My Re-Introduction To Comics and Graphic Novels

As a kid I was really into comic books, but not your typical Batman and Superman ones. I was more drawn towards stuff from Image comics like Spawn and Maxx and stuff like that. Eventually over the years I moved away from comic books as they seemed to be the “un-cool” things to read in my high school years. I still have a trunk full of old comics that I had growing up, stuff like Spawn 1 through 46 (or something like that) a bunch of autographed Spawn mini-series comics, Blood Feud I think it was called, and of course The Death of Superman, Superman #75, still in it’s original black bag. On top of the death of Superman, I have all of the comics that built up to him returning and I have that issue in it’s white bag, so I was fairly into the comic book world as a kid and lately I find myself becoming drawn back into that world, but this time for different reasons.

As a kid I really only got comic books because I thought the characters were cool. I honestly can’t remember any of the storylines of any comic that I read as a kid, which is sad actually. These days I’ve found myself venturing back into the comic world by way of “Graphic Novels” and my family makes fun of me for it now more than when I was a kid. Apparently they don’t realize that things like WATCHMEN are ridiculously good stories and not just pretty pictures. And this is what I’ve come to realize lately. These Graphic Novels and comic books are great ways of telling a story. In a book you only get words on a page and have to use your imagination to come up with the worlds that the book has created, but with comic books you get to see these twisted worlds and characters as they were imagined. You can argue that books made into movies give you the same look at the characters as a comic book does, but I think you’re wrong. The author of a book has in his mind what the characters look like and how the worlds look and often times when these books are made into movies, it’s not the author making them or there aren’t real actors out there that can accurately portray what the author invisioned. This is what is so great about comics and Graphic Novels, the author and the artist can draw a character any way they please, it doesn’t have to conform to the look of anything. They can let their imaginations run wild through their pens. And the artwork that these guys can put together is absolutely incredible.

This whole article stems from me finishing WATCHMEN a couple weeks ago for the first time. And I say “first time” because I have a feeling I will be reading it again. It’s not just a big comic book as some people see it as, but it’s an amazing story that kind of fits with what is happening in the world these days. After I finished the book I got the itch, the itch to get back into comics and, now, graphic novels. Next on the list was Batman: The Killing Joke. I had heard really good things about this one and knew that JOKER was coming out soon, so I figured I should check it out.

I think buying this book was meant to be. I had just ordered JOKER from amazon a few days prior and was going to hold off until Christmas to get The Killing Joke when an Inter-Department envelope was dropped off on my desk from work. I opened it up and apparently someone elsewhere in the building was appreciative of some of the work that I had done for them and had given me a $25 gift card to Borders books. I took it as a sign and picked up The Killing Joke on my way home from work that day. It’s a lot shorter than I had anticipated, but didn’t disappoint, and may even have revitilized my interest in Batman books.

I just got JOKER yesterday so I haven’t had a chance to sit down and read it, but what really drew me to this book is the artwork. I think now that I’m a little older I am able to appreciate the amount of skill and detail that goes into just one of these incredible illustrations. These artists are insanely skilled at what they do and I am extremely jealous that I don’t have this ability. To be able to imagine something in your head and then put it down on a piece of paper exactly the way you saw it is amazing to me. I was only ever able to look at something, like a comic book, and duplicate the drawings (without tracing), but I could never get the proportions right when drawing from the top of my head. When looking for drawing tips to step up your level, see this guide on how to make perfect drawings of a soccer ball.

Now here’s the real reason for this post, I need your help. Obviously I’ve been out of the comic scene for a long time now and I have no idea what I should be reading as far as Graphic Novels. The 3 I’ve mentioned above are the only 3 I’ve read, ever. I know there’s stuff out there like Sin City and they are on the list, but I’m looking for some more. Like I said, I’ve got the itch and it’s not going away. So let me know what you would recommend as far as Graphic Novels go.

Keeping a List of Possible Reads:

  • The Walking Dead
  • 100 Bullets
  • 30 Days of Night
  • Sin City
  • Batman: The Dark Knight Returns
  • Preacher
  • Hellboy
  • Punisher War Zone
  • Civil War
  • Punisher Welcome Back Frank
  • Ronin