I Talk About Comics: Traditional Comics Edition

‘WHAT IS THIS?’ I hear you say. ‘An actual blog post????’ To which I say: yes, I think so?  Today I thought I would talk about comics! Over the last year or so I’ve gotten more and more into tradition comics but I realised that I haven’t actually written much about them. (You can also check out the rest of my comics series where I recommend some other comics.)

Anyway. Despite my love of webcomics, for a long time I found it very difficult to actually enjoy traditional comics. (Not only superhero but just like, traditionally published comics in general.) But now I derive a great deal of joy from them and I want to share it with you! So here I am!

Firstly: how does one read comics? Frankly, I’m not sure how much help I can be here, since almost every comic I’ve read comes from my local library. I am so thankful that my local library is free, and I am able to read the well-stocked collection of trade paperbacks, which I recognise is not something that’s available to everyone. If you are able to use your local library, then I really recommend you check out what they have. Otherwise, you can buy trade paperbacks which come in volumes, subscribe to issues (I’ve only bought like 1 issue of comics and honestly that’s a hidden world to me) or some companies have ways to read comics online like Marvel Unlimited.

Also, I want to acknowledge that both comics and webcomics are not very inaccessible in their current form for blind, visually impaired and other disabled readers. Although there are a few scripts out there, for example on the Comic Book Script Archive, and fan transcriptions (which I have here linked to if possible) these are not common. Thanks to this post by Michael Shifrin for some information on that. Additionally, Comics Empower previously sold audio comics but according to their twitter it’s no longer running. Although comics companies do sell digital copies they don’t provide any kind of transcriptions, scripts or audio comics which is extremely frustrating.

But, yeah, I personally get most of my comics out from the library. The comics section always seemed intimidating for me, so I’ve found it useful to research at least one thing I want to get out before searching for it.

Maybe this is a weird thing to say but…I kind of feel like I had to adopt a new attitude when reading comics. It’s a very odd place in which characters appear in different universes and are constantly reincarnated into new adventures. Sometimes I’ll be reading two different series about the same character and it’s WILD. I can definitely see myself getting annoyed at this inconsistency and lack of understanding but I just like…accept it and move on. I find that treating it like fanfiction helps a lot. I find it difficult to articulate but I just get a very strong fic energy from all the different universes and characters and things that are similar but not quite similar; like fic, a bunch of the comics I’ve read just tend to blur into one haha. I’m sure there’s some more interesting stuff to get into, but there we go.

So where should you start? Well, I read a couple of comics at the start but didn’t enjoy them loads so didn’t take too much of an interest. But once I found some I loved it was like ‘OHHH so now I get why people like this’. Anyway, what I’m trying to say is there are a lot of different comics and genres out there (even within the ‘superhero genre’).

The comics that I’ve most enjoyed have been recommendations from people I know; once I can tell we have a similar taste I can go and find some others! I’m just, like, going to share comics I enjoy the most now, depending on other things you like. (I have been toooo far away from blogging for this)

ms marvel
Image description: The cover of Ms Marvel: No Normal. Kamala stands on the cover wearing a t shirt with a lightning bolt on it, defiantly clenching her fist with one hand and holding schoolbooks in the other.

Ms Marvel

This series is popular for a reason! It follows Ms Marvel AKA Kamala Khan, a Pakistani teenager in New Jersey. There are so many characters to love (not in the least Kamala herself! She starts off as a superhero fan which is such a cool angle) and it’s rad to see a more diverse cast in a superhero comic. Plus, it ties in with Civil War II and actually helped me to, like, actually understand that whole storyline.

Patsy Walker AKA Hellcat!

I have 100% talked about this series before but I LOVE IT SO MUCH. It’s super cute and queer! I enjoy character development and interaction more than a billion fight scenes and a complex plot and this is just…SO GOOD for that. The art is super wonderful and I adore the characters. I am endlessly disappointed that this was cancelled after 17 issues, to be honest. (you may sense a theme here because a lot of comics I enjoy stop after only a few volumes or get cancelled…)

 

Young Avengers

I confess, I still haven’t read the first incarnation of Young Avengers. (Sorry. If it’s not in the library I probably won’t get round to reading it for AGES and that’s just life.) This was maybe the first superhero comic I loved? Again, I adore all the characters, and it’s queer!! It has America Chavez!!! (Among many other rad people including Loki.) It really got me hooked to figure out what happens next – but alas, once again it is only three issues. Transcriptions by Auden Granger of the first 7 volumes can be found for free on Google Drive here, along with some transcriptions of Daredevil, Ouran High School Host Club and Runaways (2003).

hawkeye my life as a weapon
Image description: the cover of Hawkeye: My Life as a Weapon. Hawkeye stands with his bown drawn on a building. Stylised purple and white targets overlay the buildings.

Hawkeye

I LOVE HAWKEYE SO MUCH. It’s one of my favourite series I’ve ever read! Hawkeye is an actual ‘mainstream’ superhero series I like a lot, which I was surprised by. Again, it deals more with Clint Barton’s personal life than it does his official superhero one (though there’s still action in here) which, again, I prefer. This Hawkeye is a human disaster and I love him so much. Also, the art is actually INCREDIBLE. I can’t even. Bonus: Kate Bishop’s solo Hawkeye series is also pretty rad if you want to read more about her. (She’s a Young Avenger too.)

DC Bombshells

All my suggestions so far have been Marvel, since I’m not that familiar with the DC Universe, but I love this one! Thank you Michelle @ The Writing Hufflepuff for recommending it to me. It’s World War II but in a world with no male superheroes, just a diverse group of ladies being rad and IT GIVES ME LIFE.

If you’re looking for non-superhero comics, I can recommend Saga and Lumberjanes. I’ve also read part of The Wicked and the Divine which was an interesting concept but kind of got me down, so. If it seems like something you’d be interested in then do check it out.

Series I am looking to read more of are: The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl (because they never have the 2nd volume in the library and I am SAD), Spider-Gwen, Black Panther, and Iceman, in addition to MANY others.

Sadly I can’t list every single one of the comics I’ve enjoyed in one post! But I hope you enjoyed this, and please do let me know if you have any tips or recommendations. Also, I hope to be putting up a few more posts over the holiday period so look out for those. 🙂

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I Talk About Comics, Part 3

i talk about comics final .jpg

I’m pretty sure this is one of my only successful series ever. (If you count successful as actually continuing as a series.) Probably because there are so many awesome webcomics out there! I’ve been reading a few more since the last update, but I thought I’d chuck in some traditional comics too because a) I didn’t have enough new webcomics haha  and b) I’m trying to get into traditional comics more so, you know, WHY NOT. Do feel free to check out part 1 and part 2 for further comic recs.

With Great Abandon by EH Macmillan Aah! I love this comic SO MUCH. Reasons I love it: trans MC! Hell yeah! Trans adults being trans and happy and doing stuff! Super cute romance, but also looks at the realities of actually being in a relationship. LONDON. Nerdiness. Russ and Harry meet in Forbidden Planet which I have in fact been to. Harry is so smooth which is like, woah. Also, oh my goodness the art is AMAZING. I really admire how the artist is able to continue the story without dialogue and just like…pretty arts… It actually just finished, which is sad because no more updates, but it does mean that now you can read the whole comic in one sitting. Go forth, friends!

Their Story by Tan Jiu I don’t normally read manga-style comics but my friend recced this to me and aah!! It’s so cute! And an F/F WEBCOMIC HELL YEAH LET ME READ MORE CUTE GIRLS. I feel like I read and see so many more m/m webcomics around than f/f ones which makes me really sad. 😦 I’d love to read more f/f and other queer girl stories so let me know if you’re reading any good ones!

Griefer Belt by Kales Y’all, I just really enjoy crime/con/heist stories. What can I say? This is basically queer criminals plus a lot of personal problems. Again, the art is so wonderful, and in general it’s just a super fun story. (Even though crime. Who knows.) Lars Van Allen really is a annoying, but he’s also…funny. The artist redrew him as Freckle from The Wondrous Life of Caleb Gallo which I 10/10 agree with, if any of you have watched that. (Warning for violence & gore.)

Aspera by rrroux This comic has only started pretty recently, so we don’t know the characters too well yet, but it’s about LGBTQ+ students at art school in Paris and I’m super excited to see where it goes!

Eerie Crests by Bell I’ve only just caught up with this one and it’s…kind of creepy, to be honest, which isn’t normally my scene, but not creepy in a SUPER HORROR way. A lot of the story so far is characters interacting but there is just a sense of unease and weirdness. The art style is really cool, and I love the character designs too. You know when characters do the blush thing? That’s my favourite. I like it a lot. (Warning for a bunch of stuff in this; you can check the content warnings by the author here.)

ink swash 2

Now onto the traditional comics section, get hyped for my knowledge here. 😛

Young Avengers For once the library actually had all three volumes of this, including the first one, (*gasps*) which was awesome, so I took advantage of ! I find superhero comics difficult to get into, but I really loved this one. Miss America is so cool omg. I hope I can read her solo series soon, eep. 😀  Also, I’m always on board with multiple canon queer characters, heck yeah!

Saga This seems to be a frequent rec for people starting comics but, pfft, I’ll throw it in here anyway. It’s a space opera epic spanning the galaxy with so much good art and snappy last pages. Have I mentioned how much I love me a space opera? BECAUSE I DO. (Warning for violence, gore & sexual content.)

Patsy Walker, AKA Hellcat! I follow Kate Leth on twitter and she seems really cool, but I’d never got round to reading any of her comics. But I ADORED the first volume of this — yes, it was super cute, but that’s honestly what I love to read. It brought me a lot of joy and laughs, and again: HECK YEAH CANON QUEER CHARACTERS!

Lumberjanes Another popular comic but AAH I love this so much! It’s about a group of girls at a girl scout camp. Girls being cute, having fun & adventures together! LGBTQ+ girls! Super fun art! It just brings me a lot of joy. Also, I really need to catch up because I’m like 2 volumes behind, oops.

Ms Marvel I’ve only read two volumes of this as I keep forgetting to reserve the third one from the library, but I’m really enjoying it so far! Again, I don’t read a ton of superhero comics but I’m actually excited and interested in this one, so.

Once again, if you have any recommendations for comics then I’d love to hear them! You can check out my Tapastic account for a collection of most of the stuff I’ve been reading (or wanting to read) on there, including stuff from past posts and some others that I haven’t got round to putting in.

do you read any webcomics? traditional comics? have you read any of these?