Saga comic #12 Photo: Jim Merithew/ Cult of Mac
Want to know which four-color books are worth picking up this summer? Read on for our top ten ongoing comic book series...
Simply put, if you’re not reading Saga you’re missing out. An epic space opera (think Star Wars meets Game of Thrones), Saga is written by the always-great Brian K. Vaughan. There’s beautiful artwork (by Fiona Staples), superb battle sequences, smart thinking, and plenty of violence and sex, to boot: the last of which gained Saga some publicity in 2013 when it wrongly claimed that one particularly strong scene had prompted Apple to demand its removal from the ComiXology iOS app.
Afterlife with Archie
Riverdale’s favorite protagonist has been in all manner of weird comic mash-ups over the years (Archie Meets The Punisher, anyone?) but this series, about a deadly zombie infection, is one of the most memorable. That’s because it’s played totally straight, with only dashes of humor thrown in every now and then. The result is surprisingly effective, and definitely worthy of your reading attention.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
If you’re worried that the forthcoming Michael Bay TMNT movie is going to… do what all Michael Bay movies do, this series will serve as a welcome relief. Taking you back to the grim and surprisingly gritty world Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird created in the mid-80s, this return to formula (literally) is the best Turtles comic we've seen in years. Seriously.
Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky’s new ongoing series debuted late last year to hugely positive reviews. Telling the story of a couple of pseudo-criminals whose orgasms can freeze time (yes, really!) Sex Criminals manages to be both thrilling and funny at the same time. Judd Apatow directs, maybe?
After years in a legal quagmire, we’re finally seeing merchandise associated with the classic 60s Batman TV series starring Adam West and Burt Ward. Best of all is this comic series, which perfectly captures the campy pop art look and feel of Bill Dozier’s brainchild. A crossover with the Green Hornet is currently making waves (partially because it’s co-written by geek god Kevin Smith), but the whole series is really worth picking up.
If you prefer your Batman more “dark knight” than “caped crusader” you’ll definitely get a kick out of DC’s flagship series, currently written by Scott Snyder and beautifully penciled by Greg Capullo. Between them, they’ve come up with the most consistently enjoyable take on DC's premier vigilante in years — and, yes, I’m including Grant Morrison’s legendary Batman run as part of that.
Wonder Woman is a character who hasn’t always worked on page. Try telling that to creative team Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang, however, who have done a superb job reinventing the character for the New 52 generation. From boosting up the horror and Greek mythology elements, to rejigging Diana’s origin, this is the surprising hit that can seem to do no wrong.
Back in the day, the X-Men comics used to be among the most daunting ones out there — the kind of books you had to have been reading half your life to make head or tail of. Fortunately (for both Marvel and readers) X-Men these days is a whole lot more approachable. If you’re looking to be reminded of why you fell in love with everyone’s favorite mutants to begin with, check out "The Quest for Nightcrawler” which concluded in the pages of Amazing X-Men earlier this year. It’s worth it for the cinematic visuals of Ed McGuinness alone.
As writer on Daredevil, Mark Waid has done a great job turning Daredevil back into the infectious, cheerful character he was before Frank Miller got his hands on him back in the day. The result is a series that still deals with intense drama and death-defying action, but also has a real energy to it and far more laugh-out-loud moments than you’d ever expect from a book about a blind justice fighter. The series recently relaunched at #1, so if you’re looking for an excuse to jump aboard, you’ve found it!
The United States of Murder, Inc.
The newest title on this list, the plot revolves around an alternate version of the world in which the Mafia was never stamped out and has become so powerful that it has its own territories in the United States. The creative team of Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Avon Oeming is the same one that was behind the fantastic Powers, and while this series still has a way to go before we’re convinced that it can match it, early signs look promising. A good book for getting in at the ground floor.
With some truly great titles out there, and apps like Comixology making them easier to read then ever, there’s never been a better time to be a comic fan.
But with so many choices, what exactly should you be reading? Particularly for comic newbies it can be a little daunting searching through mounds of comics, whether that’s in your local brick-and-mortar, or on the virtual comic rack. Luckily, reading comics is part of my job, so I was all too happy to scour the four-color archives for the cream of the current crop.
There are superheroes, flesh-eating zombies, and, err, time-stopping intercourse — all of them read just as well on paper or your iPad screen. Personally, I’m a stickler for physical books, although digital ones are looking better all the time, and they’re continuing to explode in popularity.
But ultimately how you choose to consume your comics is a personal choice. Just so long as you read ‘em.
So get reading!