6:00am PT by Graeme McMillan
These Black Friday Comic Book Sales Are Surprisingly Good
The very notion of a Black Friday Sale is so familiar now that it provokes apathy as often as not, if only because the idea that prices have been slashed so deep that you must buy now rings false when other sales are just around the corner. That said, digital comics platform ComiXology is attempting to roll back such cynicism with a number of genuinely impressive sales on titles from Marvel, DC and other publishers through Friday that beg to be taken advantage of.
Different publishers have set up different sales on the platform, from DC's "March to Black Friday" offering more than 1,600 collected editions for $4.99 each to IDW offering Transformers collected editions for $5.99, Dynamite cutting prices in half and Marvel dropping the prices of its recent collections up to 78%. With so much choice available, perhaps you need some guidance about what to spend your holiday weekend reading.
Happy to oblige. Even at full price, each of the below would be worth a read.
Action Philosophers: Always wished you could learn about the great philosophers, but could never get excited enough to do it? This book is the solution, thanks to Fred Van Lente and Ryan Dunlavey and the entertaining elasticity they bring to the truth.
All-New Wolverine Vol. 1: The Four Sisters: For those who finished Logan and wished they could see more about X-23 and what she did after Wolverine died, this is the comic you're looking for. For everyone else, you're also looking for this and didn't realize it: Smart, funny and filled with heart, All-New Wolverine is one of Marvel's best comics today.
Batman Vol. 2: I Am Suicide: The second collection of the current Batman series is where it really hits its stride, bringing in established villains as the Dark Knight unpicks his relationship with Catwoman (and his own past) while leading an undercover mission to the nation ruled by the bad guy that once broke his back: Bane.
Black Dog: The Dreams of Paul Nash: The wonderful Dave McKean writes and illustrates this graphic novel based on the real life experiences of surrealist painter Nash during World War I, and the result is something that is beautiful, engaging and unlike anything else you've read recently.
Black Panther: World of Wakanda: Ta-Nehisi Coates teams with Roxane Gay and Yona Harvey to write about the two lovers at the heart of the Black Panther's elite bodyguards in this spin-off from the popular Marvel comic. Sure, the two are unlikely to be front and center in the upcoming movie, but consider this essential grounding in the culture of the African kingdom the Panther rules.
Daytripper: Travel along the many roads not taken in this affecting story about the many deaths of one man, as Fabio Moon and Gabriel Ba unravel his life, telling a memoir in reverse and showing the different paths one's life can take based upon the smallest decisions.
DC: The New Frontier: Arguably the magnum opus of the late, great Darwin Cooke, New Frontier retells the origins of the Justice League as a period piece tied to the dates they first were published. Told with an epic sweep and a sense of style that feels effortlessly charming, it's the perfect book for those who thought Justice League tried too hard.
The Flintstones Vol. 1 and Vol. 2: It still seems unlikely that a revival of the Hanna-Barbera cartoon would turn out to be one of the smartest social and political satires in comics in recent memory, but Mark Russell and Steve Pugh performed a pop culture miracle with this series, slicing open the world around us with a precision and sensitivity Fred and Barney could only dream of.
Hawkeye: Kate Bishop Vol. 1: Anchor Points: Who would've thought that replacing the Hawkeye movie audiences are familiar with with a teenager who has more in common with Veronica Mars than Captain America would work so well? West Coast private eye hijinks revitalize the put-upon archer gimmick with ease in this first collection of the current Marvel comic.
James Bond Vol. 1: Vargr: Straddling versions from movies and novels, the comic book James Bond turns out to be his own beast: cool, calm and deadly, sure, but also with a dry sense of humor and pessimism that wins over those unconvinced that the world needs more British Secret Agents running around. At once classic and contemporary, Vargr brings Bond to comics with a bang.
She-Hulk Vol. 1: Deconstructed: Spinning out of the Civil War II series, Jennifer Walters isn't the She-Hulk she used to be, which transforms this series into a fascinating meditation on trauma and recovery as much as it is a story about a woman who turns into a monster in times of stress. (And yes, those two things might be connected.)
Suicide Squad Vol. 1: Trial By Fire: Now returning to print thanks to last year's movie, the 1980s Suicide Squad series was the best political drama you didn't see on television, with the added bonus of missions that sent its leads to other planets and dimensions. A quasi-forgotten classic, it's well worth revisiting now that superheroes have taken over pop culture.
Transformers vs. G.I. Joe Vol. 1: Given the importance of both properties to Hasbro, it would be expected that a crossover between the Transformers and G.I. Joe would be something taken very seriously and treated humorlessly… which makes this comic, which rewrites and ignores continuity, treating the whole thing as if it was an overblown cosmic Marvel comic book from the 1970s, all the more surprising. It's the fever dream of every kid from the 1980s who smashed his toys together, and it has to be seen to be believed.
The Vision Vol. 1: Little Worse Than A Man: A meditation on family, suburbia and secrecy, Vision is quieter, more beautiful and more disturbing than most Marvel comics, and because of that, one of the best things the company has released in living memory. What happens when the android Avenger builds a family for himself? Things go wrong. What better story to read over Thanksgiving?