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February 18, 2010 11:25 AM   Subscribe

I love The Walking Dead. Can anyone recommend similar (though not zombified) comics?

I've spent the last two weeks reading the first 69 issues of The Walking Dead, and besides falling seriously in love with the series, I'm craving more comics/graphic novels. I'm really only a dabbler in this arena, but I'd really like to find similar books. By similar, I don't mean full of zombies (I'm pretty okay on that front, though feel free to recommend your favorites), I mean dramatic (or funny) character-focused titles without super heroes (or with non-standard super heroes). Intrigue & tons of action bore me, but horror does not. For instance, the comic version of Stephen King's The Stand fits what I'm looking for perfectly, but so does the graphic novel, Fun Home . Watchmen does not.

Some other things to keep in my mind: Despite my love of all things Star Trek & Red Dwarf & The X-Files, I do not like to read science fiction, so if it takes place in space or if aliens feature prominently I will not like it. Also, despite my love of all things Harry Potter, I do not like to read fantasy, so if it's full of weird creatures or far away lands, I will not like it (wizardry [if very character focused] however is okay). My boyfriend is a History PhD candidate so please no historical comics (I've forgotten/ignored more history than I can tell you).

Thanks in advance for your suggestions!
posted by eunoia to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (29 answers total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
Robert Kirkman's other long-running series, Invincible is fantastic. It's a superhero comic that's both a love letter and tongue-in-cheek parody to the genre. The art is gorgeous, and the dialogue is both intelligent and humorous.
posted by Jon_Evil at 11:30 AM on February 18, 2010 [1 favorite]

Also! Warren Ellis' Transmetropolitan. It's gritty, sarcastic, futuristic political humor.
posted by Jon_Evil at 11:33 AM on February 18, 2010

The three books I read on a regular basis:

The Walking Dead
posted by The Michael The at 11:50 AM on February 18, 2010

Best answer: Y the Last Man is one of the best series from the 2000s, about a plague that kills all the males on earth except this one dude and his pet monkey. It's an awesome post-apocalyptic road trip story with some romance, some adventure, and some science. You might also like Scott Pilgrim, soon to be a major motion picture directed by Edgar Wright (who did Shaun of the Dead), about a hipster musician who has to defeat his new girlfriend's 7 evil ex-boyfriends. Urusawa's 20th Century Boys is another great series you may find appealing. I can't explain it coherently, but it's awesome.
posted by leesh at 11:57 AM on February 18, 2010 [2 favorites]

Can't think of anything original to add right now but I'm going to throw in a vote for both Invincible and Scott Pilgrim.
posted by a.steele at 12:14 PM on February 18, 2010

Do you like ACTION?
Do you like SCIENCE?

You need to read Atomic Robo!

It's smart, clean, funny, pulpy and everything good about comic books. It's angst-free, colorful, clever and light-hearted without resorting to cheap silliness. Everyone I have recommended it to has liked it, from comics snobs to people who don't usually read comics. It is awesomely wonderful comicbookery and I want to marry it and have its babies.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 12:20 PM on February 18, 2010 [1 favorite]

You might light Charles Burns' Black Hole - I know I, and everyone else who has ever read it, did. The Onion AV Club called it one of the best comics of the 2000s (you might find the rest of the list useful too!)
posted by brozek at 12:23 PM on February 18, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Wizardry is okay? Then I've got to recommend Hellblazer, about a con man and all 'round bastard fighting the forces of Hell, dark magic, and occasionally white supremacy. The Dangerous Habits storyline is reasonably self-contained for part of an ongoing series and is available in trade paperback.
posted by Pope Guilty at 12:31 PM on February 18, 2010 [3 favorites]

Hellblazer might do it for you, particularly the Ennis era, as might Preacher.
posted by Artw at 1:40 PM on February 18, 2010 [1 favorite]

Hmm... I wonder if Shade: The Changing Man might do it for you?
posted by Artw at 1:44 PM on February 18, 2010

Hell, I'll self-plug, because it's free: SLG gave me permission to put all six issues of my "thinking man's zombie comic," Dead Eyes Open, online in a blog format, along with commentary about what went right with the book and what went oh so wrong.

Scott Pilgrim is also great; a lesser-known but equally awesome title is Street Angel, in which a punk-rock skateboarding girl of around 14 fights mummies, saves astronauts, and generally just kicks ass.
posted by Shepherd at 1:50 PM on February 18, 2010 [1 favorite]

I can confirm that Invincible and Atomic Robo are both very enjoyable.
posted by Fleebnork at 2:10 PM on February 18, 2010

Best answer: You might like Stray bullets, AKA Goldfish or Jinx
posted by tobiaswright at 2:14 PM on February 18, 2010

Pretty much anything published by SLG is quality. Probably their best known books are Jhonen Vasquez's Johnny the Homicidal Maniac and Squee; they're available in two books, one of which collects all the Johnny-focused strips from JtHM and one which collects the whole of Squee and also the ancillary stuff from JtHM Lenore is also very worth reading.
posted by Pope Guilty at 2:26 PM on February 18, 2010

You might like Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips noir-influenced work. Criminal is awesome and so was Incognito.
posted by MegoSteve at 2:39 PM on February 18, 2010 [1 favorite]

Seconding Stray Bullets. Beg, borrow or steal as many issues of this book as you can. Your pants will thank you. By which I mean your MIND-PANTS!
posted by turgid dahlia at 2:57 PM on February 18, 2010

It's actually online for free.

Oh, and Nthing the Brubaker/Philips crime stuff if you swing that way.
posted by Artw at 2:58 PM on February 18, 2010

Best answer: There's a new Hellblazer graphic novel out, Hellblazer: Pandemonium, that keys off some older plotlines in the series but doesn't require explicit familiarity with them. It's gorgeous, topical, and a hell of a good read. There is some intrigue-- it is about international policy in the Iraq War when isn't about Babylonian mythology-- but it's no, say, Queen and Country.

You might pick up and try Hellboy in some form-- the first TPB, say-- and see how that suits you. Liz Sherman has superpowers but is not a superheroine, and the plots get more complex on the interpersonal level as the series and its spinoffs go on. There's also a lot of it, so it should keep you busy.

Also, Phonogram: Rue Britannia and its sequel Phonogram: The Singles Club. Interpersonal interactions, incidental magic, no slam-bang at all, and brilliantly written and drawn by Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie. A big, long, sloppy love note to pop music.

(I love Atomic Robo so much that I bring it to work for my coworkers, but be aware that it is an action science comic that is light on the angst and heavy on the jokey. This may or may not be your cup of tea, and you should probably start with the free issues available on their site to decide if you want to invest in the TPBs.)
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 4:46 PM on February 18, 2010

Well if no one else is going to say it, I really love Garth Ennis' "Preacher." But stay with it. It takes about the first book just to get the cadence
posted by rileyray3000 at 5:04 PM on February 18, 2010

Seconding Y The Last Man, I stopped reading them at some point but really liked the ones I did read (about the same time I was reading Walking Dead)
posted by ghharr at 5:50 PM on February 18, 2010

Best answer: I could have easily written this question. Which means I can also easily answer it.

Besides the previous awesome recommendations, I'd also add:

Fables by Bill Willingham
Just about anything by the Luna Brothers, especially Girls and The Sword (ongoing).
Kick-Ass by Mark Millar and John Romita Jr (get into it before the movie comes out so you look really cool and hip.)
And I know you'll dig Wasteland by Antony Johnston.

Man, this makes me want to bust out some old issues and spend a few good hours reading on the couch.
posted by Detuned Radio at 6:39 PM on February 18, 2010

Response by poster: You guys are amazing. I can't wait to dive into some of these worlds.
posted by eunoia at 6:56 PM on February 18, 2010

Best answer: Amazon links & recs:

Locke & Key (link to v1)
(This is probably the closest to what you're looking for -- really good, involving horror/fantasy/crime stuff that's wonderfully imaginative, scary, and very character-driven)

Black Hole (complete!)
(Just awesome)

Palomar (link to v1)
(Okay, this depends on how literary you like your comics, kinda, but it's also one hell of an engaging soap opera that goes on for like a thousand pages and is great)

Locas (link to v1)
(Much purer soap opera, and also pretty damn great)

Stephen King's The Dark Tower (link to v1)
(Maybe best for people who are big old Dark Tower fans, and maybe too fantasy for your tastes, but if nothing else? Wow, is it ever pretty)

House of Mystery (link to v1)
(Kinda like "Lost" in a haunted house? People trapped in an alternate dimension or...something run around and look busy in a framing sequence that mostly exists as a life support system for terrific short horror stories [that are ostensibly stories the characters are telling each other because they have nothing else to do])
posted by kittens for breakfast at 7:09 PM on February 18, 2010

Best answer: I just read Locke and Key and would recommend against it. It's too precious for my tastes (look, everyone has theme surnames!).

I'm deep into the Brubaker Gotham Central right now, which are cop procedural comics about a police department that shares a town with Batman (who's almost never in it). Character out the ass. I'm pretty sure Brubaker was behind Sleeper too, which is also pretty solid.

I'd second without reservation the Y the Last Man rec, as well as the Black Hole.

One bit of advice that I'd give you is that European comics scratch a much more realistic itch than Americans do, generally. Jacques Tardi's Bloody Streets of Paris is a fantastic noir mystery. Schuiten and Peeters' Cities of the Fantastic series is phenomenal. And really, Herge's Tintin series shouldn't be written off as kids stuff, as it's some of the best comics work of the 20th century, undervalued purely because it's taken for granted.

There's also Chris Ware's Jimmy Corrigan, which is crushingly, achingly beautiful storytelling with a wicked depressing story.
posted by klangklangston at 9:07 PM on February 18, 2010

Yeah, Sleeper was Brubaker and Phillips again, well worth checking out.
posted by Artw at 9:21 PM on February 18, 2010

If you're looking for extended stories I'd recommend bone. Also lone wolf and cub.

Dc's vertigo line has put out a lot of things already listed here.

Mightygodking.com - turns out he's also a poster here - had a list of comics to get people into comics, pointing out watchmen and other typical recommendations aren't as welcoming as the medium could be. His civil. War parody is also aces.
posted by beardlace at 9:27 PM on February 18, 2010

Oh and I nearly forgot "The life and times of Scrooge Mcduck"
posted by beardlace at 9:30 PM on February 18, 2010

Therefore Repent! is fantastic, and free in pdf form!
posted by EarBucket at 4:50 AM on February 19, 2010

Cerebus might fit, but only certain parts of it (High Society, Church and State, Jaka's Story). Be aware that things apparently go off the rails pretty profoundly in later volumes. And in fact, pretty offensively, it would seem (previously). High Society is, regardless, a great read, fitting your requirements fairly closely. There are some fantasy elements (he IS an anthromorphic barbarian aardvark, after all), but the book, covering Cerebus' rise to the position of Prime Minister of Iest, is funny, well-written, beautifully drawn, and smart.

Cerebus often has some very in-jokey comic book stuff though, involving both characters and creators of other comics.

Might be worth picking up High Society and seeing if you like it, as long as you can stomach putting money into Sim's coffers, which many can't. And if part of the thrill of The Walking Dead was getting to devour nearly 70 issues of comics, I can only say that the various volumes of Cerebus are accurately referred to as "phonebooks".

(Caveat: I have only read High Society, Church & State, Jaka's Story, Melmoth, and Flight)
posted by joelhunt at 9:44 AM on February 19, 2010

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