To work for Comic Vine, it's pretty obvious you have to love comic books. In fact, we read a lot of comics here, and every week, you'll see members of the Comic Vine staff review comic series at random. Some of these books we personally read at home on a regular basis, but most of the time, we just pick the books we review out of a magic hat, and the majority of the time, it's a book from either Marvel or DC.
Now, there's nothing wrong with enjoying a good book from Marvel or DC, but personally, I like a wide variety of books from a wide variety of companies. Today, we'll take a look at a few of my personal favorite books from Image comics, a company I love. I picked out three of my favorite Image books and I'll let you know why I love what I am reading.
I'm pretty weird when it comes to the majority of the Image books I read that I will only read them in trade. I like to sit down with a whole story and read it in one sitting. All of the books on this list are in trade, and as much as I'd like to recommend reading the single issues, personally, I think these books are much better in a collection.
1. THE WALKING DEAD
When I first got back into comics, in 2001, the first book I picked up was called BATTLE POPE, written by Robert Kirkman. I loved it so much that I've been following the vast majority of his work ever since. THE WALKING DEAD is my second favorite series of all time, a close second to Y: THE LAST MAN. What first attracted me to this book was the zombies. Very quickly, I realized that this book really isn't about zombies. It's about human survival and the lengths people are willing to go to survive.
The characters are extremely developed, and this book has no problem with killing off your favorites at any moment. That's right. Main characters will die without any notice. No one is safe, except maybe Rick Grimes, who is the leader of the group of humans. You will become attached to everyone in this book, and as the book goes on, you will wish for the sweet death of a few of them.
Usually the two complaints I hear about this book are that the art is black and white, and the book is slowly paced. Color or not, the art of Tony Moore (1-6) and Charlie Adlard (7-current) is fantastic and doesn't need any color. The world these characters live in is bleak and the art represents that fine in black and white. As far as this book being paced slowly, I completely disagree. I find this book to be paced realistically. Aside from building towards gigantic action scenes, this book builds more towards connections between humans, whether it is a singular person to another person or a whole group to a whole group.
When a book gets a spin-off novel (The Walking Dead: Rise of the Governor) and it's own television series on AMC of the same name, the source material is obviously doing something right. I actually get surprised now when people, who read comic books, tell me they don't read THE WALKING DEAD.
The main reason I like to read this in trade is because I feel like reading it issue-to-issue isn't enough for me. As soon as I am done with one issue, I immediately want to read another one, and while it sucks to have to wait 6 months to read the next run of THE WALKING DEAD, it's certainly worth when it comes out... P.S. Vol 15 comes out December 7th. If you're going to read anything on this list, I highly suggest this one. In fact, as soon as you're done reading this article, pick it up.
I picked up this book more or less on a whim, and I do not regret it. One of my close friends is friends with the writer of CHEW, John Layman. (No, I have never met John Layman, but I'd probably geek out on him a bit) All I was told is that "this book is a bit out there." That's the best description for that book. CHEW is about a detective for the FDA that gets psychic impressions from the things he eats... ANYTHING he eats.
I quickly fell in love with this book. It has an interesting story as well as some very stylish art. Artist Rob Guillory does a great job with his cartoonish style, and it really fits well together with Layman's comedic style of writing in this book.
As for the story, well, it's out there. Chicken has been outlawed by the FDA, and Tony Chu uses his abilities to, at first, solve things like "who's smuggling in chicken?" The story quickly takes a turn and Tony has to use his powers to solve a murder or two, but eating people. From there, it gets even weirder. It gets to a point where you'll be grossed out by some of the things Tony ends up eating.
What attracts me the most to this book is that it's like nothing else on the shelves, and it's a ton of fun. I've said it before, quite a few times, that as a reader, I feel overwhelmed with all the super-hero related books hitting the shelf, and it's nice to see a book like this, and it helps that the book is pretty awesome to boot.
If you're looking to pick this one up, there are 4 trades out currently, or you can pick up the "Omnivore Edition" is out collecting two trades in one, and the second Omnivore Edition will be out on December 20th... the same day as vol 15 of Walking Dead!
I love to laugh. There's no secret to that, and finding a comic book that can literally make you "laugh out loud" is extremely tough. Sure, there's tons of books currently out that claim to be funny, but they're not. Luckily, SKULLKICKERS is one of those books that actually makes me chuckle when I read it.
This is another book I picked up on accident, I guess. I had a choice, one week, to review either the 3rd issue of this book or an issue of HAUNT early. At the time, I was already reading HAUNT, and I wanted to get something new, so I reviewed this book, and I've been hooked ever since.
This book may be about two traveling mercenary-types during medieval times, but it is one of the most original and comical books on the shelf. One of the things I first noticed about this series is use of noise captions. In most comics, when a loud noise pops up in a comic, you'll see random words conveying said sound: CRASH! BOOM! and so on. In one scene of SKULLKICKERS, as the two protagonists approach a castle the words "imminent violence!" pop up. There will also be these same pop-ups describing the characters' facial expressions. With the addition of weird things like recipes for stew, this is one hilarious comic.
We haven't even gotten to the art yet either! Spoiler alert: Everything about this comic is awesome, especially the art.. It may not have the complex character development that THE WALKING DEAD has or the bizarre super-powers that CHEW has, but this book stands out on its own and there is nothing like it on the market. I'd love to shake the hands of Jim Zub, Edwin Huang, and Misty Coats for putting this book together. Currently, there are two volumes out and available at either your local comic shop or at one of those intraweb stores.
There you have it. These are actual books I read in my free time, whether I review them or not. I've always been a big supporter of Image comics, and it just so happens that three of my favorite series come from there. Have you guys ever read any of these series?