For the second week of our favorites, Chantaal and I will be listing our top three favorite on-goings. These are actual runs, not limited or ended series. Chantaal listed hers yesterday, and today it’s my turn.
I’ve written entire posts on how much I love this series (in fact I have here on this blog) so for it to not be on this list would be very very wrong.
There are so many reasons to love Secret Six, from the art (Nicola Scott and later Jim Calafiore) to the impeccable story-telling of Gail Simone. In the end, it always comes down to the characters. This crew of amoral (and sometimes immoral) mercenaries are some of the most fascinating characters I’ve read in years. Thy’re fleshed out and well-developed. They have issues and dilemmas, are sometimes utter assholes and at others (sometimes very surprisingly) generous and kind. They’re the most human characters I’ve read in comics in a long time, and that is a lot of what keeps me needing the next issue.
Now, add to that brilliant storylines (THERE ARE DINOSAURS RIGHT NOW – AND IT IS ODDLY PLAUSIBLE) and you have a book that keeps me rushing to my LCS each month.
I’ve always been a voracious reader. When I was a kid, my dad had a massive box of old western books of all types. It would be my fallback when I ran out of other reading material, and I loved them. I then discovered the spaghetti westerns that would show on Sunday afternoon – always a dead zone in any child’s tv watching – and loved them almost instantly. I’d sit with my dad and watch them weekend after weekend. Some were horrible, and some were brilliant, but I loved them all.
Jonah Hex manages to take everything that’s good about the western genre and use it in a new and interesting way. For the most part the books are self-contained stories and while they may refer and build on things that happen in other books, there’s no real need to start reading at issue one and work your way through. I enjoy books about characters that aren’t the good guys, and Hex fits into that category. Yet, he manages to have a strange – sometimes accidental – morality. He’s nowhere near as straightforward a character as he may seem, and the stories that Palmiotti and Gray put together about his life keep fascinating me.
Now for the other reason Jonah Hex has stayed on my pull list the past three years since I started reading it. The art. Honestly, I do not even know how Palmiotti and Gray get some of these artists to work on their book but they get people working with them that amaze me at time. Wait, I think I do know, it’s likely consistent stellar writing rather than something less savory that involves sacrificing small animals. Jordi Bernet, Darwyn Cooke, Paul Gulacy, Phil Noto, JH Williams are just a few of the many.
It’s a book that has consistently delivered both great stories and art. It’s also one of the books I’ve been buying the longest. In fact, there’s only one book that beats Hex out for how long I’ve been reading it and that is…
Sometimes it seems that books are designed just for me. No, really, I actually have moments where I stop and think that. Fables is one of those books. When I first heard about the book about three months after the first issue came out, I was fascinated. I read a lot of folk and fairy tales as a kid and even as a teen. Some of my favourite books to this day are reinterpretations or retellings of classic stories I grew up with. To have a comic that did exactly that amazed me.
Willingham has created an amazing world. The characters are the ones we know, but they’re so much more than that, with so much more depth. Exiled from their homelands to live life in New York City (or the farm for non-human appearing fables) the characters are intriguing and discovering the ‘facts’ of their lives beyond the stories we know is fascinating. It’s a political book at times, with plots that continued to surprise me. There’ve been a few moments in it’s almost 100 issues I haven’t enjoyed or storylines that haven’t been so strong, but it’s a book I love, and Willingham has done some of his best work on it.
My honourable mentions (because we all know i’m indecisive) go to The Unwritten and Birds of Prey. Both great series, and both worth a look, but neither made my top three this round.