Summer reads, comic-book style

From the Friday, June 10 edition of The Oklahoman

As the days get longer and vacations beckon, many are making up their summer reading lists. 

The following are some graphic novels worth consideration, recently released, revamped or repackaged. 

Marvel Classics from Penguin

Some of Marvel Comics’ greatest hits are set to be released in the Penguin Classics format next week. “The Amazing Spider-Man,” “Black Panther” and “Captain America” each get the upscale treatment as the first three releases in the “Marvel Classics” line. Each edition features a foreword by a contemporary novelist, along with a detailed scholarly introduction. The series is edited by Ben Saunders.

“The comics produced at Marvel in the 1960s can be compared to the most enduring popular music of that same tumultuous decade,” Saunders said in a release. “Working at tremendous speed in what was widely regarded as a low-status commercial medium, the creators at Marvel initiated and participated in an aesthetic revolution. These comics have now influenced writers and artists across all forms of media — from contemporary novelists to hip hop musicians to Hollywood filmmakers. It is not hyperbole but simply a fact: these classic Marvel Comics are foundational documents of our culture.”

Art from Jack Kirby, Jim Steranko and Steve Ditko are among the highlights of these classic volumes, which will provide additional context to fans who may have come to the characters first in their cinematic incarnations. 

“Apple Crush” by Lucy Knisley 

Return to Peapod Farm in the second graphic novel in the series that’s also perfectly readable as a standalone. Inspired by the author’s real-life experiences, “Apple Crush” features Jen getting used to life on the farm with her new stepsisters, Andy and Reese, as the school year starts and as the calendar turns to Halloween. Knisley’s art captures sixth-grade awkwardness with charm as each character is fully realized. 

“FirePower” by Kirkman & Samnee, Book 1 hardcover 

The creator of “The Walking Dead” joins with one of the most acclaimed comic-book artists of the past decade for this kung-fu style adventure. 

Writer Robert Kirkman (“The Walking Dead,” “Invincible”) is joined by Chris Samnee (“Black Widow,” “Daredevil”) for this hardcover collection. 

Family man Owen Johnson has turned his back on the mystical fire power, but his past won’t stay buried in this familiar adventure packed with drama and humor. The kinetic art of Samnee will have the reader feeling part of the action. 

“Once & Future” Book One Deluxe Edition HC

In England, a retired monster hunter must stop a group of nationalists from using the scabbard of Excalibur to resurrect King Arthur. She’s forced to drag her unsuspecting academic grandson, Duncan, into a deadly, mythical world. New York Times Bestselling author Kieron Gillen (“The Wicked + The Divine”), is joined by artist and Russ Manning Award Winner Dan Mora (“Detective Comics”) on this modern fantasy epic.  

Matthew Price, matthew@matthewlprice.com, has written about the comics industry for more than two decades. He is the co-owner of Speeding Bullet Comics in Norman.

Marvel Classics: The Amazing Spider-Man

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