As comic lovers, I think it is incredibly difficult to restrain ourselves from wanting to get our hands on books we’ve been interested in for a while. Frequently, for myself, it can feel like a mild addiction. There’s so much excitement that goes into each book buy because I just love the medium so much. I’ve only been a reader for about 2.5 years; so, there’s so much for me to learn, so much history to catch up on, so many classics I need to find… so much and so many. Since I’ve been consuming a lot of heavy media lately and as a way to cope, I’ve been splurging on graphic novels. In my little rough spot, reading and getting my hands on books I’ve been meaning to get to has been very therapeutic.
I feel like each person has a giant “to read” pile and when I find myself talking about it to others or vice versa, it always feels… embarrassing to talk about? Maybe, that’s just me? I suppose it’s because I’m still a baby reader and haven’t read as much or know as much as I would like. It feels like sometimes as the “comic friend” you are expected to know everything possible and to have read everything possible. Interacting online can be somewhat damaging to my reading and spending habits too. I feel like I need to get my hands on that one trade I’ve been excited for months about because I see it’s being released online. That excitement gets overshadowed by the strange nagging telling me that I shouldn’t purchase this Image book for 9.99 simply because I have 1 (or 10) book (s) waiting for me. Isn’t that kinda silly? I only have one hobby and it’s reading. So, why is it that I feel guilty about owning books I haven’t read yet? I think it’s because I feel like I’m behind and that I’m not a “fast enough” reader. I buy faster than I can read (granted, I bought a lot of these books because of various sales and discounts that made this comic haul not awful expensive). I cannot stay on top of my reading for so many reasons and a lot of that is that I’m busy with work, school, or life. But, that’s okay. I feel like my embarrassment for being behind is just a side effect of being so busy you cannot enjoy your hobby to your liking. I wish I could just sit around and read all the books I haven’t yet but such is life. For all of those other readers who take their sweet time getting through books, those who are excited and stock up, and those who are too busy to catch up sometimes, I’m here to tell ya it’s okay.
My current read at the moment is Gerard Way’s UMBRELLA ACADEMY V.2 DALLAS. I was a big fan of the first volume. It’s crazy, bombastic and fun. It’s not a story to read for character development and intricate plot drama. It’s a story filled with people who have insane powers and they do some wild shenanigans. V.2 is essentially functioning as a palette cleanser from some of the intense media I’ve consumed that has put me in a funk. Way’s narrative style and Gabriel Ba’s artwork just makes me happy and it’s been a great mood booster! UMBRELLA ACADEMY is a creator-owned story published through Dark Horse. The other Dark Horse titles I have in my reading pile is the second Hellboy omnibus and the manga Elfen Lied omnibus. The HELLBOY OMNIBUS V.2 features stories like Strange Places, Right Hand of Doom, and Being Human. It spans for 416 pages. It’s filled with beautiful writing and artwork done by Mike Mignola. As a personal favorite of mine, I’ve read some of the stories in this omnibus but not all. Dark Horse finally released these bad boys in a chronological way that I had to pick them up so I can sit and read the entire Hellboy series in the best way possible and available. The ELFEN LIED omnibus written and drawn by Lynn Okamoto is the original manga that inspired the hit anime of the same name. It’s one of my favorite animes ever! The release of this manga is also the very first time the manga is available to read in English! I was very excited to see this. I had searched in bookstores for a bit now to get my hands on it so when I saw this I just had to snatch it up for fear of missing out! Fun fact, the Duffer Brothers who created Stranger Things have stated that they drew some inspiration for the show from this manga/anime.
From the Big Two, I have quite the list. DC and Marvel both have the longest histories and with that, lots of classics to wade through. The DC Vertigo titles I recently picked up was PREACHER BOOK TWO (Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon), JOHN CONSTANTINE HELLBLAZER (Jaime Delano and John Ridgway), and SANDMAN V.2 (Neil Gaiman and Mike Dringenburg). Preacher was a series I surprisingly fell in love with. Book one was such a wild ride, I had to buy book two the next day. Since it is a bit of a mature book heavy with criticisms about humanity and people, it’s not exactly the book I want to read at the moment. But, I am super pumped to get back to the adventures of Tulip, Jesse, and Cassidy whenever that may be! Hellblazer I picked up solely because when I flipped through it, I saw Swamp Thing. That’s it. I just really love Swamp Thing so much and I know that he and Constantine are best buds; so, I figured it was time to check that out. Sandman V.1 completely blew me away with how masterful it’s concepts of horror affected me. Neil Gaiman is one of the most talented storytellers of our time. I loved him and wanted to continue with the series! My “just for fun” read from DC is a DC Ink title. RAVEN by Kami Garcia and illustrated by Picolo is a YA book focusing on just Raven. I preordered this book for numerous reasons. Picolo is an artist I have been following on Instagram for years with the username “_picolo”. He gained my attention through his modern take of the Teen Titan characters. I fell immediately in love with his dreamy color schemes and modern fashion updates to some of my favorite kids in comics! When it was announced that he was working on a Teen Titans project, I was overwhelmed with joy for him! I knew he would deliver amazing work because he was a big fan of Raven, to begin with. Raven is also one of my favorite comic characters in general. I also hear that Kami is an amazing writer so this book was no brainer to me. Now, I am not a big Marvel reader, to begin with, BUT I do have my Marvel ride or die team. It's Guardians of the Galaxy! Ever since that first MCUfilm, I knew I had to read their comics and I genuinely fell in love with them. I have such a special bond with this intergalactic team. They’re so much fun to read. I specifically got Brian Michael Bendis’s GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY: NEW GUARD V.1: EMEPROR QUILL. This is where Rocket Raccoon takes over the reins of the leader of the Guardians and characters like Venom, Groot, Thing, Kitty Pryde, and Drax are featured. I like the sound of that character line up! I cannot wait to have some space fun with this team!
Moving on to Image Comics, I have lots. Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples hit SAGA is so beloved to so many readers, I am no exception. I am picking up with my favorite indie story with V.6! V.5 was very orientated around the hardships of family and left me feeling a bit heartbroken. I think it’s finally time to start getting back and seeing what this family has to deal with this volume. (If you haven’t read SAGA, you’re doing the comics thing wrong. Yes, people are not over exaggerating with how great it is and I implore you to give the first trade a try. I swear you won’t regret it.) I picked up DEADLY CLASS by Rick Remender for a couple of reasons. I tend to be a sucker for high school drama mixed with murder? I guess that’s the best way I can put it. DEADLY CLASS is about a high school filled with kids from the top crime families. While at this school, they train to be assassins. It sounds badass. It reminds me of one of my favorite video game series Danganronpa mixed with the anime Assassination Classroom. I’m sure I’m going to like it and Wesley Craig's art looks stunning! FATALE V.1 by Ed Brubaker and drawn by Sean Phillips is a recommended book from my friends Gen (IG: @lifeofageekmind) and Donut (IG: @one_swood_donut)! This story is has crime noir vibes and monsters and a cool female lead? Sign me up. Very pumped to get around to this! BITCH PLANET V.1 in my pile because I have heard lots of great things about Kelly Sue DeConnick and Valentine De Landro's feminist piece! I will admit, I don’t read a lot of “feminist” comics and I need to start looking into it more! I thought a good place to begin would be with this one! My last two Image books were so graciously and wonderfully gifted to me by my friend Nat (IG: dcomicqueen)! I’m so incredibly thankful that she sent over some books she thought I would love! Those books are CURSE WORDS V.1 and RAT QUEENS V.1! Both, upon skimming, look very up my alley and enjoyable reads!
TL;DR the books in my reading pile are
1. Umbrella Academy V.2 Dallas
2. Hellboy Omnibus V.2 Strange Places
3. Elfen Lied Omnibus V.1
4. Preacher Book 2
5. John Constantine Hellblazer
6. Sandman V.2
8. Guardians of the Galaxy: New Guardians V.1: Emperor Quill
9. Saga V.6
10. Deadly Class V.1
11. Fatale V.1
12. Bitch Planet V.1
13. Curse Words V.1
14. Rat Queens V.1
(P.S. I still have Monstress book one coming in soon because I preordered that book about a month ago)
Upon seeing a dissected list of my mountain of unread books, it still seems like I am trying to catch up on all the good books out there. I have so many V.1’s. I think this just reaffirms that there are so many good books across varying publishers and genres. I have a bit of everything mixed in. There’s horror, space opera, crime drama, young adult, fantasy, and lots of other things in that pile. I think that’s a really good thing. I also have a few books/omnibuses that collect multiple volumes in one go. I guess I could be embarrassed over the fact that I have 14 graphic novels I haven’t gotten around to. I could be upset that I am a slow reader. But, I don’t have the energy to do that to myself after writing this. I am not bound by one particular publisher, I have a very deep love for certain characters, and I have time. These books are not going anywhere and neither is my love for comics. Here’s to all of us comic-loving addicts with mountains of books to get to!