Thursday, March 19, 2009

After Watchmen

Via staff comics guy James N.:

In an attempt to cash in on the recent media blitzkrieg that was the Watchmen film, DC Comics launched the "After Watchmen, What's Next?" website, with a list of graphic novels for you to try, if you enjoyed the film or comic.

I have yet to see the movie, but loved the comic. I am Pulpfiction's resident comic monkey, so I was interested, amused, and horrified at some of their choices.

DC broke the graphic novels down into categories, and so rather than you having to navigate your way through hordes of men in pervert suits, I'll highlight a few choice comics here, for you blossoming comic geeks:

We're going to ignore the obvious choices; the great Alan Moore comics that were already adapted into horrible movies: V For Vendetta, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, and From Hell. All of them are awesome and all of them are worth reading (but not watching).

As for the rest:

  • The Authority: Relentless, written by Warren Ellis & illustrated by Bryan Hitch. The seven most powerful superhumans on the planet join together to become the Earth's moral hammer, to create a finer world, at any cost. They start out on the defensive; stopping ten thousand super-terrorists from divebombing Los Angeles, or repelling an invasion from an alternate Earth. But as the series progresses, they become more and more proactive, threatening sovereign governments to change their corrupt ways or risk getting squashed. "We are the Authority," they say, "BEHAVE."

  • Promethea Book One, illustrated by J.H. Williams III. A five-volume series that lies somewhere between Neil Gaiman's Sandman and Wonder Woman. A fantasy adventure through the Kabbalistic Tree of Life. Alan Moore, by the way, is a Magician. A real one that studies Magick. With a "k". Yes. Promethea is how Alan Moore sees the world.
  • Transmetropolitan Vol 1: Back on the Street, written by Warren Ellis & illustrated by Darick Robertson. The adventures of journalist Spider Jerusalem, who is Hunter Thompson reborn in a perverted future, armed only with a bowel disruptor and The Truth.

DC Comics actually publishes comics from a number of proper novelists. Jodi Picoult, Greg Rucka, and Brad Meltzer have all taken a stab at the superhero genre. But the most recognizable name would have to be good old Neil Gaiman: novelist, screenwriter, object of goth desire.
  • The Sandman Vol 1: Preludes & Nocturnes, written by Neil Gaiman & illustrated by Sam Kieth. An occultist attempting to capture Death to bargain for eternal life traps her younger brother Dream instead. After his 70 year imprisonment and eventual escape, Dream, also known as Morpheus, goes on a quest for his lost objects of power. And so begins a wonderful anthology of stories about the power of dreams and the nature of stories. Everyone should read Sandman at least once.

If comics were movies, "Mature Readers" would be the equivalent of an "R" rating. It means there are F-Bombs and Nipples between the covers.
  • Preacher Vol 1: Gone to Texas, written by Garth Ennis & illustrated by Steve Dillon. Jesse Custer is a small-town reverend, slowly losing his flock and his faith. Until he is possessed by a spiritual force called "Genesis" the child of an angel and a devil which gives Custer the power of The Word: the ability to make people do whatever he says. With that, he begins a violent (and occasionally hilarious) journey across America to track down the God that abandoned Earth and everyone on it.

All of these fine graphic novels are available at either branch of Pulpfiction, or are easily ordered at 20% their Canadian cover price. I can also recommend about five thousand other great comics if you can handle being talked at by a hypercaffeinated nerd.