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Check It Out: Comics galore

When I asked Comics Kingdom to provide me with a few recommendations, they didn't disappoint. These people know their comics, and they're happy to share them with you. For more recommendations, and some great reviews, you should also check out their blog.

Employee Matthew Terl starts us off with Y The Last Man, written by Lost writer Brian K. Vaughan. "DC and Marvel are largely wrapped up in line-spanning crossover events that are pretty much inaccessible to the average reader, although they're both perfectly good on their own merits," Terl says of Marvel's Secret Invasion and DC's event, Final Crisis.

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He also suggests Locke & Key, a horror miniseries by Joe Hill, who's doing his dad -- Stephen King -- proud.

Another employee, Bryan Preston, notes that comic books are banking in on their popularity on film. "Marvel is putting out a ridiculous number of books to complement their summer offerings, and I know the Robert Downey covers are selling well online. There was also a new Hulk one shot almost every week it seemed, leading up to the movie." He recommends Locke and Key, Kick-Ass, Fraction and Brubaker's Iron Fist, Grant Morrison's Batman, Captain America and Joss Whedon's Astonishing X-Men and X-Men Legacy

Comics Kingdom co-owner Driana Pearlman offers up Weapon X, by Barry Windsor-Smith. "This was my gateway book in to comics from being an avid reader of novels," she says. "To this day I still recommend this book as a true integration of the comic art form where the story is told through and interwoven use of words and drawings - you cannot just read or just look at the art to get the full woof and weave of the tale." And as Wolverine's origins are revealed many casual fans will recognize Hugh Jackman's rough character from the X-Men trilogy.

She also recommends the Watchmen trade paperback, which includes the entire story arc of the series that influenced the darker image of comics, leading to movies such as Batman Returns and Dark Knight.

She describes Fables, by Bill Willingham as a modern take on fairytales. "The creatures and people of our childhood tales have been forced to leave their Homeland to seek refuge in our world. The non-human looking "fables" have to live sequestered on a place called the Farm. This is not a book for kids."

And if you want to stay close to home, try local artist Michael Bracco's Birth and Novo. "Birth is an example of a comic told with little or no text and Mr. Bracco has created a visual feast that hits hard at the human core through his uniquely drawn non-human characters. It made me cry." Pearlman says.

"Graphic novels and trade paperbacks have definitely gained in popularity in our store in the last 5 years," she continues. "We work enthusiastically with teachers and schools to get comics in the hands of kids to encourage reading, donating hundreds of comics each year. Will those kids be back as adults? I certainly hope so. Comics offer a beautiful way of telling Story that is now richly being explored by creative minds, it would be a real loss to see it fade.

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