In the interest of getting to know each other better around these parts, I thought that a nice way to introduce myself would be to share a few of my favorite ongoing series. Here goes!
Fables by Bill Willingham
Plot: Fairy Tale characters find themselves exiled in New York after a mysterious evil adversary begins taking over their original homelands.
Why read it: I know it seems silly to be recommending this, since it is so popular that it has 3 spin-offs and a tie in novel, but this is one of those cases where its popularity is for good reason. Willingham can write. In the series he has managed to take characters that we are already familiar with and flesh them out into complicated and interesting characters. Yes, we are familiar with their stories to a point, but according to Willingham’s book, what really happened is a lot more complicated and often darker.
Bonus: The female characters in Fables are a force to be reckoned with. They might be pretty pretty princesses, but they are also community leaders, business owners, and spies. Pretty is skin deep, but kicking ass is something in the blood.
The Goon by Eric Powell
Plot: The Goon is muscle for hire in a town filled with zombies, voodoo priests, and God knows what.
Why Read it: The Goon is funny, well drawn, and filled with some truly bizarre characters. I admit that there are times when I find that the humor goes a little too far towards the crass, but if you are a fan of foul mouthed orphans and jokes about butt-holes being a main ingredient in hotdogs (and really, who isn’t?), you should do just fine. The first few trades are a little shaky, but once Powell begins to really develop the main story, it gets hard to put down.
Bonus: Feelings. I know, you wouldn’t expect it, but this book has made me get misty eyed. Full disclosure: I have cried at almost every Pixar film and have been known to curse the name of Sarah Mclaughlin when those gut-wrenching ASPCA commercials come on. That being said, The Goon, despite his outside appearance, feels a sense of responsibility to his community and to helping those who need it. His Aunt Kizzie taught him right…mostly.
The Unwritten by Mike Carey, art by Peter Gross
Plot: Wilson Taylor, the author of a famous children’s series about a young wizard, disappears at the height of his career. His son Tom, who served as the inspiration for Taylor’s boy hero, is left behind to sponge off his father’s fame. After finding himself embroiled in a scandal regarding his true identity, Tom is kidnapped by a madman who claims to be the evil Count from Taylor’s books. Suddenly the line between his father’s stories and the real world begins to blur. Is Tommy at the mercy of a delusional madman, or is there real truth in the written word?
Why Read it: This is a good comic to shove in the faces of those who don’t think that comics can be literature. In fact, The Unwritten is in many ways a love letter to the written word and the art of stories. This one is possibly the hardest of the three to describe as it contains a lot of moving between the real word and the world of stories. If you are familiar with Mellville, Dickens, and Kipling, this series is for you. If not, it is still both completely accessible and in my opinion, pretty satisfying. Carey is very good at giving you enough to keep you interested while still holding a lot of its mysteries close to the chest.
Bonus: Not what you think. I started reading this story thinking that it was some kind of play off Harry Potter, but it has taken a few turns that I really didn’t expect. As an additional bonus, I am a huge fan of Yukio Shimizu’s cover art for this series. No really, check it out.