Wednesday, July 23, 2008

"Probably the Best Superhero Comic in the Universe!"

If you know me than you probably know that I am a big fan of comic books. If you didn't know this, now you do. In fact, I comics will probably be the most dominating topic in this blog. Some people may cringe at this, but the truth is you love it. Yes you do, admit it. A lot of people like to blow off comic books as being "funny books made for kids" and while some comic books do fall into this generalization, a large number of them don't. Actually there are comics that cover all the genres that movies do. While the most popular comics are the mainstream superhero books published by Marvel and DC, that is not all that's out there, and certainly not the best. Again, think in terms of movies. There are the big Hollywood blockbusters that, like popcorn for breakfast, are good at the moment but leave you feeling empty and hungry for more. Then there are the smaller independent films and the experimental mind-fuck films which really make you think. Comics are the same way. Now, this is not to say that Marvel and DC don't produce good books, cause they do, but you really have to sift through a large volume of "sales generating" crap to find the more original and inventive books.

Again, I'm going to talk about comics a lot in the future, and critiquing the industry is not my intention for this particular entry. If you are pretty clueless about comics (Kelly) and you have questions you want me to try to answer, feel free to ask them. In fact I am open to any suggestions as to what I should write about. Now, let's get back to the original topic. See that picture at the top rightof the screen, the one with the picture of the dude in the yellow mask? That's a zombie version of Invincible. Fuck yeah, Invincible!

Most people who do know me think that Spiderman is my favorite superhero. This is not true. In fact, I'm pretty much done with that guy. I liked the animated series from the nineties, my Grandma and I used to watch it every day after school. I'm not a big fan of the movies, and I always thought Tobey McGuire was a bad choice to play Peter Parker (it should have been Jake Gyllenhall from day one). As for the actual comic books, they are ridiculous. One More Day is a frickin joke. 'Nuff said. I do not want to start ranting about this now. But I will, oh I will. Watch your back, Quesada.

No, my favorite superhero is Invincible. Published by Image comics, written by Robert Kirkman, and penciled (that means drawn, Kelly) by Ryan Ottley, this book is made of pure awesome. On each cover it says "Probably the Best Superhero Comic in the Universe!" and it aint lyin'!

I first discovered this book when I was student teaching at a pretty wealthy high school in VT. Their library had a pretty extensive graphic novel section and they had the first few trades of Invincible. I had never heard of it, despite it having been out for a while. I borrowed the first two trades (each trade is a book that collect about six monthly issues, Kelly) and I thought they were pretty good, but the third trade was what hooked me for life. It got good. Really really good.

(English is OctoBoss' second language. Normally I don't condone making fun of people who are just trying to learn, but I have no sympathy for giant octopus terrorists.)

The main character of the book is Mark Grayson. He's a senior in high school in a world where superheroes are pretty commonplace, though not mundane. The best of these heroes happens to be his father, Omni-man. The book starts off when Mark is just starting to discover his own powers he's inherited from his father and decides to through his own hat in the superhero ring. Then stuff happens. Awesome stuff.

The thing about Invincible is that it pokes fun at superhero comics and the cliches that have become commonplace in them, while at the same time being a great comic in it's own right. Robert Kirkman is a fantastic writer and this is not the only book of his that I will be raving about (think zombies....). Each character he introduces throughout the series has his/her own voice and soon enough there's a large number of plotlines that he juggles expertly. Due to this, the book is hard to jump into in the middle of the series. Reading from issue 1 really is the best way to know and appreciate all the characters, though he has done a good job of making "jumping on points" for new readers. Ryan Ottley (and Cory Walker in the beginning) really makes this book beautiful to look at. From the large scale action scenes to the quiet character moments, the art never fails. I don't really have the words.... art = good.

I highly reccomend this book to anyone, even if you don't read comics. Heck,I own all the trades and I'll let you borrow them. If you don't want to keep reading after the third book, fine. You won't hear me say "I can't believe you don't like Invincible!" though I'll be thinking it.
If you're interested in this book at all there is something kinda neat I just discovered today. I've seen comic adaptations before, and they're pretty neat. They make mini movies out of pre-existing comics. They use images from the book but add voices, sound effects, and a little animation. The preview of the Invincible one can be found at . It's worth checking out.
Wow, that's a lot of writing about a comic book. If you're still with me, thanks and I'm sorry about the lack of funny. I did not make fun of Quebec today so that province can breathe easy for now... Instead I will leave you with a zombie joke:
Two zombies and a barman go into a bar.
The first zombie says to the other zombie, "Graaaghaa haarann margahhaa naaarrrrrrgnn!"
The other zombie says "Hrraaaaa Maggaa GRAMMA GRAMMA bargh nrrrrhr!"
And then they eat the barman.

No comments: