One of the hardest things about reading comics is knowing where to start. Comics shops carry hundreds of titles and get dozens of issues in every week on new comic-book day. On top of that, many comics have complex mythologies and backstories that make it hard to just pick up any random issue and have a clue what is going on.
That’s why Heroic Girls recommends comics every week that are excellent “jumping on” points for new readers. Without further ado, here are our picks for the week of October 8, 2014.
Chilling Adventures of Sabrina #1
Archie Comics has developed an intriguing editorial voice. They launched one of their trademarked squeaky clean comics centered around the new openly gay character Kevin Keller; then followed it up with the horrific blood-and-guts fueled zombie epic Afterlife with Archie, which was a commercial and critical masterpiece. The company has repeatedly shown it is willing to take risks and reinterpret their characters to make them fresh and relevant to today’s audience.
Building on the success of Afterlife with Archie, Archie Comics is relaunching Sabrina the Teenaged Witch as a teen horror title. All the familiar faces are here, Sabrina, her aunts Hilda and Zelda, her cat Salem, and evil antagonist Madame Satan — the only thing missing is the camp. Sabrina is destined to be the greatest magic user the world has ever known, but for the moment she is a 16-year-old girl who wants a date to prom.
The series is written by Afterlife with Archie writer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa with art by the excellent Robert Hack. Although it’s not set in the same world, Aguirre-Sacasa’s success with Afterlife with Archie proves that he’s the right man to contemporize Sabrina while remaining true to the roots of the character.
There are a ton of cool variant covers. We’re partial to the Francesco Francavilla version.
Batgirl has a brand-new costume, a brand new creative team and a brand-new life this issue. After a fire destroys everything she owns, Barbara Gordon moves to the hip Gotham community of Burnside. No longer relying on Batman for gadgets, Barbara puts together a new costume herself and sets out to defend her friends from all new terrors that are threatening her friends.
This new take on Batgirl feels like a breath of fresh air, writer Cameron Stewart and artists Brenden Fletcher and Babs Tarr have created a version of Batgirl that feels more relatable and fun out of the box.
A lot of fans were concerned when it was revealed that longtime Batgirl writer Gail Simone was leaving the book, but it looks like change suits Batgirl just fine, and Simone is bringing us a new version of her fan-favorite Secret Six, so we’ll call this a win-win.
Look for variant covers from Babs Tarr and a “monster variant” to celebrate Halloween.
Captain Marvel: Higher, Further, Faster, More
A few years ago, writer Kelly Sue DeConnick took the longtime Avenger Carol Danvers (a.k.a. Ms. Marvel), elevated her to the rank of Captain and sparked a quiet revolution as women finally we able to find a hero on the shelf that was fully clothed, capable, and not just an adjunct to an established male hero. The success of Captain Marvel led Marvel comics to develop more stand-alone titles for female heroes: She-Hulk, Black Widow, Elektra, Storm, a new Ms. Marvel and others followed.
This second volume of Captain Marvel under DeConnick’s hand sees Carol assigned as the Avengers liaison to deep space. Being in space gives Carol a reason to reconnect with her pilot roots, and creates scenarios where the Avengers are not around for immediate support, as Captain Marvel battles a galactic empire bent on destroying a planet full of innocent refugees.
This trade paperback collects the first six issues of the Captain Marvel ongoing series, and is a great introduction to a really popular character. The brilliant art by David Lopez ain’t too shabby either.
She-Hulk: Law and Disorder
Before she joined the Fantastic Four; before she was an Avenger; before she even became the She-Hulk; Jennifer Walters was one heck of an attorney. After she discovers that her current firm only hired her because they assumed she would use her connections to get them splashy superhero clients, Walters leaves her high-priced job and strikes out on her own. She isn’t unemployed for long, though, as her very first client is the son of Dr. Doom.
Writer Charles Soule does an amazing job of defining Walters first as a competent attorney and second as a 6’7″ Amazon that can bench press a city skyscraper. The superheroics grow organically out of her exploits as an attorney. She is Lois Lane and Superman rolled into one — perfectly capable of rescuing herself — and any nearby innocents — when trouble erupts.
This trade paperback collects the first six issues of She-Hulk.
Marvel Anti-Bullying Variant Covers
This recommendation is a little different. Sometimes publishers will put out variant covers across multiple titles that follow a certain theme. For instance, DC is creating “monster variants” of many of their titles this month, including Batgirl, which we noted above.
Marvel’s variants this month are themed “Stomp Out Bullying” and some truly beautiful artwork has been generated for the promotion. Rocket Racoon #4 has a fantastic watercolor rendition of Rocket and Groot having lunch with a lonely kid, while the Avengers #36 reminds us that even powerful heroes like Captain America, the Hulk and Spider-Man were picked on by bullies when they were younger.
Collecting variants is another way to collect comics, and sometimes they give you a chance to explore a book you might not have otherwise.