August is “Admit You’re Happy” Month. While it can sometimes be hard to find things that make us happy, we here at ComicsVerse can think of one thing that always makes us happy. That’s right, you guessed it: comics! Whether we love them because they remind us of our youth or because they’re a perfect example of a genre, comics never fail to bring a smile to our faces.

We gathered together some of our Marvel and DC section writers and editors to explain why certain comics make them happy. From Matt Fraction and David Aja’s HAWKEYE run to Dan Slott’s SILVER SURFER, these comics bring a smile to our writers and editors faces and hopefully one to yours as well! If you’re looking for a reason to admit you’re happy, why not try out these favorite comics? You never know what’ll bring that smile to your face.

HAWKEYE by Matt Fraction and David Aja

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Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

I often wonder about the comics that make me happy. What comics truly make me happy to read again and again? After sitting for ages, harping on about the question, I finally figured it out. HAWKEYE by Matt Fraction and David Aja. Every time I read HAWKEYE, I am overcome with immense happiness. From the art to the writing to the Kate Bishop, who could ask for anything more?

This was our first introduction from Young Avengers that we get from Kate Bishop. We get a glimpse into Clint Barton and who he is as a character. If you have ever watched anything AVENGERS (come on, who hasn’t?), this particular comic should have been what Clint Barton was based on. If it had, I believe it would have made Barton be a forerunner instead of a background character. Nonetheless, that is neither here nor there, right?

Hawkeye: Kate Bishop and Her Quest to Find Family

HAWKEYE by Fraction and Aja is what truly got me back into comics. At the time, I was in-between. I didn’t have anyone to talk about comics with, and when I did — they never truly were on the same page as me. That changed when I read this wonderful set of issues/graphic novels.

It brings in a new narrative and conversation into the topic of Clint Barton being deaf. No one talks about that fact, even though it is incredibly important to do so. This comic basically creates an entire narrative on it and how Clint Barton deals with it and lives a regular life as a superhero despite it. If you have the time to read this series, please do. You will never regret picking up anything by Fraction and Aja, but this run especially.

– Shareca Coleman

EXCALIBUR by Chris Claremont and Alan Davis

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Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

I love comics for a variety of reasons. Some I love because of their storytelling. Others because of sheer imagination. However, if I had to pick a book that fills me with nostalgic happiness, it would be Marvel’s X-Men spinoff, EXCALIBUR.

I started learning about the X-Men through a simplified “character guide” I found as a kid. I knew a few characters already, but my utter favorite was Nightcrawler. However, the guide said he was no longer a main X-Man, but a member of a team called Excalibur. I eventually found a collection of the early issues, and dove right in. It had a dark start; the main X-Men were dead, with only Shadowcat and Nightcrawler left alive. They relocated to England and formed a team with Captain Britain (England’s empowered champion), Meggan (a mystic shapeshifter), and Phoenix (Rachel Summers, Jean Grey’s future daughter).

While the team was born out of tragedy, the writers would carefully and expertly add humor to the book as time went on. The character’s personal issues (Britain’s feelings of inadequacy, Shadowcat and Nightcrawler’s grief over the X-Men, Phoniex’s trauma, and Meggan’s simplistic nature) were always present. At the same time, the book brought in plenty of imagination and humor as well. The team fought across warped dimensions, time, and the streets of London, while also dealing with the strains of living together. Imagine five superheroes all sharing one bathroom! It felt like a book where anything could happen.

EXCALIBUR reminds me of being young but also shaped my love of insane super-stories. I feel it’s why I loved the original TEEN TITANS animated series, as there are a lot of parallels between the two. So even after all this time, EXCALIBUR still puts a smile on my face.

Eric Nierstedt

JUSTICE by Jim Krueger and Alex Ross

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Image courtesy of DC

I often think about what superheroes used to be, versus what they’ve become. In an age long past, they flourished on ten cent pages of disposable children’s entertainment. Despite their longevity, the medium has spent a great deal of time trying to escape the juvenile elements of its history. Superheroes began crossing lines they once held in high esteem, as their foes became more gruesome. Yet, given negative reactions to various properties, it might seem like fans are unsure whether they want their superheroes to be lighthearted or grim. Whenever I see people struggling with this seemingly irreconcilable dichotomy, I remember Jim Krueger and Alex Ross’ JUSTICE.

Set outside the main DCU continuity, the world of JUSTICE is designed with the Silver Age in mind. From the origins and aesthetics of the villains to the classic line-up of the heroes themselves, this series is essentially a modern retelling of a SUPER FRIENDS episode. By portraying itself this way, JUSTICE is able to juxtapose the most kid-friendly era of the genre with some of the most horrific acts of villainy ever put to page. This is the story of the JLA’s greatest defeat, but also their greatest triumph.

The reason I love this book is that it’s a proof of concept. Superhero fans don’t really care if a piece is juvenile or mature; they just want something with substance. This story will make you doubt that the heroes will triumph, and it may ruin the surprise knowing the good guys win once again. Yet how they succeed against these impossible challenges proves that a story can go to dark places and still be fun. Ultimately, JUSTICE makes me happy because it’s everything that makes this genre great.

Ward Williams

“Dark Phoenix Saga” from UNCANNY X-MEN by Chris Claremont, Dave Cockrum, and John Byrne

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Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

There are so many comics that make me happy, but if I had to narrow it down to one particular arc, it would have to be the “Dark Phoenix Saga” from UNCANNY X-MEN. People talk about this arc all the time since it made such a huge impact on the X-Men as a whole. Even though a lot of fans think it’s overrated (which, maybe it is), I personally really love it. It’s pretty bleak, so it might seem weird that I picked it as the comic that makes me happy.

However, for me, “Dark Phoenix Saga” isn’t necessarily just about Jean Grey losing control and ultimately (sort of) dying. I mean, it is obviously about that, but it’s also about Jean transforming into a really unique character — which makes me really happy.

I’m a huge Jean Grey fan. Any comic with Jean in it usually makes me happy. Still, with “Dark Phoenix Saga,” there’s something special. Jean breaks the mold of “typical” female superheroes and becomes something that will define her character for decades. She shakes off her old “Marvel Girl” persona and shows readers that women superheroes don’t always have to be cookie-cutter goody-two-shoes. They can be both villain and hero at the same time.

Jean in “Dark Phoenix Saga” is scary. What happens to her is scary. But life is scary. There is a realness to this cosmic, intergalactic story that resonates with me as a reader. Comics can sugar-coat things, but with Jean and her story, things are rarely sugarcoated. Seeing comics grow and become a genre willing to tell these tough, but inspiring, stories makes me happy.

Peyton Hinckle

SPIDER-GIRL by Tom DeFalco, Ron Frenz, and Pat Olliffe

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Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

Back in the day, I was completely obsessed with SPIDER-GIRL. I started reading Tom DeFalco‘s run on the character a little after Sam Raimi’s first SPIDER-MAN movie came out. So, you can say I was obsessed with all things Spider-Man during that time of my life.

Ultimately, there is an infinite number of reasons as to why SPIDER-GIRL comics continue to make me happy. Firstly, they are always a positive read. May Parker is a funny, witty character who actually has fun saving the world. She never takes her reality too seriously, so her adventures make for some light-hearted tales.

For a kid, that’s enough to get you interested. Her stories made it seem like being a superhero was always a fun adventure. They got me even more captivated by the awe of superheroes.

As a kid, I think I was more inclined to reading Spider-Girl stories rather than Spider-Man ones because I could easily identify with Spider-Girl. At the time, I was in love with Raimi’s movies so reading Spider-Girl gave me hope that a girl like me could climb up walls and shoot webs.

Unfortunately, Spider-Girl’s solo run ended many years ago. Since then, she has made a variety of appearances in some crossover stories. Though, I have always hoped her solo adventures would return to comic book panels (looking at you Marvel).

Until that day comes, I highly recommend her original run to any comic book reader. It’s quirky, refreshing, and reminds us that even in their darkest days, superheroes can have fun doing what they do best.

Maite Molina-Muñiz

THE NEW MUTANTS by Chris Claremont and Bob McLeod/NEW X-MEN by Craig Kyle and Christopher Yost

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Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

Growing up in the ’80s, I was privy to great storytelling in UNCANNY X-MEN. Midway through that wonderful decade, Marvel released THE NEW MUTANTS. This book was so special to me as I was a teenager and those characters were in their teens too.  The writing by Chris Claremont addressed many teen issues, and some not so. I mean, who is going to fight a Demon Bear as a teenager? As THE NEW MUTANTS matured into X-FORCE, the characters were more hard and gritty leaving me without a personal connection to my favorite mutants.

In the early part of Y2K, Marvel created NEW X-MEN. This book brought back the awesomeness of THE NEW MUTANTS from the ’80s. I loved reading about this team. Like THE NEW MUTANTS, this was a new group of mutants discovering their unique abilities amid regular adolescent problems. Although I was no longer a teen, it made me feel like I was back in my parents’ house, in my room, lying on the bed reading a comic with MTV playing music videos. This new book was a must-read as soon as I bought it.  Even when the creative team changed and those lovable mutants were being persecuted and murdered, I STILL had to read this book each month.

When that title came to a close, Marvel released another volume of THE NEW MUTANTS. They were much older now and no longer discovering their powers. I found myself transported to my old bedroom and falling in love with a comic book all over again. My first teen book of discovering oneself has endured through many versions. However, nothing will compare to reading the original series as a teen in the ’80s in my old bedroom while watching classic MTV.

Javier Ruiz

The New 52 JUSTICE LEAGUE #1-6 by Geoff Johns and Jim Lee

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Image courtesy of DC

A comic arc that will always make me happy to read is JUSTICE LEAGUE #1-6 from The New 52. It’s just awesome for more reasons than one.

First off, it’s really cool seeing the League come together for the first time to combat Darkseid. Batman and Green Lantern disliking each other, Superman and Flash outrunning omega beams, Wonder Woman trying ice cream for the first time, Aquaman using a legion of sharks to take out parademons, Vic Stone becoming Cyborg: All of these are amazing and fun moments depicting the Justice League’s first battle and first interaction with one another.

It’s also really cool for a personal reason. The New 52 arc in 2011 was the first time that I started collecting single comic issues in earnest. Sure, I had a couple of collections of Marvel and DC series, but this was the first time where I would go to an actual comic store a couple times a month to get the latest issue. It was a really cool experience, and I would go on to collect other series such as BATMAN, GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY, THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN, and others. However, JUSTICE LEAGUE was the first one, which is why whenever I pick those issues off the shelf, I smile.

Kevin Erdmann

DEADPOOL (1997)  by Joe Kelly and James Felder

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Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

Whenever I want to be comforted by a good comic, I always go back to Joe Kelly’s 33-issue run on DEADPOOL (1997). It’s partly nostalgic and partly because it’s possibly the best take on the character. DEADPOOL #1 was my first comic book, and I read and re-read that issue so much that the cover fell off years ago. Years later, I collected the rest of the run in the DEADPOOL CLASSIC series of TPBs. Whenever I go back to this run, I’m hit by a wave of nostalgia. Suddenly I’m back in 2002 looking at my first comic book in awe. Of course, back then I was probably too young to really appreciate how good this book is.

When Deadpool first appeared, he was basically a Deathstroke rip-off who made some semi-witty banter. Eventually, he got two miniseries in the mid-’90s, by his co-creator Fabian Nicieza and later by Mark Waid, which started to flesh out his character. However, it wasn’t until Wade got his own ongoing series where he really became the regeneratin’ degenerate we all know and love.

Kelly created Deadpool’s main backstory, with Ajax and Dr. Killebrew operating on Wade at a Weapon X-reject facility, torturing him to the brink of death until his healing factor jumpstarted. It was the inspiration for his hit film. Sure, the book may feel a little dated with countless late-‘90s references sprinkled into the mix, but the main plot is legitimately amazing. I recommend it to anyone who wants to read ‘Pool books after seeing the films. I won’t spoil what else happens in it, but it’s one of Wade’s most tragic stories. This quality is why I love this book so much.

Aaron Berkowitz

SILVER SURFER by Dan Slott and Mike Allred

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Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

I recently read through Dan Slott’s SILVER SURFER. For as long as I’ve been a comic book reader, never have I read a more cheerful and outwardly fun comic as this one. This is a book that will leave with numerous stupid grins on your face.

Dan Slott’s SILVER SURFER revolves around the titular hero, as he and his companion from Earth, Dawn Greenwood, set out on an endless stream of adventures through the infinite expanse of the cosmos. They make more friends than I care to count, fight tons of cool creatures and characters, and visit hundreds, if not thousands of worlds. They visit a planet called Euphoria, a world designed to make you happy; it is, in part, creepy and manipulative, but it’s actually one the strongest moments of SILVER SURFER.

Love and Adventure Abound in Dan Slott’s SILVER SURFER!

This series redefines the character of Norrin Radd. It breaks down the serious, sometimes grim façade that he’s worn for so many years by coupling him with Dawn Greenwood, one of the most genuinely likable characters I’ve ever seen. Their relationship sits at the core of Dan Slott’s SILVER SURFER and is one of the most uplifting facets of the story.

The ending of this series is bittersweet but absolutely well-deserved and well-earned. It will ultimately bring a smile to your face as you recount the absolute thrill-ride that author Dan Slott took you on. SILVER SURFER is a gratifying and heartwarming tale that can be re-read dozens of times without ever failing to make you smile. If you’re looking for a “feel-good” comic book, this is one should definitely be on your required reading list.

Matt Attanasio

From Our “Admit You’re Happy” Comics To Yours

What comics make you happy? Let us know in the comments below or on social media!

One Comment

  1. […] you will soon. This comic is sure to take us on a creative ride that we won’t forget. Writers Jim Krueger, Tom Bilyeu, Steve Aoki, Matt Colon, Samantha Levenshus, and Dana Brawer do a phenomenal job of […]

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