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5 Comics That Started the New Year Right

As most of you know, I read a lot of comics and graphic novels. It’s not unusual for me to go through 20-50 in a week, depending on how much trouble sleeping I’m having. I’m grateful to announce that 2011 kicked off with some really great stuff happening in those pages.

Besides many of the comics I posted a couple of weeks ago as 2010’s best returning in 2011 even bestier, (Yes, I made that word up) There’s lots of great new stuff that I’d like to suggest to fans of the artform to check out.

Motel Art Improvement Service by Jason Little

In a sequel to his Bee comic strip (formerly collected in graphic novel form as Shutterbug Follies) this graphic novel features Little’s hipster heroine finally embarking on that cross country bike ride, only to fall for a renegade, pill-popping guerrilla artist, two-days in. Though a long-form graphic novel, I couldn’t put this down, and read it in one sitting. And I was new to Little’s work and his Bee character. I can’t wait to read the original now.

Widow Maker #3 by Jim McCann

This Marvel series which puts that universe’s spies in danger, with Hawkeye, Mockingbird and Black Widow right at the center of it, has just hit its stride. It’s a fun romp around the Marvel U with super-spies and superheroes. Plus, we get to see that great Hawkeye / Black Widow chemistry, which we haven’t since the early days of the Avengers. (Pre-West Coast Avengers. Anybody remember that?) With the rest of the Marvel U dealing with one cosmic crisis or another, it’s nice to see a straight forward story of intrigue and character development. It’s like the Bourne Identity, but with superheroes.

Who Is Jake Ellis? by Nathan Edmondson

Speaking of stealthy, super sweet comic books, this new series by Edmondson has been hyped by just about every comic book journalist or blogger. Rightfully so. I was prepared to dislike it because of all the pre-print acclaim, but they were right. I don’t want to post any spoilers, so all I’ll say is that this is your favorite spy movie with a superhero/supernatural twist. Your only disappointment will be that you have to wait until issue #2.

DC Comics Presents: Lobo by Keith Giffen, Alan Grant, Marc Bernardin and Adam Freeman

Lobo is the main man! DC has given a pretty good collection here of 3 great Lobo stories, including the one that started it all, when he was hired to take out Superman. If you’re not familiar with DC’s immortal space biker hit man, this is a great place to start. If you’re a long-time fan like I am, this collection will remind you why you are. If you ARE a Lobo fan, make sure to pick up 2009’s Lobo in Hell by rocker Scott Ian. It was a trip.

A God Somewhere by John Arcudi

This new graphic novel takes the classic superhero mythos and puts it through a strange philosophical and religious roller-coaster in a brand new way. What if after having beers one night, your best friend became a super man? How would our TMZ culture react? How would HE react? Is mankind selfless or selfish? It’s a great read for any fan of superhero genre stuff.

Honorable Mention: Steel by Steve Lyons

I’ve been wary of how DC plans on bringing Doomsday, the beast who killed Superman back in 1992, back into the DC universe. While it’s still not clear how the beast is back, or why, the saga kicked off magnificently in the pages of STEEL, a one-shot out this past week. Reading it brought me right back to the early 90s, when we first met the hero. He was a scientist, whom Superman saved during his battle to the death. To honor his fallen hero, he built himself a supersuit and took to the streets of Metropolis to try to do Superman’s work as tribute to that fallen hero. Here, we see Steel bring all of that emotion back while he hits Doomsday head-on, for the first time as a hero. For Superman fans, it’s bound to be an emotional journey. I just hope DC treats it with much more respect than last year’s New Krypton series, or the current travesty which is Batman comics.