Now that I’ve gone through the mainstream Marvel and DC fare, its time to get to the more adult-oriented stuff. Now in this department DC has Marvel considerably beat due to the fact that the Vertigo line has been around for almost 20 years, while Marvel’s Max line isn’t even a decade old yet and you could count the Icon titles published with your fingers. Okay here we go:
ICON: Criminal by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips is one of my favorite, favorite comics on the stand right now. Each storyline is 100% self-contained but all take place in the same universe and characters from other stories show up in other stories but really you can read them in any order you want. Kick-Ass (or Kick-Heinie as we call it here, we’re a family store), by Mark Millar and John Romita Jr., hasn’t been released in trade yet but talk about a hot, hot sizzling book. It’s the story of a normal teen who decides to become a superhero but instead gets beat up… pretty badly. Powers (Brian Michael Bendis and Mike Oeming) transferred over from Image and is about two detectives who work the superhero beat.
MAX: This line has produced mostly mini-series like War is Hell by Garth Ennis and Haunt of Horror by Richard Corben but there have been three major Supreme Power series, all written by J. Michael Stracynszki; each a slow burn realistic take on superheroes. Alias by Brian Michael Bendis is about Jessica Jones (who New Avengers fans know as Cage’s wife/baby mama), a PI investigating the seedy, sticky corners of the Marvel U. And Garth Ennis’ 60 plus issue run on Punisher Max is a soon-to-be-classic examination of the post-Vietnam mindset and the military industrial complex.
VERTIGO: To name all the great stuff that Vertigo has put out and the merits of those titles would take up the entire blog page. Since Sandman, Preacher, Y The Last Man, and Fables are well-known and some of the stores best-selling trades, I'm going to use this space to focus on some lesser-known gems. First of all is one of my favorite books at the moment Scalped: if you can imagine The Departed on an Indian reservation than your almost there. Sandman Mystery Theatre which takes the 40's hero’s adventures and gives them a dark, noir-ish bent. Brian Wood has a couple of ongoing projects at Vertigo. One is DMZ which centers on a reporter in Manhattan, a demilitarized zone in the midst of the second Civil War. The newer series is Northlanders, a Viking anthology book, whose first trade has come and at eight issues for ten bucks is a snazzy deal. There are a couple of books like the crime-conspiracy 100 Bullets and Vertigo’s longest running book Hellblazer that have been around for so long that we take their presence for granted; but they're both really excellent books.
And with another batch of fine recommendations, I hope to see you at the store soon!