I spent much of last week beachside, getting some sun and drinking some drinks and reading some books. I packed too many books, as usual (I always overestimate how much reading I’m going to do when I travel) but it made me think about what comics would be nice, easy beach reads. A lot of comics today are angsty, angry things and sometimes you just need something with an easy vibe that doesn’t weigh you down.
So ta-da! Here’s the beginnings of a list. Please add your own in the comments!
Catwoman 1: Trail of the Catwoman
Darwyn Cooke and Ed Brubaker
One thing that will become clear as this blog continues is that I am a sucker for Darwyn Cooke’s art. You could be all, “Grace, we’ve created a book that eats your fingers as you turn the pages. We’ve put Darwyn Cooke sketches on every page.” and I would be all, “Gimme.” So that’s the main reason I originally picked this comic up. It’s kind of a crime/heist thriller with a noir aesthetic, starring everyone’s favorite cat burglar Selina Kyle. It even has a Florida beach scene! Obviously this book was written expressly for this list.
Hawkeye 1: My Life as a Weapon
Matt Fraction and David Aja
If you’ve followed me anywhere on the internet in the past year or two, you’ll know this is one of my favorite ongoing comics right now. I love Clint (Hawkeye), I love Kate (also Hawkeye), I love how Clint and Kate interact, I just love the attitude of this story. The book has wit, adventure, and a healthy dose of humor as Clint focuses on his life outside of the Avengers.
(Aside: I would like to also point out that in the penultimate episode of season one of Tim Gunn’s show Under the Gunn, when they had to design outfits based on one of four Marvel characters, this is the book that one of the designers was unable to put down when his future on the show was at stake. (There is probably a pretty slim Project Runway/Marvel comics crossover group, but man I am smack in the middle of that Venn diagram.) It’s a gripping read, folks. If you don’t believe me, believe the designers of Under the Gunn.)
Telgemeier almost needs no introduction at this point. Either of her young adult graphic novels would make a good-natured beach read; I picked Drama because I love the main character, Callie, a quirky theater kid working on a play at her middle school. She has to juggle problems on- and off-stage, from cute-but-difficult boys to a cannon that won’t fire to a theater budget with no wiggle room. Definitely a light and easy read for a blistering beach day.
Also, aside from being a cute story, this book has another benefit for a traveler: it’s nice and compact. Hey, this is an important consideration given what baggage fees are these days.
All-Star Superman (two volumes or one supervolume, depending which edition you buy)
Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely
A Superman classic, timeless in its beauty, an excellent all-American read for an all-American beachy vacation. I honestly didn’t really understand Superman before I read this book, didn’t understand what was so interesting about a simplistic hero from the 30s. This book showed me the light; this book is all the Superman you’ll ever need. Ignore what’s happening in comics and movies right now, this is Superman, the optimistic, strangely human (but definitely alien) Superman that reflects the best of our humanity. Read this.
Primates: The Fearless Science of Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, and Biruté Galdikas
Jim Ottaviani and Maris Wicks
Let’s throw a little non-fiction into this list, shall we, with last year’s Primates. This book drops a lot of information on you but it’s presented in a fun, engaging way. It tells the stories of three of the last century’s most significant primatologists (who all happen to be women) and really shows their love for their work. Jim Ottaviani keeps a sprawling topic very tight in his storytelling, and Maris Wicks has a really cute artistic style and a knack for nature art that really shines here.
That’s it for me. Do you have any favorite summer comics reads? Click the link, leave a comment, add to the list!