Many geeky parents, as I’m sure you know, are into comic books. Without comics, I don’t know how I would survive… Well, maybe I would have more to eat, more money to travel to ski resorts in the Julian Alps and funding for a small nation’s army.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that I’m kinda into comics, and if you’re into comics too, then we’re in business. With the GeekDad Stack I hope to give you geeky dads and moms some sequential art serving suggestions for both enjoying with your precious offspring and for yourselves to peruse after the little ones have turned out the light for the fifth time and have finally gone to sleep. And don’t worry, I’ll fit in comics for you teens and tweens out there, as well.
Man, I don’t think I’ve ever liked the term “tween”. Have you? Anyway, moving on…
Since this is the first installment, here’s a quick note on the format: Each mini-review is brief with a score at the end ranging from 1 (lowest) to 10 (highest). If you are intrigued by the comic I mention, please click on the accompanying cover image to be sent to its respective website thanks to the miracle of science.
Naturally, I am always open to suggestions! Sure, I can’t list everything in these installments but I’m always looking for more things to read. If there’s something you’d like me to check out or cover, please drop us a line in the comments or email me.
Here we go.
I have to hand it to Marvel: they have managed to create comic books aimed at 9-12 year-olds that don’t insult their intelligence. In fact, an adult can enjoy these stories too. To me this makes perfect family reading, with great art, story and plenty of well-written exposition to read. Sadly, I can tell you from experience that reading this book to a 3 and 5 year-old is an exercise in futility by page 4. Still, for you folks with older kids, I highly recommend this fun title packed to the gills with action, adventure, drama and the Sensational Swiney-Girl. Yeah, she’s pretty awesome. This gets a radioactively glowing GeekDad Stack score of 8/10.
For teens and grown-ups, this is one of the best comics on stands today. Not only is it a freaking amazing, action-stuffed, perfectly paced, beautiful ball of yarn, but it is also an intriguing, pulse-hammering story that only Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning can deliver. What’s even cooler is that you don’t have to be reading all the other Marvel comics to enjoy this—but I do recommend picking up Guardians of the Galaxy, if you can (it has a well-armed Rocket Raccoon, which is all you need to know). So, if you’re looking for a kick-butt cosmic action-fest that isn’t directed at humdrum slack-jawed laserbrains, this is for you. You may want to pick up earlier issues and some other War of Kings tie-ins, just so you have a better grasp of what’s going on, but it’s also okay to just power-dive right in. If you do go for the tie-ins, know that they are totally worth it. These exciting comics make for terrific family discussion. GeekDad Stack Score: 9/10
Now here’s a Eureka comic that I think is aimed at teen girls. I could be wrong, though, as I have no daughters (and thus no axe collection). Anyhow, what we have in this title is a story centered on the character Zoe, who is the high school attending daughter of main character Sheriff Jack Carter. As far as TV spin-off items go, this is quite solid. Good art, good story. My only complaint is that it could have used a page telling people who don’t watch the Eureka TV show who these characters are. If you’ve never seen Eureka, you may be a tad confused as to why everything plays out the way it does, what with a giant building-stomping girl running around and a trank-gun straight out of Halo showing up. As a fan of the show, I’d say this compliments it nicely. All in all, this gets a very positive GeekDad Stack score: 7/10
Red 5 Comics
It’s hard to find comics that I want to save until my children are a bit older so I can pull out those comics, dust them off, and share the wonderful reading experience all over again. Atomic Robo are amongst those hallowed graphic novels. If you haven’t read Atomic Robo yet, get out there and pick up the first two trades! Trust me, it’s worth every penny and second invested in these wonderful books. But if you want to get right in without a bunch of backstory, Shadow From Beyond Time will serve you well. Our Tesla created hero encounters and combats Lovecraftian horror and the gifted creators of this mini-series pull out all the stops right out of the gate. There’s a pretty good back-up story, too. Look, I wouldn’t call Atomic Robo “family reading”, but it’s certainly more older-kid family friendly than most other things out there, and Shadow From Beyond Time should appeal to BPRD readers out there. This issue gets an unspeakably high GeekDad Stack score of 9/10.
Once you fellow dads (and some moms) get your little ones to bed, why not indulge in some intense, break-neck, screaming Gears of War action for a little bit? Joshua Ortega has been knocking this book out of the park so far, and puts to shame anyone who says that basing comics on videogames is lame. And if Ortega’s scriptwork isn’t enough, there’s Liam Sharp on art, which is like saying “And if this wasn’t already pretty awesome, it’s now even more awesome”. Issue #6 wraps up the Hollow arc, and impresses upon me that I would rather read a monthly Gears of war comic than play the video game– and I really enjoy the game, mind. Buy this comic if you love Gears of War, great blood & guts military sci-fi or both. Don’t buy this if you like fluffy pony unicorns. Unless they’re the kind who eat people, in which case go for it. This comic blasts its way to a GeekDad Stack score of 8/10.
Rebellion / ClickWheel
Another item you should check out once the children are away is this gem. First, it’s free. Second, if you have never read 2000 AD, this is a great place to start. It has the first thrills (comic strips) or long-running (since 1977!) weekly UK comic magazine 2000 AD, including the first appearances of Judge Dredd, Nemesis the Warlock, Slaine, Rogue Trooper, Nikolai Dante, Strontium Dog, Halo Jones, A.B.C. Warriors, Shakara and Kingdom. There’s also the excellent Dredd strip Kingdom of Suspicion. Have I mentioned this 88-page bundle of joy is free? I think I might have. You can download it from ClickWheel and get a feel for the Galaxy’s Greatest Comic and what sights The Mighty Tharg has to show you. ClickWheel is even cool enough to not only offer this in PDF format, but Large Format CBZ, as well! You can’t beat that with a nightstick, citizens. Just so you know, this can be read by mature teens, and a couple of the comics are fine for younger people. I’ve been reading 2000 AD since I was 8 or so, for example (and I turned out just fine… right?). The zarjaz of this item is overwhelming the GeekDad Stack scales at 10.2/10.
Top of the Stack
I’ve been a huge Sherlock Holmes fan since I was a wee lad; though it has been a few years since I’ve delved into the wonderful world of mystery and adventure created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle over 120 years ago. To be honest, I was a bit nervous whether or not writers Leah Moore and John Reppion would pull this off. After all, making Holmes interesting to the “modern crowd” is a tall order. Not to mention that just about everything which can be done with Holmes has been done– short of turning him into a giant David Icke hunting lizardbot and unleashing him on an unsuspecting Chicago suburb.
However, my fears abated the first few pages in and I enjoyed the quick, witty and fresh narrative this brilliant writing team came up with starring history’s greatest investigator. Aaron Campbell’s art is perfect for the telling of the story, and Avina’s usual outs
tanding coloring job is tasty icing on top of the aforementioned perfection. So far the story is dark without being specifically for mature audiences. And the end of this issue should have you fellow Holmes fans wanting more. Parents, this would be a fine book to read with your pre-teens, but it’s certainly not for little ones. I give this a GeekDad Stack score of 9.5/10 and it’s my pick of the week.
Like I said, this is but the tip of a comic book iceberg. Let us know what you’re reading in the comments! Myself, I am always on the lookout for material to share with my little boys. Any thoughts or recommendations regarding this would be greatly appreciated.
I had a great time at local shops Curious Comics (both locations) and Legends here in Victoria, B.C. on Free Comic Book Day. Here’s what I picked for me and my boys…
- Cars #1 – Highly, highly recommended. My 5-year-old loves this book.
- Attack of the Alterna Zombies – Not for kids, but it has Jesus Hates Zombies!
- Owly and Friends – One of the best comics for kids around. Period.
- Warhammer Online: Prelude to War – Because Warhammer makes for good parenting. 😉
- TMNT #1 25th Anniversary Reprint – Teenage. Mutant. Ninja. Turtles. Nuff said.
- DC Kids Mega Sampler – Tiny Titans, Batman, Shazam, Super Friends and more!
- Atomic Robo and Friends – Because if you don’t pick this up I will cry.
- Studio 407 Sampler – Full disclosure: I work for Studio 407. Pick this up anyway, okay?
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – It’s Star wars. For your kids. Don’t be a nerfherder.
- Nancy & Melvin Monster – Classic stuff. A must.
What did you get?
(This post was written by new GeekDad writer Steve Saunders.)