Thu 9 Oct 2008
After Alfredo from theexplodingbarrel suggested I read Y the Last Man, my good friend Jean-Francois lent me the first books from the series. I was instantly hooked! I’ve been a comic book fan practically since I was able to read but rarely has a non-superhero comic so captivated me.
I’ve read quite a few non-superhero comics in my day and so have decided to make a list of a few I highly recommend. This isn’t a “top x of all time” list since I haven’t read every non-superhero comic out there.
This is simply seen as a list of recommendations. If there’s something I left out, by all means let me know!
Y the Last Man
This Vertigo Comics book is the reason I even made this list. Y the Last Man was amazing on so many levels and hooked me by the first few comics. It’s the story of Yorick, the last man left alive after a mysterious plague wiped out every y chromosome on the planet, human or otherwise. If the premise doesn’t get you, the pacing will. At times funny and light-hearted and at others deep and disturbing, Y the Last Man will suck anyone in. My wife is living proof, this is the only comic that she’s read and it served to spark her interest in the medium as a whole.
I’ve read the entire 60 book series and although I’m sad it’s over, I feel that it needed to end to make it an epic. That’s one of the things I hate the most about Marvel/DC superhero comics. I would have preferred short graphics novels over the book-a-month + spin-offs + limited series approach but Marvel/DC has finances to think about, not just fan service.
This book caught me by surprise! It’s the story of three bone creature brothers that get lost and in a valley populated by humans, rat monsters, and other strange and wonderful creatures.
I stumbled on Bone when I went into my regular comic book store and they didn’t have anything for me from my list. I asked Jay the comic store guy to suggest something and he enthusiastically pushed the first Bone graphic novel in my face! I looked at the funny white creature on the cover and rolled my eyes but he was so sure I would like it that he offered me my money back if I didn’t. An offer I can’t and didn’t refuse and I haven’t looked back since.
Bone is a book for everyone. Hilarious and light-hearted yet possesses a deep a satisfying story with many twists that are mostly unpredictable and always a pleasure to discover. This is a world that could only be done justice in the comic book medium (and perhaps as a 2D animation).
This is a comic that I feel guilt for recommending but compelled to recommend at the same time. Although the book itself is gorgeous and is illustrated by one of my favorite comic book artists of all time, Joe Madureira who I once made a tribute PS3 theme about, it only ran for 9 issues and ended on a cliffhanger that was never resolved. If this infuriates you, then leave this recommendation aside since it will only end in disappointment. But if great art and the promise of a great fantasy world entices you, then by all means find this comic and treasure it.
The story revolves around a little girl in a fantasy setting that finds a pair of gloves that belonged to her missing father. These gloves grant the wearing strength and invulnerability. She is joined by an animated Golem, a legendary sword-fighter, and an elemental wizard on her quest to find her missing father. Throw into the mix is a red-head bombshell pirate who may or may not have been intended to join the band. The potential for this comic was great but sadly will never be realized, tread at your own risk.
Although honestly not as good as the other books in this series, Warlands did help me get my fantasy fix after Battle Chasers was canceled. I’m not a fan of Pat Lee or Alvin Lee’s art but they did a decent job on the series. In general, the art seemed a little amateurish at times and the story, although very entertaining, wasn’t very deep.
Warlands is the story of a Vampire army that threatens to take over the world. There are elves and dwarfs and pretty much every other fantasy creature thrown into the mix. Definitely a good read but this book won’t make you wet your bed or anything. For fans of the genre only.
Ghost in the Shell
I confess, I only read the graphic novel after watching the brilliant 2d animation, and mostly to understand what I was missing from the movie. Still, whether you’ve seen the movie or not, you have to read this book. Extremely deep and compelling story and some of the best art ever in a manga (if you like that kind of thing).
The story’s main protagonist is agent Motoko Kusanagi, a law enforcement officer that is almost entirely synthetic. Her “spirit” is that of a human though but she starts to question even that when a computer program becomes self aware. Yes, very deep stuff and the series doesn’t lack in the action department either. I won’t delve any deeper and ruin any more of the story but suffice it to say that this book is a must read.
So there you have it. I’m sure there are TONS of non-superhero comics/manga/graphic novels out there that I’ve missed. On my “to read” list I have Black Sad, Blade of the Immortal (Which I’ve Started), and Crossed. Anything else worth reading?
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