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Summer Reading: Catch Up On Some Great Comics

Summer. A time for sitting in the sun on a beach, or if you’re more like me, hiding away in a dark room with stacks of comic books. We, the ones David Wain and Michael Showalter so aptly named “the indoor kids” have a love for the four color page, and we enjoy it no matter what the season.

Still, Summer is a wonderful time to read up, so if you don’t mind, I’d like to suggest a few books to help you pass the days away…

BOX OFFICE POISON

2 Summer Reading
Alex Robinson wrote and drew this epic of the average nerd over the course of 600 pages. The story, centered around Sherman Davis and the people he knows, takes place over the course of a few years as these 20 somethings figure out what they want from life and, in some cases, realize they will never get it.

BOX OFFICE POISON is honest, funny, brutal, and most importantly, great. I personally found myself becoming so connected to the characters that it was impossible not to see bits of myself in them. Robinson builds his story on things from his own life, as well as the lives of others he knows or knows of in order to create a world that is fully realized.

THE EC ARCHIVES: TALES FROM THE CRYPT

3 Summer Reading
Dark Horse has remastered the classic EC Comics series TALES FROM THE CRYPT and compiled them into a series of hardcover collections. These reprints, which have been painstakingly and beautifully put together, are the best versions of the classic EC books that you’ll find.

THE EC ARCHIVES: TALES FROM THE CRYPT is a great addition to any bookshelf. And if you want more EC Comics fun, Dark Horse also has remastered collections of HAUNT OF FEAR and VAULT OF HORROR.

CEREBUS

4 Summer Reading
Dave Sim’s CEREBUS is not just a classic comic story, but a historical one, too. The longest running independant comic, Dave Sim, with some art assist from Gerhard, created 300 issues covering the adult life of Cerebus, a warrior aardvark.

The series began as something of a joke, poking fun at CONAN THE BARBARIAN, but quickly became a well written and beautifully illustrated book about politics, gender, love, life, and death. The story follows Cerebus as he goes from adventurer to the representative of a country, to leader of a religion, to old age. The series has been collected into 16 books. Recently, it was announced that Dave Sim is returning to Cerebus with a new mini-series, CEREBUS IN HELL, so now is a great time to start reading up!

I must admit that some of the work, which plays deeply into Sim’s political beliefs, may be considered offensive at times, especially Sim’s feelings on gender, but if we’re only going to read things we agree with, what will we learn?

THE BATMAN ADVENTURES

5 Summer Reading
THE BATMAN ADVENTURES was a series that started in 1992 and ran, under a few different titles, until 2004. Based on the storytelling and art style of the BATMAN animated series, the comics were (mostly) done in on-off stories that were meant for all ages. This didn’t take away the impact of the stories though – I would go so far as to say that some of the best Batman stories ever written were written for this series.

While there are some collections of these stories out there, with more coming this year, it is probably easiest to snag these comics on Comixology. In the least, you can get BATMAN & ROBIN ADVENTURES #7, which I will say with confidence is the best single issue Batman story ever told.

Like I said, this is an all ages Batman series, so if you have kids who like Batman but you feel the live action movies and current comics are too much for them, this is a great series for them.

THE ADVENTURES OF TINTIN

6 Summer Reading
Speaking of all ages, Hergé’s THE ADVENTURES OF TINTIN is an enduring classic series reprinted for decades in 23 short volumes.

If you don’t know about Tintin, where have you been? The dude is a legend! Basically, Tintin is a teenaged version of Indiana Jones (who existed well before George Lucas thought up old Indy) who travels the world solving mysteries and writing articles. Always at Tintin’s side is his trusty, cat hating, booze loving dog, Snowy. Through their adventures, Tintin and Snowy meet a wide array of oddballs, including inspectors Thompson and Thomson, Bianca Castafiore, Professor Calculus, and everyone’s favorite, Captain Haddock.

Hergé’s art is clean, crisp and inviting, and his stories, all originally written for newspapers, flow like perfect action movies – every page ends on some type of cliffhanger. The books read quickly, but are worth every penny.

7 Summer Reading
ART SOURCES
Fred Ray
Alex Robinson
Jack Davis
Dave Sim
Mike Parobeck
Hergé

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