Tag: comics

Hobby vs Collection

Hobby vs Collection

This came up a bit ago on The Dice Tower, and it’s an interesting topic for nerds. There are times when a hobby becomes a collection or when a collection becomes a hobby. A couple of examples of this:I have a lot of comic books, […]

Comic Talk: Saga

Comic Talk: Saga

It’s been quite some time since I wrote much on comics. As my tastes in nerdy things have changed and my love for RPG’s and board games has grown, my spending and reading of comics has gone by the wayside. I still really like to […]

Comic Books – Marvel: Meeting the Line-Up (part 3)

Comic Books – Marvel: Meeting the Line-Up (part 3)

Let’s roll with some more heroes.

Image Source: Tri-State Original Art
Image Source: Tri-State Original Art

Doctor Strange: A brilliant and proud doctor gets in a car crash and becomes Sorcerer Supreme. But it’s not quite that simple, first he has to become a broken man, no longer able to do surgery because of shaking in his hands, he eventually gets pulled into becoming the new Sorcerer Supreme. Doctor Strange is one of those secondary characters that hangs out in the comics with the Illuminati along with Professor X and Tony Stark also other members and also hanging out with the Avengers. He does have his one big bad guy whom he fights. Dormammu is an extra-dimensional being whom Doctor Strange comes up against and who generally wants to take over whatever dimension he is currently in.

Ant-Man: This is one of those characters that is slightly confusing since there are a couple different versions. There is Hank Pym the brilliant scientist who helps the Avengers with problems that require scientific work and has helped contain the Hulk and many bad guys. And then there is Scott Lang, a criminal who often uses the ant-man suit for many more undercover things. Ant-Man currently is Scott Lang (or was as of six months ago) and the stories often with Lang focus around his redemption. He generally is pushing himself to become better, faster, stronger, and to help people after he has previously hurt people and spent time in jail. Again, people will probably recognize them as part of the ensemble in the Avengers.

Hawkeye: Hawkeye most people will recognize the character from the Avengers movies. Hawkeye in the comics is still just a human and still just shoots arrows. He also has a great comic book series where it was about Clint Barton as a normal human and not trying to jump into the crazy world of massive world ending events. In the comics he doesn’t actually have a family like we saw in Age of Ultron, but instead of interested in the Mockingbird, but that relationship becomes strained and changes over time.

Image Source: Go Comics
Image Source: Go Comics

Black Widow: Another one of those Avengers movies characters that people will know. But Black Widow has a very interesting history. She was a creation of the USSR, and there are a lot of issues because of that and her world is about killing and being part of the normal world it odd for her. She has love stories that touch on Daredevil and Hawkeye, but she is too transient to really stay in one place for too long. Again she mainly plays as a secondary character in Avengers, but has had some of her own stories as well but does much of the black-ops for the Marvel universe because there isn’t anyone else who can really do what she does.

Daredevil: As a boy he is blinded when a vehicle crashes as he is saving a person from the vehicle. However, radioactive material splashes on him, and he loses his sight but it gives him powers as well, basically a radar sense. Growing up in Hell’s Kitchen, after he is blinded, his father is killed when he refuses to throw a fight, by the mob. Daredevil, Matt Murdock, then takes it upon himself to clean up the Hell’s Kitchen area of New York, but he regularly has to take care of corruption and mob influence that takes over. Daredevil has a couple of villains in particular who he deals with, the biggest is The Kingpin. The Kingpin is a giant strong man who runs the mob in the area and other mobsters are scared of him, and Bullseye, who is kind of crazy.

Image Source: Complex
Image Source: Complex

Black Panther: From Wakanda, he was the prince in the land, and was forced to take over as a king when his father is killed. Wakanda is known for being secretive and for having amazingly strong and hard metal that they try to keep it from the rest of the world, what people don’t know about this African nation is that it is very advanced technologically. Black Panther is their countries legendary fighter who protects their people. But as the world is advancing, Wakanda can’t keep themselves nearly as separate from the rest of the world, and as more people try to get their resources, the Black Panther has to come out and work the the Avengers. He generally works on the fringes and he has very specific standards that he holds himself to.

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Comic Books – Marvel: Meeting the Line-Up (part 2)

Comic Books – Marvel: Meeting the Line-Up (part 2)

Alright, CONvergence week is over. It was a blast, but now time to get to some other heroes (and a day late). The X-Men Charles Xavier/Professor X: The most important player in the X-Men world. Charles Xavier, one of the earliest mutants and one of […]

Comic Books – Marvel: Meeting the Line-Up (part 1)

Comic Books – Marvel: Meeting the Line-Up (part 1)

Getting back on the comic book train, there is a need to talk about the big producers of comic books. With that I’m going to write up one on Marvel and an article on DC. These two have been the heavyweights in the comic book […]

Comics: The Heroes that We Love

Comics: The Heroes that We Love

Comics are an iconic nerdy activity. Reading the stories of Superman and Spider-Man and waiting for the next issue to come out is quite the image that we can place in our mind. But now that superheroes are becoming more mainstream, we have movies coming out seemingly every few months featuring Marvel or DC heroes, and people are meeting rarer characters like Peter Quill, Rocket, and Groot from Guardians of the Galaxy or Doctor Strange, who’s getting his own stand alone movie. Those movies and movies like The Avengers, The Dark Knight, and Captain America: Civil War are leading people to comic books. But where to begin?

Image Source: Wikipedia
Image Source: Wikipedia

Getting into comics can be intimidating. It seems like once a year there is a news story of Action Comics #1 selling for some absurd amount, and there are hundreds, or more likely thousands, of different issues for different characters. Where do you start with someone like Spider-Man?

Fortunately, there are some good ways to keep your wallet from being completely destroyed while you dive in to comics. The first option is, instead of getting single issues, to get trade paperbacks. Trade paperbacks (TPB from here on out) are collections of different comics that often comprise a story arc or part of a longer story arc. You can use these story arcs to decide what to buy without buying TPBs, as well. You just need to spend a little time to figure out when a new arc is starting in a comic. You might have to wait a few weeks, but about every six months a new story arc will start in a lot of comics. Finally, both Marvel and DC do world events. These events generally have tie-ins to different characters and different stories, but it is something that is world-shaking (or possibly world-destroying) for all of the characters, and no one is left unaffected. I will caution that these, too, are often underwhelming. There will be good character development and build-up, and then they just fall flat in the end as this completely impossible challenge is tripped up by something that is odd or overpowered and never seen again in the comic book world because it would break it. I personally would recommend TPBs over this type of comic. You can research online to find out some of the popular ones, or go into your local comic book store, and they will be able to give you suggestions, and if they don’t have it, they will gladly order it for you.

Image Source: Wikipedia
Image Source: Wikipedia

What if you don’t even know what type of book to start with?

That’s another good question, because at least for Marvel and DC, there tend to be two different types of comic books. The first is a solo book. That would be something like Spider-Man, where he is generally off doing his own thing. He might run across Wolverine once in a while, but generally it is Spider-Man dealing with Spider-Man’s problems. There are other times, though, where you will want to read about Spider-Man in a group; these group books will often have a leader to the team, which the story might focus on a bit more, but will have a strong cast of supporting characters. For this type, DC has Justice League, and while Superman and Batman will probably be most often in the spotlight, they do spend time telling stories about the other characters. These ensemble casts are a good way to get introduced to lesser characters as well. Would you pick up a book about Martian Manhunter off the shelves? Probably not. But you’d read about him in Justice League and might find out that you like him. That is how I figured out in Marvel’s universe that I really like Doctor Strange. Doctor Strange isn’t a character I’d pick out otherwise, but seeing him in The Avengers and seeing his powers made me want to pick up more books about him.

Image Source: Wikipedia
Image Source: Wikipedia

What would you recommend?

That’s a great question that I can’t really go into that much detail on, as I haven’t been picking up books at all recently. So much of picking out a good comic book series to read is trial and error at the beginning. Different writers write characters in unexpected ways; sometimes that is good, and sometimes it doesn’t work. It’s the same for artists — certain artists have certain styles. Now, that might work for you, or it might not. If the art isn’t the style you are expecting, it might distract you and take you out of the story. So instead of recommending series or characters, I’m going to recommend a few different writers.

Scott Snyder – Snyder has been writing Detective Comics, which is the main Batman line. His style of writing leads to more in-depth stories, and it doesn’t hurt that he’s on a title that a lot of people are going to enjoy. Along with that, he wrote a fair amount of American Vampire, which isn’t a superhero comic, but is very good. American Vampire also had Stephen King as a writer for a little bit.

Jim Lee – He wrote Aquaman for a while, and might still be writing it; I’m not sure. However, I really liked his Aquaman story, and the fact that he took the time to take a character who is a punchline way too often and make him into a better developed character.

Brian Michael Bendis – He’s probably my favorite writer out of all of these. He’s one who is working for Marvel and is high up in Marvel so directs many of the storylines that run throughout the whole universe. One of the things that I really like about him is that he is very wordy for a comic book writer. That isn’t to say that he writes description when pictures could do, but he writes dialogue better than most writers of comic books, and his storylines are fantastic. I’d recommend his non-superhero comic, Powers, greatly (but be warned, it is for a mature audience).

So there you have a starting point with comics, all without getting into the Marvel v DC debate. What comic books are you reading? Or, who is a superhero you want to read about?

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TableTopics: Legendary

TableTopics: Legendary

TableTopics: Legendary Today, we’re continuing on the topic of board games — Kristen and I host a board game night every second Saturday; our most recent one was this past weekend, and this time, we played Legendary. Legendary is a deck-building game in which you team up with […]