Have a significant other who isn't into comic books? Want them to finally understand the hobby you've been enthusiastically gobbling up week by week? We've assembled three books to give your significant other during this Valentine's Day, as a way to showcase the best of what the medium has to offer the skeptical would-be reader. What's more, we're going to show off some of the comics we've found to be particularly popular with members of one gender over another (not to get all heteronormative here; I can personally attest to loving the hell out of all of the books on our list.) Up first: A series of books to get your ladyfriend interested in sequential art.
1: The New York Four/The New York Five
The New York Four (and it's sequel series, The New York Five) tell the tale of four (and then, five) college-aged women at NYU as they mature into their newly independent lives. Featuring a cast of strong characters, their lives seemed perfectly described by master Brian Wood. These two series give a really decent narrative flow into one another --no extreme action or fantastical elements, just solid character development and emotional plot pacing. Perfect for getting someone who had not previously been familiar with comics into comic.
2: Morning Glories
Morning Glories, put out by Image, tells the story of a group of teens sent to a seemingly normal prep school with some seriously devious undertones. The action in this series picks up right off the bat with Volume 1, but grounds us with a series of real-feeling characters amidst a backdrop of mystery and paranoia. It might not be the most "spandexless" introduction to the medium, as it does rely on some of the more fantastical parts of the superhero world ("magic abilities" being one), but the art and storytelling will be sure to captivate beyond any initial skepticism.
Okay. You got her interested. You've shown her the storytelling of The New York Four, and you've given her a taste for action in Morning Glories. She needs something she can really sink her teeth into, something to throw her deep into the world of comics, a well so vast that she will inevitably be, from that moment on, a fan.
Fables is a long-running comic taking place in a fictionaled "Fabletown," where the characters from our fairly tales live among the average New Yorker. In its nearly 10 years of printing, it has spawned several spin-offs (including the upcoming Fairest, centered around the lives of your average fairy tale princess) and is some of the most adored non-superhero work out there. Once she gets to Fables, you'll know you have succeeded in giving her an enduring livelong obsession. Er, hobby.
American Vampire: All Twilight allusions aside, this book features a fantastic female protagonist and a captivating, sexy, bloody story that is sure to pique the interest of some female readers. And don't imagine the gore will turn them off --women can appreciate eviscerated carcasses as much as the next guy.
Transmetropolitan: Not the first book you might expect on the list of a "Comics for Girls" list, but that kind of list is exactly what we don't want to feed into. Transmet features a snarky and cynical idealist, out for Truth. It's a universally good story, and the Filthy Assitants provide endless enjoyment.
Octopus Pie: This quirky webcomic has got everything. Romance, drama, lizards, bikes, pot, strangers, and two friends living in New York. A riot, and (as a bonus) a fantastic gateway drug into the world of born-digital comics.
Have any more suggested reads that might seduce your better half into the world of words and pictures? Let us know in the comments!