(Welcome to Comics Rewind, a weekly column devoted to discovering – or re-discovering – great comics published some time in the past. Here you will find looks back at comics published in every era, from the Golden Age to the Modern Age, as well as retrospectives on the work of important comics writers, lists of “essential” comics, and evaluations of important works, as well as works worthy of a second look or a wider audience. Enjoy!)
I was casting about all week for what I should write about this time out, and other stuff got in the way, most notably the talk on futures studies I was asked to give this morning that I then had to research and outline. I didn’t really have a fully loaded single entry in the pipeline, but then I thought about The Avengers and I realized we are giving a hell of a lot of love to corporate comics this month, aren’t we? So I figured it couldn’t hurt to throw some love to the little guy.
As with all the lists I do here, this is by no means meant to be definitive. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of worthy creator-owned pieces worth checking out, some that have sold hundreds of thousands of copies (like The Walking Dead) and some that have sold almost none. Here are five that really grabbed me.
Cerebus by Dave Sim – The longest English-language comic by a single creative team ever, Cerebus is over 6,000 pages of the adventures of a self-assured aardvark. Yes, that sounds weird, but even in the early issues Cerebus is just badass. He begins as a barbarian trying to make his fortunes, and then becomes so much more. Volume 1 might be a bit hard to dig up, but it’s worth it.
FreakAngels by Warren Ellis and Paul Duffield - FreakAngels is second only to Transmetropolitan in terms of the most ambitious Warren Ellis works. It’s a sprawling but powerfully character-based story set in a world that’s already ended, and starring the people that brought the end about. But the best part is that FreakAngels is completely free to try. It’s all online, all 144 episodes, at FreakAngels.com.
Casanova by Matt Fraction, Fabio Moon and Gabriel Ba - Yeah, I’ve written about this one before, but it’s worth repeating how cool it is. Casanova is among the most out of control sci-fi stories you’ll ever read, and the ride just keeps getting stranger.
Fear Agent by Rick Remender, Tony Moore and Jerome Opena - Another one I’ve written about before, but another simply badass comic.
Saga by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples - I’m cheating here, because this one isn’t really a rewind. It just started a month ago, but Saga is among the most promising comics out there, a sweeping sci-fi story from one of the best comics writers around.