What by Who: Runaways by Brian K. Vaughan
So I've decided to make this week a tribute to comics, something you don't really see mentioned a whole lot by lolitas. I've seen posts here and there about gaming or about manga, but that's really apples and oranges. If you've never picked up a comic I guess I can see why. The worlds of the better characters are huge, with histories that span millions of story lines and quite a few alternate dimensions and take backs. It's a confusing world to jump into simply because it tends to require a lot of back knowledge. But that doesn't mean it isn't an amazing media.
For those that don't know much about comics I'll give you a few pointers before pointing you to the series I'm going to recommend very highly. Comics aren't all that much like manga really. There is a difference to the story telling, and to the characters. There are two main flavors of comics to choose from and a good deal of smaller ones you can pick up as well. But chances are if you hear a comic book name and recognize it without being a comic geek you're hearing about Marvel or DC. DC is a little more well known so far as known names go. This is where the epic heroes come from. Think of this as your go to place for modern mythology. Larger than life figures against impossible odds. The villains are ridiculously powerful, the heroes worthy of awe. These are stories all about spectacle and jaws dropping. And Batman brooding.
But as much as I adore some of the DC characters (a martian with a sweet tooth, yes) I have to say that if you're entering the world of comics for the first time you may want to explore Marvel first. This is where you want to go if you like your stories subtly woven in and driven by complex characters. If you like villains that may not exactly be villains all the time, heroes that make mistakes, and complex relationships then this is what you should be looking at.
A great comic to start out with is Runaways. It's part of the entirety of the Marvel universe, but separated from it. You won't need to know how many times Jean has died and come back and who is who's secret identity to understand the story. But if you do know those things then you'll have a few cameos to point out as well. The story is about a group of kids that aren't exactly friends but that find out their parents are super villains. The relationships are complicated. They don't start off as friends but have to learn to be family. With all the craziness that goes with being family. And also, they have to save the world from their parents.
It's not really a story about princesses or frills or fashion or fantasy. It's a story about growing up without giving up yourself in the process. It's a story about the ups and downs of friendships and the difficulty in doing the right thing. I think it's something a lot of people can relate to, and it's just an all around great story to read. The characters are varied, fully formed and act appropriately for their ages. They all have something different to bring to the table, from the brain to the fighter. It's a complex team that falls together and figures out how to deal with it. The kids start out attempting to mimic the superheroes of their world, but in the end they decide to just do what they do and leave the code names to others, which is a very interesting take. And Molly has cute hats.
I'd highly recommend reading though at least the first of the series, though those desiring visual candy should continue into Whedon's story line as well. Time travel makes for pretties.
This is pretty.