By Debbie Lynn Smith
This week I thought I’d talk about a few of my favorite comics and why I’m hooked on them.
Written by Greg Rucka
Art by Michael Lark
My favorite comic right now is Lazarus. In a dystopian near-future, where there is no government other than the Families who have carved up all the world’s resources and those without, known as the Waste, have very little hope of improving their circumstances. A handful of Families rule, jealously guarding what they have and exploiting the Waste who struggle to survive in their domains. Forever Carlyle is the family Carlyle’s Lazarus, a cybernetic warrior pledged to carry out the family’s dirty work on their path to control their population. Forever is our protagonist and has far more depth than her role as coldhearted killer would initially suggest.
I absolutely love Forever. She is a complex character who is strong and lethal, and yet harbors a soft interior. She actually works against her “programming” as she begins to discover the truth of her heritage and question her allegiances.
Even though Forever lives in a dystopian future very different from our own, I find her journey realistic and compelling. I can’t wait for each issue to come out.
The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl
Written by Ryan North
Art by Erica Henderson
Squirrel girl couldn’t be more different than Lazarus. It is clever, funny and, once again, has a compelling female protagonist.
Squirrel Girl comes from Marvel. Yes, you heard correctly. And yes, I’m not a fan of superhero comics, but this one is totally different.
Squirrel Girl herself, created in 1992 by Will Murray and Steve Ditko (co-creator of Spider-Man), but given her very own comic book only this year, is Doreen Green: a chubby-cheeked, awkward, yet preternaturally confident first-year student studying computer science at a college that looks a lot like NYU. She “secretly has all the powers of both squirrel and girl.” For example, she has a tail, and talks to squirrels, and they talk back. Doreen’s favorite pet squirrel, Tippy-Toe, came with her to college, though squirrels aren’t allowed in the dorms; Tippy-Toe lives in a nearby tree and gives Squirrel Girl advice.
What I like the most about Squirrel Girl is that she solves problems not through direct confrontation (squirrel powers vs. cosmic force: not a good match) but through the kind of cheerful turning aside of wrath, the playful offering of alternatives, that actual kids are often told to use in playground fights.
Finally, Squirrel Girl is softer, rounder, shorter and more realistic than your usual super hero. She’s a great role model for girls and women alike!
Written by Matt Wagner
Art by Dan Schkade
Growing up I was a fan of detective shows. I loved Mannix, Mike Hammer, Honey West, The Cat, 77 Sunset Strip… I could go on and on and I haven’t even mentioned Humphrey Bogart movies!
So when I saw that Dynamite had brought out a new The Spirit comic, I couldn’t resist. I was not disappointed. This comic has all the mystery, noir atmosphere and camp needed to delight that little girl in me.
Set in the classic period of The Spirit’s golden age, the 1940s, the first 12-issue story arc follows the strip’s most beloved characters, Commissioner Dolan, his daughter Ellen, Ebony White and Sammy as they attempt to uncover why The Spirit has been missing, and presumed dead, for the past two years. Has the famous blue-masked hero finally fallen victim to one of the malicious felons or beautiful femme fatales from his lengthy rogues’ gallery of enemies? In the words of Central City’s most prominent headlines: “WHO KILLED THE SPIRIT?”
There are only two issues of this comic out, but so far I’m a fan, though I am NOT a fan of all the advertisements in the middle of the book breaking up the story and assaulting my eyes with images of women with impossible bodies. But alas, that is the way things are these days so I simply let my eyes glaze over as I look for the next page of story.
I chose to give you an overview of just three of the comics I’m reading these days. I’m reading many more, some of which I’ve already mentioned in previous posts