Image Comics super-publisher Eric Stephenson is not supposed to play favorites (especially when he’s surrounded by so many insanely awesome stories every day), but he did it especially for us. You’re welcome.
Kill or Be Killed, Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips' warped thriller about a young vigilante who has no choice but to snuff out his evil adversaries at the cost of his relationships and sanity, is the first comic Stephenson admitted to being so excited about that he’s constantly looking for updates in his email. Especially when the Russian mafia, the NYPD, and demons—yes, demons—get involved.
“Sean sends a couple pages every day as he’s working on it,” Stephenson said of the raw and often brutal series that does the opposite of glamorizing vigilantism. “I get those in my email. I love getting those pages, because they’re really doing a different type of supernatural crime story from even what they’ve done before.”
Another title Stephenson can't recommend enough is Paper Girls. The brainchild of Saga and Marvel’s Runaways writer Brian K. Vaughn and artist Cliff Chiang, who has also made DC characters Green Arrow, Black Canary, and Wonder Woman leap off the page. Paper Girls rewinds to 1988 and follows a 12-year-old girl gang on their paper route when they unearth what could be the most important story of all time—but they have to navigate through suburban drama and the paranormal to get it out there. No pressure.
“Everybody loves Saga, and I think that Paper Girls is every bit as good of a book,” Stephenson said of the retro mystery. “It’s totally different; I don’t think you can interchange the two on any level, but I think that Paper Girls deserves a lot more attention.”
Another blast from the ‘80s, Deadly Class by Rick Remender and Batman’s Wesley Craig, is among Stephenson’s top picks. Marcus Lopez is bullied, poor and struggling in school, with the only things he can focus on seriously in class being the unattainable girl in the front row and an upcoming Dag Nasty concert. Except the class he’s failing is Dismemberment 101. Marcus is a student at the top school for spawn of assassins, and getting out of King’s Dominion High School alive isn’t always just a metaphor.
“I think that Deadly Class is the best thing [Remender] has ever done for Image, Marvel, anywhere … I think there’s so much of Rick that’s in it because he’s digging into stuff that happened to him when he was a kid.”
So, which of Stephenson’s faves are you (literally or otherwise) dying to read? Tell us in the comments!