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I mentioned this in the letters page for the last issue, so thought I better get this written first. Basically, what follows is a list of comics that was going through my head when thinking about Young Avengers. Some are easily predictable, some a little more obscure. And this is off the top of my head, so I’m almost certainly missing something. May edit it later. They’re all excellent work. If you liked our Young Avengers, you’ll almost certainly love these.
No spoilers for any of the books either.
ENIGMA: Mid-nineties vertigo miniseries and for my money one of the greatest superhero comics of all time. Even saying it’s a superhero comic feels off, except it’s more that this is how Superhero comics could be in an alternative universe. Dark, extremely beautiful, ridiculously moody and Milligan turns a sentence like no-one else in comics. Probably worth stressing – if you found Young Avengers ethically troubling, you should probably stay away from this, as it’d probably make your brain leak out of your nose.
WE3: Still don’t think anyone in mainstream US comics has reinvented action since as much as Quitely and Morrison did with this one. The thing with WE3 is that its action isn’t just baroque filigree – it’s also brutally effective.
KILL YR BOYFRIEND: While we’re talking Morrison, I still think this is his best pure pop thrill. Also - Phil Bond —> Jamie McKelvie.
THE INVISIBLES: More Morrison. Let’s lob this in. All the alt-dimensiony brain-melty fractal-structure stuff. It’s a comic that works by holding all sixty issues in your head simultaneously.
X-FORCE/X-STATIX: More Milligan, will Allred this time. A masterclass in writing horrible people who break your heart. I can only imagine what old X-Force fans thought. In a real way, it doesn’t matter, especially now. Excellence is the only master worth having.
SCOTT PILGRIM: Obv. Putting aside the nods, there’s stuff Bryan does with cutting around the action as we progress which worked into my thinking with Young Avengers. If you’ve got a genre conceit, you can move in rotations around it, and alter focus and all that.
SEVENTIES STEVE GERBER: Just have a wander through it. Howard the Duck, obv, but also his Defenders – a parallel I picked up when reading Colin TBTABC talk about it. I’m not the biggest 70s connoisseur, so my knowledge is piecemeal, but his approach to superhero comics was something that resonated in the back of my head when writing Young Avengers, in terms of thinking of people who were absolutely mainstream while doing things that I wanted to do. Trollingly calling an arc STYLE > SUBSTANCE could have only been more of a Gerber move if I called it ON THE NOSE or something.
NICK FURY, AGENT OF SHIELD: The Steranko handful of issues. Detonating what comics could be, and then get the fuck out. We knew we’d never pull it off, but “As that was 60s comics, we want to be to 10s” was in my head. You have to try. Aiming for something you know you can achieve just shows a startling lack of ambition.
I KILL GIANTS: I knew I’d forget at least one biggie. One of my favourite comics of the 00s, precise, painful, poetic. If you want the metaphorazine-overdosed YA core, then it’s here in the titular GIANT KILLING activities. If you’re annoyed with YA’s tendency to do “someone punching something in the face is never about punching someone in the face” stuff, go read this, and see it done properly. You’ll cry. I cry when I even look at its fucking spine. Oh: You’re stronger than you think.
PHONOGRAM: THE SINGLES CLUB: We ripped this one off totally. Hope they don’t sue.