Hello, dear readers. Just as a heads up this is going to be the last NRRD PROBZ of 2012. It will return on January 8th, so have a wonderful holiday and send in those questions!

“Gail Simone got sacked! If I wanted to start reading some Gail Simone books, where do I start?”

I KNOW WHAT’S UP WIDDAT? We here at G3 are currently mourning the loss, and may continue to do so for some time.

In the interim, you could start out your Simone quest with one of her runs on Secret Six. They are great fun and really accessible to newer readers. Her first collected work on it is entitled “Six Degrees of Devastation” and includes all six issues of the mini series. I would read this first, not only because it is chronological, but because when using this as a starting point you really get to see her grow into the series later on.

The first trade of her second run on Secret Six dubbed “Unhinged”, is probably my favorite of the lot and collects the first seven issues. In this instance, the comic was started as an ongoing series rather than a mini, giving Simone the opportunity to show her writing chops. I would recommend starting the journey with this one if you’re into instant gratification.

After that you could go on to her work on Wonder Woman, and finally round it out with her most recent work on Batgirl. If by this point you are a rabid fan, there is also plenty of Birds of Prey and some Welcome to Tranquility to sink your teeth into. Enjoy!

“I’ve been asking for cash this Christmas so I can create my first cosplay costume for conventions in the coming year. Do you have any suggestions for an affordable costume that is not overplayed and would be recognized? I want it to be Marvel oriented.”

Far be it for me to assume which comic characters people these days will recognize. I went as Epiphany from Hellblazer this year thinking a ton of people would understand, but all I heard was crickets. A brave few dared guess I was Ramona Flowers. You just can’t wear a blue wig anymore. Le sigh.

Anyway, ummmm… I don’t know. I would suggest any of the following as do-able on a budget and fairly recognizable: Scarlet Witch, Kitty Pryde, Dazzler, Hellcat, Jubilee, Namora, or Wasp. I know some of them might seem a little daunting, but get a body suit and a glue gun with some fabric scraps and there is nary a superhero costume that can’t be made.

It’s all about picking a character that you have a connection with. Someone you WANT to frolic around pretending to be. Just go with your gut. And please don’t think you have to limit it to sexy heroine type costumes. I’ve seen some absolutely amazing gender-bent costumes. Go as Gambit! Machine Man! Red Skull! Whatever you desire.

“My boyfriend is an insufferable know-it-all when it comes to comics, and I really want to give him a few trades or graphic novels this year that he hasn’t read yet. He is a die-hard DC fan and I doubt he would read anything else. Suggestions?”

Hmmmm… Tricky, tricky. As a die-hard DC fan, I assume he doesn’t recognize Vertigo as a legitimate part of the brand, so probably I’ll skip those. I’m sure there are a number of trades that would fit your specifications, but I can only think of a few.

*Batman Snow
Written by J.H. Williams III with art by Seth Fisher, this Batman mini series was originally serialized as Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #192-196. The trade was released in 2007, years before Williams would garner incredible acclaim for his work on Batwoman with Greg Rucka. This comic is seriously a gem – a fresh take on an old story. Seth Fisher is an incredible artist and really sets the mood for the action in the book with the villainous Mr. Freeze.

*Green Lantern: Willworld
Written by J.M DeMatteis with art by Seth Fisher. Can you tell I love Seth Fisher?!?! I think this book originally came out around 2001, but was recently reprinted as a soft cover collection for the wonderful price of $7.99 compared to the old hardcover cost of $19.99.
I was so pleased with DC for making this great comic available once again at a really affordable price. Anyway, it chronicles Hal Jordan’s early days as a Green Lantern and again, has incredible art and a solid story that work wonders together.

I could go on, but I am seriously about to name two more Batman titles and I feel a bit guilty being so one-note. Haha, just kidding. Batman is the best, so I don’t care.

*Batman Year 100
Written and drawn by Paul Pope, one of my all-time favorite creators, this book holds it’s own against other heavyweight classics like The Dark Knight Returns. Beautifully rendered and well-written, this story of the Batman reads less like a typical cape story and more like a noir crime novel. A lot of people have noted that “this isn’t a Batman story,” and it’s basically true. The emphasis is never really placed on Bruce Wayne or Batman as you would expect, they are merely details. The story is all contained in the action. A must-read for any Bat fan.

*Batman Lovers & Madmen
So this was written by Michael Green (of Heroes fame) and illustrated by Denys Cowan, and encompasses a six issue run of Batman Confidential. I know a lot of people that were too skeptical about this series to read it, but I think this trade in particular is really worth the effort.

Hope these help! If he reads predominantly the continuity of the big events in DC, these will probably have slipped by him. You might also try All Star Superman, All Star Batman and Robin, Starman (Omnibus!), Simon Dark, Punk Rock Jesus, We3, and The New Frontier.

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