Your Favorite Comic Is Ending. Now What?

The B&N Sci-Fi and Fantasy Blog

The recent, totally unexpected (and carefully orchestrated) ending of the long-running series The Walking Dead at issue #193 not only shocked the comic-book industry, it made orphans out of many readers.

For many, The Walking Dead was the first comic book they ever followed; for some it might still be the only comic they read regularly. It seemed as if creator Robert Kirkman, artist Charlie Adlard, and their crew were going to keep the title going indefinitely (insert zombie joke here)—certainly another hundred issues seemed a possibility. These faithful Walking Dead readers are now learning that in comics, nothing lasts forever.

Whether you are new to the phenomenon of losing your favorite comic or you’re a grizzled veteran of cancellations, reboots, and short-run series, the feelings are universal. Something you loved will no longer continue. The elation you received every month from reading it has gone, leaving a void.

Never fear. You are not alone. Here are some steps you can take:

Allow yourself some time to grieve
Perhaps this sounds overly dramatic, but if a comic book has made you laugh and cry and changed the way you think about anything, you may have built a stronger attachment to it than you’d like to admit. When the legendary Matt Fraction and David Aja run of Marvel’s Hawkeye finally ended (after a long delay) with issue #22, I felt both thrilled that a conclusion had arrived, but also extremely sad that there would be no more “Hawkguy” and Kate Bishop adventures from this particular team. I even put off reading that last issue for a few days. When I finished the finale, I decided I didn’t really want to read anymore superhero (or superhero-adjacent) comics for a little while. I needed a break.

One way to deal with loss is to talk about it with a friend. This is a great time to recommend the amazing comic run you just finished to someone else, whether it’s by lending out your trade paperbacks or by simply Tweeting about it, and sharing your love with the whole world.

If you’ve still got lots of bottled-up feelings inside, why not turn them into an email or physical letter of appreciation to the comic creators? They may have moved on to another title or even a different comic book publisher, but comic scribes, artists, and publishers really do read feedback from fans, and they will appreciate hearing how much you enjoyed their work.

Tackle a reread
One way to delay saying goodbye to a departed comic is to relive it. If you own the whole series, whether in digital or physical form, take a gander back from issue #1. You might appreciate the artwork and plotting more when you’re not racing through each issue to find out what happens, or you may notice foreshadowing and symbolism that didn’t jump out at you on your first reading.

If you bought single issues or borrowed your comics, it might be a good time to reward yourself (and the comic creators) by buying trade paperbacks or, if available, a handsome hardback compilation (Image puts out some particularly nice ones). Often, these collections contain extra artwork including variant covers, making-of features, and other surprises.

Start a new adventure
When you’re ready to let go and move on, it’s time to start something new. The writer or artist of the comic you just finished might be working on a different project that you’ll love just as much. When Scottie Young ended his run of I Hate Fairyland after 20 issues, he made an impassioned pitch for a new comic he was writing (but not drawing) called Middlewest.

The enjoyment he’d already given me was enough to get me reading this new work, which is a big departure from I Hate Fairyland, but just as entertaining and imaginative—it’s about a young boy who flees from an abusive father into a magical world populated with hedge wizards, talking animals, and a fearsome sentient tornado, and the first arc left me wanting more—which is happily on the way.

Sometimes following a writer or artist you like will lead you down interesting and unexpected paths. The end of Tom King’s great Mister Miracle (which was always planned as a limited series), led me to some of his other DC Comics work, including the recently concluded Heroes in Crisis and his work on Batman, an ongoing series I never thought I’d care to embrace again.

Writers and comics artists are also very good at recommending works that are influential to them or that they’re currently reading. Check out the Twitter, Tumblr, or other social media accounts of your favorite creators, or read through the letter columns of single-issue comics.

It’s sad when a great comic comes to an end, but in the best-case scenario, the creators have finished their run on their own terms and ended it on a high note. The best thing you can do, as a fan, is to keep supporting their work by passing praise along and by continuing to buy and read great graphic novels and favorite ongoing series.

What’s your favorite completed series in comics?

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Curse Words and 5 Other Hilarious Comic Books You’ll Love

The B&N Sci-Fi and Fantasy Blog

In pop culture, as in life, nothing super funny tends to last. Comedy film sequels tend to be an exercise in diminishing returns. Repeated a joke a few times—it’s funny until it’s not. (In rare cases, it gets back to funny again with even more repetition, but leave that to the pros.) Lots of stand-up comics set fire to a year’s worth or more of material when the do a Netflix comedy special—once the act is seen far and wide, it’s not something they can perform again.

Comic books would seem to follow the same rule: a jokey comic book premise, even a great one, can only be sustained for so long before it loses some of its freshness. (All right, maybe Deadpool is an exception to this rule, but everybody knows Deadpool doesn’t play fair with rules.)

A comic I started reading two years ago, Curse Words, published Image Comics, has somehow managed to beat the odds and stay weird, funny, and satisfyingly energetic through 20 issues and three seasonal specials. The story of a wizard named Wizord who has escaped a brutal alternate realm called The Hole World and found fame on Earth starts off loopy and large-scale (one of his first acts here is to shrink down an entire baseball stadium full of people). And then Curse Words doubles down on its weirdness by introducing an array of assassins (including Wizord’s ex-lover Ruby Stitch) sent by a faceless demon guy named Sizzajee.

The writing by Charles Soule is wacky and hilarious, but there’s room enough here for a tender family triangle with Wizord, Ruby, and Wizord’s koala bear/shapeshifting companion Margaret that has evolved beautifully over the run of the comic.

But it’s Ryan Browne’s art—full of ridiculously detailed bodies, literal sound effects spelled out to hilarious effect, and some of the most over-the-top splash pages you’ll see in any comic—that really transform it into a comedic tour-de-force.

Curse Words is funnier than you might expect it to be, more magical and its title would suggest and a visual treat throughout. It may be the funniest comic on stands today. Here are a few others, if you like this style of humor:

God Hates Astronauts, by Ryan Browne
Even more bonkers than Curse Words is Browne’s last project, a three-arc war saga involving farmers, a human-hippo hybrid named Sir Hippothesis, a group of ineffective superheroes, and a character named King Tiger Eating a Cheeseburger. Absurd doesn’t even begin to cover the plotting shenanigans that Browne gets into over the 15 issues of this series, which isn’t nearly as straightforward as Curse Words. The panels are rendered so gorgeously that you forget you’re reading one of the dumbest (dumbest-smartest?) stories ever committed to graphic novel form.

The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, by Ryan North and Erica Henderson
Count me as one of fans who can’t wait for Squirrel Girl to get her own movie, or at least a good guest shot in one of the upcoming entries in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. As told in rebooted form by writer Ryan North and artist Erica Henderson (the creative team behind her first series since the character debuted in 1991), it’s been four years of great jokes, off-kilter encounters with some of Marvel’s biggest heroes and villains, and lots and lots of marginalia jokes, not to mention goofy conversations with squirrels. Doreen Green is tough and funny and silly and perhaps my favorite character in all of comics. I’m jealous of anyone who gets to fall in love with her for the first time.

Sex Criminals, by Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky
Even if you like your humor a little more, um, adult, you may find yourself blushing from the sheer number and endlessly creative ways writer Matt Fraction and artist Chip Zdarsky find to make fresh jokes out of tired tropes involving human anatomy, pornography, and the clumsy fumbling of modern coupling. (How silly is this comic? A spinoff advice book was called “Just the Tips.”) It started as a silly romp about a couple that can stop time when they have sex, but somewhere along the way toward what is expected to be the last arc of the comic later this year, though, it also became deeper, more emotional—a true exploration of relationships, sexual need, and loneliness. With, and I can stress this enough, lots and lots of penis jokes.

Kaptara, by Chip Zdarsky
Sex Criminals helped make Zdarsky a popular talent in comics and he’s gone on to write Howard the Duck and Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man, among others. But one of my favorite, lesser-known works of his is Kaptara, a strangely down-to-Earth space adventure about a very regular guy caught up in comically extreme fantasy circumstances on a distant planet. Highlights include a band of aggressively rude, Smurf-like men’s rights activists and an oft-nude wizard who’s like Gandalf on a bender. Sadly, it’s unclear if Kaptara will return anytime soon—it only stuck around for five very funny issues.

I Hate Fairyland, by Scottie Young
Walk into any comic-book store and you’re likely to see tons of variant covers with artwork by Scottie Young, who specializes in adorable and extremely weird and violent images. Young’s own Image Comics title, which just concluded after 20 issues, follows Gertrude, a young girl who finds herself in a candy-colored dreamland and quickly learns to hate the fluff out of it. With her flying-bug guide Larrigon Wentsworth III, Gertrude grows up to cause all kinds of bloody havoc across the kingdom and engage in epic boss battles with evil queens, demons, and armies of goofy villains. If you were ever a fan of The Ren & Stimpy Show, this might be your jam.

What’s your favorite funny comic?

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New Rumors About a Very Peculiar DC Character Coming to Doom Patrol


Guillermo del Toro’s Scary Stories gets a release date. Thre comics industry icons have signed intriguing movie and TV deals. Plus, another sneak peek at Gotham’s final season, what’s to come on Supernatural and Legacies, and a new clip from Mary Poppins Returns. Spoilers, away!

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