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Help Me Pick a Book List

Sex, Violence and ComicsSo this fall, I have been given the opportunity to teach a class of my own design at Duquesne University. I’m calling it “Sex, Violence and Comics,” and in a way, I guess I’ve basically been preparing for this all of my life. I mean, I like sex, I like comics, I like viole… umm wait, never mind. Let’s start over.

Anyway, I’ve been having trouble picking my book list for the class. It’s not that I can’t come up with ideas. It’s that I’ve been thinking about it so long that I have too many ideas. I think it’s kind of unreasonable to have a class full of college sophomores and say “hey, over the next 13 weeks we’re going to read comics. All of the comics ever!” That would probably not work very well. So instead I’m trying to narrow it down a little bit.

I thought about posting the list of texts I’m considering, but that seems like i might influence people unfairly. I have a bunch of criteria in my head that I’m deciding based on. But again, to say the might bias other people’s opinions too.

So instead, I thought it would be fun just to ask people. What comics should I teach this fall? Post your suggestions (as many as you want) and your reasons why I should pick that one(those ones?).

As a little background about the title of the class and what I’ll be teaching. The class will be focusing on comics as literature throughout the 20th century. I’ll mostly be focusing on American books and I’ll be starting with the pulps and then moving up through … now. This means there’s going to be some superhero stuff, and in fact, probably a lot, since that’s been the focus of the industry, but I’m not limiting to that. I want suggestions for superhero stories and I want suggestions for Archie comics and anything in between. As for what I mean by “sex” I am referring to both the condition of being male or female (so books that say something interesting about gender) as well as the activity of sex and or sexuality (so books that say something interesting about fucking). By violence, I mean exactly that. Books need not about contain both sex and violence and they need not be explicitly about either. Mostly I just want suggestions and your thinking about why.

For bonus points you’re also welcome to suggest other texts. I’ll probably use some short stories, maybe a novel, probably a couple films, and almost certainly some scholarly articles (which I’m not really expecting recommendations from anyone except for maybe Nicole, Wayne or Chris because who else besides us are that big of nerds). So if you happen to have a favorite comic-related story in some other media suggest that too and tell me why (this could be anything from Tarzan to American Gods).

Graphic Novels and individual storylines from ongoing series are both acceptable. But give me a specific story (not just “Batman” but “Batman: The Killing Joke”).

No suggestions are bad so let me have them. I’m excited to hear what people say.


193 comments for “Help Me Pick a Book List

  1. May 13, 2016 at 3:31 am

    I’d say any Avatar published title in the past 15 years covers all three criteria. Whether or not they are worth being looked at as ‘literature’ is another topic entirely.

    1. May 13, 2016 at 3:44 am

      Which one and why? The why is really important because I’m trying to sort of judge how people came to the conclusion of what they are suggesting.

      And especially in this case, since I’ve never read Avatar, so I wouldn’t know which one to start with.

    2. May 13, 2016 at 3:54 am

      My familiarity lies with the original Crossed series, and the late 2000’s Night of the Living Dead runs. As I said, their merits as literature are … questionable, at best.

      When I think of ‘comics, sex, and violence’ Avatar always pops in my head because of their uncanny ability to blend the three as tastelessly as possible. It’s ‘murder porn’, for sure, and certainly doesn’t skimp on the … exceptionally inappropriate sexual content. Imagine a world where Eli Roth made pornography. It’s absolutely tasteless, and I won’t lie, their books have a way of making me more uncomfortable than just about anything.

      I have the collected edition of the first Crossed, and singles of MOST of the NotLD runs. I also have every “Lovecraftian” Alan Moore story the imprint has published in singles, if you want to borrow any of them.

  2. May 13, 2016 at 3:42 am

    Um… neil gaiman American gods…do I really need to explain?

    1. May 13, 2016 at 3:45 am

      Yes, because of what I just said to Matt above. Why do you think this one?

      I know, it was my example, but why do you think it. I especially want to know on this because I’m wavering over the whole “using NON-GRAPHIC novels” thing

    2. May 13, 2016 at 3:49 am

      Didn’t read through to your comment before commenting. Let this momma get some sleep and really think and comment….also can’t do a comic class without some sailor moon… cause every little akward skinny girl has to have a role model; )

  3. May 13, 2016 at 3:48 am

    Since it’s kind of prevalent at the moment, what if you read early Captain America, not so much for the “origin” story as a story, but more in historical context as to what was going on in the world at the time. And punching Hitler.

    1. May 13, 2016 at 3:50 am

      I taught Elektra: Assassin this winter in my Superhero Comics course. It’s ideal for everything you’re trying to cover.

    2. May 13, 2016 at 8:30 am

      Hmmm. Early cap was one of the ones I hadn’t considered at all.

    3. May 14, 2016 at 3:09 am

      Early Thor and Cap have some pretty archaic racism too

    4. May 14, 2016 at 8:21 am

      That they do… Certainly by current day standards. This is true of a lot of golden and silver age stuff. Blatant misogyny too.

  4. May 13, 2016 at 3:58 am

    You need to pick a graphic novel and a txt novel… have them compare and contrast. Also w8th it being “comics” are you going to go into the diffrent drawing styles… cause each style reflects emotion etc diffrently. Ya know?

    1. May 13, 2016 at 8:31 am

      I actually do the compare and contrast thing in my regular class all the time (ended last semester on watchmen)

      Yes… We will be addressing stylistic changes in art on overall narrative.

  5. May 13, 2016 at 4:11 am

    I’m going to recommend “I Kill Giants” by Kelly and Niimura. It’s definitely a violent comic, though the violence is of a fantastic/imaginary kind. It’s about a young girl trying to deal with terrible things in her life, by escaping into a violent fantasy world.

    1. May 13, 2016 at 4:23 am

      I Kill Giants is really good.

    2. May 13, 2016 at 4:26 am

      Yeah. It’s really, really good.

      I understand it’s being made into a film (though you never know with such things, the film industry has a tendency to go halfway on projects, then stop).

    3. May 13, 2016 at 8:33 am

      I’ve not read it. Perhaps I will stop by my friendly neighborhood comics shop on my way home today if only I could magically know just by commenting here if it were in stock.

    4. May 13, 2016 at 8:55 am

      LOVE this comic.

    5. May 13, 2016 at 8:56 am

      It’s gonna be a bit tamer than the rest, thogh. More like a young adult type book. But it IS excellent.

    6. May 13, 2016 at 9:15 am

      Tame is fine. I mean, we’re doing Archie. It’s just that everyone making suggestions are horrible psychopath perverts. πŸ˜‰

    7. May 13, 2016 at 10:01 am

      I’m not a psychopath. πŸ˜‰

  6. May 13, 2016 at 4:12 am

    You’ll probably want to cover Kevin Keller, the first gay character in Archie Comics, who even had his own title for a while.

    1. May 13, 2016 at 8:33 am

      Yep. That’s one of the things on my list.

  7. May 13, 2016 at 4:17 am

    The play Men of Steel by Qui Nguyen.

    1. May 13, 2016 at 8:36 am

      Hmmm… I’ve not read it. But I am immediately impressed by the cover art and description on Amazon. Is there a streaming production of it online somewhere that you are aware of?

    2. May 13, 2016 at 8:37 am

      Look up Vampire Cowboys Theatre and see if they have anything on YouTube for it. They’re very inspired by comics (one of my dissertation chapters was on them).

    3. May 13, 2016 at 8:42 am

      Ok… Will check when I’m at home. Stupid day job ruining all of my super important comic book research time!

      (You know, it’s kind of awesome that that wasn’t sarcasm in my case)

  8. May 13, 2016 at 4:22 am

    We’ve talked about Love and Rockets… the problem is narrowing it down to a specific story arc. Sex, violence, gender identity… it’s all there. I’ll get back to you with a specific recommendation. Are you going to use any Strangers in Paradise? I know you’re a fan.

    1. May 13, 2016 at 4:24 am

      If it’s Love and Rockets, it has to be one of the early “Sopa” arcs.

    2. May 13, 2016 at 8:40 am

      L&R I feel like NEEDS to be addressed. I’m still deciding on what. SIP I sorta want to use, but it’s tricky since they’re not self contained. Like there’s parts of L&R that you can just segment off… SIP, you can maybe understand volume 1 in a vacuum, but everything else, especially the stuff that gets cooler and experimental later, and all the stuff that really dives into the bi-poly love triangle (octagon) and deconstructs how relationships and sexuality work would be really hard to understand.

  9. May 13, 2016 at 4:34 am

    I would recommend StarMan… By James Robinson, but the problem is what arc, as they all deal with equal parts of what you are looking for, but perhaps the second meeting of Jack and Mist is an interesting topic. It deals with violence, actual male rape and consequences of the violence…

    1. May 13, 2016 at 4:37 am

      Of course there is the arc where the 70’s Starman considers his sexual identity too.

    2. May 13, 2016 at 2:05 pm

      Oh. I missed this one when I was commenting at work. Starman is another thing that I think is hard to read with no context. That’s one of the things that makes this hardest.

    3. May 13, 2016 at 2:30 pm

      Chris Maverick that’s fair. But if you ever do decide to include it, I have the first omnibus hardcover volume of you need to borrow it.

  10. May 13, 2016 at 4:44 am

    Since it’s premiering on AMC next week Preacher is an option. Lots of sex and violence there.

    1. May 13, 2016 at 4:45 am

      Wayne, was gonna mention Hard Boiled by Miller/Darrow… πŸ˜‰

    2. May 13, 2016 at 4:57 am

      I haven’t read all these comments since I’m at work… But I just saw the notification on this one.

      I’ve been considering Preacher back and forth. Part of me thinks it’s perfect. And I’ve been given carte blanche to do whatever I want. But it’s still a catholic school and I’m wondering if the kids would explode.

      But I mean…. They read Milton in classes. And Dante. Not *exactly* the same….

    3. May 13, 2016 at 5:00 am

      Preacher is violent, yes, and contains sex, yes — but it seems to me that it is much less about sex and violence than it is about faith and humanity. As such… it may be ill-suited for the subject.

    4. May 13, 2016 at 7:05 am

      i have a friend who won’t watch Lucifer because he’s religious. so y’know, some of their heads might explode

    5. May 13, 2016 at 7:09 am

      Yeah. But that said, unlike my regular class this one is voluntary and they knew the title when they signed up. Still… “Sex and violence” doesn’t mean “we’re going to kill God”

    6. May 13, 2016 at 7:12 am

      Jenn Bakal I am hopeing you were not making a blanket statement there, as I am religious (prefer the term Spiritual, because religious sounds like a robotic function and my belief is more a lifestyle for me) and am very capable of reading and enjoying a lot of subjects. And I have many like minded friends who are the same with comics and the entertainment medium.

    7. May 13, 2016 at 7:15 am

      I think Preacher started out as being about faith and humanity, but end up being about sex violence. I’m not really that big a fan of the series, but thought it should at least be addressed here. I think the series would have been much stronger if it had dialed back the elaborate dick and fart jokes and it’s puerile attacks on religion (and I say that as someone who likes dick and fart jokes and is not very religious). It just seemed to be an excuse to be offensive and whatever deeper issues that were being addressed got muddled, for me at least, by the nonsense.

    8. May 13, 2016 at 7:16 am

      Wayne Wise ah Ennis… Lol…

    9. May 13, 2016 at 7:17 am

      Yeah… for someone who isn’t religious he spends an awful lot of time commenting on it, which says to me he’s not as free of its influence as he thinks he is.

    10. May 13, 2016 at 7:37 am

      Jason R Bender i certainly didn’t mean it blanketly since i also said “some” of their heads might explode. but i pro’ly should have said “because of his religious beliefs.” i think it makes him uncomfortable seeking the devil for any purposes but i do not actually know the specifics

    11. May 13, 2016 at 7:38 am

      Jenn Bakal I figured you didn’t mean it in a blanket sense, just wanted to ask… Lol… No worries… πŸ™‚

  11. May 13, 2016 at 4:51 am

    Watchmen and V for Vendetta both hands have plenty to say about gender roles and sexism.

    1. May 13, 2016 at 8:43 am

      Both under consideration. But I don’t want the class to be too Moore heavy. (Or Miller)

    2. May 13, 2016 at 9:04 am

      What about the arc “A Doll’s House” from Sandman?

      Also emphasizes gender quite a bit, what with the trans character and the drag queen.

    3. May 14, 2016 at 3:54 am

      And I almost forgot Barbie and Ken.

  12. May 13, 2016 at 4:53 am

    Hard Boiled by Miller/Darrow.

    Lady Snowblood.

    1. May 13, 2016 at 8:46 am

      I’ve not read Lady Snowblood. So this is another one where I’m very interested in the pitch of “why?”

    2. May 13, 2016 at 8:48 am

      She is an undercover assassin in feudal Japan, but has gone undercover in brothels and using her body to get the job done before. It’s very violent and also plays with identity and at times different themes of sexuality. Kazio Koike of Lone Wolf and Cub is one of the creators.

      It mixes all topics and sometimes in the same instinct, as well as experiments with storytelling and art at times also…

  13. May 13, 2016 at 5:02 am

    I taught Elektra: Assassin this winter in my Superhero Comics course. It’s ideal for everything you’re trying to cover.

    1. May 13, 2016 at 8:48 am

      That one definitely occurred to me. I saw it on your syllabus too and it totally is a good pick. But I’m leaning heavily towards using Sin City, and again, I don’t want to do too much Miller (or anyone else).

      On the other hand, it would surprise me if a lot of them are fans of the Netflix show, so doing Elektra as well might be interesting to them.

    2. May 13, 2016 at 4:01 pm

      I’d go with Elektra: Assassin over Sin City because of Bill Sienciewicz’s art, which blows the lid off the genre. Also, there’s more to do in terms of gender analysis, especially the way the art sometimes undercuts the text, lampooning the male character who would otherwise appear fascistly heroic like the heroes of Sin City.

    3. May 13, 2016 at 6:42 pm

      Now see, that’s what makes this such an interesting discussion right there!

      I agree with you on Sienkiewicz’s art (no surprise, I think we’ve discussed him in regards to one of your blog posts) and since I agree with you (more or less… this would be a hugely complex discussion that might be worthy of… you know… this class) on the the treatment being in tension with the fascist masculinity of Sin City. Yet, for that very reason I end up falling on the other side of the line. It makes me think Sin City is the better call because more than anything else, it highlights that view of masculinity.

      So if I had to choose one and only Miller book I’d go the other way (I also am trying to take as many chances on non “superheroes” as possible… since it’s going to be superhero heavy in other places and this is a place I could certainly do that).

      I mean, of course I DON’T have to choose just one. That was a completely arbitrary rule, and I might very well do both. That’s one of the things that has been hardest about this. Too many potentially good choices. It’s sort of an embarrassment of riches situation. One thing I am considering is having my “recommended/optional reading” section be like 25 books and students have to each pick one that they will do their project on and lead a shorter class discussion.

  14. May 13, 2016 at 5:03 am

    Do they have to be 20th Century Books? The new Wonder Woman Earth One book was excellent and has a lot of the elements you’re talking about.

    1. May 13, 2016 at 8:49 am

      I have that. I haven’t read it yet. And no, they don’t have to be any particular thing. It’s my class. I can do what I want. What were you thinking from pre-20th?

      (Or did you mean WW because it’s post 20th?)

    2. May 13, 2016 at 8:58 am

      I meant Wonder Woman because it was new. I like some of the other picks in this thread. Maybe Id suggest the first couple SWAMP THING trades of the Alan Morre, Steve Bissett, and John Tolteben run as each issue was a “theme” that deals with a lot of issues with sex and relationships. ALSO the beginning volumes of NEXUS from Mike Barron and Steve Rude but that is a lot of material.

  15. May 13, 2016 at 5:03 am

    Jason beat me to it, but Watchmen seems like the obvious choice for the class. It practically defines sex and violence in comic books. Kick Ass is also a good choice. The best part is that both comics have a movie adaptation, which allows you to make comparisons between the two types of media.

    1. May 13, 2016 at 8:51 am

      Yeah…Watchmen is definitely on the maybe list. I’ve just taught it a couple times already so it might not make it just out of a personal need for variety.

      Plus, I’m almost certainly using Killing Joke and as I said elsewhere, I kinda want a variety of authors.

  16. May 13, 2016 at 5:06 am

    Also, if you want to air a full movie, I suggest “Chasing Amy.” The fictional comic books that appear in the movie are ripe for discussion in a topic like this and the movie itself is a huge commentary on sexuality.

    The other movie I would suggest is Clockwork Orange. The violence in it is so visceral, it creates a good starting point for discussing how violence is portrayed in other medium.

    1. May 13, 2016 at 8:53 am

      I’m not going too much into film theory on the level I’d have to in order to deal with Clockwork Orange.

      Chasing Amy is interesting though. I hadn’t considered it. But I do want to do a unit on the comic book subculture and that’s actually a very interesting artifact that relates both to comics and obviously to sexuality.

  17. May 13, 2016 at 5:06 am

    If you can find them: “The brat pack” (deconstructionist), “Cherry” (blatant porn/satire), “Samuree” (late 80s non-big two progenitor of the 90s badgirl book)…and then the obvious ones like “lobo” & “the demon”…grell’s “the longbow hunters” goes without saying…maybe “miracleman”…definitely”the spirit”…anything EC…and milo manera’s entire body of work

    1. May 13, 2016 at 8:58 am

      Cherry I’m thinking of going into. I probably won’t spend too much time on it, but I definitely want to deal with porn comics for at least a day or two. Manera might fit in there too…

      I’m definitely doing at least something from EC. Probably a Tales From the Crypt or two, just for name recognition.

      I don’t know Samuree. Or maybe I do and I just don’t remember. But I definitely want to deal with the Bad Girl and Good Girl crazes. I was thinking more of Vampirella and Femforce and then … Anything from Awesome Entertainment. πŸ™‚

      You know, I hadn’t thought of Longbow Hunters at all. And that’s kinda perfect.

  18. May 13, 2016 at 5:13 am

    Black Cat / Spider-Man: The Evil That Men Do

    This 6 part mini-series is damn hard to read because it doesn’t pull any punches when it comes to rape, which is what makes it a good choice. It approaches the topic with open eyes, making a statement in a format that reaches people who otherwise might not be reached.

    1. May 13, 2016 at 9:00 am

      Good series. I might have a optional/recommended reading section as well and that might be a good fit for it.

      As for the issue of rape, as I said elsewhere, almost certainly doing the Killing Joke, so….

  19. May 13, 2016 at 5:15 am

    Well you already mentioned the super obvious answer already “The Killing Joke” and I’ll echo Wayne’s answer of Preacher which would also be timely with the new TV series and all. Another obvious answer in my opinion with a TV tie-in would be Alias (and really probably anything from Marvel Max, but especially Alias). Less well known but also good options would be Rat Queens and Bitch Planet. I don’t know specific storylines to point you to in those, but they’re both newer lines with only a few issues.

    1. May 13, 2016 at 5:20 am

      Rat Queens and Bitch Planet are both good choices.

    2. May 13, 2016 at 9:03 am

      Alias was another thing I was considering… Especially in light of the JJ TV show. That will almost certainly make it at least to my optional/recommended list.

      I’ve actually never read Rat Queens or Bitch Planet, but I’ve heard good things and I’ve been meaning to. Do any of the three of you have opinions on an arc of either that would be appropriate here?

  20. May 13, 2016 at 5:24 am

    This is going to come out of left field, but I would also include some Calvin & Hobbes comic strips. There is a lot of violence in Calvin & Hobbes, but it is depicted with kid gloves.

    For example, Calvin often falls down large hills / off cliffs and ends up badly hurt. There are also fade to black moments with the school bully Moe.

    And then there is the violence that occurs in Calvin’s mind’s eye, sometimes reflecting what is happening in the real world. No, he isn’t subjected to abuse (best I can tell), but he envisions a world that is sometimes more violent than reality and sometimes less violent than reality (see his crying outburst when he visits the principal).

    It is a comic that deals with violence in a very different way than action comics do.

    1. May 13, 2016 at 9:05 am

      That’s not out of left field at all. I said there’d be non superhero stuff and C&H was one of my top contenders.

    2. May 13, 2016 at 6:37 pm

      C&H also deals with the way we gender children and make it difficult for them to connect, and how shared fantasy play can erode those barriers

    3. May 13, 2016 at 6:43 pm

      yep. Calvin is kind of perfect in that respect.

  21. May 13, 2016 at 5:28 am

    “V for Vendetta” seems like a pretty obvious choice.

    1. May 13, 2016 at 9:05 am

      Definitely a good pick. It was on my maybe list.

  22. May 13, 2016 at 5:32 am

    The first one that comes to mind is Y: The Last Man, for kind of obvious reasons, I think. Suicide Squad, although I’m not sure which version/arc. Maybe the New52 stuff, because of the focus on Harley? The Sandman: The Doll’s House, which I think has a lot of things to say about the intertwining of sex, gender, and violence. (I’m thinking of Ken & Barbie’s dreams, of Nada taking her own virginity with a stone, the serial killer convention, and Desire’s ability to be male or female or whatever, and its rape of Unity).

    1. May 13, 2016 at 9:08 am

      I’ve read some Y but not enough. Good pick if I familiarize myself more with it though.

      My problem with Sandman is I don’t feel like it’s self-contained enough. I’ve often said that if I was going to teach Gaiman I’d use Death: The High Cost of Living because you can read it without knowing anything else. I’m not sure if that works for this or not… MAYBE…

    2. May 13, 2016 at 9:24 am

      Y is a good choice.

    3. May 13, 2016 at 6:38 pm

      Chris Maverick Yes, that’s an issue with Sandman. I *think* A Doll’s House is self-contained enough to work, but I’m not sure.

  23. May 13, 2016 at 5:32 am

    Sin City… Any of the volumes… But Family Values does touch upon the consequences of violence as well as gender roles and though there is not overt sex in it, it does have ideas that are interesting.

    1. May 13, 2016 at 9:09 am

      Hmmm…. See I’m considering Hard Goodbye. I also thought about Big Fat Kill.

      Why Family Values?

    2. May 13, 2016 at 9:20 am

      Chris Maverick I just like that the villains didn’t consider ‘collateral’ with their ‘business’, and the girl who was murdered’s (that Dwight and company know) lover shows up, they still are unforgiving, and even degrade her for a) being a prostitute and b) a lesbian… Then… It is like Miller is also challenging us in a sense as, do we agree her killing them is justified and do we empathize, thus becoming a pro-violence kind… It’s very very subtle… But I also know he (Miller) likely would side with Daisey and Dwight.

      Dunno, just like the role violence and how some view roles and sexuality work too… But yeah the ones you mention may be more overt for what you are thinking…

  24. May 13, 2016 at 5:38 am

    The “Heartbreak Soup” or “Death of Speedy” story lines in Love and Rockets.

    1. May 13, 2016 at 5:40 am

      Also, I’m assuming you’ve read these and if you haven’t it’s well past time.

    2. May 13, 2016 at 9:12 am

      I have Heartbreak Soup. I don’t think I have Death of Speedy. I’m actually not a big L&R fan. I recognize their importance, and will probably do one of them (in fact, I think Wayne recommended both of those stories when we spoke about this offline).

    3. May 13, 2016 at 9:23 am

      we’ll talk in the store or pm… I have some thoughts about which L&R stories (and yeah, both of the ones mentioned here are high on my list).

    4. May 13, 2016 at 9:30 am

      I knew I liked Wayne for a reason. πŸ™‚ There are other story arcs which I think are more compelling but I mentioned these because they’re relatively easy to find, are seen by many as the ‘best’ of each of the Hernandez Bros, and mostly self contained. If you are making a choice between the two I’d probably go with Death of Speedy as it touches on your themes but in a non-fantastical way. It’s pretty good way of showing how the medium can be used to present engrossing stories without the use of standard comic book tropes.

  25. May 13, 2016 at 5:51 am

    Dark Knight, to emphasize Miller’s assholery. Or 300. Same deal & both have film adaptations.

    1. May 13, 2016 at 5:53 am

      I’m just assuming you’ll have lots of early Batman & Robin strips, etc. So, you know, low-hanging fruit.

    2. May 13, 2016 at 9:13 am

      300 is a good idea. With Miller I was considering Sin City though. Very different stories though and it might be worth looking into.

      And since I’m almost certainly doing Killing Joke, I’ll probably not do Dark Knight. Don’t need that much Batman.

  26. May 13, 2016 at 6:19 am

    So, I’m going to throw out some more modern stuff, and try to cover the “not superhero” demographic as best as I can. I’ll do my best to give a why, but I’m trying to avoid writing a wall of text. πŸ™‚

    Batman: The Long Halloween – For its influence on the Christopher Nolan batman films, it’s also not as predictable of a book to read as The Killing Joke.

    Batwoman: Elegy/Gotham Central: Half a Life – For the debut of prominent Lesbian characters in the DC universe. They’re also super good stories with fantastic art, Batwoman particularly with JH Williams III who is a fantastic example of panel layout. It’s a book that changed how I viewed the medium of storytelling in comics. Half a Life was a very powerful arc when it came out, and I think it won an award or two.

    Ms. Marvel (Kamala Khan, Any TPB, Probably the 1st) – Important character and it’s a book that shows that comics are expanding towards a broader audience. Also, I may be wrong, but I recall this book having phenomenal Digital sales, which also showed a shift in the industry.

    Criminal (Any TPB, Probably the 1st) – To show that the pulp/noir genre is still around in modern times and how it has changed/adapted if at all.

    Bitch Planet (1st TPB) – As an example of how comics can be used to discuss important topics like feminism, prison industrial complex, etc.

    Lumberjanes/Squirrel Girl/Gotham Academy/Patsy Walker: Hellcat by Kate Leth (1st TPBs) – An example of how the All-Ages medium has found a bit of a resurgence lately these past few years.

    Sex Criminals (Any TPB) – As an example of how comics can be used to help people understand things about people different from themselves. The comic delves into everything and anything about sexuality, gender identity, etc. While the letters pages aren’t included, I’ve also found those particularly compelling because of all the people who write in and share their stories. In the 3rd TPB (not out yet I think) there was an entire story about asexuality told from an ace’s perspective and the letters that poured in about people feeling legitimized by the story brought a few tears to my eye. tl;dr, Sex Criminals is a powerful series once you get past the quirky surface level of it all, and I think it’s helping a lot of teens/early 20s individuals figure things out about themselves.

    That’s all I got so far, hope this was helpful.

    1. May 13, 2016 at 9:57 am

      Definitely helpful. Thanks. And great justifications. Sex Criminals is another one that I have definitely been considering. But like several others, it has the problem that it’s an ongoing series that isn’t very self-contained. I love it, but I don’t know where I could break it that it would make sense.

  27. May 13, 2016 at 6:53 am

    V for vandetta

    1. May 13, 2016 at 10:11 am

      Definitely being considered. Other than the problem of “too much Moore”

    2. May 13, 2016 at 10:51 am

      shush there’s never enough moore also dark knight returns

    3. May 13, 2016 at 10:59 am

      Well, it’s an intro class. I want them to have a variety of different story types, creators, genres, etc…

    4. May 13, 2016 at 11:00 am

      yeah any wonder woman comic might work to as a foundation

  28. May 13, 2016 at 7:09 am

    Omaha the Cat Dancer πŸ™‚ ’cause sex. and extra “genders”

    1. May 13, 2016 at 7:09 am

      if you can put stuff on reserve at the library for them, i might be willing to lend you my set

    2. May 13, 2016 at 7:10 am

      i was considering the animal type to be a gender aspect

    3. May 13, 2016 at 7:11 am

      but it’s been a while so maybe irrelevant

    4. May 13, 2016 at 7:11 am

      I have a full set. But thanks.

    5. May 13, 2016 at 10:01 am

      As I think I mentioned on an earlier content. I actually do intend to address porn comics on one or two days. So perhaps a chapter or two of Omaha will go into that.

  29. May 13, 2016 at 7:40 am

    This isn’t a book, but I saw this on Netflix recently and could be an interesting in class movie perhaps.

    1. May 13, 2016 at 7:40 am

      I didn’t know about this… Thanks, Mikey!

    2. May 13, 2016 at 7:45 am

      Wayne: that’s actually Mike Wood not Mikey Wood. And yeah, they confuse me every time either of them posts anything.

    3. May 13, 2016 at 7:46 am

      He’s infinitely cooler and more likeable than I am.

    4. May 13, 2016 at 7:46 am

      Oops… Sorry Mike! Thanks all the same, though!

    5. May 13, 2016 at 7:46 am

      wait… there is another? πŸ˜› I could start my own Orphan Black. πŸ˜€

    6. May 13, 2016 at 8:49 am

      Ha! I just watched this last night! Insightful. The subtitles are tough to read though.

    7. May 13, 2016 at 10:09 am

      I’m probably going to try to watch it tonight. Might be a good thing to show in class. Especially if it’s still on Netflix.

    8. May 13, 2016 at 10:11 am

      It’s on here North of the Trump wall. Not sure if in the US still.

    9. May 13, 2016 at 10:31 am

      Aw, man…you live in CANADA?

      He’s also luckier than I am.

    10. May 13, 2016 at 10:32 am

      I once kinda knew a Mike Wood from Canada. Mutual fan if the band Moxy Fruvous.

    11. May 13, 2016 at 10:40 am

      Pretty sure there is a third one of us then. πŸ™‚ I know of Moxy Fruvus and one of the band members was the president of the student council when I was at York University in Toronto.

    12. May 13, 2016 at 10:42 am

      Fun band.

  30. May 13, 2016 at 8:10 am

    I haven’t actually read it myself, but I’ve seen LOTS of internet discussions regarding these themes for The Killing Joke. It seems like that could be one to start intense discussions.

    1. May 13, 2016 at 10:09 am

      Yep. That one is almost certainly going to make the cut on the list.

  31. May 13, 2016 at 8:39 am

    I’ve been reading the Rat Queens graphic novels lately. The Rat Queens are an all female D&D type adventuring party. So, it’s interesting if you want to see the women do everything on their own. πŸ™‚

  32. May 13, 2016 at 8:50 am

    Saga and Sex Criminals falls into this category well I think!

    1. May 13, 2016 at 8:52 am

      Rat Queens too. second’d.

    2. May 13, 2016 at 10:10 am

      Good suggestions, with caveats as detailed on other comments.

  33. May 13, 2016 at 8:59 am

    Well, I’d second stuff like Baker Street and the Starman story Jason suggested. I guess part of this is wondering about your approach – there’s lots to suggest, but may not fit with your overall theme. And some things might be good for content but not spectacular for quality. Ultra: Seven Days deals with sex and violence (and even stuff like what happens when a superpowered woman sleeps with an ordinary guy”), but it’s not necessarily outstanding for writing. The Wonder Woman else worlds Amazonia might be interesting – or even Speeding Bullets (where he has to renounce violence in order to become Superman). You might also consider the Buffy/Spike relationship as sex and violence (she’s “powered” – although I’ll spare you my diatribe on the whole thing). As for a short story, I recently taught “Lust” by Susan Minot which might be an interesting addition. I’m currently teaching Handmaid’s Tale, but that probably goes off in a different direction. I’ll think about it some more and see if I can suggest a few articles to go with this.

    1. May 13, 2016 at 10:13 am

      Ultra is a really interesting choice. So are all of them… But Ultra intrigues me. I might have to seriously consider that.

      Also, I’ve not read Lust. Maybe I’ll look that up tonight too. And yes, any articles would definitely be appreciated.

  34. May 13, 2016 at 9:13 am

    The Dark Phoenix Saga can be read as Jean being punished through violence for her sexuality (meanwhile Scott will proceed to have a series of romantic interests because why would a man be punished for his sexuality?).

    1. May 13, 2016 at 10:13 am

      Oooooh! Yes, that is a good argument that I hadn’t considered. That might be worth putting on the recommended/optional list even if I don’t pick it.

  35. May 13, 2016 at 10:00 am

    Brandon already mentioned this above, but I feel it needs more emphasis. To me the first volume of Bitch Planet would be an absolute must for a class like that. There are a lot of comics that I could imagine including and being very productive and worthwhile for discussion and understanding, but Bitch Planet is the only one that I can think of that I would feel you’d definitely made the wrong decision if you omitted it. It’s both a specific commentary on gender roles and violence and I think it’s the most feminist thing I’ve ever read, so it’s nice to have something which is coming at things from that specific angle.

    People have suggested Preacher, I have to say that if I were to include one Garth Ennis title, it would be The Boys. (Available as part of the Garth Ennis HumbleBundle which is going on right now.) It’s a very specific riff on superheroes seen through the lens of violence and sexual perversion.

    The other one that I would consider that no one has mentioned is Scott Pilgrim.

    1. May 13, 2016 at 10:15 am

      Good arguments for BP and Ennis.

      I was considering Scott Pilgrim already. I was kinda surprised that no one had mentioned it.

  36. May 13, 2016 at 10:15 am

    A lot of the suggestions are focused on “stuff that’s good, and that is about sex and/or violence.” Which is awesome. Another angle would be to discuss the broader picture of how the comic book industry/medium relates to sex and violence in society over time. In which case, I would think you want to go way back and have the kids read EC horror comics and old pulps, and then look at the development of the Comics Code and the moral/economic purpose behind it, which led to the dominance of superheroes. An interesting transition would be to look at the development of, say, Batman. He starts off as a straight up rip-off of The Shadow (uses guns, kills people, stalks the night, etc.), then becomes (through the addition of Robin) a wholesome superhero, and then eventually (in the 70s and 80s) becomes again a grim/dark avenger of the night. Trying to trace the larger societal and economic factors that caused this sort of thing would be interesting, and *then* if you read something like Watchmen it has a historical grounding that adds another level of depth. I say all this not having done the actual legwork of reading all that crap, and I suspect a lot of it is pretty terrible/virtually unreadable by modern standards. But it would be interesting! (Another interesting idea: read early Wonder Woman and discuss the BDSM ideas behind her…)

    1. May 13, 2016 at 10:20 am

      That’s actually very much what I’m looking to do. We will specifically be talking a lot about Seduction of the Innocent and the CCA. I’ll probably even give them a chapter or two to read of SotI. No one should be forced to read all of SotI. Hell, I doubt I know anyone else who has read it, even Wayne, Nicole and Chris (the nerds I mentioned in the post). It’s quite ridiculously amazing.

      But yes, it’s not specifically “Hey, here’s a book where people fuck and then someone gets shot” it’s “why do we read the 40s Dick and Bruce relationship as queer when we view it today and how did we move from that to Killing Joke?”

    2. May 13, 2016 at 10:25 am

      Oh, by the way, did you watch Gaycation, the Ellen Page documentary on Vice? In the Japan episode she talks to “rotten women” who are straight women who are fans of gay-male erotic manga. Probably way too niche to focus on for the class, but might be an interesting side-assignment or something…

    3. May 13, 2016 at 10:27 am

      No! I have not. I remember seeing her promote it on some talk show and thinking “I need to watch this” and then immediately forgetting about it the second the episode was over.

  37. May 13, 2016 at 11:16 am

    At work so not completely well-thought out or even lucid suggestions:
    -Adventures of Cavalier and Klay. Fiction about comic book writers during the Golden Age. Deals with some historical placement, and sex and violence, if I remember right it does something with publishing standards too.
    -Crumb comics. Not versed enough to say a specific one for a rationale, but something to consider based on what I know of them. Just looking at them makes one feel dirty, not by content necessarily, but stylistically.
    – Click by Milo Manara. Body control via essentially a remote control leads to sex and violence. But was also considered higher art as opposed to Crumb.

    1. May 13, 2016 at 12:29 pm

      Again, at risk of losing cred. I never finished Cavalier and Klay. I tried like 3 or 4 times and I just couldn’t get invested in it. Which is odd because I love Chabon in general. I should try again at some point. But not teaching it if I can’t get through it myself.

      Crumb stuff is on my shortlist.

      Click is excellent. It’s on my possibles list for the week that I’m actually doing porn comics. But it is a little hard core. I mean, it’s a book that’s basically about mind control for anal rape. And it would kinda be perfect for this class, but again, I worry about going too far at the school I’m at.

      Interestingly enough, the film rights to the Click books were sold to a soft core porn company. I have all (or at least most) of them on DVD. It’s weird because the Manara’s work while explicit, is very artistic and intriguing and the films are just generic Skinemax sex romps. But they are fun to look at together and compare. I probably wouldn’t bother with them for the class though.

    2. May 13, 2016 at 12:38 pm

      No cred lost with me. I’m not much of a comic reader and there are so many ways to approach your class that I’m brainstorming some of the stuff I’m at least somewhat familiar with.
      I’m just glad I make suggestions that have at least some merit.

  38. May 13, 2016 at 11:38 am

    Kurt Busiek’s text piece in the back of Astro City 1/2.

    1. May 13, 2016 at 12:29 pm

      Haven’t read it. Why?

    2. May 13, 2016 at 6:54 pm

      He did a text story, with some art accompanying it, about a special aid to the mayor’s office who is a handler for a super hero constantly fighting off a female nemesis. As it turns out, said nemesis also built (and repairs) the hero’s suit because she thinks it’s fun to toy with him. The narrator begins sleeping with her, the ‘hero’ finds out, things go crazy. I’ll send you a couple scans (for academic purposes). Of course, the actual Astro City story that was the lead feature is also one of the best. It’s how an epic 30-part crossover might affect an ordinary schlub in a superhero universe called “The Nearness of You.”

    3. May 13, 2016 at 6:59 pm
  39. May 13, 2016 at 11:39 am

    ^^^ Looking at some of the Underground Comix, specifically Crumb, would be a good idea. A lot of these issues popped up there in pretty overt ways. Wimmin’s Comix is big. At that time there were, percentage-wise anyway, more women working in the underground than anywhere else in the industry.

    1. May 13, 2016 at 12:30 pm

      Yeah, as I said to Reuven, Crumb is a certainty. I haven’t decided what. I was also thinking of doing the film. Wimmin’s Comix is a good pull too, if I can find a good collection.

  40. May 13, 2016 at 11:41 am

    Fun Home. Sexuality, sex, and family dynamics. Plus, autobiographical comics are where it’s at. Plus, Alison Bechtel is an amazing person who could possibly speak at the school.

    1. May 13, 2016 at 12:32 pm

      On the short list. It’s one of the most common comics academically taught. And in a class like this it can’t be escaped even if I didn’t require it specifically. We’d also have to discuss the Bechdel test at some point if only so I can rant about how much I hate it and how stupid it is.

  41. May 13, 2016 at 11:48 am

    I tried skimming other comments, so I hope this isn’t a repeat. But, I might suggest McKean and Gaiman’s Black Orchid. It’s not the most obvious, and it’s not the best-written, BUT, it does interesting stuff with gender violence from the very beginning, and there’s also the whole environmental violence thing, which could be interesting. There’s also the the Story of O adaptation, which is essentially about a woman who is forced into sexual slavery. It’s appropriateness at our uni is pretty questionable, though, because it features bondage/anal plugging/whipping/etc.

    1. May 13, 2016 at 12:34 pm

      Wow… Black Orchid… Good pull!

      Story of O would be perfect… But yeah, there’s no way that’s not pushing it too much for Duq… I mean, even for me. I mean, the class is called what it’s called… But still…

    2. May 13, 2016 at 2:28 pm

      Hahaha, yeah, I suggested it knowing full well that I would never teach it.

  42. May 13, 2016 at 12:56 pm

    What about Art Spiegelman’s Maus books about his parents’ experience during the Holocaust, and the after effects on him.

    1. May 13, 2016 at 1:01 pm

      Another one that is on the short list.

  43. May 13, 2016 at 2:04 pm

    May I suggest Hack/Slash, especially volume 3? It has a lot to say about how horror movies are meant to show how women/girls are punished for being promiscuous and “get what they deserve” for being sexual creatures. I would also suggest Persopolis, or Maus as autobiographical depictions of systemic violence and use of sexual force and intimidation. The Crow would be a top pick as well.

    1. May 13, 2016 at 6:18 pm

      Maus and Persepolis were already both on my short list. The biggest drawbacks against either of them is that they’re already taught so often. It’s entirely possible that any of the kids haven’t read any of these books. But it’s also possible that, since they are signing up for a class on comics, they’ve already read both. This also goes or several of the more common books on the list. Watchmen for instance.

      Hack/Slash and Crow are both interesting choices that I haven’t considered.

  44. May 13, 2016 at 2:22 pm

    Max Ernst, Une semaine de bontΓ©. It’s helpful for broadening their horizons & full of thematically relevant material. Also it’s perplexing and upsetting.

    1. May 13, 2016 at 6:18 pm

      Hmmm… there’s one I actually haven’t read myself.

  45. May 13, 2016 at 3:12 pm

    Also, since you mentioned academic papers, I own a book called Superheroes and Philosophy. It is a just a bunch of academic essays dealing with the title topic. None of them specifically focus on violence or sex (though one essay dealing with identity and X-Men females does have some interesting thoughts on Mystique), but the book may be useful for other classes you teach in the future. If you are interested in borrowing it, let me know.

    1. May 13, 2016 at 6:20 pm

      this one:

      I actually own it. Of course I own bunches of these books. One of the things I need to do is start selecting essays from them. I probably won’t require buying any of them because I’ll get a selection of essays from several.

  46. May 13, 2016 at 3:18 pm

    *facepalm* Manga.

    I haven’t read the manga series, so I can’t give you a good choice of arcs, but Attack on Titan is a solid choice for topics of violence (absolutely brutal) and possibly also a bit on sexuality (titans are oddly neuter / military treats all recruits the same regardless of gender).

    If you want something that is easier to get a hold of, then Akira fits the bill pretty well for violence, though its take on gender is incredibly mysogynistic.

    1. May 13, 2016 at 4:59 pm

      The Attack on Titan Manga are part of the other Humble Bundle which is on right now. I’ve bought it, but not yet read it. Humble Comic Bundles are really good deals if you’re good with digital comics.

    2. May 13, 2016 at 6:28 pm

      One of the things I was wondering was whether or not anyone would pick any manga at all, and how many people would.

      As for the misogynistic take on gender in Akira for instance (but not limited to it), that’s actually completely fine. Since it’s a class, the task here isn’t so much “lets identify positive takes on gender” so much as “lets analyze how gender has been portrayed.” So so negative portrayals are complete in bounds. As I’ve said elsewhere, I’m using Killing Joke and that’s certainly a negative take.

      And I’ve not seen Humble Bundle before. That’s a good thing to know about.

    3. May 13, 2016 at 7:57 pm

      Yeah, I’m a big fan of their book bundles. Both bundles right now are comic books ones, but they have a new one every week. At this point, I’ve bought so many comic book bundles that I’ve got enough to read for the rest of the summer. And I still have a bunch of audio books that I bought that I haven’t even touched. There are two other sites which also do bundles: and groupees. Groupees is also running a pretty good comic book bundle right now. It includes the first volume of Saga, Chew, Locke & Key, and Stumptown, all of which are great, as well as Lost at Sea, which is what Bryan Lee O’Malley did before Scott Pilgrim and the first volume of The Boys and the first volume of Descender which is a new Sci-Fi series written by Jeff Lemire. Groupees is the less popular site, so they don’t always get the big names, but this bundle’s got them.

    4. May 13, 2016 at 8:23 pm

      My phrasing wasn’t so great, but I was actually just trying to contrast it to how sexism (or a lack thereof) is depicted in Attack on Titan.

    5. May 14, 2016 at 8:24 am

      Ah. Ok that makes a lot of sense then.

  47. May 13, 2016 at 3:51 pm

    The Invisibles, by Grant Morrison. Several applicable arcs, the best probably being “Apocolipstick.” Transgender identity issues, sexuality mixed with spirituality, violence against feminine characters, and also a very good story. Volume One, issues 13 to 15, give or take.

    1. May 13, 2016 at 6:29 pm

      Someone else suggested Invisibles. Not a bad suggestion… just probably a little to difficult to deal with in this context.

  48. May 13, 2016 at 4:18 pm

    I think defining “sex” so broadly is going to be a problem, especially when mixed in with the natural breadth of “violence” (domestic, physical, emotional, justified, etc.).

    But here goes…

    Scott McCloud’s Understanding Comics. Don’t assume your students have thought about comics as literature ever before. Or even know how to read them as such. It never hurts to start them off with an instruction manual.

    Pedro & Me, by Judd Winick. Very touching depiction of the author’s friendship with Pedro Zemora, a fellow cast member on MTV’s The Real World. A fairly light read, this comic captures a lot about gay life / culture during the 1990s (prejudices, coming out, HIV/AIDS). Winick went on to write one of my favorite Green Lantern arcs, “My Brother’s Keeper,” in which Kyle Rayner avenges a gay hate crime by beating and torturing the abusers in prison. When Batman later criticizes this action, Rayner spits, “You pull the same garbage a hundred times a day before the rest of us eat breakfast.” “Maybe,” Batman replies. “But that is me, isn’t it?”

    Wonder Woman, Spirit of Truth by Paul Dini. [Not readily available, but worth stealing in a digital scan]. Notable because the art is done by Alex Ross, who paints his panels with “realistic” human bodies and expressions, which makes the scantily clad Wonder Woman seem all the more cartoonish. But what makes the story great is that it plays into this by having Wonder Woman attempt to resolve a political conflict in the Middle East – only to be pelted with stones by the very same Islamic citizens she is attempting to ‘save.’

    Pride of Baghdad, by Brian K. Vaughan. Why does all physical violence have to be about humans? Seeing a giraffe’s head explode from a mortar shell is pretty graphic, and more than enough to spark discussion. Plus, you can then focus (like the comic does) on the effects of violence – both in terms of psychology as well as geography, as the herd of lions roams a war-torn city.

    Fun Home. The story of a young girl dealing with the psychological aftermath of being sexually abused, the book deserves all the attention it gets. And besides being very powerful on its own, it has seemingly hit a nerve in the zeitgeist with its musical adaptation on Broadway. For added interest, compare the comic to the stage version (available from Samuel French).

    Sin City. Really, no other singular series seems better suited for this course. Might as well start with volume one.

    1. May 13, 2016 at 6:32 pm

      Yes, McCloud’s first book will be required for the class. I’m actually kinda amazed that you’re the first person to bring it up.

      Pedro & Me. Doh! See, I can’t believe that I had forgotten that one.I’m definitely going to have to consider that.

      Spirit of Truth is definitely interesting for the reasons you say.

      Pride of Bagdhad: You make interesting points on. I’ll have to digest that.

      Fun Home and Sin City are both under consideration and have been discussed in other comments here.

  49. May 13, 2016 at 6:43 pm

    Oh, I knew I was forgetting something. Persepolis, by Marjane Satrapi.

    1. May 13, 2016 at 6:51 pm

      That’s one that is on the short list and has moved on and off a dozen times as I have been thinking about this the last few months. Not because it’s not a good choice. It totally is.

      It’s for the opposite reason. Wayne and I were discussing this in person earlier today. To us (and I wonder if Chris and Nicole would agree) one of the biggest problems with comics in academia is that as they gain more acceptance there is almost this perception that there is a canon of only 4 books that matter:

      Maus, Persepolis, Fun Home, Watchmen. It’s as though no other books have ever been written. Part of what I really want to do is change that.

    2. May 13, 2016 at 7:05 pm

      I would tend to agree with you. Those four get trotted out as the “proof” that comics can be “important” or “meaningful” – and so it’s okay to read them. And only these because they’re “serious” works. The books absolutely have merit – I’ve taught Maus myself – but because they are so well used, you might take the chance to focus on other works. There are so many possibilities for your course – I’d give other books a chance.

    3. May 13, 2016 at 7:08 pm

      And I feel like Watchmen is only on that list grudgingly… like the old men with beards got together and said “well, three isn’t enough to count as a canon. What do we do? Well, Time Magazine says this one here is one of the greatest novels ever written period. I dunno… I mean it has super heroes in it… but they’re not really superheroes… I guess we can put it on the list.”

    4. May 13, 2016 at 7:10 pm

      “It was popular enough to be a movie, so that ought to shut up those whiners who say we don’t care about what the darn kids are reading – we’re hip, we pay attention”

  50. May 13, 2016 at 7:39 pm

    In case nobody else has mentioned it: You should look into some of the stuff that Saladin Ahmed has written about comics before the CCA:

    1. May 13, 2016 at 7:55 pm

      I’ll check it out. Thanks.

  51. May 13, 2016 at 8:08 pm

    I would be interested in reading the first issue of each of the reboots of wonder woman to see how her depiction changes over the years.

    1. May 13, 2016 at 8:10 pm

      I don’t know that that’s a class assignment. But it would certainly be an interesting experiment that could lead to a cool paper.

  52. May 14, 2016 at 12:08 am

    I couldn’t suggest a comic as I have never read any, but depending on your intention for instruction might I suggest looking for couple examples of material lacking the emphasis on the course topics as to illuminate the impact sex/violence emphasis has on storytelling/artistic priorities/structure/style? I’d imagine it’s a bit harder to pilot a conversation that has any sort of axiomatic qualities if the students are taught their analytic parameters after/while reading the material lush with the qualities you are attempting to investigate. Maybe if there’s something you can find where you have two similar stories but one that would qualify for your course and one that wouldn’t and how the ‘exciting’ content changes things

    Don’t listen to me though. I only know math, not literature :p

    1. May 14, 2016 at 8:23 am

      Hmmm. Interesting idea. In a sense you can always look at anything through a gendered lens. Even a book that specifically ignores gender makes a statement in it by its absence.

      But you make an interesting point and I may need to dwell on it a bit.

  53. May 14, 2016 at 8:44 am

    I wonder if the sandman one-shot “Ramadan” would work for this.

    1. May 14, 2016 at 8:50 am

      Never read that one.

    2. May 14, 2016 at 9:14 am

      Chris Maverick Issue #50, requires no background — it was actually the first Sandman issue I ever read, and I bought it because of the gorgeous cover. It’s about change and violence and the torment of knowing your home is going to be destroyed.

    3. May 14, 2016 at 9:18 am

      Oh…. then I have read it. I never remember individual issues titles. I thought you meant one of the actual one shots.

      Yeah, if I do Gaiman at all I’ll probably use Death: The High Cost of Living

  54. jet
    May 14, 2016 at 12:33 pm

    I was going to suggest Invisibles as well, but I can’t think of a specific, short piece. Transmetropolitan has the same problem, I can’t remember a specific couple of issues what would stand alone. Poison Elves has a single issue (I can’t remember which publisher but I have it in a box) about Lucifer’s path starting as a child when his mother slowly dies from gangrene and they can’t afford a healer. I usually think of PE as a fun/adult/fantasy comic but when Hayes got serious he didn’t mess around, maybe I can remember another single-issue bit. It’s not hard to find extreme sex/violence/horror from major publishers (ex: Faust), but there were some great queer comics in the 90s in the bay area: Michael Manning (still publishing), Roberta Gregory (esp: Bitchy Bitch, Naughty Bits), Kirby’s “Strange Looking Exile” (look on eBay), and the local queer magazine “Anything That Moves”. I have some of these in storage (aka “boxes in the basement”) if you want to scan something.

  55. May 14, 2016 at 12:55 pm

    How about Lesbian Zombies From Outer Space.

  56. May 14, 2016 at 1:09 pm

    Sex Criminals is a must, also Moore’s run on Marvel Man

    1. May 14, 2016 at 4:02 pm

      I’ve been considering Sex Criminals. The biggest problem with that is that it’s ongoing with not real end, so it’s hard to teach as a cohesive story.

      Marvel/Miracle Man is just way too much to chew on… same as the problem with Invisibles or Sandman

    2. May 14, 2016 at 4:03 pm

      what about prometha?

  57. May 14, 2016 at 3:53 pm

    Sounds super interesting!

    1. May 14, 2016 at 4:02 pm

      Feel free to cross register… it’s a bit of a drive. πŸ™‚

    2. May 14, 2016 at 5:22 pm

      If I could drive maybe =P

    3. May 14, 2016 at 5:23 pm

      If you leave really early in the morning you could walk!

  58. May 16, 2016 at 6:35 am

    Per out conversation Saturday:

    I wasn’t able to find any articles dealing with the ‘queering of villains in Captain Britain’, but there was a recent Jay and Miles XPlain the X-Men podcast that touched briefly on the subject:

  59. May 26, 2016 at 9:27 am

    The X-Factor run that dealt with Rictor and Shatterstar as lovers. Detailed here:

    Also, I just happened to notice a documentary on Netflix last night titled “Sex in Comics”.

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