So there's not a whole lot about Marvel or DC that I enjoy now, except I have found this weird little batch of books that I've really enjoyed recently.

It started with Hawkeye, then in the horribly-named but massively entertaining Superior Foes Of Spider-Man, and then into the new She Hulk and Secret Avengers relaunches (the Young Avengers series sort of fit the mold, but was louder and more pop).

These books all have this odd tone to the writing (more like Wes Anderson than Stan Lee) and really understated art (like Wally Wood inked by Michael Lark). It's hard to describe them... like a crime novel sitcom, or snarky superhero noir, or a remake of Fargo starring the cast of Seinfeld.

Is anyone else reading these books and digging them as much as I am?

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...With my ongoing " Avengers pu pu platter . ",  thread I may be nosing into some of the titles you're speaking of . I'll have to check . Thank you ! You may have given me an inward key to - defining - some of the titles I've read while doing this .

I'm reading She-Hulk, and have read a few issues of Hawkeye; I plan to read more after I pick up some trades on the cheap. And Superior Foes sounds wonderful; it's another book on my to-do list. 

I think there's something to that, and you might want to add Silver Surfer to that list, though it's a little too soon to tell.

...BTW , speaking of " The Show About Nothing " , not only did I imagine an animated Seinfeld version titled LIL' JERRY AND THE YADDA-YADDA KIDS...I made at least a start on the lyrics for its theme song !!!!!!!!!!!

  I also imagined Archies-style pop/rock song breaks in the middles of the show , such titles as " Yadda Yadda (I'm In Love With You " , mebbe " Do The Yadda "...

The first six issues of Superior Foes is on sale at Comixology right now.

I'm reading Hawkeye and She-Hulk, and I get what you mean.  These are books about people who happen to have super-powers, rather than the book being about the super-powers, if you get what I'm saying.  I'll second Rob about Silver Surfer, and I would add Daredevil as well.

I was planning to pick up a Superior Foes trade.  Secret Avengers?  I assume you're talking about the current series, which I think has been relaunched a few times.  Tell us more about it.

..." Neo-indie " , then ?

"pseudo-indie"

John Dunbar (the mod of maple) said:

I'm reading Hawkeye and She-Hulk, and I get what you mean.  These are books about people who happen to have super-powers, rather than the book being about the super-powers, if you get what I'm saying.  I'll second Rob about Silver Surfer, and I would add Daredevil as well.

I was planning to pick up a Superior Foes trade.  Secret Avengers?  I assume you're talking about the current series, which I think has been relaunched a few times.  Tell us more about it.

 

I'm not getting much from Marvel or DC either, but I am greatly enjoying She-Hulk and Daredevil. I've been singing the praises of She-Hulk over here. I keep hearing good things about Hawkeye, but I haven't tried it yet.

I might also add the new iteration of Ms. Marvel to the list of that type described above. As noted, "These are books about people who happen to have super-powers, rather than the book being about the super-powers." I get what you're saying. 

With She-Hulk, for example, it's not about She-Hulk fighting supervillains; it's about lawyer Jen Walters hanging out a shingle and launching her own business, with the kind of zaniness that follows when lawyer Jen Walters is a superhero. The new Ms. Marvel is a coming-of-age tale about a teenage girl from an environment that doesn't get much attention in a venue like comics -- she's from a Muslim household in New Jersey, so there are elements of faith and culture at play as well as her exploring just how she got her powers and what they are and what she should do with them.

 

 

 

I love most of these titles as well, and what distinguishes them to me is a healthy dollop of humor. I love me some end-of-the-universe, hyperdramatic, clenched-teeth superhero stories a la Hickman and Bendis, but I need more to my diet to that, and Marvel is providing that with ground-level, human-interest books like Hawkeye and She-Hulk. 

As an additional plus, this approach distinguishes not just the books but the characters; Clint Barton now has a specific personality/story approach that sets him apart from not only other Marvel characters like Captain America or other archers like Green Arrow, but all characters in general. Hawkeye, the book and the character, are now unique in our minds. For the first time, I can actually imagine a Hawkeye movie that I'd want to see.

As to humor in general, I don't like it when superhero stories try to be funny by making fun of the hero or the genre; I do like it when it's a genuinely funny story in superhero trappings, which is what is what I'm getting with Superior Foes and to a degree the other books in this discussion.

But I disagree with the assessment that this is different from what Stan Lee was doing. My understanding of what Stan did that was so groundbreaking is that he stopped treating superheroes as a genre and started treating superheroes as a vehicle. He told Boys Life adventure stories (Fantastic Four), soap opera (Spider-Man), grand-scale epics (Thor) and more, using the superhero as the delivery system (and to make it all larger than life). That's what Fraction & Co. are doing with Hawkeye and these other books -- they're telling human interest/humor stories in superhero drag.

And just like when Stan was doing it, I'm having a blast.

Cap, I don't disagree at all with what you said re Stan and the human element. As Clark notes these are very human stories. I just meant more in terms of Stan's over-the-top, hyperbolic writing style, all of these books share a very clever, but understated tone.

I think you're right about the direction of the humor being oriented more at the situations than the characters. Superhero parody can be funny, but it's been done, done well and done badly, in tons of different ways. I was tired of The Boys relentless grimness by, like, the 20th issue, while I will continue to buy any and all issues of Radioactive Man that bongo wants to publish.

These books find humor in super people negotiating real life, and in treating the traditional superhero situations as normal routine workdays, like a The Office with A.I.M. or Dr. Doom.

Bottom line, these books ARE a blast.

Agreed!

I absolutely agree. So far, the quirkiness has yet to become irksome.

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