If you can’t tell from the carefully worded title, I like to think I’m clever. Today I’m starting the first of many new series you will see on this blog. Under the “Comic Books” category, I will be posting hauls (today’s post included), reviews, comic-related news– essentially anything to do with comic books and graphic novels. My ongoing theme for this blog is “straightforward, obvious.”
To be honest, I don’t know what kinds of discussions will pop up under this category, because I have very limited experience with comic books and graphic novels. As in, I could still count the number of graphic novels I’ve read on my fingers. I have even less experience with comic book stores, having visited my local comic book store a total of three times (twice in the past week). Most of my irrational fear of browsing comic book stores comes from so many years of having my interests written off as, at best, “fangirling” or, at worst, “posing.”
Alexis, what are you doing trying to adventure outside of the “fake geek girl” label? Here, let me shove you back inside by ridiculing your lack of obscure knowledge of X, Y, Z, and shaming you for being interested in learning more about said X, Y, and Z.
I’ll save story time for another blog post, as this preface has gone on long enough. Long story very, very short, I was inspired to shoulder my way into comic book geekdom by two things:
- My dear Lucy, one-half of the Bookish Best Friends YouTube channel, and owner of the blog Blackbird Talks Books. Lucy is a fairly recent blogger, but she dares to go where few bookish blogs have gone before: comic books, duh! Her comic recaps and “Comics I Got” series have really inspired me to take a chance on some series I may never have otherwise picked up.
- Low, Vol. 1: The Delirium of Hope. If I hadn’t picked up this first volume on a whim at Barnes & Noble,
I would have more cash in my pocket right nowI wouldn’t have embarked on what is looking like a pretty crazy journey. I finished Low in an hour and desperately Google-fu’d my way to the Image Comics website, where I realized a total of 1 issue had been released since the publication of the trade paperback.
It’s no surprise my first purchase, then, was Low, Issue #7. And can you blame me? Look at that cover art! Can we just? Can. We. Just. Having never looked around much of the store before, believe me when I say it was like fate took my hand and led me directly to this issue. Destiny is a beautiful thing.
This is the latest issue, with #8 scheduled to be released on July 29, 2015. I will have a review of the first 6 issues contained in the trade paperback of Vol. 1 up very soon, which I will also link here, so I don’t want to go into detail.
Of course I had to schedule a second trip back to explore a little more and find something to fill in the ragged, gaping hole in my heart that comes from waiting to complete an ongoing series. My initial thought was to pick up the first two issues of Nonplayer, which is a current series Lucy hauled on her blog, but the first issue was not in-stock, so instead of walking out with 2 or no comic books as originally planned, I walked out with 6.
The first thing I picked up this second time around was Issue #1 of Divinity, a Valiant Entertainment series. The store clerk recommended this after I mentioned Low, and also mentioned it had apparently already been optioned for a TV series. Divinity begins when a man sent into deep space during the Cold War era suddenly crash-lands in the Australian outback with some unique new abilities. There are four issues out now, with the trade paperback scheduled for release on July 15, 2015.
To be honest, I almost put this back, because I’m not really that interested in either the Cold War, or even science-fiction in general, but because it was a more personal recommendation, I figured I would give it a shot. I will say, this comic does stand out from the rest on my shelf– its cover is made of thicker, sturdier paper, and the back has a very minimal, spot-gloss pattern with no synopsis or text of any kind. It’s the little things like extra love in design that will always draw me in.
Next, I picked up the first issue of Southern Cross, an Image Comics series. I’ve had nothing but good experiences with what I’ve seen of Image Comics, and I will admit that has a lot to do with how much less intimidating they are than Marvel or DC, who are almost too well established. It’s very easy to pick up something that looks interesting without worrying that you’re diving into the middle of an ongoing universe of interconnected series. I found Southern Cross on an Image Comics recommendations shelf, and what really stood out to me was the beautiful art style. The main character, Alex Braith, boards a tanker flight to uncover the mystery of her sister’s death. So, yeah, more space travel and science fiction.
There are four issues out now. Issue #5 is scheduled to be released on July 22, 2015.
Third, on the same Image Comics recommendations shelf, right next to Southern Cross, I picked up the first issue of No Mercy. The store clerk who recommended Divinity also swore that this series was one of her favorite ongoing series, and it had such an intriguing synopsis: a bus full of privileged teens on a school trip to build houses in rural South America goes over a cliff. With no connection to civilization, the situation devolves into a horrific Lord of the Flies scenario as the kids struggle to survive. And, okay, the art style just seemed a little too colorful and cartoony to be that scary, so I was instantly in love. Hopefully this one lives up to my expectations.
There are only three issues of No Mercy out now, with a fourth on the way, July 1, 2015.
I anticipate at least continuing on to the second issue of these three comics before deciding if I want to stick with them. Fortunately, at 3-4 issues per series, it won’t be very difficult to catch up, and that is really what I was going for.
Finally, the pride and joy of my haul…
Spider-Gwen, Issues #1-3. When I first walked in, this was the second series I looked for (after Nonplayer), but only issues #4 and #5 were on the shelf. Which makes sense, those being the most recent. I then searched through the boxes of back-issues, but no luck. After about twenty minutes of searching pretty aimlessly through the rest of the store, I had given up. While checking out, I casually mentioned Spider-Gwen, and, of course, the clerk knew exactly where they were hiding. She handed me the first three and apologized that she couldn’t find a first-printing. Why would I care about first-printings? All my other graphic novels are trade-paperbacks or kindle editions, do I sound like someone who knows the difference between first- and third-printings?
Someone please explain what the big deal is about first-printings.
If you’re a recent newcomer to earth, first of all, welcome, second of all, let me tell you what I know about Spider-Gwen: alternate timeline Spider-Verse where Gwen Stacy was bitten by the radioactive spider instead of Peter Parker, and it’s really awesome and so pretty and colorful and I never knew how much I needed this in my life. However, I’m fairly sure this started in Amazing Spiderman: Edge of Spider-Verse, so I’m not certain if I can just dive into Issue #1. I actually don’t have very much experience with Marvel comics, so this may require a little more digging.
Hopefully these will tide me over for a while! Holding six issues at the cash-register made me feel like this could be the start of a serious problem, but the store clerk took one look and laughed, “That is not a problem.” I’m choosing to take her word for it.