Mystery Class: Should You Be Reading ‘Morning Glories’?
When you look at the sheer range and number of original stories being told in comics form today, it’s hard to imagine a better time to be a comics reader. Online and in print, from all around the world, artists and writers are telling stories with their own voices and styles, and there’s so much to choose from that it’s sometimes difficult to know what to read next. With Should I Be Reading… ?, ComicsAlliance hopes to offer you a guide to some of the best original ongoing comics being published today.
Morning Glories is a science fiction teenage drama comic from writer Nick Spencer and artist Joe Eisma, published by Image. Starting in 2010, this series has fifty issues to its name, with another twenty or so to come. Morning Glories deals with teenagers attending a prep school who have to deal with a monster in the basement, secret twins, time-travel, cryptic messages, homicidal teachers, backstabbing classmates, and one of the most mind-bending, confusing, and amazing stories in comics today.
WHAT’S IT ABOUT?
Attempting to describe the entirety of this series would be like trying to describe Guernica well enough for someone to draw it. So, the basics:
Six teenagers --- of different sexualities, ethnicities, and backgrounds --- are sent by their parents to a prestigious academy where nothing is as it seems. To tell any more would be to pointlessly confuse, but rest assured, the teens bond, fall in love, go to class, get kidnapped, stage a coup, do their homework, go on field trips, have a field day, and travel in time. You know, typical teenage stuff.
WHO’S IT BY?
Writer Nick Spencer has written many indie series, including Bedlam and Infinite Vacation. He began this series before he came to fame with Marvel’s Superior Foes of Spider-Man. Artist Joe Eisma has also provided art for Big Trouble in Little China as well as Archer & Armstrong. Cover artist Rodin Esquejo is the interior artist for Image’s Mind the Gap.
WHAT MAKES IT SPECIAL?
If you miss comics that make you stare in absolute confusion, flipping pages, going, “What?! What!?” over and over, this is the comic for you. Morning Glories is one of the longest running comics around nowadays, meaning there's room for you to fall in love with its characters --- all of whom could easily fit into typical tropes, but with enough of a difference to make them come alive --- and stay for the infuriating mysteries that stretch back and forward across the series.
If you manage to get through the first volume without cutting pages out, posting them on your wall with ribbon connecting them, and screaming, “What does it all mean?!” then I envy you.
One of the smartest things about Morning Glories is that it embraced television’s method of breaking its story up into “seasons,” years before the same idea came into vogue with the Big Two. Instead of rebooting, every so often the series ends a “season” --- appropriately featuring a blow-out, oversized series finale that provides a perfect jumping on point for new readers. It allows the writer and artist to take planed hiatuses without leaving fans wondering when the next issue will come out.
WHO SHOULD READ IT?
It reads like the lovechild of The Runaways and Grant Morrison’s Invisibles, so if you like those, you’ll like this. Fans of X-Files, Lost, Fringe, or any other semi-procedural, arc-heavy supernatural or sci-fi television dramas will enjoy it.
Be warned: answers don’t come quick. If you’re easily frustrated, you might want to skip this one.
WHERE CAN I READ IT?
It is available in both single issues and in collected volumes at better comic stores, Comixology, and Amazon. The tenth collection comes out in September. As of this writing, season two has just ended, so this is a great time to jump on.