It’s the last week of September and this is the unbiased best month of the year! I use the last motivational post of the month to talk about and somewhat review a piece of media that has touched me and inspired me in some way. I’ve talked about movies, TV shows, books, and anime. I thought maybe I’d go a little outside the usual fare and into comic book land.
I have never been a big comics reader, mostly because comics have a way of being ridiculous and bad, especially the perpetually ongoing superhero series that are still in abundance to this day.
But there are gems out there, special comics that I have read over the years that are transcendent of the medium. I’m going to talk about Alias today, which is maybe jumping the gun just a little bit since the Netflix TV show centered around Jessica Jones isn’t coming out until November.
Alias, which is available on Amazon in trade paperbacks and on Comixology’s digital platform, is a Marvel superhero comic. It is part of their MAX imprint, which is an R-Rated side of Marvel that allows them to tell more graphic and mature stories. It stars Jessica Jones.
Jessica Jones is a former super hero, washed out and unable to function in normal society. She was part of the Avengers, has been tied to Spider-Man. But her story isn’t very heroic.
Jessica Jones is a drunk, a self-loathing former hero, a private detective. She is the mistress and doesn’t care. In one of the first issues of her comic she is depressed and in need of something, anything, that makes her feel alive, that makes her feel anything at all.
It’s a dark, powerful, place to begin a story. She isn’t a role model, doesn’t want to be. She makes bad decisions and deals with the consequences. She is the most human hero I’ve ever read in either Marvel or DC.
Jessica Jones is a complex character and I enjoyed the process of being in her world, living with her as she struggles to find her place in a universe that has little use for her.
I think Marvel took a chance when they created the MAX imprint in order to tell more adult, mature stories that still existed in their wondrous superhero world. It didn’t run for long, but her comic run is responsible for a shift in the market which has given even non-MAX imprint stories the leeway to be more mature, to tell adult stories.
You don’t have to play in the kiddie pool all the time, Jessica Jones proclaimed. You can dive into the deep end and wonder if you’ll drown. Sometimes you gotta risk it for the big payoff.
All that said, I’m really excited for the Netflix series, called Jessica Jones. Krysten Ritter is Jessica and I think she’s pretty perfect for the role, but time will tell since it doesn’t release until November.
Another thing about the comics that I want to mention is the art. Michael Gaydos did a bangup job on the art inside the issues, but where I instantly fell in love with the art was in the covers. They employed David Mack to do the covers, and they have this wonderful watercolor aspect to them that is terribly expressive and gives me chills. The color palette is heavy on shades of purple and pastel and it’s just so good.
So that’s for the month of September. Jessica Jones is one of my favorite things to come out of Marvel in a long time, and even though it’s 13 years old and I read it for the first time this year, I love that it exists for so many reasons.
How does it inspire me? I mentioned it up above, but she is real, she is human, she has emotional complexities that super heroes and heroines often don’t get because why would you want your heroes to be less than perfect? I don’t write super heroes, but if I did they would fall in line with the terribly flawed style of hero, because that’s where the stories that matter are being told. Watchmen, Jessica Jones, Punisher, some of the darker Batman storylines.
They remind me that stories in a friendly universe don’t have to be so friendly, and with that in mind I will write the hell on.