Get your machetes, it’s “So You Want To Read Comics”. This is our weekly feature where we take a look at a single topic or genre, then give you two comic book recommendations, perfect for new readers, based on that topic or genre. This week we’re taking a look at comics set in rainforests.
When all ecosystems are considered, it may come as a surprise to learn that rainforests are the oldest in existence, with some current-day rainforests being over a million years old and contain a substantial amount of biodiversity, 170,000 species of plants out of the 250,000 known to humans, to give you a rough idea. These densely foliated areas are some of the most vital components to life on the planet as a whole. For example, they produce roughly 20% of all oxygen in the world, while only covering 6% of its land mass. Beyond these facts, rainforests have also been used as the setting for a diverse range of pop culture products as well. From being treacherous hunting grounds in Predator, to housing the colorfully animated world of Fern Gully.
Here are some comic books that have decided to call the rainforest their home, enjoy.
Writer: Joelle Jones
Artist: Joelle Jones
Publisher: DC Comics
This is the story of Yara Flor, a young woman from Idaho who finds herself being mysteriously pulled to Brazil and the dense wilderness within. Upon her arrival she is given the mantle of Wonder Girl and soon is thrust into the world of gods and monsters and is entrusted with the guardianship of the rainforest. What makes this a fun read, especially for those who enjoy the rainforest (both conceptually and physically) is how the pantheon of gods who inject themselves into Yara’s life are symbolic of the various aspects of The Amazon. Some of the deities Yara encounters are colorful and playful, while others possess the capacity for brutality and are best avoided. Through this series, the reader gets a chance to see the full spectrum of what the rainforest has to offer and will find themself understanding why it deserves protection. This is also a nice place for new readers because it stems from an event called Future State, where DC gave a glimpse at a possible future for their most popular characters, and this series is sort of the first step in getting to that place.
KA-ZAR LORD OF THE SAVAGE LAND
Writer: Zac Thompson
Artist: Germán García
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Ka-Zar is a character that goes back to the 60s, so you might think that it would be difficult to jump into a book featuring a character with such a long history. But here’s the thing, characters die a lot in comics, then they are eventually brought back from the dead and this can sometimes offer a great jumping on point. That’s what you get here in this series. Here we find Ka-Zar being resurrected after biting the bullet (magical ebony sword to be precise), with new powers and a new perception of the world around him, which happens to be a prehistoric rainforest hidden in Antarctica. Ka-zar goes on to struggle with his growing “sophistication” and what that means for his family and his longtime home. Some of the best stories involving rainforests are about man’s relationship with something so wild and misunderstood, with the forest becoming symbolic of man’s own confusion with existence and the possibility of being insignificant. It’s these elements that pop up within this series that makes it an intriguing read, both on its own and as part of the Marvel Universe at large. Plus it features some lovely art that is reminiscent of old school comics and who doesn’t love a little vintage every now and then.
What did you think of these recommendations? What are some of your favorite stories set in rainforests? Let us know in the comments section below.