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Want to get into reading comic books or simply looking for recommendations and don’t know where to start? MashReads‘ latest book club selection author Bob Proehl (A Hundred Thousand Worlds) has some advice for you:

You probably dont have many life experiences in common with your average comic book hero. Your last spider-bite resulted in an itchy bump rather than wall-crawling powers. Youve only been to this one dimension, and have done minimal time travel. But heres some comic books to help you through lifes rough spots.

New Baby

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King BabyBabies have all the superpowers, most notably mind control. Kate Beatons book is a strong reminder that with great baby power comes zero baby responsibility.

First day of school

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Gotham Academy Its tough to make friends. Its tough to keep up with homework. Its tough to deal with the half-man-half-crocodile who lives under your school grounds.

Puberty

Image: marvel comics

X-Men/New MutantsOf all the things the X-Men are metaphors for, puberty has always seemed the best fit. Your body is changing in ways you dont understand. As a result, you are empowered in certain ways but ostracized in others. And your best friend is a shape-shifting techno-organic alien.

First love

Image: marvel comics

Ms. MarvelTo be honest, G. Willow Wilsons Ms. Marvel would have you covered for a lot of these, but this tale of Kamala falling in love tops all. But unless youre in a comic book, you should probably avoid crushing on a de-aged Norse trickster god.

First heartbreak

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Scott Pilgrims Precious Little LifeSullen Canadian twenty-something suffers the pains of a broken heart, only to find love again in the form of a teleporting delivery girl. Time and teleportation heal all wounds.

Off to college

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Unbeatable Squirrel Girl– Worried you wont fit in at college? Doreen Green has a tail, talks to squirrels and fights supervillains and she manages. So suck it up.

First job

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The Babysitters Club The only books on this list where nothing truly bizarre happens. Raina Telgemeiers beautiful adaptations of the Ann M. Martin classics teach work-life balance and the power of collective bargaining.

Quarter Life Crisis

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Hawkeye Being an Avenger doesnt mean you dont feel adrift sometimes. Everyone has trouble keeping their finances straight, maintaining a clean apartment and fending off tracksuit-sporting Russian mobsters armed with exploding arrows.

Marriage

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The Flash I never bought the Clark and Lois marriage, but Wally West and Linda Park had a marriage that seemed real, complete with fighting about the dishes. That is, until it was undone by a cosmic crisis and Wally was wiped from the timestream.

Fatherhood

Image: dc comics

StarmanOver the course of this books run, the lead character develops the kind of strong but complicated relationship with his father that most sons only dream of, and becomes a father himself, with the sacrifices that implies. Also he befriends a pirate ghost and goes into space to find his girlfriends missing brother.

Motherhood

Image: image comics

Saga– Comics are generally not too kind to moms, who usually run the spectrum from evil to dead. This sci-fi epic unflinchingly portrays the pains and trials of being a new mom, including the ones that involve being chased by space bounty hunters.

Retirement

Image: wildstorm/DC comics

Welcome to Tranquility– Gail Simones story of a retirement community for superheroes and villains is a darkly funny parable about how you get on after youve put your lifes work behind you. Anyone who says The Dark Knight Returns is the best comic to get you through retirement is still checking their work email regularly.

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