Earlier this month, in an interview with TV Guide, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson called Hayley Atwell, aka Agent Peggy Carter, his TV crush, citing her “beauty, brains, bad-assery.” Last month, he referenced Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. in this charming Twitter exchange with Ming-Na Wen. Clearly, he’s up on his comic book television. A lot of readers are first introduced to comics through tv and movies and are then inspired to dip their toes into the vast comics ocean. Here are some books I’d recommend to Mr. Johnson if he ever decides to test the water.
Andre the Giant: Life and Legend by Box Brown
Like The Rock, André René Roussimoff, also known as André the Giant, began his entertainment career with the World Wrestling Federation (now known as World Wrestling Entertainment due to a legal dustup with a panda bear) before making the move to the big screen. People love this book and it’s easy to see why. Brown’s sparse black and white art is a great, understated choice for the story of a man who was, almost literally, larger than life, and helps Brown tell the story of the very real and complex person behind the persona.
Jem & the Holograms by Kelly Thompson and Sophie Campbell
The Rock showed off his affinity for upbeat pop when he lip synced to Taylor Swift’s “Shake it Off” on Lip Sync Battle and I think he’d really get into the themes of music and girl power and friendship in this book. He can obviously related to Jerrica Benton’s experiences performing as an alter ego, though I admit it’s hard to imagine him ever experiencing stage fright. Jem and the Holograms has style and heart, just like The Rock himself. Plus, this is a great one for him to share with his teenage daughter.
Operation: S.I.N.: Agent Carter by Kathryn Immonen and Rich Ellis
The good news is that we are getting a second season of Agent Carter. The bad news is it’s going to be a while. Fortunately for you, me, and the Rock, we’ve got Peggy Carter comics to hold us over until she’s on our TV screens once again. Admittedly, the inexplicably blonde Peggy of the comics isn’t a perfect stand-in for Hayley Atwell, but Immonen’s stories are tense and action-packed and Ellis’ art will definitely scratch your dramatic fight scene itch. Marvel also spun Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. off into a comic, so I recommend that for when The Rock wants to spend more time with May and the gang during their summer hiatus.
By all accounts, this is the best book to come out of DC’s Convergence event. Honestly, I’m not particularly familiar with the event or the character, but the art has a gorgeous, retro feel that I definitely dig. And, of course, you may have heard that The Rock will be playing Shazam nemesis Black Adam in the upcoming movie, and it never hurts to read up on your competition. Know thy enemy and all that. Not that The Rock needs me to tell him how to prep for a role. I’ve seen a lot of The Rock’s movies, and I can say I absolutely trust his process.
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