Comics can be overwhelming – Where do you start? Superheroes? Independent publishers? The options are endless. That’s why I’m here! In previous posts I offered suggestions for where to start with Marvel Comics, DC Comics and Graphic Novels, this time around we’ll be taking a look at Image Comics.
Image is regarded as one of the best independent publishers out there right now, and you really can’t go wrong picking up any of the series they put out. To provide you comic newbies with a little guidance (because that’s what I do), here’s my list of some of their best series for newbies:
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Saga is perhaps one of the most popular comic book titles in recent years. Even if you’re new to comics, chances are you’ve at least heard the name “Saga” somewhere. The hype is definitely warranted, with writer-extraordinaire Brian K. Vaughan and art by the amazing Fiona Staples at the helm.
Described by Image as an “epic space opera/ fantasy comic book series….heavily influenced by Star Wars…” Saga follows Alana and Marko’s Shakespeare-esque love story as they flee from the authorities of both of their rival extraterrestrial races in order to protect their newborn daughter Hazel.
Aside from the fact that Saga is just an incredibly beautiful comic, the story is developed in a way that makes it relateable. While there may be weird and wonderful things going on – seahorse people, ghost babysitters and of course Lying Cat (he’s like a lie detector in cat form and it’s awesome), the story is deeply human and incredibly intricate. Saga draws you in whether you expect it to or not, but lucky for you there’s 30 issues for you to catch up on as the series has been running since 2012!
I have a tendency to claim many things as “my all-time favourite” (I can’t help it, I get very passionate about things I like…okay?!) but Sex Criminals truly is one of my all-time favourite comics, and one of the reasons I got back into reading comics a few years ago. Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky in my opinion, are possibly one of the best teams in comics (and life in general) and come up with some of the craziest and most amazing ideas like this (and that’s not even the whole story behind those variants).
Ahem, yes, Sex Criminals… Suzie and Jon meet at a party, but there’s something a little extraordinary about them; they each have the ability to freeze time when they orgasm. After discovering that they share this power the couple decide to use it “for good” by robbing the bank that Jon works at in order to help save Suzie’s doomed library. There are ups and downs (ha! see what I did there?!), hilarity ensues, there’s a mischievous trip to a sex shop…basically everything you didn’t realize you wanted in a comic. If my sub-par description didn’t make you want to read this comic immediately I suggest flipping through it the next time you’re in a comic shop or bookstore, that’s how I was enticed into picking it up and I can guarantee you won’t regret it.
3. Rat Queens
So…this is also…kind of…one of my “all-time favourite” comics (I’m sorry, but it’s true!). Written by Kurtis J. Wiebe…
Rat Queens is set in Palisade, a fantasy RPG-style world complete with goblin slaying, bar brawling, questing for gold and candy! The Rat Queens themselves are a group of sassy, kickass heroines-for-hire consisting of Hannah, the sarcastic Elven Sorceress with a mouth like a sailor (and my personal favourite); Betty, the hippie Smidgen thief with a love for all things candy and drugs; Dee, the (human) cleric that comes from a family whose cult-like dedication is to a giant flying squid; and Violet, the dwarf warrior who’s damn good at what she does and she shaved her beard to prove it.
Aside from being incredibly sarcastic, witty, and entertaining, this comic is fabulously diverse, which is something, much like the strong female character, that has been lacking in comics until recently. With Rat Queens we get racial diversity, LGBTQ+ representation AND strong female characters. These are badass women who openly express themselves (including their sexuality) can take on a boss fight with ease (…kind of), and don’t back down even when it seems like the whole town is against them (which they kinda are…).
via my post on IGGPPC – Women in Comics: Ensembles
Seriously though, read this. Pleaseee. It really is a comic that has something for everyone.
Scott Snyder and Jock have created one of the most beautifully eerie comics with Wytches. If you like the horror genre, or things that read like an urban legend then you definitely want to pick up Wytches.
An unnerving story about a young girl named Sailor and her family who move to a new town in order to escape a vicious bully and an incident that sparked the rumours that Sailor killed her bully – Annie. However they can’t escape their past and instead end up caught in the middle of their new towns’ own secrets – a tradition where people pledge others to the supernatural beings; Wytches, that lurk in the surrounding forests.
This is my recommendation for anyone who likes horror, or the supernatural and with only six issues out at the moment (one trade) it’s not overwhelming for a new reader.
The list of great Image comics is endless, but let me know your favourites and which ones you’d recommend to new readers in the comments below! Also, let me know what you’d like to see in future Comics for Newbies posts.
Stay tuned, and make sure you’re following me on Twitter, October is going to be full of exciting Halloween-themed posts.