6 Reasons You Should Be Reading “The Boys”

The Boys, written by Garth Ennis and illustrated by Darick Robertson, follows a superpowered CIA squad, whose job it is to keep watch on superheroes and, if necessary, intimidate or kill them. These aren’t you’re average CIA agents. All the agents are injected with a special serum (known as Compound V) that makes them just as strong and intimidating as the average spandexed hero. Ennis tells a fantastic and often humorous story while Robertson’s drawings make the books almost life-like. The comic was nominated for and Eisner Award for”Best Continuing Series” in 2008.

It seems like every time I turn around, a comic book is being made into a movie or TV show. This is fantastic, because it gets some incredibly written and illustrated titles more fans. The good news for fans of The Boys is that it too will get it’s day in theaters, with a movie adaptation in the works (Adam McKay has signed on to direct).

That doesn’t mean newbies to the title should wait until it hits the big screen. Next trip to the comic book store, pick up the first trade of The Boys.

Superheroes Are The “Bad Guys”

I got wrapped up in The Boys on a suggestion from the guy running my local comic shop. I was just getting back into reading comics and told him I wasn’t into the whole superhero battling other superhero shtick, fighting over fake universes and plots to destroy worlds. I needed a title semi-grounded in reality. He suggested The Boys because while it still did involve “supes”, they were essentially the bad guys in the storyline. It was refreshing to read a story that actually delved into the idea that people with these types of powers might not always do the right thing and deep down could really be a**holes because of their power.

Hughie Is Based On Simon Pegg

I’m always more involved in a book when I can actually hear the voice of the author reading to me in my head. It’s almost like my own little play going on in a place that’s normally silent. The character of Hughie Campbell in The Boys is intentionally drawn to resemble the British actor Simon Pegg (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz). I’m a fan of Pegg’s work and when first getting involved with the story, having one of the characters be a recognizable face and voice was a major selling point. It’s like Simon is reading just to me. In my bed. With the lights dimmed.

Sex and Violence

As I mentioned in the first point, I’m just not easily sold by the superhero genre. I need a comic to read like a real life piece of fiction; complete with blood, guts, gore and the possibility of occasionally seeing a naked chick to make it seem like I’m doing something very wrong. The Boys have all of the above. The Butcher (the leader of The Boys) gets laid more than any comic book character really should and the super heroes can’t go a day without organizing a massive orgy. Call me old fashioned, I find it humorous. Fine, call me perverted, I’ll live with either.


An off-shoot, miniseries storyline from The Boys, Herogasm was a six story arc chronicling The Boys sneaking into the exclusive annual superhero retreat knows as”Herogasm”. The heroes spend a weekend at an island resort running wild, having sex with hired prostitutes (and each other) and taking massive amounts of drugs. Think Hedonism with men in capes. Actually, I’d guess the actual Hedonism has men in capes too.

Garth Ennis

Easily one of the best writers in comics today, Ennis’ resume includes Preacher, The Hitman and the Punisher franchise. Ennis just knows how to mix story, smut and entertaining reading into one concise package. It’s very rare that I’ll pick up anything a comic writer puts out but in Ennis’ case, I don’t care what it is, I’ll read it. While it might not be my particular interest I know I’ll be entertained. I also know I’ll see boob.

The Love Sausage

There are some secondary characters that never leave your mind, even if they only make a one book appearance. He appeared early and briefly in the title’s run but I’ll never forget Vas, The Love Sausage. Without giving too much away, Vas is a Russian ex-cop and ex-superhero that helps out the boys during a trip to Moscow. Formerly a member of the Glorious Five Year Plan, a team of five superheroes in the days of the Soviet Union, Vas was a mountain of a man with a ski slope for a…well…the name and image above should help connect the dots. If that picture alone doesn’t sell you on at least checking out the first couple issues of The Boys, I’ve got a great Spider-Ham comic that might be more your speed.

  • Bert

    That’s hilarious. My first thought on viewing the lead graphic was “Jesus, they should totally get Simon Pegg to play the guy on the bottom right when they make this movie…” and then I read further. In fact, the rest of the cast looks fairly similar to some big name actors as well – Ed Norton, Larry Fishburne, Bruce Campbell, and…well, a girl I guess.

    Sounds like an interesting read. Keep up the comics posts!

  • Korky

    Good comic, that’s for sure. I didn’t like the latest tangent that takes place in Scotland, though.

  • JapJay

    Yeah, I’m really enjoying this whole series. The premise that superheroes become famous for the money, merch, and women rather than actually wanting to help people is entertaining. And the The Boys being the anti-heros who are actuall the heroes. All the one-off groups are great, too. And Ennis literally pulls no punches when it comes to beign offensive, but in a very creative and smart way, rather than just gratuitous. I find myself really anticipating the next issue. And the not-so veiled political over tones (The Homelander, anyone?) are greatly appreciated.

    Ennis’s other work in a similar vein of adult content, that I’ve also enjoyed, is Crossed (people become super-violent and amoral), Chronicles of Wormwood (Christ and the Anti-Christ are buddies; Anti-Christ refuses to bring about the Apocalypse; but I don’t think that art is quite up to The Boys standard), and The Pro (a hooker becomes a superhero).

    As Spalding stated, all of the above (as well as other series) are pretty smutty and no holds barred but well written, witty, funny and really enjoyable to read.

  • JapJay

    BTW, the movie adaptation better not PG-ify the series. I know it can’t necessarily be as violent and sexy but I hope it doesn’t get turned into The Losers or even Red.

  • wannes

    if that comicbook guy has any other reading tips be sure to post ehm here because this comic rocks =)

  • JapJay

    Wannes, anything by Mark Millar (Kick-Ass; Wanted; Superman: Red Son; Nemesis; The Ultimates; The Authority; etc) is really, really good, as well. Nemesis just started and the premise is essentially “what if Batman was a total cunt?” Both Kick-Ass and Wanted are better (and different) than the movies and fun reads.

  • Mark Millar is really good in crafting interesting concepts and, okay, his dialogues are usually pretty funny/spot on, but he can’t write a satisfying ending for shit (Wanted, Civil War).

    My favorite non-American comics writer: Warren Ellis (Nextwave, DV8, Thunderbolts)

  • JapJay

    Jercy, how’s Planetary and Transmetropolitan? I’ve only read some of his mini series, like Black Gas, Ministry of Space, and Red and thought they were solid.

  • Same here actually. I never read Planetary OR Transmetropolitan, haha. So, sorry, I can’t actually help you with those. But I hear they’re very good, so I might try them out along with a few other critically acclaimed series that I have yet to try out (Fables, Y The Last Man, etc.)