fun, brash, and bad-ass. Thor hasn’t ever had this much balls.
The first arc of the series concerns the Dark Elf Malaketh (terribly rendered in the film Thor: The Dark World) who joins forces with the Frost Giants to aid their quest for their king’s skull. The God of Thunder is the only thing stopping them from freezing the entirety of Midgard.
Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency
Chris Ryall & Tony Akins
This Douglas Adams series has never been adapted as a comic book before, but it is hard to think of a medium more suited to the author’s madcap intellectualism and penchant for wit and visual humor.
Dirk Gently is a detective unlike any other. He considers deduction amateurish. He scoffs at investigative prowess. Clues? Clues are garbage, but garbage? Garbage just might have the answer. The comic starts off with Dirk Gently arriving in San Diego, where he quickly takes up residence in a detective themed tea store. Things heat up when WASPY serial killers who dream of copying every famous serial killer in the world start killing homeless people with golden phones. Dirk Gently is on the case, but is the case onto him as well?
The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl
Ryan North & Erica Henderson
Squirrel Girl almost didn’t make my list, but it’s just too darn delightful not to be included. The series has the feel of comedic web-comic with crisp art and on-the-nose joke writing. Squirrel Girl is actual somewhat controversial in ways that are confusing to this writer, but I guess some people don’t like fun. Oh well, I do.
Squirrel Girl’s superpowers are myriad and silly. She has the proportionate strength, speed, and agility of her favorite tree rodent. She has a big bushy tail she hides in her pants to give her a bangin’ booty. She has the ability to communicate with squirrels, and her best friend is a wise-cracking critter named Tippy-Toe. Her other power that gives her the succinct superlative Unbeatable is that she literally cannot be beaten, by anyone, ever. Not Kraven the Hunter, not Galactus, and not any web-comic hating trolls on the interweb.
Jason Latour & Robbi Rodriguez
Marvel has been putting out some great new comics lately, and since my esteemed associates have only briefly touched on their new books I figure I should be the one to do it. No book shows the quality of All-New Marvel better than Spider-Gwen, a spider-book set in an alternate world where Gwen Stacy gets the usual assortment of spider-powers, Peter Parker is the lizard, and Frank Castle is a detective with the NYPD. Oh yeah, also Matt Murdock is Wilson Fisk’s lawyer, a blind ninja criminal stalking Gwen at a terrifying pace. This book is something you haven’t read before. Featuring beautifully fluid art by Robbi Rodriguez, and an intriguing script by Jason Latour, this book is high-stakes teen angst fun.
When a beefy thug interrupts Gwen Stacy and Mary Jane’s band’s biggest gig to attack Captain Stacy, Spider-Woman steps in to save the day, sparking a series of events that will push every relationship Gwen Stacy has to the brink of destruction.
Kelly Sue DeConnick & Valentine DeLandro
Kelly Sue is a fantastic writer on a roll. When I heard she was writing a new series for Image I was excited. When I heard it was called Bitch Planet I was thrilled, and when I read it I couldn’t put it down. This comic has something to say, in a way that somehow reminds me of the film Black Dynamite. Image has been giving talented writers free reign to create their own series for quite a while now, and nothing captures that ethos better than Kelly Sue’s new book.
Set in an ambiguous future where non-compliant women are relocated off-world to a prison moon called “Bitch Planet,” the book tackles issues of sexism, feminism, and exploitation all while giving readers all the guard busting, knuckle slamming, and throat slitting action of any good prison drama. Featuring women both large and small, all given wonderful designs by artist Valentine DeLandro, Bitch Planet is populated by intriguing characters and manic set-pieces.