From the Friday, Sept. 23, 2022 edition of The Oklahoman
By MATTHEW PRICE
September 25 will mark “National Comic Book Day,” honoring the American medium of comic books, born out of the Great Depression in the 1930s and continuing to this day as a special meld of art and writing that has spread all around the world.
The day is celebrated in many teacher calendars and other publications as “National Comic Book Day,” different from its more famous cousin usually celebrated in May, Free Comic Book Day. But the original American medium is a great way to experience storytelling that engages the mind in multiple ways. While superheroes are often seen as the dominant genre, comics, like TV, movies, and novels, have stories of all different types.
If you want to check out some comics, you can visit a local comic book store – you can find one at comicshoplocator.com – and browse for something that catches your eye. The following are a few suggestions.
Action Comics #1
The first-ever comic featuring Superman kickstarted the comic-book industry and the superhero genre back in 1938. While an original copy would set you back potentially seven figures today, DC Comics has just released a facsimile copy of the original this week.The much-reprinted first Superman tale changed the course of the comics industry, formalizing the concept of the superhero and leading to huge sales success. In all likelihood, every superhero comic since owes something to these pages.
This Image Comics title from creators Corrina Bechko and Gabriel Hardman features colors from former Norman, Oklahoma resident Jordan Boyd. In the story, a reporter stumbles upon the journal of the cousin of the planet’s recently fallen former dictator. It reveals secrets that many don’t want uncovered. For mature readers.
Little Lulu: Five Little Babies
Originally published in “Little Lulu” #38 from August of 1951, “Five Little Babies” features the “Clubhouse Fellers” attempting to get the best of Lulu, before the tables are turned. Little Lulu was one of the best, and funniest, comics of the 1950s, and many of the stories hold up today. This one is a particular classic, showing how Lulu uses her wits and determination to come out on top. John Stanley and Irving Tripp re-create childhood with a heavy helping of humor.
The 16-page story has been reprinted in “A Smithsonian Book of Comic-Book Comics” and “The Toon Treasury of Classic Children’s Comics,” and as part of Dark Horse Comics’ reprints of the Little Lulu comics series, in the volume “Little Lulu: All Dressed Up” and “Giant Size Little Lulu Vol. 4.” Canadian publisher Drawn & Quarterly currently has reprint rights to the Little Lulu series. It’s a great selection for all ages.
Bone: The Series
Writer/artist Jeff Smith created the all-ages fantasy epic Bone, about the three Bone cousins who leave Boneville and become lost in the valley. With dragons, cow races, rat creatures, romance and adventure, Bone is enthralling for all kinds of readers. Bone was the 1990s answer to Carl Barks’ “Uncle Scrooge” and Walt Kelly’s “Pogo,” with high adventure fantasy to boot. And it’s still as readable and timeless today. It was collected originally in black and white, and then later by Scholastic in color, where it’s a huge hit among school-age readers. The series has comedy, drama, and adventure, and is highly recommended.
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.