I’m back with another Indie Comics Month guide for all Patrons of CK! This is the guide that was the first itch I had to create indie comics guides more than six years ago when I first launched mu Patreon campaign! At the time, I couldn’t believe that anyone would spend time on a guide page for an Image launch title from 1992 whose comics continuity was dead in the water. Now it has a hot new book to its name in the main DC Universe! That’s right, it’s time for a guide to Image’s fourth flagship title, the co-flagship of Jim Lee’s WildStorm imprint that later joined him at DC Comics. It’s a brand new Guide to WildCATs.
(Bonus: I also launched a quick Guide to WildStorm Events with every line-wide event in reading order.)
I know this material well, not only because I loved WildCATs back in the 90s, but because I was in the middle of putting together a complete run of WildCATs for binding when we moved to New Zealand! I have personally hunted down every issue in this guide without the help of a guide. This is a page that held absolutely no surprises for me.
That’s not the case for WildCATs itself, which I think is a book that would surprise a lot of people if they read beyond the famous first thirteen issues by Jim Lee.
I think many comic fans make the mistake of assuming that WildCATs is a lot like X-Men because Jim Lee launched it the same month he departed X-Men. And the team have a secret genetic heritage of super powers. And it had its own Animated Series. And the sometimes-leader of the group is a blue-clad boy scout who falls for a psychic. And there’s a guy who used to be in a special military team who got experimented on and who may have a healing factor.
Okay, maybe it’s a little like the X-Men. But, all of those similarities are on the surface level of WildCATs. It’s a fun surface level, but beneath that WildCATs isn’t X-Men at all.
It’s Inhumans decades before Marvel figured out how to do more with them other than just focus on the royal family. It’s about legacy and generations-old feuds. It’s about sins of the fathers and sleeper agents. It’s about better living through the convenient lies of technology. It’s about being proud of your heritage right up until your first visit to the old world. And, it has a touch of body horror.
Part of that depth comes from WildCATs being written by weirdos for the better part of a decade. High wizard of weirdos Alan Moore took over writing duties from James Robinson with WildC.A.T.s: Covert Action Teams (1992) #21 in July 1995, just after the WildStorm Rising crossover. Pope of pop culture perversity Joe Casey wrote the book for a pair of volumes, finishing his run in October 2004. And, the next WildCATs issue after that in 2006 was written by none other than the imitable magician and total oddball Grant Morrison!
There’s just something about WildCATs that attracts these folks. It’s fun as a “normal” superhero book, but it doesn’t ever want to stay that way for long because the point of these characters is not that they are superheroes. (Neither does Stormwatch, which always veers to tragedy or extremism. More on that later…)
Once you understand the five main volumes of WildCATs and how they are punctuated with events, a WildCATs reading order turns out to be much simpler than it seems. I’m happy to have found a way to communicate that to you in a guide six years after I kicked off my Patreon campaign by recapping WildCATs comics to virtually no one 😂
For those of you who have made it this far, I must confess: we’re only six weekdays of indie guides into this month and I’m feeling a bit burnt out. This is why I always say I shouldn’t try to make more than one guide per week! But, if I only made one guide per week it would take forever to launch a solid indie comics section, so I must persist! If you want access to the new guides as fast as my exhausted fingers can launch them (seriously, it’s so much typing), consider becoming a Patron of CK. For as little as $1 a month or $10.20 a year, Patrons currently have access to…
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