Wednesday Comments – A Comic Conundrum

So, in the comments section of last week’s column a reader named Zerot asked for some recommendations for comics to read. He’s looking at getting back into the hobby and he wanted to know what I thought was good.

At first I was flattered. I’m no stranger to readers asking me questions, but it’s always sort of a boost to the ego when someone asks your opinion on what they should pick up.

But after that I felt a ton of pressure. I mean I’m just a guy who’s read a ton of comics, should I be picking out a reading list for someone? I’m not Oprah. And who’s to say that my list wouldn’t be flawed? I’ll readily admit that I’ve got a DC bias, so I’ll be excluding some stellar indie and Marvel books.

Ahhh, the pressure!

And could all of my picks even be contained in a column? This project just seemed to grow larger and larger.

I decided that I’d break project into themes and have it be my “go to” column for when I was struck by a case of writer’s block or exhausted.

This week’s theme is Team-Ups. But it’s team ups with a twist; it’s creative teams whose products I think Zerot will enjoy.

Brian Azzarello & Lee Bermejo – These two like to visit the dark corners of the DCU. First they explored a strange team up between Batman and Deathblow. Next took a trip to Metropolis for Lex Luthor: Man of Steel a mini that looks at the City of Tomorrow from the eyes of Lex Luthor (which is actually about to released in hardcover with bonus pages in the near future.)  Just last year they reunited and returned to Gotham with critically acclaimed the graphic novel Joker.

Warren Ellis & John Cassaday Planetary is one of those cult comic books that’s so deserving of it’s following. Ellis created a world where fiction was real. Pulp heroes begat Golden Age characters who begat Silver Age characters who gave birth to modern heroes. Sure Ellis’ mythology could be frustrating at time, but Cassaday’s art made every page a marvel. And with it’s one and done approach there was some degree of closure every issue. It was like a superhero X-Files loaded with goodness.

Ed Brubaker & Sean Phillips – Believe the hype. Everything Brubaker and Phillips have created is amazing. They carved out their own little corner of the Wildstorm Universe for Sleeper, which was part noir, part superhero comic and part espionage novel. Then they created another universe with their Criminal title (which I’m just getting into.) Finally they collaborated on Incognito a tale of a super villain in witness protection. Every time these two pair up, you’re guaranteed a dark moody piece where every character is a different shade of grey. What’s surprising is how distinct every pairing is.

Grant Morrison & Frank Quitely – When you see Morrison and Quietly are teaming up, you know it’s something special. On the JLA: Earth 2 graphic novel they explored the relationship between the Crime Syndicate and the JLA. On We3 they gave us a glimpse of a world where household pets become weapons of mass destruction. And with All-Star Superman they proved that Superman could still be iconic, cool and exciting. Morrison’s imagination fuels Quitely visuals and vice versa. Their collaborations feature the two of them at peak form.

So there you have it; four creative teams whose output is so consistent in quality that I think you’ll enjoy any time they pair up.

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