Culture

Graphic Content: Comic Purchasing for the Significant Other Pt. 1

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No matter how long you’ve been dating someone, whether it’s been 10 days or 10 years, you want to impress them with your tastes. Sure they’ve probably seen you puke and piss blood if you’ve been together for a while but there’s something about this need to look good. This is the person you love right? You don’t want to look like a total loser. Then again, you like comic books. Which comes with the connotation that you ARE a loser. Cue Darth Vader screaming “Noooooooo!” Thankfully, the comic book world offers us nerds some hope. Comic books aren’t all flights-and-tights anymore. There’s tons of material out there that can represent every generic interest. Whether it’ll score you some bonus points with the apple of your eye, I cannot make any guarantees. But it’ll definitely alleviate some of the stress in choosing something.

The Horror Fan
The horror genre in comic books is nothing new. Tales From the Crypt and House of Mystery have been around since the 60s. But to impress the modern horror fan, newer comic books offer plenty of options. It really shapes up to what kind of horror fan you are. But one book I’ve found encompasses the nature of a horror film is Uzumaki. Uzumaki is a Japanese series whose artwork has inspired many horror film directors. The imagery in it is indeed horrific. The translation can fall flat sometimes but the series is worth it for the pictures alone. If a real story is something that the Horror Fan craves, then look no further than The Walking Dead. Into slasher films? Alan Moore’s semi-historical masterpiece From Hell is a great read. Vampires? 30 Days of Night. Really if your significant other is a horror fan you have nothing to worry about.

The Sci-Fi Fan That’s Not a Trekkie
I have nothing against Trekkie fans. But there really isn’t any good comic books that I’ve encountered that take place in outer space. Maybe Joss Whedon’s Firefly comics are the exception. But if sci-fi’s your thing there are a ton of indie comics exploring the alt-worlds science can create. By far one of my favorites is Y the Last Man. Though not explicitly science fiction, Y the Last Man does explore the post-apocalyptic world of one Yorrick who becomes the last man on Earth. Which you would think would be really cool, but it’s not. Yorrick and his faithful pet monkey Ampersand, who is also male, are constantly on the run from vigilantes and desperate women who are trying to steal his man juice or utterly destroy him. He’s the last chance for humanity and he has no idea why.

Obviously Watchmen by Alan Moore is another good graphic novel because it’s the first one ever to receive a Hugo Award. It’s a good back burner choice. And I wish, I really do wish, I read Transmetropolitan or Black Hole before I wrote this. Because everything about it seems incredibly intriguing, especially for a sci-fi fan.

The Person Who Has Never Read a Comic Book Before
Astonishing, I know, but some people have never picked up a comic book or graphic novel. These are the people that have seen the Batman films and The Losers and have no idea how much better the source material actually is. For these people, you want to start things off slow. You can’t throw The Lost Girls or something equally challenging and terrifying at these people and expect them to like it. When I wanted to impress my boyfriend I gave him V For Vendetta, thinking that it would be a good starter choice since he enjoyed the film. Totally wrong. He hasn’t read a graphic novel since. Major mistake on my part.

But I’ve learned from my mistakes and have found that in this case, indie comics save the day again. “Real life” graphic novels are a great starting point to reading comics. One of the more famous ones I think is Ghost World but unless this person likes dark comedy I wouldn’t advise it. Blankets, by Craig Thompson, was the first graphic novel I picked up outside of superhero stuff. It’s an autobiographical account of Thompson falling in love for the first time as a teenager. He touches on many things throughout Blankets that every teen goes through, whether it’s struggling with personal religion or trying to woo a person you desperately want. It won a ton of awards after it’s publication for its artwork and storyline.

If this sounds a little too frou frou for your loved one, A History of Violence is a different but still equally compelling choice. If you saw David Croenberg’s adaptation let me say that the graphic novel is nothing like it and that you should give it a chance. There are no crazy sex scenes. Sorry guys.

I’ll have more suggestions for you in two weeks but in the meantime, if you think there are any comics or graphics novels that I missed let me know in the comments thread! Next time on Graphic Content: Intro to Superheros 101 or How to stop loving Christian Bale and learn to love Frank Miller.