Time to get away from it all, with “So You Want To Read Comics”. This is a weekly feature where we take a look at a single topic or theme and then offer you two comic book recommendations, perfect for new comic book readers, based on that topic. This week, we’re taking a look at Vacation books.
Vacations, also known as holidays, are the much coveted time away from work where a person can truly enjoy their time. Oftentimes paired with travel, vacations can become long lasting memories that help define our personal histories. In 2019 vacation rental properties alone made over $29 billion. It’s this popularity and ability to become touchstone moments in some people’s lives that has led it to be utilized in so many pop culture items. From Chevy Chase’s classic role as Clark Griswold, desperately trying to give his family a memorable vacation, to the ABBA fueled self-discovery found in Mamma Mia!, people not only enjoy going on vacations themselves, they enjoy ingesting other people’s depictions of them.
And it just so happens some of these depictions pop in comics.
Writer: Gabriel Ba
Artist: Fabio Moon
Is this comic book series a postmodernist attempt to convey the importance of the small moments in life by showing the multiple ways the main character could’ve died throughout their life? You bet. Is Daytripper soaked in existential dread and ponderings? Most definitely. Does a good portion of this book take place on a beautifully depicted island paradise with beautiful seas and beaches? Bingo. But, that seems to be the unspoken truth about vacations though: The belief that something deep and important is hiding in these moments when we try to get away from it all and appreciate the fun side of life. This is what you have here in Daytripper. A major portion of this series actually takes place during the main character’s getaway as a young man and it’s during this vacation that he confronts the issues that have plagued him his whole life as well as how important it is to really appreciate things, even the bad.
Fantastic Four: Road Trip #1
Writer: Christopher Cantwell
Artist: Filipe Andrade
Publisher: Marvel Comics
It’s not often that individual issues get recommended here. But, it’s pretty hard to pass this one up. Taking cues from the classic road trip vacation trope in pop culture, Fantastic Four: Road Trip #1 sees “Marvel’s First Family” trying to take a bit of a vacation after a pretty rough time. Of course, things don’t go according to plan and soon they find themselves having to try and figure out the mystery of what’s ailing them, or they’ll die. It’s not quite as madcap as you might expect but where it lacks in humor and laughs it makes up for in showing the bonds that make these characters timeless. It’s often the moments of stress and struggle that become the most memorable of a vacation and the ones that have the most impact. In terms of readability, it’s one of the better places to jump on to a comic. While technically this takes place after a canon event called “Empyre”, it’s not all that dependent on extensive Marvel Universe knowledge to enjoy. Also, it works well in giving the reader a good taste of what kind of characters The Fantastic Four are and if it’s worth the reader’s time in tracking down more stories featuring them.
What are some of your favorite vacations? Any comic recommendations of your own? Let us know in the comments section.