May has become the go-to month of the Comic’s Industry (even though National Superhero Day is late April, but whatever… Congress… pshaw). It is when Marvel drops their big movie of the year. May also sees the annual Free Comic Book Day celebration take place on the first Saturday of the Month, so I hope you all got to check that out. May also has 31 days of the month so what better way to celebrate the wonderful world of sequential art with the 31 Days of Comics?
Seth Hahne, who runs the blog GoodOkBad, has put together the 31 Days of Comics challenge. A daily challenge in which you are given a category and you have to fill it with a comic that you think fits it the best. You’re all on the internet, I shouldn’t have to explain it to you. For the rest of the month I will be taking this challenge. It is my hope it encourages others to make and share their own lists either in the comments here or on their own websites. The sharing not only might turn comic fans on to works they have yet to sample but maybe catch the eye of a few non-comic fans and highlight the diversity of the form.
Our prompt for Day 15 is “A comic that makes you smile.”
Young Avengers #1 “Style > Substance”
Written by Kieron Gillen
Pencils by Jaime McKelvie
Inks by Mike Norton
Colors by Matt Wilson
Letters by Clayton Cowels
“I have no powers and not nearly enough training, but I’m doing this anyways. Being a super hero is amazing. Everyone should try it.” – Kate Bishop.
Frankly I could just add some art right now and call it a day. That one sentence sums up the attitude and tone of Kieron Gillen and Jaime McKelvie’s excellent run on Young Avengers. Kate Bishop, the other Hawkere, in the middle of a battle with Alien beings, stops and reflects on how awesome the situation she finds herself in and reminds us why we all started to love comic books as kids.
The Young Avengers are Marvel’s legacy heroes, which is usually a term associated with DC comics. A legacy hero is the descendent or a relative of a previously existing hero that takes up the name, powers, and/or mission of those that came before. As DC has changed the tone of their books over the years to one that is more
utterly fucking depressing “serious” those legacy heroes often find
themselves with more angst than a season of Dawson’s Creek. They are either taking up the legacy of a
father who died, or trying to make up for the bad things that their parents had
done, or doing drugs and swinging a dead cat around in an alleyway (this actually
happened with Speedy. This is the only
scene I will watch if it is ever put into Arrow).
And Gillen and McKelvie are here to save us from being morose motherfuckers.
To be honest every issue of Young Avengers could make me smile and I gave serious thought to naming the entire run, which was only 15 issues, or the very last issue as my choice. Gillen has often said that the Young Avengers was his “pop album” and fittingly the series concludes with a two issue story that depicts the after party (after the interdimensional battle with demons it’s the after party, after the party it’s the hotel lobby). But in the end I went with issue #1 because once I picked it up and read it I realized that I was reading something new and had a feeling that I hadn’t had in a while.
While we often complain about pop music, we also know that we sing the chorus to ever Katy Perry song that comes on the radio. I’m sitting here writing about a great comic and I got T. Swift lyrics running through my head that no matter how hard I try I just can’t seem to shake them off…. Damnit. It’s impossible to sing along with those songs and not smile while you’re doing it. It’s not dangerous or edgy, but it’s also not ashamed to be happy and joyous.
How does Young Avengers #1 make me smile? Let me count the ways (not even counting the Bryan Lee O’ Malley variant “Scott Pilgrm” style cover)
First of all, we get the return of quite possibly my favorite new character of the past two decades from Marvel in Kate Bishop. Kate Bishop is to the Marvel Universe is what Ana Kendrick is to our universe. She’s absolutely perfect in every way and we all don’t deserve her, but she makes it seem like it’s no big deal and is self-deprecating about everything. Oh and she’s waking up from a night with Marvel Boy. Oh and she’s in space
We have Marvel Boy reminding us how amazing simple things that we take for granted are, because you know… he’s an alien
We have Jaime McKelvie doing art things that I don’t think I’ve ever seen before, so I don’t even know what to call it so I call it an “art thing”
We have the return of Wiccan and Hulkling, or Billy and Teddy, the first gay couple I can remember in comics that didn’t come either fully formed (like Apollo and Midnighter in Authority) or forced together so inorganically (like Northstar and everybody). They are a great depiction of young adults who are in love, but who might not yet know how to love so they’re making it up as they go along.
And we have this page.
You have to be smiling now right?
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