There was a time when comic books were seen as kids’ stuff – something to be consumed, disposed of, and forgotten by the time someone got to their teens. But now, these icons of childhood are big business, the subjects of mega-budget blockbusters that rake in billions at the global box office.
With superhero stories and fantasies now in vogue, there’s been a corresponding demand for the source material, as new fans head out (to comic book shops such as Comic Odyssey for single issues, or stores such as Fully Booked BGC for compilations) to read up or catch up on the origins of their big screen heroes.
Pursuit of Passion presents seven ongoing comic book series that may not have hit the big screen yet, but are packed with enough artistry and craft to power any number of potential blockbusters – the perfect way to kick back and enjoy a quiet day at home.
From writer Brian K. Vaughan and acclaimed artist Fiona Staples comes this galaxy-spanning tale of star crossed love in a time of war, packed with elements of fantasy and whimsy that would give George Lucas a run for his money. Moments of character development and emotion are intermingled with Staples’ remarkable visuals for an award-winning series that is literally unlike anything you’ve seen before.
The publishers scored a major hit with this 21st century update of the classic Archie Comics characters, retooling and revamped for modern audiences to the tune of rave reviews and hitting bestseller lists worldwide. Perhaps the most surprising aspect of the reboot is how natural it all feels, reminding readers why they fell in love with these characters in the first place. With a live action TV show on the way, there’s never been a better time to revisit Riverdale.
A multi-generational tale of vampires making their way secretly through the centuries over different American historical periods, this title by former Batman scribe Scott Snyder is a lovingly rendered take on the traditional bloodsucker mythos. In treating the mythical creatures as real, the ongoing series has drawn praise from no less than horror master Stephen King, who went on to pen several of his own short stories set in the American Vampire universe.
EAST OF WEST
In theory, this science fiction Western set in an alternate reality where humanity’s only hope is the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse shouldn’t work, but in practice, it absolutely does. Writer Jonathan Hickman, no stranger to off-kilter genre stories, imbues his versions of War, Famine, Conquest, and yes, even Death, with distinct personalities that never feel out of place or contrived. With an engaging story, well-drawn characters (literally and figuratively), this is one book well worth picking up.
Written and drawn by the dynamic duo of Budjette Tan and Kajo Baldisimo, this local title features titular character Alexandra Trese in her quest to keep the citizens of Manila safe from the supernatural terrors that lurk in the night. Even if you never grew up on stories of aswang, tikbalang, kapre or duwende, this noir-ish take on Philippine spirits and superstitions is a book that has more than earned its place among the country’s most popular graphic fiction.
THE WICKED + THE DIVINE
Seeing as the original gods of myth and legend were derived from humanity’s hopes, fears, and dreams, it is more than appropriate that they be reimagined along with the times. In this case, the one doing the imagining is writer Kieron Gillen, who depicts a selection of deities forced to contend with current times in new bodies as The Pantheon. With their latest lives based in the present day, the Pantheon have taken on the forms of modern pop idols whose followers are no strangers to following blindly.
The closest thing on this list to a conventional superhero book is also one of the strangest, taking the self-aware android Paul Bettany played in two Marvel movies and placing him in a narrative that directly explores the meaning of being human. Provocative, occasionally disturbing, and more than a little trippy, The Vision is a book that probably won’t be adapted for cinemas any time soon.