The brains behind the lecture series recommends some of her favorites in this week’s guest column.
By CHRISTY BLANCH
What I am reading right now is a little different than usual. I often try to read a variety of things but lately, due to the SuperMOOC, I am reading a lot of comics (sign up here!). Many for the second and third times. I have reread Batman: Venom, Buzzkill, Sex Criminals, and Green Lantern 85 and 86 more than a few times to prepare for the module on addiction. Not that I’m complaining, mind you. They are incredible books. It’s just that there is so much to read and not nearly enough time. And right now, there are so many good books out – especially in the field of comics – that I really notice the dearth of time.
However, I am a comic book retailer, also, so I have to find time to read many of the books that come out weekly. It’s my job. Of course I am reading the books that a lot of people are reading or should be reading: Daredevil, Saga, The Walking Dead, Hawkeye, Batman, etc. I read most of the number one issues that come out, too. But, I thought I might throw in some not so common things that I am fitting in to my reading schedule.
One monthly book that I’m really enjoying right now is Oni Press’ Letter 44 by Charles Soule and Alberto Alburquerque. The book begins wight he newly elected President reading a letter from his predecessor. As he learns that many years ago NASA had found an alien construction project in space and have almost reached it, he isn’t sure whether it’s a joke or not. He learns that it isn’t. And that isn’t all he has to worry about. It’s one of the few comics that takes so many unexpected turns that I’m not sure where it’s going. And that is really refreshing.
A book that I just started and can’t wait to read more of is Snowpiercer by Jacques Lob and Benjamin Legrand. This is a French science fiction comic book from the 1980s that has finally been translated for an English audience. It’s a post-apocalyptic story about social inequality, which is why I picked it up. The environment and social inequality are two of the SuperMOOC topics! This story occurs after the environment has been so depleted, there are only minimal humans left. It all takes place on a train, where people are living until the world is habitable again, and people are in different cars depending on their social status. I’m not going to tell you anymore. Just get it. You’ll thank me.
A book that is a quick read, and not a comic, but one I thoroughly enjoyed is “Children of the Atom,” by Wilmar H. Shiras. It was written in 1948 and I was told that it had to be this book that gave Stan Lee the idea for the X-Men. Now that I have read it, I can totally see it. Timothy Paul, a young boy of 13, is not a normal kid but pretends to be. A school psychiatrist befriends him which leads them to discover things that are astonishing. Again, I don’t want to tell too much information because it really is a fun book, especially if you are a fan of the X-Men.
Finally, the book that I have been waiting to get finally came out and it’s beautiful. It’s “The Art of Ramona Fradon.” I am a huge fan of her work and the illustrations and photographs alone are worth the price. But in addition, there are amazing interviews with her and an awesome introduction by another of my favorite artists, Walter Simonson. If you aren’t familiar with Ramona Fradon’s work, run to your nearest comic book store and ask for this book. I’ve read it cover to cover and lost track of how many times I have flipped through the pages just to gaze upon her incredible drawings. She is a true legend and I am so happy to own this book.