Ever wanted to read a comic but didn't know where to start? Interested in superheroes, manga, romance, webcomics and more? Look no further! We have all the recommendations you'll ever need.

Sunday, 31 January 2010

Black Orchid

Writer: Neil Gaiman
Art: Dave McKean
Letters: Todd Klein

What's it about?
Published under DC's Vertigo imprint, this is a book for mature readers.  Historically, Black Orchid is a superhero, but this is not really a superhero book.  Black Orchid is a plant/human hybrid and within the first few pages she dies.  Then we meet the new Black Orchid.  This new version is unaware of her origin, the previous Orchid's history and is totally ignorant of her place in the world.

This book chronicles her life from the moment of consciousness to the moment where she experiences acceptance and knowledge of herself.  Along the way she comes across a lot or nasty characters, yet manages each situation with grace and gentle control.

Friday, 29 January 2010

Catwoman- Crooked Little Town

Writer: Ed Brubaker
Main Story Pencils: Brad Rader
Main Story Inks: Cameron Stewart
Additional Art: Michael Avon Oeming, Rick Burchett,
Mike Manley, Eric Shanover and Michael Lark
Colourists: Matt Hollingsworth, Lee Loughridge and Tom McCraw
Letters: Sean Konot and Willie Schubert
Publisher: DC Comics

What’s It About?
Selina Kyle, Catwoman: sometime villain, sometime hero, she came from the gutter, stole a fortune and bought herself into high society. Now she’s back where she started: Gotham City’s rough east end, acting as its guardian angel with a little help from private eye Slam Bradley and former streetkid Holly Robinson. Its comic book noir complete with dirty cops, honest cops, gangsters, backstreet doctors, “respectable” figures playing the system and a few good-hearted people trying to make a difference. One of those good-hearted people just happens to be a costumed career criminal, that’s all…

Wednesday, 27 January 2010


A webcomic written and drawn by Randall Munroe

What’s It About?The following disclaimer appears on the xkcd website:

“This comic occasionally contains strong language (which may be unsuitable for children), unusual humour (which may be unsuitable for adults), and advanced mathematics (which may be unsuitable for liberal-arts majors).”

xkcd is a mainly storyline-free joke strip with an intellectual bent. The author-artist is a scientist by trade and often plays on scientific theory and practice for his jokes. He draws in a very simple, self-consciously basic style that relies on the words and ideas to carry the humour.v Nevertheless, the unique art style gives the strip a real quality of its own.

Monday, 25 January 2010

Green Arrow Black Canary: For Better Or For Worse

Writers:  Various, but includes Alan Moore, Denny O'Neil, Mike Grell, Chuck Dixon and Kevin Smith
Artists: Various, but includes Mike Grell and Dick Giordano
Inkers: Various, but includes Dick Giordano
Letterer: Various, but includes Todd Klein
Publisher: DC Comics

What's it about?
Green Arrow, Oliver Queen, and Black Canary, Dinah Lance, are one of DC's most enduring couples.

Green Arrow is a non powered superhero who's skills lie in archery.  He was a millionaire playboy who got shipwrecked on a remote island and had to develop his archery and survival skills, along with his common sense, in order to survive.  Eventually he was rescued but not until after he'd broken up a drug business operating from the island.  Once back to civilisation he took up nighttime crime fighting, decking himself out in a Robin Hood style costume.

Black Canary is superpowered.  She has a canary cry - basically a sonic scream which she can use to incapacitate evil doers.  Now I've just written that I feel I should add that this ability is not remotely related to stereotypes of shrill nagging women and is never, ever, presented as such.  As well as her canary cry, she is an expert in many types of martial arts, in recent years she has become one of the best practitioners of martial arts in the DC Universe.  She was inspired to start crime fighting by her mother who was the first Black Canary.

Saturday, 23 January 2010



Writer: Mat Johnson
Artist: Warren Pleece
Publisher: Vertigo

What’s It About?
It’s the early twentieth century and Zane Pinchback is a reporter for the New Holland Herald, an African-American newspaper operating out of New York. Born with skin pale enough to pass as white, he works undercover to infiltrate lynchings and under the pen name Incognegro he works to expose the murderers who commit them.

His brother, his significantly darker-skinned brother, has been accused of murder. The murder of a white woman and in Mississippi, no less. The evidence is slight but the mob is ready and Zane knows its only a matter of time.

Thursday, 21 January 2010

Superman: Last Son

Writers: Geoff Johns and Richard Donner
Artist: Adam Kubert
Colorists: Dave Stewart and Edgar Delgado
Letterer: Rob Leigh
Publisher: DC Comics

What's it about?
This is what's known as a trade - a collection of 5 issues from the Action Comics title.  It's a fully self contained story arc, so you don't need to have read previous issues for it make sense.  This arc introduces a new Kryptonian to Earth. a little boy who crashlands into Metropolis one day.

Who is he?  How did he get here?  How did he survive Krypton's explosion?  And who are these strange people that showed up shortly after he did?

The book features lots of familiar faces: a now married Lois and Clark Kent, Perry White, Jimmy Olsen, Zod, Ursa and Non.

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Tank Girl: The Odyssey

Writer: Peter Milligan
Artist: Jamie Hewlett
Publisher: Titan Books

What's it about?
It's rude, it's crude, it's very very lewd.

Have you ever seen the 1995 Tank Girl movie?  Well, the comics aren't like that.  Speaking as someone who loved the film, that isn't a criticism.  The comic includes boozing, shagging, farting, vomiting and eyes of God able to fight off evil cannibalistic movie producer types.  You'll see a couple of familiar faces from the film - Booga the humanoid Kangaroo and Jet Girl, the girl with a jet.  There is however no water shortage, no post apocalyptic waste land and nothing futuristic about it.

So what is it about?  It's about a modern day Australian, boozing, smoking and abusing her way through life.  And it's all tightly woven around the plot of Homer's Odyssey and James Joyce's Ullysees.  For those of you not familiar with Homer's poem, it deals with the hero Odysseus and his journey home from the Trojan War.  It takes him ten years to get home and while he is away his wife Penelope and son Telemachus must deal with a hoard of suitors, wanting to wed Penelope.

Sunday, 17 January 2010

Fables- Legends In Exile

Fables volume 1: Legends in Exile

Writer: Bill Willingham
Pencils: Lan Medina
Inks: Steve Leialoha and Craig Hamilton
Colours: Sherilyn van Valkenburgh
Letters: Todd Klein
Publisher: Vertigo

What’s It About?
Characters from legend and fairy tales, driven from their Homelands by the mysterious Adversary and his imperial expansion are now forced to live in secret in the mundane world. An underground community called Fabletown exists in the heart of New York City where the likes of Snow White, Pinnochio, Beauty and the Beast, Jack Horner, Prince Charming and many others co-exist.

Snow White’s sister Rose Red has been murdered and Fabletown’s sheriff, the Big Bad Wolf, is on the case…

Friday, 15 January 2010

Young Justice - A League of Their Own

Writers: Peter David and D Curtis Johnson
Pencillers: Todd Nauck and Ale Garza
Inkers: Lary Stucker and Cabin Boy
Colours: Jason Wright and Tom McGraw
Letterers: Ken Lopez and Comicraft
Publisher: DC Comics

What's it about?
A new team of teenage superheroes - named Young Justice - similar in concept to the Teen Titans, but from the next generation.  The line up is as follows:
Robin - Batman's third protege to bear the name.  No powers.
Superboy - Young clone of Superman with variant powers.
Impulse - A speedster from the Flash family.
Wonder Girl - Granted powers by the Greek God Zeus, her mentor is Wonder Woman.
Arrowette - Ace female archer.
Secret - A girl made out of mist.
Red Tornado - An android who acts as babysitter to the team.

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Azumanga Daioh volumes 1 to 4

All books are available in English but actual covers may vary dependent on the publisher.

Writer and artist: Kiyohiko Azuma

What's it about?
A group of Japanese schoolgirls plus two of their teachers journey through three years of upper secondary school in Japan.  Meet the girls:

Sakaki: Quiet, tall and prone to constant attack from the various cats and kittens which she finds so adorable.
Chiyo-chan: Child prodigy.  Aged 10.  Chan is an honorific used to express cuteness.  It is often used for babies, young children and teenage girls.  To address an elder or teacher using 'chan' would be quite rude.
Osaka: Not too bright, and spends the majority of her time spacing out (and obsessing with Chiyo's pigtails).

Saturday, 9 January 2010

Teen Titans Year One

Writer: Amy Wolfram
Art: Karl Kerschl, Serge LaPointe and Steph Peru
Letters: Nick J. Napolitano
Publisher: DC Comics

What's it about?
DC's Year One books take a look at famous heroes and provide us with stories about their first year of crimefighting.  They usually give us the background of the character, deal with their first fights and provide us with the information and events that shape them into the established characters most DC readers are familiar with.  In this case, the events revolve around the formation of the Teen Titans, a group of four teenage sidekicks who decide to band together to fight crime and monsters.

From left to right on the cover these sidekicks are:
Wonder Girl - the powerhouse of the team.  She has a very high level of strength, can fly and has bulletproof bracelets. Sister of Wonder Woman.
Robin - no superpowers but a good detective and gymnast.  Works with Batman.
Kid Flash - is a speedster, so essentially he runs very fast.  Nephew of the Flash.

Aqualad - lives underwater, can communicate telepathically with fish and has a high level of strength when out of the water.  Works with Aquaman.

Green Arrow's sidekick, Speedy, also puts in an appearance, although he isn't a full member of the team.  Neither Green Arrow or Speedy are superpowered, but they are excellent archers.

Throughout the book the five young heroes fight a menace who is controlling their mentors, discover fame, confront leadership issues and go on dates. 

Thursday, 7 January 2010

Scary Go Round

Scary Go Round
written and drawn by John Allison

What’s It About?
Tackleford, Yorkshire. Not the most normal town in the world: there’s goblins, a Satanic nunnery, a very creepy child is telling people “Things are going to change” and at one point a time machine is installed in a teapot.

Scary Go Round follows the adventures of a large cast in Yorkshire’s most surreal and unpredictable town. Originally updated five days a week from 2002 to 2009, the entire archive is still available online.

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Superman: Secret Identity

Writer: Kurt Busiek
Art: Stuart Immonen
Lettering: Todd Klein
Publisher: DC Comics

What's it about?
This is one of DC's Elseworld's titles.  The term Elseworlds refers to books where the characters are "taken from their usual settings and put into strange times and places, some that have existed, and others that can't, couldn't or shouldn't exist".

This story is set on a world much like our own where superpowers are the stuff of comic books and fiction only.  A young lad brought up in a small Kansas town is named Clark Kent by his parents.  As he grows up he endures constant streams of Superman themed gifts and memorabilia, and Superman themed taunts and bullying from his schoolmates. Clark learns to love solitude and one night, whilst sleeping under the stars he awakes to discover he is flying and has all of Superman's powers!

The story is told in four parts, focusing on Clark's adolescence and early forays into saving people, his entry into the world of work and experience on blind dates, marriage, raising a family and old age.  Throughout all this he has to devise a way to keep his powers and identity a secret, both from curious journalists and the government who wish to control and exploit him.

This is a book about what an ordinary man would do if he were to gain powers, and is a thousand miles away from the traditional superhero comic book.

Sunday, 3 January 2010


Writer: Grant Morrison
Pencils: Frank Quitely
Colour and Inks: Jamie Grant
Letters: Todd Klein
Publisher: Vertigo

What's it about?
Three animals - a dog, cat and rabbit - are transformed into cyborgs by the United States army.  They are taught to speak and trained to kill on covert military missions.  There have been rumours in the past of the American military taming dolphins and using them as suicide bombers to attack enemy boats.  Regardless of whether these stories are true or not, this book picks up from that idea and takes it several steps further.

The animals escape from their laboratory home and start searching for a distantly remembered home where they were once loved and cared for as pets.  The military wish to recapture the animals and the conclusion to the story starts to unfold. 

Friday, 1 January 2010

20th Century Comic Books at the Victoria and Albert museum

On 3rd February, 2010, Ian Rakoff will be giving a talk entitled 20th Century Comic Books at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, UK.

Ian Rakoff has been involved with the V and A since the late 1980s.  Karen Rubins is their current artist in residence, you can read more about her role at the museum here, and view her website here.

Information about the comics held can be found here.

Information about events at the V and A can be found here (some of which are BSL interpreted).  Unfortunately no information specifically about the Rakoff talk could be found online at the time of writing.  The What's On guide for January to March 2010 listed the talk under Lunchtime Lectures, all of which are free of charge.