†Recommended Trade Paperbacks
friend of mine and I were talking the other day and I mentioned Fanboy
Planet. He seemed really interested in the stuff I was trying to cover
on the website until we moved to comics.
a lot of people I know, he was once a rabid comic book fan but had given
it up cold turkey years ago. Now he wanted to get back in to comics,
but wasnít sure where to start. There were so many comics he had never
seen and authors heíd never heard of. He also didnít want to just go
pick up an X-Men title and start reading for fear of being hooked into
a yearlong storyline that would drain his money away. ďWhat are some
good trade paper backs that I could read to help satisfy my craving?Ē
he asked. Figuring there were other former comic junkies itching to
get back into it out there I whipped up a short list of great trade
paperbacks that are available at any comic book store.
a quick note about my background with comics: I didnít start reading
comics until about 5 years ago. Iíd never really cared about the paper
adventures of Batman and Superman. Movies were good enough for me. Then
I met Fanboy Planet Editor and comic book fanatic Derek McCaw. At first
I asked some questions that Iíd had in my head for a while, like ďhow
does Green Lanternís ring work?Ē and ďwhy did Spider-man wear a black
costume for a while?Ē Derek is an encyclopedia of useless knowledge
and was more than happy to explain. Fast forward to today where I spend
an average of 20 bucks a week at my local store.
reason I tell you all this is because you should know that my experience
with comics only goes back a few years. This gives me a very clear and
unbiased opinion of whatís been good and what has sucked recently. Iím
not bitter over the Clone Saga. I donít begrudge Kyle Rayner. I donít
remember when John Byrne was a good writer. If I recommend it, you can
count on the fact that youíll be reading a great story thatís well worth
your money. Period.
you can click on any of the pictures and it will take you straight to
Amazon.com where you can buy them and help support Fanboyplanet.com.
enough warm up. Letís get to the good stuff.
City: Life in the Big City by Kurt Busiek and Brent Anderson
Busiekís work on Astro City changed the way I thought about comics.
Busiek manages to show us what it would be like to be a superhero. How
does it feel to fly? Whatís it like having a superhero legacy to uphold?
Busiek is busy writing the JLA/Avenger team up so itís unlikely that
there will be any more issues of Astro City out in the near future.
This volume reprints the first six issues. Also recommended: Astro
City: Family Album, Astro
City: Confession and Astro
City: Tarnished Angel.
by Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Avon Oeming
is the NYPD Blue of comics. Detective Christian Walker and Detective
Deena Pilgrim are normal homicide investigators that deal in superhero
related murders. Bendis is a red hot writer right now, creating dialogue
like David Mamet. Iím going to go all dreamy fanboy on yíall and just
say that if it says Brain Michael Bendis on it, itís got to be good.
Coming soon: Powers:
Authority: Relentless by Warren Ellis, Bryan Hitch, and Paul
you like the JLA, but wish there were more blood, guts, explosions and
sex? The Authority is the superhero team book for a new millennium.
It kicks ass. Warren Ellis has a reputation of blowing readers minds
and he does it with an action packed style. Also recommended: The Authority:
Under New Management and Jenny
Sparks: The Secret History of the Authority.
Finest : Daredevil Visionaries
by Kevin Smith and Joe Quesada
I started reading comics in 1997 one thing was clear: Marvel sucked.
There were a few good stories here and there, but no one could string
together a storyline for very long before someone else followed it up
with a steamy pile of crap. Thatís all changed now as Marvel is the
hottest publishing company around. They owe it all to writer/director
Kevin Smith and his work on Daredevil. It gave them the sure fire hit
they needed. Forget about Smithís hit and miss record with movies. His
modern take on Daredevil is just as good as Frank Millerís. Buy it and
buy it now. Also recommended: Dogma,
for All Seasons
by Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale
Loeb tells four stories of Superman's early years in Metropolis. It's
like Superman: Year One for dummies. Superman comics try to keep things
fresh by throwing new things at Supes without really focusing on the
character and emotion behind the icon. Loeb captures that feeling perfectly.
The same writer and artist team also created Batman:
The Long Halloween and Batman:
by Brian Michael Bendis and Mark Bagley
relaunched several of their popular titles with the ďUltimateĒ line
last year. Spider-Man and X-Men were both restarted from the beginning
to give new comic book fans a chance to jump on board without 40 years
of continuity to sort through. Ultimate Spider-Man was restarted and
updated by my favorite author, the aforementioned Brian Michael Bendis.
When Stan Lee first created him, Peter Parker was meant to be like a
modern teenager of the time. Kids could identify with Peter and his
problems. Bendis does a great job updating Peter to year 2000 standards.
If you have ever liked Spider-Man, this is well worth reading. Also
X-Men by Mark Millar and Andy Kubert.
Stars: Born In Fire
by J. Michael Straczynski and various artists
I can get anyone reading this to read just one trade paperback, itís
Rising Stars. Itís so good, my wife reads it. J. Michael Straczynski
(Yes, the guy that wrote Babylon 5) tells the story of a group of kids
born with superpowers and how they cope, use and deal with them in todayís
modern world. Straczynski plans to end the story at 24 issues, so pick
this up now and be there for the thrilling climax.
by Brian Michael Bendis
doesnít have to be all superheros and spandex in the comic book world.
With Fortune and Glory, Brian Michael Bendis (swoon) tells the true
story of his adventures trying to sell his script in Hollywood. Itís
a funny story and it proves that Hollywood people are really weird.
Bendis also has a series of crime graphic novels out. They include:
Punisher by Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon
Ennis does the unthinkable and makes The Punisher cool. Forget about
anything that has happened in The Punisher over the last decade. Ennis
refocuses Frank Castle on a single goal: eliminate criminals. Itís blood
flowing, head cracking action with a twisted sense of humor along for
All Over The World by Warren Ellis and John Cassaday
Imagine a world in which every so-called "fictional"
adventure actually happened. World governments and shadowy corporations
both do their best to cover up and exploit these incidents, and only
one group has the stones to find out what really happened. Financed
by a mysterious "Fourth Man," Planetary scours the Earth to
discover that the truth is already here, even as they struggle against
a seriously warped version of a certain famous foursome. Available only
in hardback: Planetary: Who
Is The Fourth Man?
Awesome Older Trade Paperbacks
why stop there? Here are a few other older trade paperbacks that are
well worth your time and money.
Out From Boneville by Jeff Smith
good news is that this is an epic fairy tale that both adults and kids
love. I don't even mind that it's not in color. The bad news is that
the overall story should fill nine paperbacks. Itís taken ten years
for Jeff Smith to write and draw the first seven. Smith just canít work
fast enough to satisfy my reading needs.
by Kurt Busiek and Alex Ross
another look at the human side of superheros, but this time it takes
place in the Marvel Universe. The most incredible thing about this book
is the stunning artwork by Ross. If youíve never experienced his work,
then you are in for a shock. Itís all hand painted. Seriously, I want
to be the curator of the Alex Ross art museum.
by Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon
you like epic story arcs that come to an explosive end, then Preacher
is the best of them. Garth Ennis is a master of twisted stories that
leave you wanting more. Like Pulp Fiction, youíll find yourself laughing
out loud at the most disturbing and offensive things yet you just canít
stop reading. After you read the first trade, I dare you to not buy
Year One by Frank Miller and David Mazzuchelli
Miller tells the tale of Bruce Wayneís first year as Batman. Itís fun
to see the caped crusader making mistakes, refining his costume and
all the other nuances of being a new superhero.
The Dark Knight Returns. by Frank Miller and Klaus Janson
sequel to Frank Millerís classic Batman story is coming out soon. Itís
going to rock the comic book world, so you really should read this one
to be prepared.
So, there you have it. Feel free to
let me know if you think my selections suck or if there is something
you think I should be reading. Enjoy!
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