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The new classics…

As someone who started reading comic books in the 80’s, there’s certainly some books I think of as ‘must reads’. 

The Dark Phoenix Saga. John Byrne’s Superman. Sandman. Peter David’s Hulk. I can keep listing on and on and on… 

But what I want to do right now is talk about “modern” classics. Where am I drawing the lines? I think the modern era should be defined as starting shortly after  Image comics started, somewhere around 1992. The market shifted, the speculation market had burst and the focus on creative had shifted it’s eyes to art over story (ugh)… and on top of that long time writer Chris Claremont had left the X-Men, as well as some other long time creators moving on. Basically it was the changing of the guard. It’s also when a lot of people I know gave up on comics after the initial sexy of Image, realizing you can only look at so many “cool” visuals before lackluster stories leave you bored.

Thankfully by 1998 the market had shifted. Great writing was once again at a premium and this INHUMANS collection is the perfect reflection of that. I would dare to give this a near perfect all around ranking – Paul Jenkins adds layers of sophistication and depth to age old characters who, while infinitely intriguing, were never given their due attention. Add to that the gritty, dark and at times visceral art of Jae Lee and the recipe was set for an unbelievable series. A self contained 12 issue run that I picked up randomly during a phase of disinterest, this was a huge spark on reigniting my interest in comics. 

While a familiarity with the characters helps, you don’t need to have been a Marvel Zombie to dig into this. Definitely a great pick up for anyone looking to see what the direction of comics over the past decade has been – this one, along with a few others, set the bar for a higher level of work.

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