During “Year One” of my membership in the comic-reading community, I came across quite a few situations where I’d say “I really need to read ______.” Occasionally I made good on that claim: I read through all of Avengers Academy. The Sandman Omnibuses are on my shelf, being slowly devoured. One particularly enthusiastic and knowledgeable fan later and I’m in the midst of Bendis & Maleev’s Daredevil run. But there’s still much ground to cover, and some of it has been on my theoretical “to-do” list for too long, so I’m formalizing that list here as a sort of “comic history goals to strive towards this year.”
1. Cassandra Cain
This taciturn young lady seems to have been loved by quite a few people, if her fans are anything to go by. She routinely makes lists of characters most missed since DC shifted to the New 52, and her slow-but-steady socialization seems to mirror that of Laura Kinney, my current favorite character. I’ve seen a lot of panels floating around on Tumblr featuring Cassie, and invariably I pass them along with a resigned “I really need to read her” that’s gone nowhere. This year, I aim to change that… though now that I have the ambition, doing so legally and affordably will be the real challenge.
2. New X-Men (2004)
X-23 and Chris Yost would have been reason enough for me to get around to reading this run, and to be sure they’re a large draw. I’ve picked enough fights with so-called “HeliX” fans that it’s high time I got a firsthand look at what Laura and Julian’s relationship looked like before Liu burned it to the ground. More importantly, the book seems to have been the title for many of my fellow comic-reading friends, the one which introduced and solidified a lot of favorite teen heroes. No one whose opinion I value has had a bad thing to say about the series, so I’ve no reason to keep putting this off.
3. Brian K. Vaughan
I know him as the man responsible for the Runaways, but the two books that have really made his name huge in the industry are Y: The Last Man and the ongoing Saga. I’ve read the first issue of both of those books, but that was quite a while back, and my tastes have shifted notably since the early days. Considering the acclaim Vaughan’s work has received (and continues to), I’m ready to give him another shot. Too many people are too excited about these books for me to write them off the way early 2013 Adam did.
4. Peter David’s X-Factor (2006)
If you’ve read my thoughts on the most recent iteration of the book, I’ve been quickly sold on Peter David’s writing. For a person working at Marvel to work on any title for so long is in itself a significant achievement (and probably makes for a much stronger artistic vision/narrative fidelity). X-Factor isn’t a book that gets a ton of recognition but when the fans come out of the woodwork, they tend to be very passionate. The upset I saw in the community when it was announced the series was coming to an end clued me in that this had been something special, but it was reading some of David’s actual writing for myself that convinced me.
5. Whedon’s Astonishing X-Men
I don’t really think I need to justify this one. The goodness of this run is seemingly axiomatic among comic fans, and my experiences with Whedon have been completely positive in the past. Plus, this happened long enough in the past that I will already know if people have died (or have since returned), cutting out the most traumatizing aspect (and therefore main downside) of reading anything Joss touches.
This is a short list. But as I began to put it together, I realized the things I most “need” to read are also not going to be cheap/easy to get my hands on, so as far as fixated goals go this seems like more than enough to try to tackle in a year. That said, I’m sure there are a few stories/characters about whom I’ve insisted I needed to catch up on that didn’t cross my mind tonight, so perhaps a supplemental, less committed list will surface in the near future. Meantime, this is the target. Let me know if you have any thoughts on any of these!