It’s a certified shindig with this week’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 looking at parties.
Here in the US, we’re entering into the summer months of the year, which is prime time for all sorts of parties. Graduation parties, Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day, and cookouts without any real occasion. Throughout history parties have taken on many different forms. From religious festivities with heavy doses of ceremony, to the balls of the Regency and Victorian eras full of decorum and social gamesmanship, to the more formless yet joyful occasions that most people would call a party today. Basically, the party has often been used for many purposes and has taken on many forms. Parties have also taken on prominent roles in pop culture throughout the years. In 18th century literature, night soirees often set the scene for important moments like in the writings of Jane Austen. We’re also all familiar with the wild house parties that have dotted cinema from the mid-70s to today, with movies like House Party, Project X, Can’t Hardly Wait, and Animal House .
Here are a couple of graphic novels featuring some memorable parties.
NEIL GAIMAN’S HOW TO TALK TO GIRLS AT PARTIES
Writer: Neil Gaiman
Artists: Gabriel Ba and Fabio Moon
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
While not exactly the craziest of parties, the get together that sets the scene in this graphic novel still manages to be quite memorable. This story actually began its life as a short story written by Neil Gaiman, who is most known as the writer of American Gods, Good Omens, and The Sandman. In this story a pair of young men manage to get themselves into a swanky party with nothing but shenanigans on their mind, but soon discover that the other party-goers are beyond what they could have possibly imagined. This is a fairly short tale, but it manages to capture a lot of the tension and fear that anyone who has ever been young and awkward will recognize. While the story itself veers into supernatural territory, the way it depicts the struggle of overcoming social anxiety as well as showing the consequences of immaturity are very real. Also, while Gaiman is a certified legend in both the comic book world and literary world, he’s joined by a pair of other prominent figures in comics Gabriel Ba and Fabio Moon, who created the critically acclaimed book Daytripper and Umbrella Academy. So, if this is your first comic book, you could do far worse when it comes to the creators.
X-MEN: HELLFIRE GALA – THE RED CARPET COLLECTION
Writers: Various Writers
Artists: Various Artists
Publisher: Marvel Comics
The X-Men have switched their typical spandex attire for, possibly even more garish, high fashion as they host The Hellfire Gala. As the mutants of the world have established their own independent nation on the island of Krakoa, prominent figurehead Emma Frost decides it’s time to throw the gala, which hasn’t been done in a long time. This will open the island up to ambassadors, dignitaries, and fellow heroes. So, to be completely honest, this isn’t the most new reader -friendly book, but when we’re talking about the X-Men this is about as good as it gets. While there are certainly ties to other titles being published at the time, the events of the gala itself are mostly contained here. Plus, the real fun is seeing your favorite heroes getting all dolled up in fancy clothing and mingling, while Emma Frost does her best to play a good host to a guest list that includes: Super soldiers, dictators, billionaires, and beings with the ability to rewrite reality. There’s also an old school story from a Hellfire Gala from days gone by that’s a nice touch for anyone interested in some comic book history.
What are some of your favorite fictional parties? What did you think of these recommendations? Let us know in the comments section below.