Five comic series to help survive the Holidays

The holiday season is awful. Everything is so loud and smells of pine. There’s tinsel everywhere. The Shopping centres are always overpacked and play nothing but that one Mariah Carey CD. All your friends are trying to do one of those awful “Secret Santa” things, which you just know, regardless of how much effort you put into your gift choice, you will probably get socks or a gift card in return. Worst of all, If you don’t put in an appearance at the annual family gathering, you’ll probably face excommunication. Christmas is all around us and it’s terrible. Sometimes, you just need a break, to just sit down with a hot chocolate and lose yourself in a good, fun read. That’s why, to help fight off the seasonal sillies, I present this list: Five comic series to help survive the Holidays!

The Sixth Gun

Writer: Cullen Bunn. Artist: Brian Hurtt, Tyler Crook, Bill Crabtree.

‘The Sixth Gun’ is probably the best read I’ve had in a while. Part dark fantasy, part wild western, the storyline focuses on six weapons that can bring about the apocalypse. Its two main protagonists, Drake Sinclair (cowboy Hans Solo) and Becky Montcrief (Anne of Green Gables with a gun), have compelling arcs and display a depth of personality and character development that’s not often seen in comics. The supporting cast of allies and enemies are memorable and feel fleshed out. Dialogue often feels punchy and authentic to the setting, and the interactions between cast members always makes for an enjoyable time. This comic is just too good to put down. If the idea of magic guns, ancient spirits, witch doctors, and snake-men interest you, even in the slightest, then you’d be remiss not to check it out.

Secret Six

Writer: Gail Simone. Artist: Dale Eaglesham, Brad Walker, Nicola Scott.

Villain books are often hit and miss; there’s only so many times I can read about Joker or Osborn being bastards before it all grows tiresome. But ‘Secret Six’ is most certainly a hit. Following the adventures of Catman and the gang, the book is everything the suicide squad comics aren’t. focusing on the DC universes criminal underbelly. Often than not, the Six are going up against fellow villains, such as The Society, Vandal Savage, and the Suicide Squad, and it’s a joy to read every time they do. The cast rotates at a few points, but the mainstays, like Catman, Scandal, and Deadshot, are a blast to read, and help draw in the reader. One of the show stealing characters is series mainstay Ragdoll, who’s portrayal as lovable oddball certainly helps give the book a sense of levity and fun that is sorely lacking from most villain books. For me, Secret Six is some of Gail Simone’s best work. Her ability to take d-list villains and henchmen and turn them into characters that readers care about and sympathise with is phenomenal. If you’re a fan of Simone’s other works, or the DC universe in general, give this one a read.

Giant Days

Writer: John Allison. Artist: Lissa Treiman, Max Sarin

I can’t quite put my finger on it, but there is something about ‘Giant Days’ that’s keeps me coming back. Set in an English university town, the book follows 3 young women, vamp kid, Esther, frumpy med student, Susan, and up-beat ray-of-sunshine, Daisy, as they step into the real world. Its content it grounded, not a dragon or superhero in sight. And yet, the slice of life stories are presented in a way that keeps you reading. Perhaps it’s the relatability of it all. We all have that friend or roommate that we can stand, those annoying neighbours we hate, or that job that we loathe but can’t quit. ‘Giant Days’ takes joy in pointing out how bizarre these situations can be. The comedy is pretty solid, and reminds me of T.V. shows like ‘Community’ or ‘Scrubs’ in terms of delivery and pay off. If you’re looking for a good laugh, or just a decent read these holidays, ‘Giant Days’ may just be right up your alley

Hack/Slash

Writer: Tim Seely. Artist: Various.

‘Hack/Slash’ is trashy as all heck, and I love it. The story follows Cassie, horror victim and badass, and Vlad, lovable oaf and killing machine, as they travel from town to town hunting “Slashers”, horrible monsters and fiends from the same vain as Freddy Kruger or Michael Myers. Its tone is extremely self-aware and brings to mind the ‘Re-Animater’ films or the later ‘Chucky’ films (both of whom make appearances in the comic). The writers know how insane the comic premise, and the slasher genre in general are, baring the crazy on its sleeve like a badge of honour, making use of time-tested slasher tropes (the slashers always get a second wind after being put down the first time for example) and peppering in heart felt moments throughout. Its not without its faults, there are moments where the writing falls flat, and there’s enough cheesecake in there to stock a bakery three times over, to the point where it starts to distract to the point of annoyance. But most of that can be overlooked because of just how gosh dang fun it all is. ‘Hack/Slash’ isn’t deep and meaningful, and its not trying to be. It’s enjoyable, and a stupidly fun read.

Alex Alice’s Siegfried Trilogy

Writer: Alex Alice. Artist: Alex Alice.

Theses Inherently mythic and epic about Alex Alice’s adaptation of ‘Der Ring des Nibelungen’. From the first hand painted, watercolour page, you just know that what is about to unfold will stay with you till well after you’ve finished reading. Following Siegfried as he his is raised to slay the great dragon, Fafnir, the trilogy deals with themes of greed, lust, fate, destiny, loss, and love. We are told throughout that the events that unfold are avoidable and yet cannot be changed; that gold and greed, will sway all hearts to its bidding, regardless of if they be immortal or man. While the story is outstanding, the comics main draw is the art. As mentioned before, everything is hand painted, and this gives the book a timeless and almost phantom like quality, it feels like your reading fine art rather than a comic. if you are an art lover, a fan of high fantasy, or just really like swords, then this is one for you.

So that’s the list. Have you own Holiday survival reading list? Pop it in a comment bellow and we can get the conversation rolling. Either way, this has been Hailey McKay for Nerds4LifeBlog, thanks for reading.

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