While both X-Play and AOTS may be going away forever in December, I doubt we’ve seen the last of the cast and crew. I do have to say that I’ll miss is seeing the X-Play posse storm into the tiny press room at PAX: Prime quite a bit. Like it or not, the loss of G4 (in its current incarnation) is a terrible blow to fans of video games and nerd culture everywhere. Perhaps one day we’ll see everyone back together under a new name, rising from the ashes like the proverbial phoenix. Best of luck guys, and thanks.
So you have a nerdy circle one(husband, boyfriend, wife, girlfriend, friend, crush, sibling, child) and you want to get them into comics. Well that is how comics work best, much like the crack dealer on the corner (we all have one right?). You get them started on a freebie and before you know it they will be making weekly trips to the comic shop of choice and picking up their scrips (its what the cool kids call a subscription) reading joyously into the night.
So let’s now run through some archetypes and what recommendations I can make.
The Teen Angst-er
So you want to get your favorite tortured soul into comics but know they’ll just laugh at that Green Lantern story line and couldn’t care less about vampires battling mutants.
Blankets by Craig Thompson
This coming of age story walks through heartbreaking detail of a boy growing up in what could lightly be called an overbearing family. It is written well and the art is unique, black and white and contains a lot of heft and real moments
You know the type, verbose, dark, and painfully solemn. Once again, your capes and cowls won’t fit, but there must be an author out there that fits right…you may have heard of him.
The Sandman by Neil Gaiman
Fantastically written, like a modern day Poe. Odds are you’re poet has already read a Gaiman novel or seen a Gaiman movie, but Sandman is where they should start
They own the books, the History Channel is always on. They worship at the feet of Band of Brothers or Patton.
War Stories by Garth Ennis
I would argue that no one writes comics like Ennis in general, but definitely no one handles war and battle like Ennis. The author has written an amazing war story into the Punisher series, created a great tale in Battlefields, but this book broken into 4 stories is handled deftly and is a good primer to break them into more Ennis stories and eventually into comics as a whole.
The Movie Buff
They go to all the comic movies. They see themselves as a comic fan, but they’ve never picked up a book, they just really enjoy the movies. So this one is a bit easier. We can go capes and cowls, but maybe not, what do we do to ease them in:
If they liked Christopher Nolan’s Batman:
Batman the Long Halloween by Jeph Loeb. It’s dark, very dark. It’s also a twisting detective noir story, and a great tie in to the movies.
If they liked the original Superman movies:
All Star Superman by Grant Morrison. It’s fun, and engaging. Morrison handles Superman beautifully.
If they are a fan of Sin City, 300, Watchmen:
I know, you think I’m going to recommend a Frank Miller or Alan Moore story, and honestly you could do well with either, but I feel like both of their stories are often a lot more heavy then the movie versions, and I have something that goes the long haul and is arguably one of the best comic series ever written.
Preacher by Garth Ennis. Probably my favorite series of all time written by an author who has plenty of other stories to get them. Plus this person likes the movies not about banner stars (your batman, superman and the like). This series is epic, cinematic, and completely fun.
The Girl Gamer
I’ve been avoiding gender purposely and I am currently writing a review for the book I’m about to recommend, but I feel like this is sector of nerdery that is highly ignored at times, whether it’s in gaming or in comics. My wife goes shopping for comics with me a lot of times, and most often when she looks for books its girls with DD cup size, a 22″ waist and wearing a bikini. It is rare to see a book handle women naturally and elegantly without pandering.
The Guild by Felicia Day. I book written by a woman with a story that I think a lot of girl gamers could get into.
The Horror Fan
I don’t think there’s much for me to write here, it is pretty obvious. There’s a TV show, a long run comic, zombie hysteria. It is the lumbering giant we know as the Walking Dead. Above all this crazy must read now-ness, I’ve seen a ton of interviews with Kirkman and he honestly just seems like a great guy. Well worth supporting. I also heard, on iFanboy I believe, that he sold the series by saying it would be Zombies vs. Aliens. So go thank him for never doing that.
Walking Dead by Robert Kirkman.
The Literary Buff
Sure they read books, but do they look at pictures? Time to get their visual cortex stroked.
Y the Last Man by Brian K Vaughn.
The main character is named Yorick. Do you really need more? You do? Oh, OK. The story is original and handled extremely well, you gain insight into how a man handles a catastrophic(for men) worldwide event and the idea of gender breakdown. The conversations are intelligent and the mix of intrigue and cliffhangers keep you reading.
There is one book that handles gaming in a fun way while throwing in an endearing love story. The way in which O’Malley handles Scott’s chase to win the one he loves is so real while handled in such a comically overblown way. Any gamer can relate to dreaming of and pseudo stalking the girl he wants, and any gamer can appreciate battling it out to win her. So who cares you didn’t see the movie, you and a lot of other people, the books are fun and there is a ton of nudge nudge wink wink in them for hardcore gamers.
Scott Pilgrim by Bryan Lee O’Malley
The Dungeon Master
I can’t recommend the D&D books and respect myself in the morning. I own many of them and while they can be somewhat enjoyable, theres something very hokey about most of them. So keeping that in mind.
Mice Templar by Brian Glass
It’s fun, which a D&D type book should be. It’s also a great world with enjoyable characters, and if you want more fantasy then the typical book this is the one to go with.
The Hot Topic Goth
Look, I hung out with these Goths in high school. They’re misunderstood. Most of them are nerdy, goofy people who got a little too into Vampire the Masquerade and decided never to leave that world. That being said, many of them are familiar with Invader Zim and I’m going to recommend a book by the same author that I enjoyed quite a bit more.
Squee by Jhonen Vasquez
Squee is fun with a dark sense of humor. It might also break the Hot Topic Goth out of their world of darkness with a night light and show them to lighten up a little. They aren’t that weird, there are plenty of people around them who feel different.
This is a starter. You need more? Just let me know in the comments and I’ll suggest what I can. Just give me a breakdown of the person and I’ll attempt to find your match, like the millionaire matchmaker without all the awkward computer science millionaire gawkiness. Also I’m not obnoxious. At least I don’t think I am.