May 16 2009

Which comic books should a comic book writer be familiar with?

Published by at 4:57 am under The Author-Audience Connection

What do you think?  Which comic books or graphic novels should a comic book writer be familiar with and why?

9 responses so far

9 Responses to “Which comic books should a comic book writer be familiar with?”

  1. B. Macon 16 May 2009 at 5:06 am

    I’ll start off with two extremely successful superhero series: Uncanny X-Men and Amazing Spiderman. Whether you’re interested in doing a straight-up superhero story or some sort of parody or commentary on the superhero genre, it will really help to understand why superhero stories resonate.

  2. Tomon 16 May 2009 at 5:18 am

    I’d throw Watchmen in there on account of the fact that it’s the only graphic novel I’ve ever read.

  3. Mr. Briton 16 May 2009 at 5:45 am

    Neil Gamon’s The Sandman and Alan Moore’s The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen should be read because they push the medium and explore very unique and different aspects of it.

    Some personal favourites that are more genre specific would be Mark Millar’s Wanted and Garth Ennis’s The Boys for a satircal spin on the superhero genre. Ennis’s Preacher is also well worth a look.

  4. Benon 16 May 2009 at 5:57 pm

    Robert Kirkman’s ‘Invincible’ is an excellent read if you’re looking for light, fun superhero stuff with a clever script and great characters.

    There are also parts in the comic where blood and gore splash across the page, and some other parts are downright gruesome and depressing, but the overall tone of the comic is light and full of the excitement of what are probably called Silver Age comics.

    It’s about the son of an established superhero coming into his own powers. Lots of superhero folk who go around doing ‘cool stuff’ (TM) and having fun in superhero groups. Definitely read the first trade paper back.

  5. The ReTARDISed Whovianon 16 May 2009 at 10:30 pm

    What are the “Ages of Comics”? I’ve heard people say Golden Age and Silver Age, but I can only smile and nod because I have no idea what the definition is.

  6. B. Macon 16 May 2009 at 11:28 pm

    Here’s the abridged version, Whovian.

    The Golden Age took place from the late 1930s to shortly after WWII. GA heroes include Batman, Superman, Captain Marvel, Wonder Woman and Captain America. The heroes were mostly 100% sympathetic/heroic and the villains tended to be cardboard evil, like Nazis, the KKK, talking gorillas, etc. Origin stories tended to emphasize the epic over the relatable. For example, Diana was an Amazon princess, Batman was a billionaire playboy, Superman was an alien, etc. Frequently, the origins were magical or pseudo-magical, like Captain Marvel or Diana’s transformation.

    The Silver Age placed a greater emphasis on relatability and what its proponents label realism. Origin stories came to rely on science fiction rather than gods, mythology and magic. For example, Spiderman got bitten by a radioactive spider, the Fantastic Four were exposed to cosmic radiation, the Hulk got radiated, Green Lantern went from magic to sci-fi, etc. Silver Age stories tended to focus more on the man behind the mask, as well. For example, one of the reason that Marvel characters came to dominate during the SA was that they came off as more relatable. Instead of being a billionaire playboy, Peter Parker is a kid from the wrong side of town. The X-Men are mostly regular people that happened to receive a strange genetic condition. The Fantastic Four are like a superpowered version of a sitcom.

    Silver Age stories also tended to treat relationships between superheroes as more tricky and conflicted. In contrast, GA relationships tended to be entirely cooperative and straightforward. Characters rarely disagreed about anything.

    In the Silver Age, the audiences of comic books tended to shift from children to high school and college students. Today, pretty much all comic book readers are 13+.

    The Bronze Age is generally thought to have begun with the death of Gwen Stacey in 1973. Bronze Age stories were generally more mature and less optimistic than their Silver Age predecessors. For example, Marvel (and DC) broke off from the Comic Codes Authority, which allowed companies to explore edgier themes like drug abuse and racism.

    The Bronze Age also saw a lot of non-superhero comic books, like Conan and the like.

    The Modern Age is usually thought to have begun in the mid-1980s. (For example, one popular starting point is The Watchmen, which debuted in 1986). A lot of these stories began to look at the superhero genre in a deconstructive way– instead of just being a superhero story, a MA story might offer some commentary on the superhero genre as a whole. Some other noticeable trends were that independent publishers tended to do well, particularly Dark Horse and Image today. Superheroes tended to become very dark and edgy anti-heroes. Teams–particularly the X-Men– became more popular.

  7. The ReTARDISed Whovianon 16 May 2009 at 11:59 pm

    Ah, now I see! Thanks!

    Even though I don’t read comics (and the only one I have ever read is one about Batman) I know about Gwen Stacey’s death. You’d think Spidey would have enough sense to know to use more than one string of web. Isn’t he a physics student?

  8. Ragged Boyon 21 May 2009 at 9:07 am

    I really enjoyed the Arkham Asylum series and The Killing Joke, even though I’m not that big on Batman. I also enjoyed Battle for the Cowl, although, it’s incredibly recent. Issue #3 just his stores.

    I loved Neil Gaiman’s, The Sandman. Inventive, imaginative, and beautifully complex. One of my hands down favorites. I always wished I could visit the Dreaming and watch my own dreams.

  9. R Silvaon 05 Jun 2009 at 1:52 pm

    I’d definetely go with the first 15 years of Amazing Spider-Man, John Byrne and Chris Claremont’s X-Men ( 80’s ), Frank Miller’s Batman, Denny O’Neil and Neal Adams’s Batman, Frank Miller’s Daredevil, Frank Miller’s Sin City, the first 10 years of Thor, the early Teen Titans by Marv Wolfman and George Perez, the first Ultimate Avengers series, DC’s Crisis ( 80’s ), Peter David stories… Yeah, I’d start with these.

Trackback URI | Comments RSS

Leave a Reply