It has been some time since I’ve been able to sit in front of the computer and write about the awesomeness that is comic books.
For the entire month of November, my reading class and I took part in an internet event called National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo. In the course of 30 days, you are tasked with writing a novel with complete abandon. Since I took part in the main event, I wrote my first 50,000 word novel. That is still NOT COMPLETE. Needless to say, it was a tad shocking.
My students, though, had their word counts vary. From 6,000 words all the way up to 24,000 or so. It was an incredibly fun event that really allowed my students to express their ideas and thoughts in a way that was not so focused on just the nitty gritty details. Things like spelling, grammar and punctuation were thrown from the highest of buildings as my students rushed to meet their word count goals per day.
This was a month of creative expression, an explosion of mind-juice that rocked my soul. It was amazing to see the things they came up with. Zombieocolips coming face to face with the Big Brain as he fought for his friend, Robotocolips’, soul was a personal favorite of mine.
Now, for the month of December we spend our time going back and editing. The boring stuff, you know.
Comic Matters is back, and I come forward with a fresh set of eyes on the comic book world. The month of November promised big things. The Joker continued his faceless mayhem through Gotham City, in one of the biggest storylines of the year. Top seller, actually.
The Walking Dead continues to break all kinds of independent comic records, thanks largely to its expert handling and a sort-of popular television show. I guess you might have seen it.
Now, though, the spotlight seems to be on Marvel Comics. The owners of The Avengers, the X-Men, the Fantastic Four and Spider-Man have done something new this year. They decided to end most of their series and start fresh with a new #1 spot. This put a stop to years of storylines and switching around writers and artists that had been with a particular superhero for years, now. They called it Marvel Now!
This seems largely like DC’s relaunch a year back when they began the New 52. As much as I would like to hop on the bandwagon of a select few fans and say that it is, I disagree. Whole heartedly I disagree.
But, this conversation is for a later time. Seeing as how many new Marvel NOW! titles are still being released, I’m going to wait and see what it all looks like.
So, next week.
We’ll look at it next week.
No, this week I am afraid and excited to introduce the 2nd year of Comic Matter’s Holiday Shopping Guide! Or Buyer’s Guide! Or, any type of guide to know what sort of comic related goodness to by for your loved ones this holiday season.
Seeing as how there is a plethora of comic related material out there, I thought it best to narrow it down to the bare essentials and hit on a few potential gift recipients and what they deserve.
Keep in mind, though, do not mistake comic related books with anything toy related. This is merely about comic books for the love of comic books. Also, if you needed even more ideas for gift shopping, you can check out last year’s shopping needs both here and here. The two previous articles contain goodies that carry over to this year.
Never going out of style. I like that.
For the Fan of The Walking Dead Television Show: The Walking Dead
This could be the biggest no-brainer of the bunch, but it’s so obvious that I feel like it needs to be said twice, once last year and another time this year.
This season of The Walking Dead has been, to say the least, an extremely trippy ride. I can honestly say that the pacing and story developments of this season, though in tune with the comics, are different enough to where it all feels different and new. The Prison and the Governor are very integral to the story of The Walking Dead mythos, and the show gets it right.
However, it all had to come from somewhere.
If you like The Walking Dead show and you are not reading The Walking Dead comic, written by Robert Kirkman and drawn, currently, by Tony Adlard, then there is something wrong with you.
There is nothing wrong with more Walking Dead in your life.
For the Teenager that’s Growing Up and Does Not Think that Comic Books are Cool Anymore: Danger Club
Proving that comics are still worthwhile, to anyone, is a challenging feat. It’s why I still write this column, to show comics worth. What if you are faced with a particularly difficult task, though? Say, a teenager that’s outgrown their Iron Man affection? Or is being taken in by Japanese comic books or video games?
This series, still new to the year, is called Danger Club. Written by Landry Q. Walker and drawn by Eric Jones, it features the exploits of the teenage, crime fighting group called Danger Club.
Sounds cute, right?
I’ve wanted to talk about this series for so long, but it’s tough because they are in the middle of a story right now and I feel like I don’t have a full scope of the series yet, but for now, I can say it’s good stuff.
Because it’s not afraid to speak an awful truth.
What if all the adult superheroes left the planet on a big space mission? No warning, no heads up? And all that was left were the teenage sidekicks to protect the planet?
We’re talking The Lord of the Flies meets Teen Titans. Their world falls apart around them, friendships deteriorate in a flurry of fists and violence and, most of all, the artwork is exciting and fluid. Watch as the teenagers tear each other asunder. If you can find ANY of the issues, they also function as stand-alone stories that offer insights into the minds of younger superheroes.
For the Younger Reader in your Family (a.k.a. A Child of Any Age and Gender): Amulet Vol. 1 – The Stonekeeper
I’ve already written about the Amulet series in great length, for a few weeks called The Great Amulet Quest. Truly, it was an endearing effort to try to sum up the greatness of this series for all younger readers by creator Kazu Kibuishi. I believe I did an appropriate job at describing it, but, I think I have another example that speaks volumes to this stories greatness.
In my fifth grade classroom of students of all kinds and readers of all types, one of the five volumes is always checked out of my class library.
Emily and her brother are thrust into an unknown planet, parallel to our own. There, they come face to face with evil elves and their king as they work to unravel a mystery surrounding a power amulet. This amulet, giving Emily wondrous and terrible powers, is integral to surviving in a world of half-human creatures and giant predator birds.
For Anyone that Needs to Get Into Comics in General: Saga, Volume 1
The first volume of this newly launched sci-fi series was launched this year under the Image Comics imprint. Written by the masterful hand of Brian K. Vaughan and, joined by colorist-extraordinaire-turned-penciler-for-just-this-series Fiona Staples, begun in early 2012.
So far, there have only been seven issues of the book, but they’ve made an impact greater than most series released this year. It tells a love story, between Marko and his new wife Alana. They were once soldiers, heralding from opposite sides in a war that spans centuries. Together, against all odds, they conceive a child.
Suddenly, the entire universe wants them dead. The artwork is beautiful and the storytelling is masterful. Saga is a must read for anyone, I do declare. What?
So, the holidays are here and gift buying for loved ones is a must. Hopefully, this Must Buy list will help in some way or at least point you in the direction that you need for your comic book fan.
Or, even if they’re not a fan.
Comic books, you guys.
Happy Holidays. Merry Christmas. Happy Hanukah.
In addition to writing for the column “Comic Matters” for the Tucson Citizen website, Bobby Acosta is also a 5th Grade Elementary school teacher, frequenter of local comic book shop Heroes & Villains, and explorer of the importance of comics. He recommends each and every comic he writes about.
Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org
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