Hey Kids… Comic Books!!

With the Armageddon Expo coming to Christchurch on the 26th and 27th, what better time to have a weedaredevil rave about what is (along with mills & boon romance novels) surely one of the most underrated and often ignored literary forms… the super-hero comic book. Sure, there is a lot that’s best avoided unless you’re a teenage male with a fascination for spandex clad bodies, but here are some essentials from our library catalogue you really should give a try.

The comic book (since a recent interview I read with Ed Norton about his role on the upcoming Incredible Hulk movie I’ve sworn off using the g word) that has kept my faith in the genre in recent years has been Daredevil. Wipe your mind of the terrible movie from a few years ago, this is one of the best titles on the comic book racks today. Take your favorite Scorcese gangster flick, throw in blind superhero Daredevil (and the occasional supervillain) and you’re close to why this title works so well.

One of the most creative writers in comics today is Grant Morrison. Almost anything penned by Morrison is comic book gold. Try his run on X-Men or his current reinvention of the big blue in All-Star Superman.  Buffy the Vampire Slayer creator Joss Whedon has been doing epic sci-fi adventuresomeness* with the X-Men recently also.

Currently being made into a Hollywood blockbuster is the ‘unfilmable’ Watchmen by comic deity Alan Moore. On its publication 20 years ago this book turned the comic book world on its head and proved that comics could be ‘real literature’ too.

Comics without pictures… hmm? Austin Grossman’s novel Soon I Will Be Invincible follows the triumphs and downfalls of evil genius (and wannabe world dominator) Doctor Impossible. Superhero novels (hey! where are the pretty pictures) are usually doomed to failure in what is essentially a visual medium but Grossman’s mix of humour and pathos really clicks in this unique first novel.

There you go, a few starting points for anyone wanting to sample this multi-coloured world of diabolical schemes and utility belts. Hopefully, you’ll be hooked (and I’ll have someone else to talk to about Matt Murdock and his latest run-in with Mr Fear).

*it’s in my dictionary