Happy National Comic Book Day! Not to be confused with Free Comic Book Day which took place in May, National Comic Book Day is another great day to celebrate your favorite comic books, characters and creators.
There are some really fantastic books that Marvel Comics is putting out right now, including a few that are must-reads for fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. In honor of the occasion, below are five Marvel comics that you should be reading!
Writer: Dan Watters
Penciler: German Peralta
Marvel knows what it’s doing. The Disney+ series Loki from Marvel Studios is considered one of the very best Marvel Cinematic Universe shows released thus far, and with a highly anticipated second season on the way, Marvel Comics launched a new mini-series starring the former God of Mischief back in June. The four-issue miniseries just concluded last week, timed perfectly to give fans waiting for the season 2 premiere on October 5th something to tide them over.
Like in the MCU, Loki in the comics has had somewhat of a redemptive arc recently. No longer called the “God of Mischief” and instead having taken on the mantle of “God of Stories,” Loki is the king of the Jotunheim, land of the frost giants (which MCU fans will remember from Thor: The Dark World).
In this series, Loki’s misdeeds of the past come back to haunt him, forcing him to traverse different worlds and times to make things right. He runs into some fun allies, shape-shifts into the female Loki, and ultimately faces the question of who he really is.
Many of the themes in this easy-to-read four-issue miniseries seem to echo that of the upcoming Disney+ show, and it’s a must read as we wait just over one week for the MCU series to return.
Ms. Marvel: The New Mutant
Writer: Sabir Pirzada, Iman Vellani
Penciler: Carlos Gomez, Adam Gorham
Another example of comics and MCU synergy is Kamala Khan, aka Ms. Marvel. In comics, Kamala has long been an Inhuman with polymorph abilities. When she was introduced in live-action for the first time in last year’s Ms. Marvel Disney+ series, her origin was changed somewhat dramatically. Starring the effervescent Iman Vellani, Kamala was revealed to be a mutant in the MCU and her polymorph abilities were adjusted to be more of a light based power. On November 10th, Kamala returns with Carol Danvers (Brie Larson) and Monica Rambeau (Teyonah Parris) in The Marvels.
On the comics side, Kamala has gone through a lot. Like her live-action counterpart, she has also been revealed to be a mutant (although she is also still an Inhuman), she died and was resurrected, and she is now a member of the X-Men. This new era officially kicked off in Ms. Marvel: The New Mutant, which is co-written by Ms. Marvel herself, Iman Vellani, and Sabir Pirzada, who also served as a writer on Ms. Marvel the show.
Issue #2 of the series releases this week, and if the first issue is any indication, it will deal with deeper themes of identity, discrimination and persecution, wrapped in a light-hearted, teen storyline. With Vellani and Pirzada writing the story, the tone of the comic is very similar to that of the series, and it’s fascinating to see them delve into a character that has been a member of the Champions, the Avengers and now the X-Men.
Black Panther (2023)
Writer: Eve Ewing
Penciler: Christopher Allen
T’Challa has been on quite the journey in comics over the last few years. He got captured and lost his memories while trying to explore deep space, he lost his status and authority as the king of Wakanda, as the country shifted to a democracy, and he was even exiled as a traitor.
With Black Panther (2023), which began back in June, Marvel handed T’Challa’s story to a brand new creative team of Eve Ewing and Christopher Allen. Ewing is the first Black woman to write on the main, on-going Black Panther comic (Nnedi Okorafor is the first Black woman to write T’Challa in the Long Live the King miniseries), and she takes T’Challa’s story to a more intimate level than we’ve seen in years.
As an exiled former king, T’Challa must disguise himself to help the citizens of Wakanda, who don’t believe that the Black Panther is around anymore. The first arc of Ewing and Allen’s story also recently introduced a fascinating new character, Beisa, who has a great dynamic with T’Challa reminiscent of Catwoman and Batman. Issue #5 scheduled to release on October 4th, and now is a great time to catch up!
Writer: Jonathan Hickman
Penciler: Bryan Hitch
Ultimate Invasion is an absolute must-read for any comic fan who appreciates high concept storylines. I want to say Hickman is on fire right now following his incredible run on the X-Men books, but it feels like an understatement to act like he isn’t in a constant state of molten hot lava. This latest title is a follow up from Hickman’s epic 2015-2016 Secret Wars event, as well artist Bryan Hitch’s The Ultimates series that largely inspired the MCU.
The series centers around the Maker, who is an evil version of Reed Richards from the Ultimates universe (Earth-1610). It’s difficult to discuss this book without delving into spoilers, but the essence of the story revealed thus far is that the Maker, who had been imprisoned for an extended period, has broken free and escaped into another multiverse. There, he has recreated the world to his liking and Marvel’s Earth-616 heroes must find a way to stop him before he can invade their universe and exact his revenge.
Miles Morales, who is also a hero originally from Earth-1610, is expected to play a central role in the story. Issue #4 of the miniseries releases this week so there’s ample time to catch up on the series that will not only reshape the Marvel Comics universe, but could be an early preview of themes and concepts that we might see in the MCU in the coming years leading up to the film version of a multiversal battle in Avengers: Secret Wars.
Miles Morales: Spider-Man
Writer: Cody Ziglar
Penciler: Federico Sabbatini, Partha Pratim
Speaking of Miles Morales, the comics and MCU connections keep going with Miles Morales: Spider-Man. Written by Cody Ziglar, who also served as a writer on the Marvel Studios series She-Hulk, Miles is struggling with his faltering spidey sense as he deals with a new speedster, Hightail, and a group called the Cape Killers (self-explanatory). Like Kamala Khan, Miles has to manage being a “regular” student and a superhero at the same time, which includes family, chores and trying not to get killed.
Spider-Man is the premier superhero in Marvel Comics, and every month there are countless spider titles to choose from. Sometimes it can feel overwhelming for new or returning readers to jump into books that have been on-going for so long. Thankfully, the most recent issue, Miles Morales: Spider-Man #10, starts a new arc that is casual reader friendly.
Ziglar, whose writing credits also include the hit animated series RIck & Morty and Futurama, brings his trademark zaniness to the book that’s a great fit for Miles Morales. The series is fast paced, action packed and full of intimate character moments that makes Miles so relatable.
Ron is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of POC Culture. He is a big believer in the power and impact of pop culture and the importance of representation in media.