The universe conspired recently to get me back into comic books. I have spent many years of my childhood reading Nagraj, Super Commando Dhruv, Doga, Parmanu, Chacha Choudhry, Shikari Shambhu, even Fauladi Singh, which I remember to be pretty darned awesome. Oh, and Tausi! and all the different companies: Raj Comics, Manoj Comics, Diamond Comics, Amar Chitra Katha and more. And the Archie comics that my cousin used to own, and Phantom – so good! (Interestingly, I did not grow up with X-Men, Batman, Superman and the other usual suspects.)
I even distinctly remember that one of my childhood dreams was to be a comic book illustrator – I probably find a half-sketched Nagraj comic somewhere.
So here is the series of events that got me back.
1. I visited Portland last August, and spent an afternoon on Mississippi Street whence I sauntered into a comic book store (this one I think), and ended up adding a few comic books to my Amazon Wishlist (I am trying to do less showrooming, I promise).
2. In November, Amazon had its annual Thanksgiving 30% off sale, where I ended up buying two of the said books: Habibi, which I was drawn to because of incredible middle-eastern art and The Sex Criminals, which was very well reviewed on Amazon (and is on many best of lists this year).
3. My roommate brought home ‘The Wicked and the Divine’ (which I didn’t like – the characters don’t have much depth).
4. I visited one of my friends’ old teachers who used to own a comic book store (!). It was inspiring to see his collection of comic books and comic book art. He also is a drama teacher and it was amazing to see how he was fusing Shakespeare with his love of comic books (Classic case of bringing what you love to what you do as this man tells us to do). I was excited to tell him about Nagraj, Super Commando Dhruv and more.
5. I bought the Humble Image Comics Bundle.
6. I also discovered that SF has several great comic book stores, two of which I visited yesterday (Mission Comics and Isotope).
Which brings me to the real point of this post, is to share the list of comics I have read in the past few months and how excited I am to be rediscovering one of my favorite written mediums.
Habibi by Craig Thomson
This one is dark and disturbing, and has the most exquisite art. I liked it, even though I probably didn’t enjoy it (in the way I might enjoy a sci-fi comic).
Sex Criminals by Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky
The reviews don’t lie. Funny, irreverent, honest and clever, Sex Criminals is great. Chip and Matt are rockstars. Awesome artwork, especially the ‘cumworld’ panels. I also love how awesome both the characters look – they aren’t your usual “heroes”. Had to put in this quote “Ms. Jazmine St. Cocaine. Fire of my life, light of my loins.”
Saga by Brian and Fiona
This is an awesome awesome book, and what inspired me to write this post, filled with authentic writing, humor, with inspiring and real characters. A book that takes itself seriously and not seriously at the same time. The art is magnificent. I read the ePub version that I got on Humble Bundle, but just bought the Deluxe edition which is a steal at Amazon (though you may also choose to support local businesses and buy it at a comic book store) and Volume 4!
The Love Bunglers by Jamie Hernandez
Also amazing. Once you’ve read the book, you’ll realize how smart the book cover is. Also picked up Dicks and Deedies by Jamie Hernandez, which I didn’t finish.
The other books that I got and are on my list to read are: The Life After by Joshua Hale Falkov and Gabo and Mind Mgmt by Matt Kindt. Recommendations from James at Isotope Comics (must visit!) and both have exquisite (and different from the usual comic book art) artwork.