Sci-Fi graphic novel suggestions?
December 18, 2012 6:25 AM   Subscribe

Thoughtful science-fiction graphic novel suggestions needed! (non-horror, limited violence)

I'm looking for science-fiction based graphic novels to buy a sci-fi loving friend. She introduced me to the novels of the Strugatsky brothers years ago, loathes horror and isn't a big fan of the violence. The more philosophic/intellectual/complex the better... (I'm currently considering the original, full run of Nausicaa as one possibility, for example, though there is an huge amount of violence). Beautiful artwork a big plus. Any suggestions?
posted by Auden to Media & Arts (10 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
If erotica is acceptable, then any of the XXXenophile collections.
posted by Jacqueline at 6:29 AM on December 18, 2012

Moebius' The Incal. It was created from the ashes of the Jodorowsky/Giger/Mobius Dune film and directly inspired The Fifth Element. I don't remember it being particularly violent, but it has been a few years.
posted by griphus at 6:59 AM on December 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

(Naturally, the example pages I linked feature a dismemberment/decapitation.)
posted by griphus at 7:02 AM on December 18, 2012

I've been recommending 20th Century Boys to everyone as one of the best comics I've ever read. It's not a single graphic novel but 22 (relatively short) volumes - it's a very near future science-fiction/alternative history set in 1970, 1997, and 2017 (or thereabouts). It's mostly a character study (especially the 1970 sections, which are all about 10 year old kids), but there is some on-page violence and lots of off-page violence (mostly plague, some gun battles). It's very mature is the best sense of the word - that is, filled with complex characters who have fears and make mistakes and grow older and get wrinkles and worry about things like parenthood. But if Nausicaa is too violent, this may be as well (or is the graphic novel much more violent than the film? Because I would let a older child watch the film). But none of the violence is gratuitous or glorified - and violence is not how the heroes fight. The character art is the best bit - the people are so alive.

My other recommendation would be Y: The Last Man which, like 20th century boys is a very intelligent and thoughtful near-future science-fiction (largely about gender and relationships). Again, I hesitate because while I would not categorize it as violent in the context of graphic novels, it does have some on-page violence - less than 20th Century Boys perhaps and the main character is definitely not an action hero. Good art, but not as beautiful as Miyasaki.
posted by jb at 7:12 AM on December 18, 2012

sorry - My SO says I'm crazy and that I've forgotten all of the violence and horror elements in 20th Century Boys - so I take it back as a recommendation for your friend.
posted by jb at 7:19 AM on December 18, 2012

BUT the author of 20th Century Boys has a GREAT, shorter, series called Pluto, based loosely on Astro Boy, which is kind of a mystery series involving robots. It's actually very moving and profound, and I love the art.
posted by leesh at 7:22 AM on December 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

Annihilation was a series by Marvel compiled into three trade paperbacks, and it was the best thing the company put out in its year of publication. It's more mainstream-superhero than hard sci-fi, but it's a great "war in outer space" series with a huge cast of characters that are usually relegated to occasional supporting roles.

(This and the second series, "Annihilation: Conquest" will introduce you to the characters comprising the Guardians of the Galaxy, which will be a film in a couple of years.)
posted by scaryblackdeath at 8:18 AM on December 18, 2012

Tom Strong
posted by wobh at 9:28 AM on December 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

I am hesitant to recommend Transmetropolitan, as there is some violence in it, although it, on the whole, is social commentary type violence, although there are plenty of story lines and entire books of the series with little or no violence.

It's Hunter S. Thompson in a crazy nanotechnoligical world with a bowel disrupter. There is police brutality, riots and the occasional assassin. However, there is rarely violence for the sake of violence (excepting issues about religion). On the other hand, it is not horror of any stripe and is not a headache to follow.

I am also a fan of Shade: the Changing Man, although the entire series is not out in graphic novels and at times the series veers into utter weirdness. On the other hand, the violence is pretty minimal from what I remember.
posted by Hactar at 9:55 AM on December 18, 2012

I think I've decided...

I'm going to get her Gerald Way and Gabriel Ba's The Umbrella Academy "Apocalypse Suite" series. I loved it when I first read it, I loved the wit and the pathos and the wry humor and the sadness, and Gabriel Ba's art, covers especially. (So, maybe she'll like it). I also considered Moore's V for Vendetta...

Thanks for the suggestions everyone!
posted by Auden at 4:37 AM on December 19, 2012

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