Fantastic Four – December Reads

This winter has been somewhat of a letdown if you enjoy winter sports. El Niño has meant no snow for many of the regions we have seen hit by torrential snow storms in past years, including the north east Atlantic and the Midwest. If you’re yearning for some snowy scenery, here are four great suggestions to pass the dark, but now snowy, nights.

Cover for Batman SnowSuperhero
Batman: Snow
Story by: J. H. Williams III & Dan Curtis Johnson
Art by: Set Fisher
Colors by: Dave Steward
Letters by: Phil Balsman

Snow is a five issue story exploring the self-discovery of a superhero working within the criminal justice system along with the origin of an empathetic villain who tried to do good. As Batman investigates the criminal Peter Scotta, who is interested in acquiring a new “asset”, he is dissatisfied with Gotham PD and Commissioner Gordon’s results, so he recruits five disillusioned investigators to perform citizen justice. At the same time, Victor Fries, a cryonics researcher, is studying the medical uses of his freezing machine when his wife is diagnosed with an incurable disease. When Victor takes her to his lab to be frozen until a cure can be found, he discovers his research has been weaponized, and seeks revenge of the coldest kind. The strong lines and matt colors of Fisher’s art along with the delft storytelling of Victor Fries make the characters accessible and humorous. While Batman is traditionally a brooding character, the playful art and witty banter is great for seasoned Batman readers and novices alike. Besides, who doesn’t love a shocked bat on every page?

IndieCover for Blankets by Craig Thompson
Blankets
Written & Illustrated by Craig Thompson

This Eisner and Harvey award winning original graphic novel has won critical acclaim across the world. Named Time Magazine’s #1 best comic of 2003, Blankets explores what it means to transition from a child to adult, and all the hardship and turmoil that got with it. Life growing up in a conservative, religious family is difficult for Craig. He, and his brother, are made fun of at school and are further segregated by being sent to a religious summer camp. At camp, Craig meets Reina and his world is thrown upside down. He begins to question what it means to be family and weighs the role religion, sexuality, morality, and love will play in his life. Even though Thompson’s autobiography is incredibly personal and unique, there is something all readers can relate to, and it is that relatability that makes Blankets a must read. The dark, snowy representation of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, give the book a broody feeling, teaching that not all decisions are black and white.

Cover for Tintin in Tibet by HergeClassic
Tintin in Tibet
Written & Illustrated by: Hergé

Tintin in Tibet is the 20th adventure of the titular journals and his faithful dog, Snowy. In this thrilling adventure, Tintin read of a downed plane in the Himalaya’s, and his friend Chan Chong-Chen was in that plane! Convinced by vivid dreams and visions that Change is still alive, Tintin, along with Captain Haddock, travels with a Sherpa to find his friend. Through various supernatural and practical clues, including Yetis, psychedelic visions, discarded clothing and carved stones, Tintin is eventually reunited with his friend. If you follow this blog, you will already know that Hergé and Tintin hold a special place in my heart. Tintin embodies a sense of adventure the average reader may never experience from the Moon to Tibet; plus, he truly enjoys every aspect of the adventure, even those he does not understand.

OlioCover for the Last Christmas by Duggan and Poshn
Last Christmas
Story by: Brian Posehn and Gerry Duggan
Art by: Rick Remender

If you need a slightly sacrilegious read to get through the long, winter months, The Last Christmas is the perfect read…to hide from your religious family. No one is safe from the apocalypse, not even the North Pole! When the violence of the end of the world knock’s on the Claus’ door, Santa does not react with his normal holiday cheer. After hitting his lowest point, a letter from the last boy who believes in Santa arrives at the North Pole, and a chance encounter with the true spirit of Christmas lifts the spirits, and helps him kick some zombie ass. The story is outlandish and the on and off again narration by a talking snowman is a bit disjointed, but to be expected from the co-authors of Deadpool. While Remender’s artistic representation of women leaves something to be desired, Santa and his elves fit perfectly in this zombie hell called earth.

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