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    Reading with Rainbow Rowell

    The award-winning novelist (Eleanor & Park, Carry On) and soon-to-be Runaways writer spills on her Marvel picks. Read these selections and pick up Rainbow, Kris Anka, and Matt Wilson’s Runaways this September!

    Comic Favorites

    • Uncanny X-Men (1963-2011)

      Claremont’s Age of X

      Chris Claremont’s run on X-Men, (#94-279), is the reason I’m a comics fan. I was in middle school when I read them – in whatever order my friends would lend them to me. In Claremont’s books, everyone is connected, everyone has a backstory, and emotions run hiiiigh. I read every book with an X on it for 15 years because I was so invested in these characters.

    • X-Factor (1986-1998)

      In Therapy with X-Factor

      Okay, so I really love X-Factor. And I really love Peter David’s writing. And this is probably my all-time favorite single issue. The members of X-Factor have been through some trauma, so each of them has to talk to a therapist (Doc Samson). This is A+ character work with equally stunning art by Joe Quesada. (The style shifts between characters.) You can feel the creative team taking a big risk, and it WORKS.

    • X-Factor (2005-2013)

      X-Factor Reboot

      I recommend all of Peter David’s work on X-Factor. But this run gets the edge because of Multiple Man, who opens a mutant detective agency in the first issue. Jamie Madrox is cool and troubled -- and very, very handsome, often in duplicate. Any character that Peter David writes becomes one of my favorites. I especially love the way he writes Rahne here.

    • Generation X (1994-2001)

      Welcome to Mutant High

      Mutant high school, ‘90s style. Which means nobody trusts authority or tries too hard to fit in. And the teens have especially mortifying powers: Husk sheds her outer epidermis; Skin is permanently stretched out and sagging; Penance is a physical manifestation of pain; and Jono (dearest Jono) has destroyed his own face. Gen X is the first comic I read because of the artist: Chris Bachalo, man of many stripes.

    • Vision (2015-2016)

      Tom King & Gabriel Hernandez Walta’s Vision

      Vision starts a family, and boy, is it creepy! But also…heartbreaking? This 12-issue series reads like poetry and is visually stunning. (Even the covers are like a tone poem.) And I think it’s a good comic to binge; if you read it in a couple of sittings, you stay under its spell.

    • She-Hulk (2004-2005)

      She-Hulk’s Superhuman Trials

      Jennifer Walters takes a job at a law firm that specializes in superhuman law – which gives Dan Slott an excuse to write some of the Marvel Universe’s most obscure and absurd characters. Really funny and deceptively silly – there are some great story arcs in here.

    • Runaways (2003-2004)

      Runaways Vols. 1 & 2

      I mean, of course, I’m going to recommend Runaways. Brian K. Vaughan and Adrian Alphona’s original run is the actual best. Six L.A. teens discover that their parents are part of a humanity-destroying death cult, and go on the run. Vaughan writes beautifully distinct and messy teen characters, and the dialogue is fast and funny. This is an excellent book to share with people who don’t understand why you love comics.

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