Happy almost October! It’s another fourth Friday here on the +5 Charisma blog, and that means it’s time for another edition of Geek of All Trades, a column in which I go where this geek has never gone before. Thanks for being along for the ride as I stumble through doing new and geeky things every month. It’s also GOAT’s birthday – with the publication of this blog, I’ll have been talkin’ geeky to you for just over a year. Let’s reminisce a little bit, shall we?

Things got started last August, when I told Portal, “It’s not you, it’s me.” Since then, I’ve:

So what’s the flavor of the month? Grab your grappling hooks and your lycra bodysuits, because we’re talking comic books.

I’m not really sure when or how I missed the boat on comic books. As a kid, I ran out to the curb early every Sunday morning to get the paper and pull out “the funnies,” as my Dad called them. I’d spend hours poring over the comic section and ripping out my favorites (“Calvin and Hobbes” and “Hagar the Horrible”). I’d put them up close to my face and study the drawings. I’d search the corners for the artist’s signature. I’d smell the paper in all of its ink-and-plastic glory. The leap from the newspaper to the comic book store should have been a short one, but it seems like I took a detour somewhere along the way.

There were other opportunities, of course, and I guess I missed those, too – when Hollywood first began its quest to make a movie adaptation of every comic book under the sun, I bought in. I loved the first few X-Men movies. (I loved pretending that I was Jean Grey, and that I had an exciting life ahead of me with my soul mate, James “Logan” Howlett (aka Wolverine), even more – but that’s beside the point). I was transfixed watching Christian Bale’s Batman derail subway cars with Liam Neeson’s Ra’s al Ghul. I was down with Tobey Maguire’s Spider Man. Why did it never dawn on me to go back to the source material?

As comics and I kept missing each other, their popularity only seemed to be increasing. Think about it: in the past ten years, we’ve had 7 X-Men movies, 6 Spider-Man movies, 3 Batman movies, 3 Iron Man movies, 2 Hulk movies, 2 Thor movies, 2 Captain America movies, 2 Superman movies, 2 Kick Ass movies, and 2 Hellboy movies. And that’s breezing over folks like The Green Lantern, The Green Hornet, Catwoman, and Daredevil. Or groups of folks like the Avengers, the Fantastic Four, the Watchmen, and the Guardians of the Galaxy. And there are another 7 superhero movies filming right now. With that kind of volume, and my relatively slow pace of getting acquainted with the world of comics, I just felt left out.

But that all changed recently, when I decided to take back the comic book. Comics hadn’t been the hero I needed, but they were the hero I deserved. It was just a matter of finding what sorts of comic books resonated with me.

I didn’t feel like anything that ended with “-Man” or “-Woman” was my cup of tea. At this point, there’s just so much history associated with all of those franchises, it would be almost impossible to catch up. Alternately, those stories have been so spotlighted in the last decade, I felt like I already knew them – there just wasn’t enough to discover.

After wandering around the local comic book store for an hour or so, I selected a handful of publications to take home with me. Here’s what I landed on.

Marvel’s Figment – Issue 1
Writer: Jim Zub
Artist: Filipe Andrade
Cover artist: John Tyler Christopher

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Summary: Set in London in 1910, Figment tells the story of Blair, a young inventor who was plucked out of poverty and brought to the Academy Scientifica to attempt to invent new sources of pure energy. He does that, in a way, by bringing to life a dragon (Figment) he used to draw as a child.

My take: Interesting steampunk aesthetic, but the concept and writing seems suited to someone younger than me. I would’ve loved it at 15, but not so much at 27.

Image’s The Wicked + The Divine – Issue 1
Writer: Kieron Gillen
Artist: Jamie McKelvie
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The Wicked + The Divine is told from the perspective of Laura, a seventeen year old girl who is a fan of Amaterasu, a free-spirited young redheaded performer who claims to be a god. While the press paints Amaterasu and her fellow “gods” as nothing more than “wannabes who never got past the Bowie in their parents’ embarrassingly retro record collection,” strange things begin to happen when the band’s powers are tested.

My take: This. is. fascinating. Plus, I immediately want to cosplay Amaterasu. Like, yesterday.

Dark Horse’s Serenity: Firefly Class 03-K64 – Leaves on the Wind: Part 6

Writer: Zack Whedon
Artists: Georges Jeanty, Karl Story, Laura Martin
Cover artist: Dan Dos Santos
Based on the TV series created by Joss Whedon
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Picking up where the film Serenity left off, this series chronicles the adventures of the Firefly-class space shuttle Serenity, her captain (Malcolm Reynolds), and her crew. We’ve picked up a few additions since Serenity, including the daughter of Li Quiang (who fought with Mal at Serenity Valley), and Zoe and Wash’s daughter (!), Emma.

My take: I will do anything for more Firefly stories, and the idea of Wash and Zoe having a daughter pushes my feels to new heights.

So that’s it! Not a bad place to start. Where should I go next? Leave your recommendations below, and check out Mara’s column, “The Pull List,” for her comic recommendations.

See ya in October, Iggles.