The U.S.Avengers and Ultimates 2 writer shares a few of his Marvel favorites! Be sure to check out Al and Paco Medina’s U.S.Avengers, featuring the patriotic heroes of American Intelligence Mechanics as they save their nation from the wildest, weirdest threats!
Al’s All-Important Picks
The War Begins
The comic that started it all – at least for me. I was aware of the big-time American heroes like Spider-Man and Hulk, but it wasn’t until Marvel UK reprinted Secret Wars for British readers that I got a handle on the wider Marvel Universe. SECRET WARS was my introduction to Galactus, Molecule Man, even Dr. Doom – not to mention all the Marvel heroes, who obligingly stood in a line and said their names on page four.
Doctor Strange by Peter B. Gillis
One of the very best Doctor Strange writers – and one of the most unappreciated – was Strikeforce: Morituri co-creator Peter B. Gillis, who brought a sense of wonder and mystic consequence to the adventures of the Sorcerer Supreme. Keep an eye out for the 80s Strange Tales series, and in the meantime, start with DOCTOR STRANGE #76, a melancholy tale of Strange attempting to rescue a friend lured by the call of magic.
Ann Nocenti & John Romita Jr.’s Daredevil
Nocenti was unafraid to take the strangeness of the super-world and embrace it as poetry, creating comics that didn’t read like anything else and still don’t. (The Romita Jr. art is an added bonus.) DAREDEVIL #262, for example, falls right in the middle of the “Inferno” crossover, pitting a Matt Murdock on the edge of death against a vacuum-cleaner-turned-killer-metaphor, with heartbreak waiting in the wings.
Jack Kirby’s Captain America
Continuing the theme of unappreciated greats and comics as poetry – Jack Kirby was so far ahead of his time that comics are still catching up even today. His bicentennial run on Cap was a perfect example of his magic, even if readers of the period didn’t know how good they had it. #195 is a particular favorite – Kirby meets Orwell. (And let’s not forget the BICENTENNIAL BATTLES!)
Walt Simonson’s Fantastic Four
I’ve been deliberately excluding the “known classics” for this list, so in that spirit, let’s completely ignore Thor in favor of Walt Simonson’s run on the World’s Greatest Comic Magazine – particularly his standout issue, #352, a battle through time you have to read to believe and something that’s never been attempted before or since.
Bill Sienkiewicz’s New Mutants
Most of my picks are based on the writer, but this one stands out for the art. It’s hard to describe how much of a break from the norm Sienkiewicz was, and how far he pushed the boundaries of what art and storytelling could be and do in a super hero comic. At the time, it blew my mind. Start with #18, the classic “Demon Bear” story, and drink it all in.
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