Right from the start I must admit that I am in no way a Jonathan Hickman historian. I haven’t followed his career from its early beginnings, hell, I don’t know much about the guy beyond his recent Image and Avatar creations and his work with Marvel NOW, but I can’t think of a comic creator in recent years that has had more of an impact on me and what I look for in comics.
I discovered Hickman by accident. When I became aware that Marvel NOW would launch a brand new Avengers series I was on board right away. The name Hickman wasn’t really on my radar but he wasn’t unheard of. I just had never really read anything he had done. Maybe it’s because I am from a little bit older generation, I’m 38. Maybe I’m just lazy…I am, but for whatever reason I was in the dark on Hickman’s way of storytelling.
When Avengers #1 was released I picked it up along with a huge stack of other comics and it wasn’t even my first read that day! I read a few other titles before Hickman’s Avengers that seemed like “must reads” but strangely I can’t remember any of those books. I clearly remember reading Hickman’s Avengers.
I opened up that first issue and was immediately taken in by the darkness of it. The sense of an impending cataclysm and the words “We need to get bigger” really pulled me in. I was completely blown away by the scale of the story. I could tell from the start that this was going somewhere I wanted to go. I loved it and raved about it on social media. The artwork and the story worked so well I couldn’t say enough good things about it. I was now a fan of this particular book written by a guy I didn’t know much about. The name Hickman, to me at least, still didn’t have the impact that it does now and it wasn’t until the mind blowing East of West was released that I really became a dedicated Hickman-ite!
I read a blurb on one comic site or another announcing that Hickman was doing an Image book called East of West. The article said it would be about the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse returning to Earth in a dystopian future….sold! I picked up East of West with no expectations beyond reading a good SciFi/Western/Apocalypse story the article had hinted at. I was completely floored after that first issue and Hickman jumped to the top of my list of greats. The blurb I had read on this book had in no way prepared me for the awesomeness contained inside. Epic is the best word I can think of to describe it and Hickman writes on a level beyond other creators in my opinion. Not that he is better than all others, but the scale in which he writes is far reaching and consequential.
Recently, Hickman has solidified his place as my current favorite creator with Infinity. Infinity, for me, may be the most important Marvel event in decades. Running through Avengers, New Avengers (also by Hickman and a recent sub list addition for me) and the Infinity limited series with tie-ins in several other Marvel titles. Jonathan Hickman has somehow created the most all encompassing, intelligently written, and visually spectacular Marvel story I have read in years. Thanos, the Infinity Gems, the Builders, ROM! Are you kidding me? It deals with creation, responsibility, and choices on an almost biblical scale. If ever there was a Bible of the Marvel Universe, Infinity would certainly be one of the most important books in it! I credit Hickman with doing something I didn’t think was possible, he made me fall in love with the Marvel Universe again. Reading his work in Avengers, New Avengers and Infinity takes me back to being a little kid and discovering the Marvel Universe for the first time and for that I am grateful.
Jonathan Hickman seems to be a man that truly loves the comic medium. His recent offering, God Is Dead from Avatar comics, is yet another home run. It’s a story of mythical Gods returning to Earth to relieve mankind of the burden of ruling it. God Is Dead is once again a story written on a grand, world-spanning scale. Hickman does not write filler. Every book he is involved with seems important, at least for me, and I am sold on anything the man does. Thank You Jonathan Hickman, you have gotten me excited about comics like never before and renewed my faith in grand scale stories and the “event” book. To me, that’s something I could never adequately repay!