In what we now know as “The Before Times,” today would have been the best day of the week, AKA New Comic Book Day.
However, as noted last week, one of the many challenges we’re facing in the midst of this global pandemic – and, admittedly, one of the more minor inconveniences, all things considered – is that new comics are not, at present, making their way to your local comic shop (LCS), or anyone else’s.
There’s been even more bad news since, with Diamond stating that due to cash flow issues they will not be paying their vendors. Which is to say comic book publishers. For some of the smaller companies, this is basically a death sentence.
It’s not all doom and gloom, however, as many publishers have instituted some policies designed to help every LCS get through this, and DC has reported that they’re looking into finding a new distribution model that will not put them – and comic shops – at the mercy of a single distributor. It’s unclear, however, how quickly they can make that shift, and what effect it will have, given how limited most comic shops across the country are in their ability to actually sell comics right now.
Another recent development seems more promising, providing any LCS the ability to sell digital codes that can be redeemed for digital copies now and for physical copies later.
In any case, the point of this post is to mention that even though they may not have new comics, comic shops still have plenty of old comics – and other things besides – so if your LCS is able to sell comics to you right now, why not turn New Comic Book Day into Old Comic Book Day? (The post linked above has resources to help you locate comic shops that are offering mail-order and curbside services.)
Here are just a few recommendations to consider, including some specific comics, and some comic creators whose works are worth checking out.
Obviously, Mister Miracle by Tom King and Mitch Gerads makes the list. The twelve-issue maxi-series has been collected in a couple of different formats and editions, any of which is worth checking out.
For more by King, also look for The Vision.
As noted last week, if you pick up a copy of the Wonder Woman by Gail Simone Omnibus, you can score yourself some free digital goodies. Plus you’ll get to read some great stories by one of the greatest comic book writers out there.
Anything you can find by Gail will be great, but in particular, look for Red Sonja, Birds of Prey, Leaving Megalopolis, and Clean Room (if you’re in the mood for something terrifying).
Can’t go wrong with Alan Moore, whether it’s classics like Watchmen, or V For Vendetta, or one of my slightly-more-recent favorites, Promethea.
You’ll do well with anything by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips, particularly anything from the Criminal line.
Check out Second Coming by Mark Russell, Richard Pace, Leonard Kirk, and Andy Troy, if you’re looking for some good, satirical commentary about superheroes, religion, and the problem of evil.
Also check out Russell’s work on Red Sonja. It’s great, and the first major story arc has been collected in trades.
Maybe now would be a good time to read the legendary Walter Simonson run on Thor. (There’s no maybe: ANY time is a good time to do that.)
Other titles by various great creators include Saga, Lazarus, Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man, DCeased, The Sandman, and Bitch Planet.
Other creators whose work you should check out are Chip Zdarsky, Kelly Thompson, Jason Aaron, Matt Fraction, Gene Luen Yang, Jeff Lemire, and a host of others.
It’s also worth mentioning that DC Ink is a great line of kids and YA graphic novels featuring many of the characters you know in situations that you don’t.
Check out some of the comics that have appeared in the Spotlight to find even more recommendations.
The point is, new comics or not, there is plenty of great material already out there that can help you – and your LCS – get through this difficult time.
Feel free to leave your own recommendations in the comments. Stay safe and read comics!