Wham! Zap! Pow! 7 awesome comics picked by Marv creator, Alex Falase-Koya
Published on: 03 February 2022
If there's one thing that Alex Falase-Koya loves, it's comics - that's why he created Marv, the ordinary kid who discovers he has incredible powers!
Comics can also be a brilliant way to encourage children into reading. Here, Alex shares some of his favourite-ever comics for young readers to get stuck into.
For my first pick I'm going back to an old classic Batman. Specifically, I'm talking about the Court of Owls Saga, a run of the comic from 2011 written by Scott Snyder and illustrated by Greg Capullo. The story is very much about the myths and history of Arkham city and the Wayne family. A big theme here is the re-examination of the past, something I've found myself quite interested in, in recent times. It all comes together to create this really interesting, action-packed Batman mystery.
If I could describe Bone, I'd say that it's essentially what you'd get if you put Looney Tunes and the Lord of the Rings into a blender. Written by Jeff Smith, it's about a trio of cousins who find themselves chased out of their hometown and adventuring through a fantasy landscape that is very foreign to them. It is extremely funny and heartfelt, while feeling like a grand adventure. It is the type of thing that I would want to read to my kids one day.
"What you'd get if you put Looney Tunes and The Lord of the Rings into a blender."
Illustration: Erika Meza
We actually just had a Hawkeye TV show come out which partly influenced this pick. Matt Fraction and David Aja's run on Hawkeye in 2012 is frankly amazing. It's all about Hawkeye but away from all the Avenger level problems. Here Hawkeye is super skilled, but ultimately just a guy with a bow and arrow, and the problems he faces are about things like stopping his neighbours from being kicked out of their home. The majority of this piece plays out around the apartment building he lives in. It just makes for a really endearing read. I love the focus on the theme of community that runs throughout this. Oh and pizza dog is amazing.
My Hero Academia
Let's take a trip over to Japan and talk about manga. Written by Kōhei Horikoshi, My Hero Academia is about a boy called Deku who is a timid, but selfless boy without superpowers who grows up in a world where having superpowers is very common. It's all about Deku's journey to somehow become a superhero. It's a very heartfelt piece filled to the brim with action, but what really resonates with me is that selflessness that Deku shows. It's a beautiful trait to have in a superhero, and it's the type of thing I try and model with characters like Marv that I'm working on right now.
A Silent Voice
Let's stick with manga. This pick was actually made into an animated film. Written by Yoshitoki Ōima this story is about the relationship between a school bully and the deaf girl that he has bullied, and how that relationship evolves years after the bullying occurred. Not only is it a really sombre look at mental health and school bullying, I think its real strength is how seriously it takes the idea of 'making amends'. I cried reading it.
The Adventures of Asterix
Illustration: Albert Uderzo
I think this pick may have been the first comic book series that I ever read. I have so many memories of me being a child, getting these comics out from the library and reading them cover to cover. Created by René Goscinny and Albert Uderzo, this series is set in medieval times, it’s about a small village in modern day France that has remained so, and with the help of a magic potion has managed to stave off attacks from the Roman Empire. These books are just so much fun and filled with adventure. The underdog spirit that seeps out of every page and cartoony fight sequences, just make it something that I'm always happy to read.
When I was young, I used to spend a lot of time watching superhero cartoons on TV. One thing I realised very quickly was that black superheroes didn't really exist, at least that's what I thought until I watched this show called 'Static Shock’. Static Shock was about a black teenager called Static who had these cool electromagnetic powers. It was really cool to see a superhero who looked like me on TV and it's probably one of the reasons that I ended up writing Marv, to give kids now what I got with all those years ago when I watched Static Shock on TV – a superhero to which all children can relate. Right now, there is a new Static comic, it's created by Vita Ayala, ChrisCross, Nikolas Draper-Ivey, and I've read it and think it's pretty damn awesome.
Illustration: Paula Bowles
Marv is the first book in a powerful new series by Alex Falase-Koya and Paula Bowles, following one boy's journey to unlock the superhero within.
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These comics and graphic novels offer a different route into discovering the pleasure of reading.
The graphic novel format is a great way to engage reluctnat readers, present difficult subject matter in an accesible way, as well as to just enjoy a great read. There is something on this list for every teen.
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