I always enjoy a peek into another author or reader’s list, and I was recently chatting up some comics recommendations on Twitter, so it felt like a nice time to draw out this conversation more and share my comic books pull list.
Personally, I love stories that go big, with a bent toward the strange and absurd. It’s just what comics to do best, in my opinion.
I am also a big believer that comics are for everyone—it’s not just capes and mutants! No matter what you enjoy, there is a comic for you--beyond superheroes, there is also a lot of action, thriller, romance, and even literary graphic work out there.
I’ve never gotten into the biggest superheroes in comics (though I’m a sucker for them on screen). This is in large part because the universes of these stories, particularly DC and Marvel heroes, tend to be so massive I, a) don’t know where to start, and, b) am not sure I want to get sucked in to that level. So I’ll pick up the major cape graphic novels, but otherwise, I stick to the fringes a bit more.
Here are my current favorites.
Saga, Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples
A classic Romeo and Juliet story, taken into an alternate universe space opera, where the lovers get married, start a family, and must learn to survive on the run while being pursued by agents on both sides of an ongoing war.
Every single character is given depth and shades of gray, with an eye toward heavier topics like the cost of war.
Also, the MOST amazing alien illustrations. THE MOST.
The Walking Dead, Robert Kirkman, Charlie Adlard and Cliff Rathburn
The comic book is just different enough from the TV show to keep you on your toes, but similar enough that if you love one, you’ll love the other.
Sometimes horrifying and other times cheesy in a “What About Beaver” sort of way, this comic explores the brightest and darkest corners of human nature.
Bitch Planet, Kelly Sue Deconnick and Valentine De Landro
First of all, I want to BE Kelly Sue Deconnick. Seriously. Look her up. But girl-crush aside, Bitch Planet is a revolution.
In this world, noncompliant women are shipped off to a prison planet where they are safely confined and can’t disrupt a heavily patriarchal society. Speaking your mind and breaking out from the norm condemned as acts of rebellion. And if you pick it up by single issues, each one comes with a feminist essay in the back.
This comic has meant so much to fans that the NC (noncompliant) mark has become a popular tattoo, and it’s definitely on my own list for future inking.
Paper Girls, by Brian K. Vaughan (again), Cliff Chiang and Matt Wilson
Set in the 1980s and following the adventures of four pre-teen girls who are breaking the glass ceiling as the first female newspaper deliverers, a simple world is quickly twisted around in an absurd and delightful time-travel adventure. Get ready to be confused. You know, in a good way.
Beyond this, the coloring and illustration of this story is just too cool. Check out these covers. Also, more cool monsters.
Concluding note: Just now realizing how Image Comics-heavy my reading is. Promise, no one paid me to write this.