I know alot (if not all) of the people who visit my page aren't interested in comic books. A lot of you can't relate to whatever it is I'm saying when I'm talking about super heroes and what have you. But please allow me to try and change your mind about it. I've been wanting to post this for like a month now, I just didn't have an idea of how to execute this. The thought came to me yesterday while I was trying to get some sleep, but earlier while I was taking a shower when I remembered this, I wasn't able to recall about half of the ideas I wanted to express. So while I still have the other half in tact right now, I decided to write this one out.
Plus, I've been wanting to write in English again. It's an itch I've been wanting to scratch for weeks now.
Going back to comic books, people immediately assume it's a kid thing... if not, a geek thing. Comic book collectors are usually stereotyped as nerds or people that bullies like to pick on. Well I don't think that it's entirely true. I've been buying comic books since I was a teen-ager, and I've never actually seen any kid in any of the comic book shops that I frequent. Not one child. Now as for the nerd thing... the late Francis Magalona is a comic book junkie. As well as Bobby Andrews. Do you actually think they'd be qualified as nerds? I don't think so.
I know collecting these things could be an expensive hobby, but believe it or not I'm willing to lend (NOT GIVE!!!) some of my collections to people who are interested in seeing what I see in these things.
Anyway, comics have matured alot these past few years. Gone are the black versus white, good versus evil ways of writing comic book heroes. Protagonists might step on the shades of gray. Villains have more complicated goals rather than just wanting to conquer the world. And heroism now isn't always perceived as it should be. Just like almost all of it's readers, comic books have grown up.
My intro's gone long enough. Here are some of the stories that I think could be considered Modern Classics.
ULTIMATES VOLUME 2 Mark Millar(w), Brian Hitch (a):
This is an alternate universe version of Marvel's Avengers. It's about thirteen issues, half of which seems not to be connected to each other. It shows us the flaws in the characters of each of the members of the team. The setting is just like the real world, where superheroes are not a common thing. Thor's perceived as a psycho who fancies himself as a god. The Hulk is a brainless monster with a lust for destroying things. And Captain America might just be fake. As the story goes on, we find out that there's actually a plot to take out all these supers so that America can be invaded to by a superpowered terrorist group. And they actually succeeded. This is actually an awesome story coupled by fantastic art. Just imagine if Michael Bay is given unlimited budget to do this story, it'd be an awesome movie. The eight page spread by Hitch by the end of the series is a work of art. During the time of it's original release, this title was plagued by delays so it's really difficult to follow this story. But if you read all 13 issues in one sitting, the only word that'll come out of your mouth will be 'wow'.
NEW X-MEN by Grant Morrison
The self-proclaimed God of all comics left a mark on X-Men when everyone thought that this title can't offer anymore new stories to tell. Gone are the colorful costumes and the superhero missions for the mutant team. You actually feel that Xavier's School for gifted youngsters is actually a school. Alot has happened in Morrison's run that made readers realize that this is not their father's X-Men. Cyclops is fooling around with Emma Frost when Jean Grey's not looking (or reading his thoughts). Beast turned from ape-like to catlike, Charles Xavier can walk again, a million mutants died in Genosha and the X-Men just became a great read again. The only thing that I didn't like is that the art in his whole run was inconsistent. There were issues with really gorgeous art (Phil Jimenez, Ethan Van Sciver), and there were really horrible ones(Igor Kordey). I think he had 6 artists throughout the entire run.
ASTONISHING X-MEN Joss Whedon(w), John Cassaday (a)
After Grant left the X-Men in 2004, the question was how to make the title still readable. Enter Buffy The Vampire Slayer creator Joss Whedon who completely abandoned what Grant established and brought the X-Men back to their basics. Which was basically soap opera with alot of action. This is 25 issues of awesome characterization and great banter. With the death of Jean by the end of Morrison's run, Joss worked on Scott and Emma's relationship and actually made me like what they had over Scott and Jean's. At one point, he turned Wolverine into a sissy girl which was hilarious. He brought Colossus back to life, and unfortunately ended Shadowcat's in one of the best death(?) in comics ever... I loved this run because 1) I'm a fan of Buffy when it was still airing 2) it has sweet sweet art from Cassaday and 3) it's just good. Problem, again with this run is that it was plagued with delays, but if you read this in one sitting, specially the entire run, it's more than satisfying.
CAPTAIN AMERICA by Ed Brubaker
The thing I loved about Ed Brubaker's Cap is that it reads like a good spy/action story. Prior to this, I hated the character as I see him only as one sanctimonious SOB. He's actually a boring character in my opinion. But Brubaker changed my mind. Now, this is the only title that I religiously follow. You see, in the 1940's Cap had a teen-age sidekick named Bucky. He was lost back then trying to stop a madman (which was actually a trap). The Russians got hold of his body, and turned it into one of the world's most effective assassins... The Winter Soldier. Captain America saved him. And now that Steve Rogers (Cap) is dead, it falls on the hands of Bucky to continue the legacy of the fallen soldier. It's 40+ issues of just great read. If you're into shows like 24 or Alias, Captain America reads something like it, only with more action and the sexy Black Widow.
DAREDEVIL (GUARDIAN DEVIL) Kevin Smith(w), Joe Quesada(a)
This is probably one of the best reads I've had in a long time. I just bought this 10 year old story a few weeks ago, and I remember not having slept because I can't stop turning the page until the end. You see, one night a woman gave Daredevil her baby because apparently, it was prophesied to eventually become the anti-christ. Of course, the forces of evil would want to get hold of the child, and it's up to the man without fear to protect it (regardless if she's the antichrist or not). What follows is one of the most tragic thing to happen in the life of our hero. It's really heart wrenching seeing the Daredevil tortured emotionally. I really liked the funeral in the end. Almost made me cry. The story and the art were fantastic in this 8-issue series that made the whole Daredevil franchise one of the most consistently acclaimed title in Marvel's roster.
IDENTITY CRISIS Brad Meltzer(w), Rags Morales(a)
One of DC's strongest suits is that it's heroes are some of the most powerful beings in the world. Unfortunately, that's also their crutch. Creating a problem for the heroes as powerful as Superman, as smart as Batman or as strong as Wonder Woman is something that's close to impossible to do. But what Brad Meltzer did with this 7-issue mini-series is something fans didn't expect to read in a DC comic. Ralph Dibny, The Elongated Man is a family man, his wife is one of the Justice League's best ally. She was loved by everyone. But she was killed by an unknown enemy. Her death not only crushed the league, it also opened some of the worst-kept secrets that the league kept from their own. A secret that will forever change the way the heroes see each other. I actually thought that this was a great story. Issues of rape, manipulation, and family were tackled and it all worked perfectly. I'm not a DC fan, but this story made me want to root for their lesser-known characters like Dibny.
I actually have more. Unfortunately, my job is getting in the way of my blogging. I'll post another one of these some other time. If it's only possible for me to upload the titles I mentioned above, I would've just so you'd see what makes me go crazy about comic books.