Comics Are Trying to Break Your Heart #95 by Drew Barth
So. This is being written a few days before the 2020 election, so writing about comics at this point in time is like digging a ditch for the lava to go around Pompeii. But comics still happen, as does this article. But what do you write when, the day this goes live, we’ll be living in a vastly different world? Well, I write about comfort. There’s some comic series that are like a warm bowl of soup in the way they sit in your stomach and just make you feel like things are okay. So, these are three different series to either find some comfort in for a bad day or something to relax with after a long decade these past six months have been.
One of the least controversial statements I can make is that All-Star Superman by Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely is the definitive Superman comic. It asks a simple question: Do you like hope? From there is gives you twelve issues of the labors of Superman before he eventually succumbs to the cellular degeneration that has come from flying too close to the sun. But this is Superman as the best of us—from interviewing Lex Luthor as Clark Kent to giving Lois Lane superpowers for a day to finally getting to say his goodbyes to Pa Kent. This is the alien from Krypton as his most human and is the kind of series that needs to be reread as Morrison and Quitely pack in so much story in a dozen issues
John Allison, Lissa Treiman, and Max Sarin’s Giant Days is that dozen season show we’ve all been wanting to binge-watch. Luckily, it’s a comic series that carries Allison’s signature writing that has made him a staple of the medium for the past twenty years. ButGiant Days is also that series that hearkens back to the simplicity of our college years. I remember starting my undergrad program in 2009 and thinking about how bight and open the world would become. This is a series that lets you follow three friends—Susan, Esther, and Daisy—as they navigate the minutiae of college life and the personal disasters that follow. But the disasters are low-stakes enough where their drama is like that of a normal life—back when we would crave a normal life.
Sometimes I want to cry on my own terms and not when I doomscroll. That’s where Pretty Deadly by Kelly Sue DeConnick, Emma Ríos, and Jordie Bellaire comes in for me. Although I’ve talked about the series at length in the past, I bring it up again because it’s just that good. The daughter of Death playing witness to the tragedies of the Fields family throughout history may not sound like the most comforting read, but the thread that ties this series together is its humanity. There is a goodness at the heart of this series that shines through in the darkest of moments and that’s why I keep coming back to it year after year.
I don’t know what Wednesday is going to look like—you want to hope but then don’t want to be disappointed—but I do like having something that can soften the day just a little bit. I hope we all have stories we can crawl into either as a means of lessening the terror or as a deserved break from the continual nightmare this year has been. These are just a few options, but there’s always more stories out there. I just hope we can keep making good ones.
Get excited. Please.
Drew Barth (Episode 331) is a writer residing in Winter Park, FL. He received his MFA from the University of Central Florida. Right now, he’s worrying about his cat.