What Women Like Part 2
(As promised, here's Part 2 of the most excellent essay from our own Nicky. Read on! --Bill)
Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 8 - A new comic book series picking up where the television show left off, and perfect for any Joss Wheedon fans who miss their stake-and-slayer fix. Now Buffy's got an army of super-slayers at her disposal, with Xander gleefully living the dream of being Nick Fury and Willow getting witchier than ever, but that just means the Big Bads have to get bigger to keep up with the heroes. It starts off with some familiar faces from the Scoobies' past, and heads off on a wild ride unconstrained by special effects budgets. And of course I'd be remiss if I didn't mention Angel: After the Fall as well; it likewise continues where that television show left off, a welcome relief to anyone disappointed by the cliffhanger cancellation we were left with when the gang charged the apocalypse full speed ahead. And oh, how things have changed...
Catwoman - If you're looking for a superhero story that will convince her that capes and spandex aren't just for the boys, why not start with this recently-revamped series featuring Batman's favorite femme fatale? The cat-burgler moves back to Gotham with a new look and a new outlook, and sets herself up as the whip-wielding protector of her East End neighborhood. The series starts with Catwoman: Dark End of the Street and ends with Catwoman: The Long Road Home with quite a few volumes in between; it ran for 82 awesome issues. But why not start with Catwoman: Selina's Big Score instead? Taking place just prior to Issue #1, this book by Darwyn Cooke has Selina getting back to her criminal roots out of costume and is perfect for anyone who likes heist movies like Ocean's Eleven or the Italian Job -- and doesn't require a jot of prior knowledge about Catwoman, Batman, or the assorted superheroes of the DCU.
Walking Dead - Looking for something for a horror fan? Kirkman's Walking Dead is such a great story that even people who don't like zombie stories like it, and those that do love it! These are old-school shambling zombies in a full-blown apocalypse, and the handful of survivors trying to make it through this dangerous new world for however long they can last! Because no one is safe in Kirkman's zombie-riddled environs, and they don't always end up killed by corpses, either. That won't stop you from getting attached to the characters, though, even if you try; they're who the story is really about, and you can't help but get sucked in and root for them, no matter how doomed they seem.
Now what about the younger crowd? The following section are all books safe for kids and teens, but more than brilliant enough for adults to adore, too. Trust me!
Coraline - Once again, we'll start the list with a Neil Gaiman. This story, brilliantly adapted into comic book form by genius illustrator P. Craig Russell, is about a little girl whose parents move to a new house that proves to have a very interesting door. You might be familiar with it from the recent animated movie; I can guarantee that the book is even better. It's delightfully creepy and mysterious, and all about family and what it means to look at the other side of the fence and wonder if the grass is greener. Sometimes it is; sometimes it's really spiderwebs. This book is just scary and unsettling enough to make kids (and adults) shiver with gleeful fear, but not enough to give traumatic nightmares. Well, probably not... ;)
Courtney Crumrin - And while we're on the subject of creepy, meet Courtney. Her parents also moved to a strange new house, but this one was inhabited by her Uncle (or maybe her great uncle, or her great-great-great uncle) Aloysius. It might be inhabited by some even stranger things, too, although it would be hard to think of something stranger than magical Uncle Aloysius...until Courtney meets the goblin in the woods. She thinks he's less trouble than the mean kids in her new school, but decides that there's no reason why she can't deal with both. Charmingly illustrated in stark black-and-white by Ted Naifeh, the Courtney Crumnrin series is about what it's really like to be a kid -- and what it would really be like to deal with faeries and monsters and parents, oh my.
Good Neighbors: Kin - The first in a series by Holly Black, Good Neighbors is also illustrated by Ted Naifeh and deals with the overlap between modern life and magic. A young girl named Rue Silver has to go into the faerie world to rescue her mother (who was secretly a faerie, by the way) and clear her mortal father's name, because he's been accused of murdering her missing mom. And along the way, she'll also have to save the world. But first she has to figure out if she's a faerie or a human, and decide which world she ought to save. Holly Black already introduced us to modern day faerie and all its beautiful dangers in her prose novels like Tithe and Spiderwick. Now she enters the world of comics and, working with Ted Naifeh's beautiful art, does it fantastically.
Gunnerkrigg Court - Know any fans of Harry Potter? Here's another story of a magical school, although the magic in this case is super-weird-science; this school is all about scifi technology, and they try to keep all the magic relegated to the mysterious forest outside. A girl named Annie starts school and starts to bridge that gap, with all sorts of amazing adventures along with way with her friends Kat (junior mad scientist), Robot (a Robot), Reynardine (a wolf-god in stuffed animal form), and Shadow 2 (a shadow). It started out online at http://www.gunnerkrigg.com, but is now being printed in story-arc collections.
Bone - No list would be complete without Jeff Smith's masterpiece Bone, a story that centers around the Bone family: three cartoony brothers who stumble into a magical world called the Valley, a place infested with rat creatures, dragons, magical princesses, a grandmother who could send the big bad wolf into a new line of work with one right hook, and the Lord of Locusts who wants to consume the valley if the Bones can't stop him. Get the whole story in the massive Phonebook, or in the new color editions. This is what would happen if Carl Barks and Tolkien wrote a book together, and it's beautiful.
And of course, there are comic book adaptations of quite a few novels, too. There's Dark Tower and The Stand from Steven King, Ender's Game and Red Prophet by Orson Scott Card, Mercy Thompson by Patricia Briggs, Anita Blake by Laurell K. Hamilton, Magician: Apprentice by Raymond E. Feist, Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, and the brand new retelling of L. Frank Baum's Wizard of Oz, among many others.
So come on in and take a look at the varied selection of comics around, because this list is just the tip of the iceberg. We have most of these in stock at any given moment, but if we're sold out of any, we'll be only too happy to order you a copy! You have but to ask. And if she's reading comics, too, she can't complain about how many you buy. ;)
To the girls: Agree with these recommendations? Disagree? I leave any of your favorites off the list? Drop us a word in the Comments section and tell us all about it, because I'm certainly not the only one always looking for awesome new comics to read!