This time in "The Q," the monthly feature where Newsarama asks several creators to answer one question, we turn our attention to comics that industry professionals are reading and recommending.
This month's question:
What comic do you think more people should be reading?
Brian Reed (Red Sonja, Ms. Marvel, Secret Invasion: Spider-Man, Secret Invasion: Front Line): I don't know what the numbers are, so maybe it's got plenty of readers and doing fine, but Ex Machina from Brian Vaughan is one of my favorite things that's out. Ex Machina is fun because it was a superhero comic that turned into a politics comic that is now turning into a superhero comic again. And Vaughan has done this incredible job of weaving real-world beats into this superhero world. And it's like, you get to see what the day-to-day job is of running New York, because this guy is the mayor of New York now, but you get to see it with this tinge of, he used to be a superhero in a world that didn't have superheroes. And now there are other people who are popping up and putting on costumes and doing crazy shit. And so, he's built a great world to explore. And if the end of the first issue doesn't blow you away, then nothing ever will.
And the new Jeff Smith book RASL is incredible. It surprised me. I had no idea what it was about. I didn't read anything before it came out. I just saw a new Jeff Smith book and bought it. And I'm reading along, and it's interesting, and I didn't think I quite understood it. And all of the sudden, this guy is going into alternate universes and stealing the alternate universe Picasos. At that moment, I was like, alright! I'm in! But then it turns out that someone has figured out he's traveled to these alternate universes and they're coming to get him. It's two issues in, and I'm on for the whole run.
I don't know how many people are picking up those, but they ought to be picking them up.
Marc Guggenheim (Amazing Spider-Man, Young X-Men, Resurrection): The Walking Dead. I don't know -- this might surprise you as a choice because it seems like a lot of people within the comic industry are already reading this book. However, (a) I think it should have more mainstream popularity and (b) I myself hadn't been reading it until two months ago. And I'd only checked it out then because so many people were making comparisons between Resurrection and The Walking Dead and, well, I wanted to see what the fuss (unfounded, in my opinion) was about.
Scott Kolins (Final Crisis: Legion of Three Worlds): Two answers:
1) I don't know why Green Lantern isn't the number one comic in America. The character, art and writing are absolutely top notch.
2) The Omac Omnibus! Jack Kirby was a genius. Grant Morrison knows it. Geoff Johns knows it. You should know it too. Kirby's OMAC was one of my all-time favorite comic books ever, and if you're discerning enough to get past the glitz it's even more mind blowing! A Global Peace Agency that needs to be race-less? Virtual reality machines - in 1975? Whole cities that can be bought and used for personal pleasure? Assassin robot bombs that look like pretty women? Definitely one of DC’s most under-rated books! Ever.
Robert Kirkman (Invincible, Astounding Wolf-Man, The Walking Dead, Destroyer Max): Hands down, Firebreather is the comic more people should be reading. If it were a top ten book--more people should still be reading it. I love this comic. Ducan Rosenblatt is the son of a modern Midwestern housewife and a 600 foot tall dragon monster... and he fights stuff from time to time. It's an excellent comic will all kinds of drama and family issues and teen angst and giant monsters. Phil Hester writes it... he's written The Coffin, Deep Sleeper and is currently doing a bang-up job on Darkness over at Top Cow (you should read that too). Andy Kuhn draws it -- he did a run on Marvel Team-Up with me and did The Easy Way for IDW as well as many, many other fine comics for DC and loads of other companies -- he's super talented. The colorist, Bill Crabtree recently completed a stunning 50 issue run on my book Invincible--the whole team is top notch from top to bottom. There's one trade paperback in print already and the first issue of the new series just shipped -- it's totally easy to get in on the ground floor and the first issue is totally awesome. So why are you still reading this? Hop in the car right now!
Mike Mayhew (Spawn, X-Men Origins: Jean Grey, Savage): The number one recommendation I give to everybody is Jason Aaron's Scalped. It's like The Sopranos on an Indian reservation. Every month I get the issue as soon as it comes out. I hold it thinking, this will be the issue that disappoints me, because there is no way every single issue of this series will be great. I make time to read it, usually at night with a beer and a shot of tequila, and by the time I finish with the issue I say to myself "That's the best issue yet!" I have no doubt that Jason Aaron will soon be recognized as one of comic's top ten writers. R.M. Guerra's art is phenomenal! Perhaps my favorite artist right now. His art is like a mix of Jean Giraud's Blueberry mixed with Frank Miller Daredevil. This guy is from Serbia I think, yet you would think he grew up on an Indian Reservation.
I also got a lot of enjoyment from Warren Ellis' Black Summer. There were some images in that book that I wish I could have depicted. Juan Jose Ryp's art is intoxicating and unique.
Dave Sim's Glamourpuss was a book that I just can't stop thinking about. It reminded me of a French New Wave film, that played with the form of the medium in new and exciting ways. Plus, I'm fascinated with his analysis of photo-realism, via the text and in the artwork he is producing. How could a book be part educational, part satire, and part adventure? Only Dave Sim could challenge comics this radically. I can't wait to read more.
Matt Sturges (Blue Beetle, House of Mystery, Jack of Fables): If you're not reading Linda Medley's Castle Waiting, you are absolutely missing out. It's a stone's throw away from Bill Willingham's Fables, but it has a decidedly different pace and tone. Medley's black and white art is economical but can really soar when she needs it to, and her writing is always spot-on. Castle Waiting begins as the story of what happened to everyone at the castle after Sleeping Beauty woke up and moved away with her Prince Charming, and then spirals out from there in all sorts of unexpected and clever directions. There's some intrigue, some adventure, a fastidious stork --- the usual stuff -- but what really makes the book is the gradual unfolding of each character, from the mysterious Lady Jain, who's fled to the castle from parts unknown to have her baby, to the bearded nun Sister Peace, whose backstory takes up a good chunk of the first series. That first series, which Medley self-published, has been collected by Fantagraphics in a really snazzy hardcover, and I heartily recommend it to anyone who loves fairy tales that take their own sweet time in the telling.