Over the last year I spent some time in comics retail, working at my favourite local comic shop, London’s renowned Orbital Comics. In this series of articles, I’ll be looking at some of the trends I observed whilst I was there, focusing on the positive changes that are happening in the industry. Welcome to “I Used To Sell You Your Comics”
Rosie’s Recommends – Part Two
In this series I’ll be recommending some wonderful comics with a focus on great suggestions for new readers! Note: All of these books are also perfect for seasoned comics fans.
Goldie Vance – Hope Larson and Brittney Williams
If there’s been one thing missing in comics it’s definitely been incredibly stylish and cute girl detectives. Luckily for all of us, Hope Larson and Brittney Williams have created the wonderful world of Goldie Vance. Goldie is a tenacious young girl who lives in her father’s hotel and dreams of being the hotel detective. One of the loveliest, sweetest, and most original books for a long time.
Gotham Academy – Becky Cloonan, Brenden Fletcher, and Karl Kerschl
Speaking of the lack of good detectives in sequential storytelling, here is an exciting tale of a brand new Detective Club set within the realm of the World’s Greatest Detective. The simple description of this book would be Hogwarts but in Gotham City, though this book is so much more than that. A diverse young cast leads readers through a mystical version of everyone’s favourite gritty comic book city. A truly inventive take on Bat-lore.
X-Men: Days Of Future Past – Chris Claremont and John Byrne
Arguably one of the best X-Men creative teams of all time, not to mention that Chris Claremont still holds the title of longest writer on one title as he wrote X-Men for SEVENTEEN years. In that time he created some of the best superhero comics of all time, including this wonderful, dark, and dystopian tale. Often kids want to read a “classic” comic book and DOFP is a perfect introduction into the sprawling world of mutants, with excitement, adventure, action, and heart by the truckload.
Luke On The Loose – Harry Bliss
Luke is a little boy who one day, whilst out with his dad, gets very bored of all the grown up talk and before you know it… Luke is on the loose! Gorgeous cartooning mixed with vibrant and charming writing makes this kids comic a treat for readers of all ages. Luke’s adventures around New York City will appeal to anyone who has ever longed for adventure.
The Adventures Of Venus – Gilbert Hernandez
Gilbert Hernandez is one of the best cartoonists of our generation, but is he most well known for his seminal work Love and Rockets (created with his brothers Jaime and Mario), as well as his wonderful and very NSFW adult comics. Venus is a rare all ages collection by Gilbert and it’s truly magical. A collection of strips about the titular Venus (Luba’s niece from Love and Rockets), a young girl who loves comics, Frankenstein, football, and scheming to one up her rival and friend. Charming and often whimsical, this is a beautiful and affordable hardcover collection of all ages oddities from a master of modern cartooning.
Nimona – Noelle Stevenson
Beginning life as an award winning webcomic from one of the creators of the much beloved Lumberjanes, Nimona is the story of a young, aspiring supervillain who loves blowing things up and doing things her own way. This epic fantasy tome already has a huge following and is one of the loveliest, coolest, and most touching books of recent years. Collected by Scholastic as an Original Graphic Novel, Nimona quickly became a New York Times bestseller and firm cult favourite. A fantastically original gem of sequential storytelling.
Grayson – Tim Seeley, Tom King, and Mikel Janin
Another iconic Batman Family member gets a contemporary reimagining in this post-Nightwing solo series. Dick Grayson, the first Robin and long suffering sidekick of the Big Bat himself, becomes a spy in this super stylish, smart, and funny comic. Coming at a time when DC were taking risks with classic characters, this book was wildly popular and gained a large and diverse fan base. It also marked the arrival of Tom King, one of the most exciting new comics writers for a very long time.
Young Avengers (2014) – Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie
Superhero comics have saturated the sequential storytelling market for so long that it’s often hard to know where to start or find the one that excites you. Young Avengers solves both of those problems. Refreshing, exciting, stylish, and full of positive and inclusive representation, this book is a breath of fresh air in a world where most of your “Heroes” are interchangeable middle aged men. Focused on a group of diverse heroes trying to save the world but also just trying to navigate the world as young people, this is one of my all time favourite Marvel runs. A cool contemporary classic.
Boxers and Saints – Gene Luen Yang
Boxers and Saints are a pair of historical comics that run parallel to each other with startling effect. Telling two sides of a rebellion, these books are a moving, vital, and engaging experience. Boxers and Saints are beautiful and exhilarating storytelling at it’s best. In Orbital Comics, these books were not only very popular but also had a widely varied audience of readers. A great entry point for people who think comics are nothing but capes and capers.
Wonder Woman: Earth One – Grant Morrison and Yanick Paquette
People will often ask for a good place to start with Wonder Woman and there are many classic WW books, including George Perez’s seminal run. But Morrison and Paquette’s recent origin story is a wonderful take on comics’ favourite Amazon that might just be the best launching point for new readers or those unfamiliar with the hero’s lore. Wonderfully laid out and brilliantly written, this book purposefully subverts some of the comics’ problematic history and creates a fresh new start for Diana, Hippolyta, the amazons of Paradise Island, and fans of DC’s most famous superheroine
(There are many amazing talented people who make good comics happen, including wonderful colorists, letterers, editors, and more. In a perfect world, I’d be able to credit each and every creator who’s contributed to the books on this list. However, I’ve focused on crediting the writers and artists who worked on the first volumes of the following books to make books easier to find for new readers who are discovering these stories for the first time.)