The Cliffs of Insanity: Read These, Feel Better

Welcome to this year first installment in my adventures in climbing the cliffs of insanity. I’ve been absent for a bit, dealing with a serious health problem concerning my youngest son, but I’ll hopefully be more on track  with the start of this new year. As a general rule, I want my entertainment to be fun, to be hopeful, and lift my spirits in some way, even if it’s just by making me think. I needed that kind of entertainment badly last month and that need inspired this week’s column, my first annual: “I Would Totally Read This While Sitting With a Relative in the Hospital Award.” Leaving megalopolisLeaving Megalopolis by Gail Simone and Jim Calafiore. I put this into GeekMom’s best comics of 2013 list. This story should be a total downer, as it’s a cleverly disguised super-powered zombie story. And yet…the book absolutely made me feel better about the world, the total opposite of my experience when I tried reading The Walking Dead. More people need to read this book. But, no, you can’t have my copy. It’s a Kickstarter original. Eye of Minds The Eye of Minds by James Dashner–A teenage gamer in a dystopian future is drawn into a virtual and real world game of life and death as he searches for the mastermind enslaving gamers and threatening to burn out their real world brainwaves. Yes, this sounds depressing. Why is it here? Because when my son was feeling terrible, I brought him this book, which was recommended by his older brother. I read him the first chapter out loud, my son then demanded I turn over the book to him, and he then read it in a day. Any book that makes my kid forgot what a lousy holiday he’s having is automatically on this list.

Flash #233
This classic Flash comic was the first one I bought that featured Barry Allen. copyright DC Comics

The Flash #26 by Christos Gage and Neil Googe. I haven’t read a Flash comic in ages, though The Flash series was one of my very first buys as a kid. The cover  of that book , Flash #233, featured the Reverse Flash taking over Barry’s life and made me a fan of the character in one issue–especially as it was a complete, one-in-done story. Like that story from years ago, this December’s issue of The Flash was a one-in-done story featuring Barry Allen. And for the first time in ages, I felt that same magic. The villain isn’t as memorable as the Reverse Flash but, oh, wow, the uses of Flash’s super-speed, especially in one breath-taking sequence as Flash literally runs on air, are wonderful. Googe’s art really shines. And, of course, the hero wins at the end. If I wanted to convert someone today to Flash fandom, I’d hand them this issue.

batgirl beyond
Batgirl Beyond, copyright DC Comics

Batman Beyond Unlimited digital-first series: Terry McGuinness being mentored by an older Dick Grayson. A Batgirl Beyond is introduced. And the Justice League of this world includes an older, wryer Superman looking to begin his life over. How can an alternate universe series set in a world that’s supposedly grimmer be this much fun to read? There were the team-up of Batgirls past (Commissioner Barbara Gordon) and  future, the Batgirl Beyond, Superman asking the Justice League of the future dating advice (okay, he asked cranky old Bruce too), and engaging characters all around.

My Tumblr Feed: Yes, Tumblr has been knocked for being full of “crazy over-the-top social justice” types. I’m not sure where all those scary people are but they’re not in my feed. My feed contains some of the most awesome gif images from some of my favorite entertainment, with special nods to Doctor Who–the 50th anniversary special inspired some of the most imaginative posts–and Sherlock (ack, I can’t read those posts until I see the episode) and all of the wonderful classic comic art.

For a representative sample, check out dorkkybatch’s Sherlock + hair ruffle, or the Winchester gifs from asyouwishswam or copperbadge’s noticing that Hulk loves his pies. These all came popped up on my Thursday feed.

And now I’m going to mellow out and re-watch Pitch Perfect again.

“I love you, awesome nerds.”  

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Writer, Mom, Geek and Superhero. though usually not all four on the same day. Author of the award-winning Phoenix Institute Superhero series and the steampunk novel, The Curse of the Brimstone Contract.