Ah, yes, Thanksgiving. The perfect time for turkey, unwanted relatives, and, of course, comics. There is no better way to hide from that awkward family conversation than by burying your face into an amazing comic book. They can help you hide from difficult situations, find a new perspective on the world, or are just plain enjoyable. Here at ComicsVerse, we took the time to find out what comics have made an impact on some of our writers. These are the comics we are thankful for reading. These works have given us a new perspective on the world and we wanted to take the time to say thank you.

So take a seat at our table and check out some comics that we are thankful for!

MARVEL 1602 by Neil Gaiman and Andy Kubert

Eric Nierstedt

There are a lot of comics I’m grateful to have read. YOUNG JUSTICE shaped my childhood, while BATMAN gave me a love of dark heroes. EXCALIBUR demonstrated great teamwork amid some ludicrous battles. However, there is one book above all I am most grateful for — MARVEL 1602.

 

Thankful
Image courtesy of Marvel Comics

This book contains a tremendous amount of value for me. For the unaware, MARVEL 1602 is a tale reimagining the classic Marvel heroes in pre-colonial America. That alone was a huge grab for me. The early days of American life is my favorite time period. Infusing them with super heroics only makes them more amazing to me. It also affected how I viewed characters. I had read DC’s ELSEWORLDS series and enjoyed the idea of reimagining classic characters. MARVEL 1602 was the first time an entire universe had been reimagined. I was fascinated seeing classic characters being re-envisioned for a new time. It showed me how to translate familiar ideas into new mediums.

Most importantly, 1602 introduced me to writer Neil Gaiman. I knew of Gaiman through word of mouth for SANDMAN, but never read any of his works. His imagination in 1602 made me seek out other works, such as NEVERWHERE and GOOD OMENS. The most important book was AMERICAN GODS, which blew me away with its modern use of mythology. It inspired me to write my own novel on gods in modern times, and start shipping it around. So for all those reasons, but mainly the last one, I am grateful for MARVEL 1602.

THIS ONE SUMMER by Mariko and Jillian Tamaki

Mara Danoff

So a good portion of my young-adult life was spent in a little beach town on the Delaware coast. The advertising of this place would go all-in for that whole “American Summer Family-Get Away” aesthetic even during the middle of winter. As such, when I read stories that take place in the summer, I find myself nostalgic for these summers of yore. That nostalgia gets stated when reading comics like THIS ONE SUMMER. Created by Jillian and Mariko Tamaki, this beautiful young adult comic shows the trials and tribulations of growing up. Sometimes, adults don’t always know best. Their flaws exist just as much as any kids.

Nostalgic association for summer aside, I really do think this comic is immensely powerful. At a very basic level, THIS ONE SUMMER tells the story of a girl named Rose growing up. It takes a very “from the perspective of a child” approach to adults. While the reader never finds out a whole lot about Rose’s parents, we learn a lot from how Rose perceives them. Throughout the comic, Rose tries and fails to get her mother interested in doing various outdoor activities with her; she and her friend talk about their changing bodies; they learn new aspects of sex through older kids; and they just generally get into mischief.

Thankful
Image courtesy of MacMillian Publishing.

Yet it’s so heartfelt in how it talks about the themes. At the age the comic’s aimed for, kids are just starting to learn their parents are flawed human beings. Adults don’t always know how to properly handle each situation and will make mistakes too. I think that’s why I like this comic so much and am grateful for this experience; it combines the essence of the perfect childhood summer with the anxieties of growing up. No one ever comes out of life unscathed and you’re not supposed to. Yet just because you start to grow up doesn’t mean these lazy summers end. You now just get the opportunity to enjoy it from a different set of eyes.

KINGDOM COME by Alex Ross and Mark Waid

AJ Zender

While there are a number of comics that are influential for me (RUNAWAYS and MARVEL 1602, for examples), none has had a greater impact than KINGDOM COME by Alex Ross and Mark Waid. Focusing on an alternate future in DC Comics, KINGDOM COME sinks deep into a world where the term “superhero” has been tainted. So-called heroes parade around the streets in flashy costumes, sowing little more than death and destruction in their wake. The old guard (i.e. the Justice League) has retired in the face of this new wave, but a massive failure by the new heroes forces the old to return to the field. What ensues is a battle of flesh and morality that few survive unscathed.

Kingdom Come
Image courtesy of DC Entertainment

I was way too young when I first read KINGDOM COME. It isn’t a decidedly graphic story, nor one unfit for youths. I was just too young to get it. KINGDOM COME is a deep, introspective superhero story, one filled with potent details and moments of philosophical debates. When I first picked up this story, I was drawn to the incredible artistry of Alex Ross, who illustrates this book with a fervor and choreographs epic fight scenes like no one else. In many ways, this story inspired me to learn more about art: to study, understand, and practice the craft.

However, I’m thankful for KINGDOM COME for the ways that it made me see comics. Coming back to the book three years ago, I finally started to grasp the intricacies of this deep story. I grappled with its allusions to morality and to comic book storytelling. And while KINGDOM COME was written for a nineties audience, many of its themes and explorations still hold today. KINGDOM COME was the book that changed my perspective. It made me see that comics weren’t a “kid’s” storytelling medium, thus turning me into a proud fan.

GOD COUNTRY by Donny Cates and Geoff Shaw

Leijah Petelka

It took me a long time to get the first issue of GOD COUNTRY. I wanted to wait until it was all released because I’m not big on waiting. But once I did, I regretted not getting into it sooner. GOD COUNTRY by Donny Cates and Geoff Shaw unintentionally made me cry. I took the story more personal than it had intended by giving a dementia patient his memories back. It hit close to home because I had a family member afflicted with dementia and it’s hard to watch someone you love slowly forget who you are. The story is absolutely amazing, but it also creates a different narrative for dementia victims.

Thankful
Image courtesy of Image Comics

The story centers around Emmet Quinlan and his family. Emmet is an elderly man with dementia and his family is at their wit’s end. Emmet has had violent outbursts that both his family and the police can no longer handle. But when a tornado levels his home, Emmet finds a sword in the eye of the storm that restores his memories. A revived Emmet rises from the debris of his home and tries to rebuild his home and family relationships But gifts are never free. There is an otherworldly creature, perhaps a god, that wants the sword back.

This story is absolutely fantastic. But most importantly, I read it during a time where I had a family member struggling with dementia. Watching Emmet gain his memories is, of course, fictional. But this made me think about what I would do or say if this member regained their memories. Perhaps it’s false hope on my part, but it made me think that maybe things will someday get better. I realize that some things will never be the same, but it’s nice to be in a place where things are different. It provides hope and comfort. And that’s why I’m so thankful for GOD COUNTRY.

FIRESTAR by Tom DeFalco and Mary Wilshire

Justin Alba

I wasn’t one of those people who read comics and thought, “this character is so me!” Instead, I saw my identity in fragments of my favorite X-Men characters. My grandmother — my mother’s mother — and I spent a lot of time together. I felt a tremendous bond between us going back as far as I can remember. Her death impacted me for years. That’s why when I first read FIRESTAR I felt instantly connected to the titular character Firestar, aka Angelica Jones. Like me, Angelica had a close relationship with her grandmother. Like me, Angelica hailed from a middle-class background in the tri-state area (New Jersey for her, upstate New York for me). Angelica bloomed later in life due to her training as a mutant under the tutelage of Emma Frost, the then White Queen of the infamous Hellfire Club.

Thankful
Image courtesy of Marvel Comics

Emma Frost needed an assassin on her Hellions Squad of mutants when she discovered Angelica Jones, beating out X-Men’s Professor Xavier for a chance to become her teacher. Emma stopped at nothing to transform the native and bullied Angelica Jones into the mutant murderer Firestar! She psychologically tortured Firestar. If it wasn’t for Angelica’s relationship with her grandmother before her death, Angelica may not have had possessed the strong moral compass and self-worth necessary to overcome the White Queen’s psychological warfare and defeat her in battle.

1984’s FIRESTAR, by Tom DeFalco and Mary Wilshire, contains every gem that’ll make any X-Men fan smile. From an awkward kiss between Sam Guthrie and Firestar (yes, that Sam Guthrie), to cameos with characters from Xavier, Nightcrawler, the New Mutants, the original Hellions, and the Hellfire Club, FIRESTAR shines as an unsung to-be-rediscovered hero of periphery X-Men comics. Angelica’s sweetness, her personal relationships, and Emma Frost in ultra-megabitch pre-Cyclops’s girlfriend mode make for a miniseries you shouldn’t miss!

Let us know what you think! Are there any comics you’re thankful for having?

And of course, we’re thankful for you, ComicsVerse fans. Happy Thanksgiving!

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