I've been unhappy with a lot of the trends in the comic book world of the last several years, but recently I've been very pleased. Several comics have appeared that bespeak a number of much more positive trends. These pages are dedicated to those comics and those trends. Clicking on the covers or titles below will take you to my page about the comic in question.
The TrendsThis section contains, or will contain, features on what I see as the positive trends in comics today. The first of those trends is:
Strong Portrayals of WomenOne of the best trends I see in comics over the last few years is a more varied and stronger portrayal of women in comics. unfortunately it comes at the same time as one of the more deplorable trends in comics: the flood of "Bad Girls". This four part feature on strong women in comics covers the traditional Good Girl comics, Bad Girls, the more positive recent trend, and review of Trina Robbins' book, The Great Women Super Heroes. Only the first two parts are complete yet.
The ComicsThis section contains reviews of a number of comics that I think exemplify the positive trends I see in comics today. As I add pages to this area, I will try to show some of the commonalities that lead me to believe or to hope that there are actual trends.
Drawn by Gene Gonzales
This page is a little different from the ones that follow. I wrote it in June when I heard that The Maze Agency, one of my favorite comics ever, would be returning in July. When it came out at the beginning of September, I recast it a bit to be more like the others.
Drawn by Paul Smith
Leave it to Chance exhibits a number of the trends that I approve of. In fact, it seems from what Robinson and Smith have written that it is in some ways a conscious effort to buck those trends, and for this as well as for its originality, and the quality of both the writing and the art, I recommend it highly.
Painted by Alex Ross
Kingdom Come, like Leave it to Chance, appears to be a conscious effort to counter a lot of what I find deplorable in comics today. Because it comes from a major publisher and artists who are held in very high regard, and because of its relationship to one of the books that helped start us in the current directions, I think it has a real potential to actually turn us around. One can only hope.
Drawn by Brent Anderson
Inked by Will Blyberg
Covers painted by Alex Ross
Astro City, along with Kingdom Come and Marvels before them both is clearly part of a mini-genre, a genre that exhibits a lot of the positive trends that I approve of. Of the three Astro City is the only on-going series, and so is one of the best way that we as comic consumers can express our support for this sort of work.
Drawn by Ivan Reis
Inked by Randy Emberlin
The title character of Ghost was murdered shortly before the start of the story, and her main motivation ever since has been to solve the mystery of her death and prior life. She's a darker character than the characters in the other books I've reviewed, being sort of a cross between the Spectre, the Shadow and Elektra. Occassionally, the book strays a bit in the direction of the dark, negative trends in recent comics that I disapprove of, but on the whole it's a good book, with sharp clean art, a strong female lead, and a story that wrestles with some of the same moral issues as Kingdom Come although in a different and slower fashion.
Drawn by Garrett Berner
Inked by Mike Halbleib
I.M. Lost is... lost, lost in the World of all Lost Things, in fact. He's there as part of an heroic quest, a quest for self-discovery and for his lost father, Gerald Ronald Lost. This self-published book, is fun, creative, follows classic heroic forms and traditions, well-told and well-drawn, and definitely recommended.
Drawn by Greg Land
Inked by Drew Geraci
Edited by Jordan B. "Gorf" Gorfinkel
Birds of Prey brings together the Black Canary and Oracle as a unique team of super heroes. Oracle, for those not familiar with her story, is Barbara Gordon, niece of Commissioner Gordon, whose career as Batgirl was cut short when the Joker shot and crippled her. Since that time she has been a mysterious voice and source of intelligence and information to several DC heroes. Now she has teamed up with the Black Canary, daughter of the Golden Age Black Canary. She was a founding member of the Justice League of America and for several years partner and lover of the Green Arrow. In the Birds of Prey series of one-shots and mini-series, the two turn from supporting characters in other people's books into an effective and interesting team of their own.
Trend Setters and Just Plain Good ComicsThis page will probably grow over time. Until it does, the following pair of lists captures a few of my favorites and recommendations.
Cool People in comics