You mean there's more to comics than capes and spandex tights?
No seriously, there is! I know! Shocking revelation, but it’s not entirely your fault. The most popular comics generally are icons like Batman, Superman and Spider-man. Your typical superhero comics. But my friends, there’s a whole world of comics out there! Beyond the spandex and underwear that is now outerwear. Beyond Marvel and DC. They’re great, but only one piece of the pie that is comics. You could stop there, but why would you? There’s so much more deeper in, if you take a look.
Now, I have nothing against superhero comics. Far from it. I love them. Wolverine, Spider-Man, Daredevil, Batman, and all the others. And I’m not saying that every non-superhero comic is going to be amazing. There is definitely junk out there. But if you look in the rough, you’re sure to find some pearls. However, with any unfamiliar territory, it can help to have a guide. Allow myself and some of the other Fanatics to point you in places to start.
The first publisher I’d like to mention is Icon Comics. I’ve already reviewed Scarlet, and it remains one of my favorite (short) books to date. Icon is a place for Marvel writers to publish their own books. I strongly recommend the Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips team ups – Sleeper, Criminal, Incognito, and most recently, Fatale. These are very noir tales with a little bit of super human thrown in. Sleeper is about a CIA agent in deep cover in a super human terrorist organization, Criminal is about a series of epic crime stories, Incognito is about a super human bad guy that gets caught and has to live as a normal civilian, and Fatale is just that, a femme fatale story. They’re dark, gritty, and very well written.
Next up is Vertigo. A lot of great ones. Also a lot of strange ones. We have American Vampire, Y: The Last Man, The Losers, and Fables. Read the review of American Vampire and Y: The Last Man for the full details, but they are must reads. The Losers is like the A-Team, if they were much more violent and crazy. Fables is one I just started reading and am in love with it. Very critically acclaimed, the premise is what would happen of fairy tale creatures like Snow White, the Big Bad Wolf, Jack and Jill had to live in the real world. All four of these are fantastic. And, of course, V for Vendetta.
A few very notable ones from Dark Horse: the Firefly comics: Better Days, Those Left Behind, and Shepard’s Tale. Fans of Firefly should not miss these books. Also, we have Fray, an original comic book from the ever amazing Joss Whedon. It’s a very fun read, and is very true to Whedon’s style. Hellboy is also very fun. If you’ve wanted the movies, you know what to expect: big red hero with a big fist, lots of monsters, and Nazi’s. Good Stuff!
Any list like this would be remiss without mentioning Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead. Perhaps a little over exposed now, but it is a great read. If you’ve only seen the show, READ THIS! Also by Kirkman, Invincible is an amazing read. Yes, it falls into the category of capes and spandex, but it is so well done, I couldn’t help but plug it. Jinx and Goldfish by Brian Michael Bendis are great stories of bounty hunters and grifters. Lastly, Irredeemable and Incorruptible by Mark Waid (Kingdom Come, Daredevil) are recommended.
And if that’s not enough my fellow Fanatics have a few suggestions:
Luis: I absolutely love Wormwood: Gentleman Corpse. It’s written by Ben Templesmith and published by IDW. If you love snarky and sharp Englishmen then you’ll love it!
Angela: I really enjoyed V for Vendetta and Y: Last Man. also The Guild comics are a good addendum to the web series
Tavia: Empowered, Strain, Orchid, and Dollhouse by Dark Horse. In the key of z by Boom. Nancy in Hell by Image. 30 Days of Night by IDW. And, of course, Fables by Vertigo.
There you have it, more than enough comics to get you started. Be sure to check some of these out, they may change what you think a comic can be. And be sure to let me know if you do! Leave a comment, or drop me a line on twitter, @theindiegeek!