When I was in the comics retail business, I heard one question all the time: “What books do YOU recommend?”  It’s a very tough question to answer, as you have to factor in the age of the audience, genre preferences, questions of how well certain narratives have aged (especially old comics) and other subjective concerns.  Add to this the complication that the most iconic characters are all-but-unrecognizable from the last time most questioners had access to comics, and the simple fact that not everyone is ready for the madness of Grant Morrison or the retro brilliance that is Omega The Unknown (still a killer book, even 35 years later), leads us to today’s stamp-of-approval query…

The MS-QOTD (pronounced, as always, “misquoted”) will nonetheless tell everyone who will listen (and some who won’t) to get into ‘Tales of the Beanworld‘, asking:  What comic book, TPB or graphic novel would YOU recommend for someone wanting to get into (or back into) comics?

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Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture! And a nice red uniform.

4 Comments

  1. No question, DC New Frontier. The art and design, the optimism, the action set pieces, the fact that it made me actually care about Hal Jordan….damn near perfect. Or at the very least, you can’t argue with the fact that it’s almost the “make fit here” platonic ideal for a superhero comic. Darwyn Cooke was taken too soon.

  2. Like you said, that’s a tough question to answer without qualifications on who you’re recommending the books to. That said, I have a few that I recommend above any others:

    If they were a former comic reader, I’ll recommend the recent House of X / Powers of X series to get them back into modern series. It was a fantastic event and easy to pick up even if you weren’t reading any of the X-Men books leading up to it. The current runs of Thor and Venom have also been great.

    Outside of that I tend to steer people away from the heroes (even though I still read them personally). My favorites right now are out of Boom! Studios. Something is Killing the Children is a hot book right now, and that’s because it’s incredible. The initial comics are getting expensive, but the trades are available and definitely worth the read. Once and Future is another great one, and much easier to afford if you want the original books. I also really enjoyed the Folklords miniseries, which can be picked up as a trade now as well. Seven Secrets and We Only Find Them When They’re Dead both just started but had very promising first issues (and quite a bit of hype). In reality Boom! has just been hitting it out of the park with almost everything they’ve done recently, so I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend any of their books.

    From Image I’ve been recommending Undiscovered Country and Killadelphia.

    There’s a ton of great work out there right now, so finding something to recommend isn’t difficult as long as you know your audience.

  3. Daniel Langsdale on

    Mark Russell’s Flintstones for first-rate social commentary and satire.
    Atomic Robo for adventure fun.
    Giant Days for personal/relationship drama hijinks.

    (FWIW, I’ve two volumes of Beanworld, and I never got ‘into’ it. Maybe I’ll read it again now that I’m older to see if that’s changed, but I’ve the sneaking suspicion that you need to be a certain young age and perhaps “eating a few sandwiches” for it to really hit home.)

  4. For someone who enjoyed cartoons, DC’s Future Quest is pretty accessible.
    New Frontiers (as recommended above), is good.
    Man of Steel (John Byrne’s)
    Most of the DC’ Earth One series
    and
    Superman: Lois and Clark (Jergens)

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