Comic series recommendations?
November 11, 2010 10:41 AM   Subscribe

I haven't historically had much exposure to comic books or graphic novels, but I just whipped through the entire Walking Dead series and found it highly engrossing and enjoyable. What other stuff in a similar vein have I been missing out on that I might I like?
posted by killdevil to Media & Arts (28 answers total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
The Sandman!
posted by wayland at 10:43 AM on November 11, 2010 [3 favorites]

What, exactly, do you mean by similar vein? Zombie stories? Horror in general? Specifics will help people give you great ideas.
posted by nomadicink at 10:48 AM on November 11, 2010

Y the Last Man, definitely.
posted by gettingpaidforthis at 10:48 AM on November 11, 2010 [6 favorites]

You might enjoy Valve's The Sacrifice miniseries (discussed previously). It's funny, artfully drawn, zombie-related, and surprisingly well-produced for what is essentially an extended Left 4 Dead promotion. Plus, it's free!
posted by Rhaomi at 10:51 AM on November 11, 2010

came in to say the sandman - it's already been suggested, but i 2nd it!
posted by sabh at 11:00 AM on November 11, 2010

Nth sandman. I got really into hell blazer at one point too.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 11:01 AM on November 11, 2010

Runaways, Y: The Last Man, Global Frequency & Fell, for sometimes-violent people or teams fighting epic bads. Y especially because it is postapocalyptic -- do you like that in your fiction? For contrast, how did you like World War Z?

If what you loved was characterization, story, dialogue, etc., then I expand my recommendations to standout classics Maus and Watchmen and Fun Home (standalone books, whereas Sandman is a big giant series). I think you might also enjoy flipping through Templar, AZ, DMZ, Ex Machina, and Starslip Crisis, off the top of my head -- go to your local comic book shop and flip through the first book of each to see how it strikes you.

posted by brainwane at 11:06 AM on November 11, 2010

Fourthing? Fifthing? Y, The Last Man.. It has a lot of similar post-change themes but sans the zombies. The author manages -- just barely -- to avoid wallowing in the 'Everyone in the universe wants to have sex with my protagonist,' but it's still rippling underneath the surface.

If you're interested in really complex and involved stuff that is more "X-Files meets Illuminatus" than apocalyptic, I'd recommend The Invisibles. It's very strange and may not be your cup of tea but it's quite a ride.
posted by verb at 11:07 AM on November 11, 2010

Response by poster: Really anything with a similar sort of gripping naturalistic vibe, great characterization, long intricate story arc(s) and lots of drama. Apocalyptic horror is a fun genre, but recommendations in other areas are welcome too.
posted by killdevil at 11:09 AM on November 11, 2010

I'd recommend "From Hell" and "Torso" for the grisly with good storytelling factor.
posted by Gucky at 11:10 AM on November 11, 2010

A lot of good suggestions above. Here's one I don't see up there yet: Ex Machina.
posted by Gainesvillain at 11:40 AM on November 11, 2010 [1 favorite]

2nding Fell. Wonderful series. Hellblazer had some really strong part, depending on the author. Also, you can find Therefore Repent! a wonderful post-rapture (think of it as an anti-Left Behind) graphic novel online for free.
posted by Hactar at 11:47 AM on November 11, 2010 [2 favorites]

Thanks for adding that, killdevil. Did you see this set of recommendations on post-apocalyptic comics? Adding suggestions based on your criteria:

Paul Pope's standalone Batman: Year 100. Psychologically naturalistic, good characterization, high-stakes drama, near-future dystopian scifi.

Tyler Page's Nothing Better series. Natural vibe, clear and interesting character definition and development, long story arcs, low-stakes drama (as in, nothing's going to eat the world). Available to read for free online, or to buy as paperbacks.

Alex Robinson's standalone Tricked: check, check, check, check (again, drama is natural, not supernatural).

Oh, and Templar, Arizona is one title; sorry for my confusing comma-laden list there.
posted by brainwane at 11:47 AM on November 11, 2010

If you like the grossness aspect: Uzumaki, JTHM. Uzumaki will make your brain go "euuuugh" in an awesome way. JTHM gives you dark humor along with your blood & guts.

It's not a comic, but I highly recommend Max Brooks's World War Z. I read it because it was selling really well in my store, fully expecting to be bored by yet another zombie tale, but was very surprised by how excellent it is! I couldn't put it down; it's intelligent and scary and hopefully he'll write more. It'd be a bummer for you to miss out on it just because it doesn't have pictures.

If you like the doomsday setting, then yeah, you'll love Y the Last Man. Also look into DMZ, about Manhattan as a demilitarized zone after a second civil war. More social interaction than action, but the atmosphere they've created is terrific. Dragonhead and The Drifting Classroom both nail the post-apocalyptic desolation vibe. Drifting Classroom has the added bonus of crazy-ass monsters.

I'll second From Hell as well. Totally absorbing and meticulously researched; just about as scholarly as you can get with a graphic novel. As great as this is, it's hard to recommend it as often as I'd like because it's just so violent, but if you know that going in, it's not to be missed.
posted by Fui Non Sum at 11:50 AM on November 11, 2010

There's always Cerebus, which was 300 issues long. , They were collected in to phone book size tomes that cover particular story arches. I'd recommend High Society and Church & Sate, vol 1 and 2.

Sandman doesn't have a naturalistic vibe, but is quick good.

Daredevil, Born Again, has a gritty, apocalyptic feel to it, though it deals more with one man's world ending as opposed to everyone's. Yes, it's a superhero, but that's a minor point and doesn't overwhelm the story.
posted by nomadicink at 11:51 AM on November 11, 2010

Fables, Demo, BPRD (which is an offshoot of the Hellboy series) is really good, Strangers in Paradise would all be worth your while.

There's also La Perdida by Jessica Abel, Castle Waiting, The Umbrella Academy, Watchmen, Cerebus (but only so far into the volumes until Sim loses it), Locas stories by Jaime Hernandez (including "Death of Speedy" - but there's big volumes of these stories out there, they're best to read together). The Photographer by Emmanuel Guibert, Inconegro by Mat Johnson, The Rabbi's Cat by Joann Sfar, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, The Essential Dykes to Watch Out For by Alison Bechdel (same author of Fun Home - totally worth reading), 100% by Paul Pope (or Heavy Liquid), Black Hole by Charles Burns.

Your local comics store (or Amazon, or the publishers' websites) should have these, but your local public library might as well, if you want to explore some without buying a lot of them.
posted by Geameade at 11:58 AM on November 11, 2010

From Hell. Seriously. From Hell. it's so much better then it's premise would lead you to belve.

DMZ by Brian Wood is similar to Walking Dead, with a post-civil war NYC instead of zombies.
posted by The Whelk at 11:59 AM on November 11, 2010

oh and about Sandman, it fits all your criteria except being naturalistic as it is about Gods and Demons and fairy tales and the like.

Hint of advice. Skip the first book. it's like the awful pilot. Book two catches you up nicely and you can go back and re-read it once you know how it turns out.
posted by The Whelk at 12:00 PM on November 11, 2010

If you can find them, I would highly recommend picking up some old editions of Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind. A little more fantasy oriented than The Walking Dead, but truly epic in scope with some seriously dark undertones. The original manga for Akira is probably even closer. From Hell and V for Vendetta are good, but I'd actually recommend some earlier Alan Moore. The Balad of Halo Jones has a fantastic worn-out future quality and amazing characters.

I can't second enough the recommendations for DMZ, Therefore Repent!/Sword of My Mouth, or anything by Jaime Hernandez.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 1:02 PM on November 11, 2010

Love and Rockets is daunting, years and years and many many characters - but so worth it.
posted by The Whelk at 1:03 PM on November 11, 2010 [1 favorite]

Go to your local library, go to graphic novels (loc: PN, or teen fiction :) ) and gorge. Take the all, and if they don't pan out after a page or 5, move on to the next one :)

I also really like Judge Dredd (and other 2000AD stuff), and Concrete.
posted by gregglind at 1:47 PM on November 11, 2010

I'm quite happy that the recommendations people have thrown out there have spanned a pretty wide range. I'd like to add a few more.

DMZ has been recommended a few times. It is written by Brian Wood, who also writes an ongoing series called Northlanders, which has two graphic novels out. I have liked Northlanders better than DMZ.

A book that has really wowed me and that may get fairly close to Walking Dead in terms of tension is Scalped from Vertigo. It is written by Jason Aaron and is certainly naturalistic, as it is set in the real world. It is a hard-boiled crime story set on a fictional (but realistic) Native American reservation.

If you check out Invisibles, which was recommended above, I would suggest that you consider Grant Morrison's forays into superheroes (Morrison is the writer). His run on New X-Men is my favorite Grant Morrison series (and I don't like the X-Men). He tends to write long arcs on superheroes and actually seems to achieve a better focus in superhero books. Doom Patrol was a bit weirder and fresher feeling than Invisibles to me.

Daredevil, Born Again is maybe my favorite Frank Miller book, so I was happy to see that as well.

Good luck!
posted by Slothrop at 1:57 PM on November 11, 2010

Joe Sacco's Safe Area Goražde is comics as journalism. Sacco went to Goražde in the former Yugoslavia just after the area became open to journalists and aid workers in 1995 and spoke to the people who were cut off. It's naturalistic (being a true story and all), you start to feel like you know the people he spends time with, and it has a similar 'world going to hell' vibe. It's worth mentioning that since it's the true story of neighbours killing each other in a racist frenzy and the inaction of the international community, it can be horrific in a way that utterly transcends 'dark.'
posted by "Elbows" O'Donoghue at 2:09 PM on November 11, 2010

Ed the Happy Clown is a classic.
posted by bonobothegreat at 7:32 PM on November 11, 2010

I forgot one- Stray Bullets. The publisher was El Capitan, I can't remember the author. It's on hiatus right now, unfortunately, but the story line is fantastic, if brutal.
posted by Hactar at 12:02 AM on November 12, 2010

Brian K Vaughan and Niko Henrichson's Pride of Baghdad might be something you'd like. It's just the one volume, so there's not room for long, intricate story arcs, but it fits all the other stuff you're looking for. Also, there are some great recommendations in this thread--definitely read Y the Last Man and From Hell, they are excellent.
posted by zoetrope at 1:55 PM on November 12, 2010

You might like Preacher.
posted by Deathalicious at 4:09 PM on November 12, 2010 [1 favorite]

Tamara Drewe by Posy Simmonds -- naturalistic drama (reworking of Far From the Madding Crowd. I read it recently and couldn't put it down.
posted by brainwane at 8:46 PM on December 6, 2010

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