Thanksgiving is tomorrow and it always gets me in a sentimental mood. Comics have played a pivotal role in my life. It brought my husband and I closer as a couple and help me to explore new attitudes and ideas. So this Thanksgiving, I am going to explore five things about comics I’m truly thankful for from this past year.
I’m thankful for Fables
Fables was my gateway into comics. Many comic book readers can tell you that one book that got them into comics. I’ve always been interested in folklore and fairy tales and own several translations of the Grimm’s Fairy tales and many works on international folklore. When I saw the first trade of Fables at my local library, I had to check it out and am I glad that I did. After trade watching for several volumes I decided to start getting single issues and my pull list has gotten bigger ever since. It still has a special spot on my bookshelf and I am looking forward to exploring the Fables world further with Ever After and any other projects yet to come.
I’m thankful for Ryan Browne
Every year we get one piece of commissioned artwork at the comic convention we go to. One year, my husband got an amazing Daredevil from Jock, but last year, it was my turn to pick the piece. I knew I wanted something a little lighter for the kitchen or dining room. Ryan Browne was the first artist to come to mind. We settled for a sketch of Wolverine in the kitchen with a witty phrase. The results speak for themselves and when I see the art everyday it makes me smile and reminds me that pants are optional…sometimes.
I’m thankful for Saga
Saga by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples was the first book my comic book club read. This space opera that focuses on love and family was a great way to foster our book club becoming sort of a family of our own. Because many of our members were novice comic book readers, it was great to have a book that was so well written, engaging, and beautiful to set us on a reading path. The group always challenged my Reader’s Advisory skills because they wanted to read non-mainstream, interesting, unheard of comics. From Uzumaki by Junji Ito to poetry from World War I, we explored some truly amazing stories together. I was sad to leave this book club but am so thankful for the memories and discussions we had.
I’m thankful for She-Hulk
This one, this one is a completely selfish “thankful for” choice. I have always had issues with my weight and eating habits that kept me many pounds overweight. As a fan of Red She-Hulk, when Charles Soule and Javier Pulido’s She-Hulk hit the stands, I knew I’d at least give it a try but I didn’t know that I’d quickly become infatuated with Jennifer Walters and her struggles to find work/life balance. I had just started my first professional job in a new city without many friends and was struggling with my self-esteem and weight issues. And then She-Hulk inspired me. I was going to cosplay as She-Hulk at the next convention and I was going to feel great about it. I changed my diet, started doing DDP Yoga and weightlifting 3 times a week. While I lost almost 25 lbs. on the journey, I saw an even bigger change in my attitude; I was confident and happy with myself. Unfortunately, the airbrush wasn’t working the day of the convention, so I ultimately didn’t cosplay, but I did flex my new found muscles for Charles Soule and got the first issue of She Hulk signed. I’ve kept up my good habits and will attempt another She-Hulk cosplay soon.
I’m thankful for DC Comics Bombshells
I talk about DC Comics Bombshells a lot. Originally a series of special covers by Ant Lucia featuring WWII Bombshells renditions of many beloved DC Comics characters, the Bombshells have expanded into an entire brand of comic book fandom.
Upon casual glance at the Bombshells, some may call the images degrading or obscene, but the fans have taken on these characters as empowering. Attending any convention and you’re sure to see several Bombshells on the floor. The amazing writing of Marguerite Bennett creates a world full of complex characters and intricate stories where female superheroes are not necessarily dependent on their male counterparts; Batwoman exists and she saved the Waynes in the alley, but Zatana and Constantine are together. These plot points are handled within the context and realities of World War II and the battles raging across Europe and the treatment of outsiders.
This book is in my wheelhouse. I like the 40s aesthetic with the superhero elements while addressing the history and realities of World War II. I am extremely thankful for a book with unique takes on classic characters while holding on to their essence and tackling historical and contemporary themes of social justice.