Help me Find New Comic Books to Read
November 13, 2007 4:35 PM   Subscribe

Can comic book fans suggest some good comic books/ graphic novels/ etc. for me to read?

I am a huge fan of literature in general but only got into comics/graphic novels/whatever recently. Here's what I've read and liked so far:

Alan Moore's best known stuff (watchmen, swamp thing, gentlemen, promethea, vendetta, etc.)

Sandman by Neil Gaiman

Transmetropolitan and Planetary by Warren Ellis

Sin City by Frank Miller

"Palestine" and "Safe Area Gorezade" by Joe Sacco

Daniel Clowes' stuff

I'm not really all that interested in super hero stuff for the most part. I'm looking for interesting stories and definitely appreciate the stuff with more interesting art.

Any suggestions are really appreciated!!
posted by cell divide to Media & Arts (50 answers total) 73 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: The Walking Dead

I know you say you're not into heroes, but The Authority isn't much like most hero books. And the art is amazing.

Y: The Last Man
posted by god hates math at 4:42 PM on November 13, 2007

my favorite book, hands down, is 'Mother Come Home' by Paul Hornschemeier. It was originally published as a three issue series in Forlorn Funnies and has sense been reissued as a trade. It's an incredibly moving story, and while the art isn't really all that complicated it does its job very well.
posted by plaingurl at 4:44 PM on November 13, 2007

Maus: A Survivor's Story
I read this in college and it changed the way I looked at comic books. The attention to detail in the artwork is surpassed only by the incredible story. So good.
posted by carsonb at 4:48 PM on November 13, 2007

Anything Grant Morrison has ever written, including his superhero stuff, and especially Flex Mentallo, which is a bizzarre postmodern deconsruction of the superhero genre. Like Watchmen but infinitely weirder and modern.
posted by lekvar at 4:49 PM on November 13, 2007

What I'm reading right now:

Grant Morrison's Doom Patrol
Brian Vaughan's Y The Last Man
Robert Kirkman's Walking Dead

What I was reading recently and enjoying:

All the Herge Tintin books.
Steranko's Nick Fury
Adrian Tomine's Optic Nerve (if you like Clowes, this is close).
posted by klangklangston at 4:52 PM on November 13, 2007

Damn, I got distracted and didn't add much.
posted by klangklangston at 4:52 PM on November 13, 2007


Charles Burns' Black Hole might be my favorite graphic novel ever.

There's also American Elf, which while less "substantial," than a lot of comics, is totally cute, and really enjoyable.

Box Office Poison
posted by god hates math at 4:53 PM on November 13, 2007

I like most of your list, so you owe it to yourself to give Lone Wolf and Cub a try - just an incredible, epic story, told over a jillion little pages. Also, a little known comic called Thieves and Kings is pretty amazing. I also second The Walking Dead and Y.
posted by lubujackson at 5:01 PM on November 13, 2007

Yeah, big ups to Black Hole. And while we're on about canon, Love And Rockets is worth checking out.
posted by klangklangston at 5:09 PM on November 13, 2007

posted by Cyrano at 5:12 PM on November 13, 2007

Lone Wolf and Cub - It's an excellently illustrated grim (although sometimes funny) tale of a ronin seeking revenge while carting around his three-year old son. It is a bit superheroic at times due to Ogami Itto's ridiculous combat prowess, but there are definitely consequences to the fighting in these stories, and sometimes they're thought-provoking.

Same Difference - You can read it all online, but you can also get it in a collection that also contains some of Derek Kirk Kim's other work.

The Dark Knight Returns and Batman: Year One - This is superhero stuff, but if you liked Sin City, I think there's a strong chance you'll like these, especially Dark Knight.

From Hell - Alan Moore's retelling of the story of Jack the Ripper. It gets a bit heady and conspiratorial, but in this case, it makes it a fun read.

Persepolis - It's the story of the author growing up in Iran as it was transforming into a totalitarian theocracy.
posted by ignignokt at 5:15 PM on November 13, 2007

Grant Morrison's The Invisibles - the art's a crapshoot, with even more stylistic variation than in Sandman. Really engaging, bugfuck insane, in all the right ways.

Fables - the art's pretty boring, but great for anyone who likes stories about stories...

Some of Warren Ellis' new stuff, including at least Desolation Jones and Fell. Both have well-done art (though I prefer the artists who've worked on the former), both are non-superhero Ellis stories.

Brian Wood's DMZ - the art is generally good, the story's very definitely political but still absorbing, with very human characters.
posted by ubersturm at 5:26 PM on November 13, 2007

the scott pilgrim series by bryan lee o'malley has quirky slacker humour and ridiculously good dialogue;
blankets by craig thompson is a gorgeous coming-of-age memoir, sweet & beautifully illustrated,
and for more political/historical stuff, i liked
persepolis by marjane satrapi (1980s iran & europe) and maus by art spiegelman (holocaust).
there are also some great, in-progress graphic novels currently appearing as weekly webcomics at
posted by twistofrhyme at 5:27 PM on November 13, 2007

oh yeah, and nth-ing brian k vaughn's Y the Last Man- every male mammal on earth is dead, except for slacker Yorick and his pet monkey. great writing.
posted by twistofrhyme at 5:30 PM on November 13, 2007

Response by poster: Just wanted to say thanks to all who have contributed so far! Great stuff!!!
posted by cell divide at 5:31 PM on November 13, 2007

The only comic book series I have ever read as an adult... Grant Morrison's The Invisibles.
posted by Mr_Crazyhorse at 5:47 PM on November 13, 2007

I agree with a lot of the stuff posted above: Bone, Blankets, Black Hole, Maus...

I have to add a couple, though!

Jimmy Corrigan, the Smartest Kid on Earth

Goodbye, Chunky Rice (by Craig Thompson, the same guy who did Blankets (and Carnet de Voyage, which isn't really a comic book, but it's still great!))

Fun Home

...and, well, anything by Will Eisner
posted by ThomThomThomThom at 6:05 PM on November 13, 2007

Let me also enthusiastically recommend Bone.
posted by that girl at 6:13 PM on November 13, 2007

In addition to the above, I will recommend:

Arkham Asylum by Grant Morrison. I re-read this every now and then. It rewards careful consideration.

Darwyn Cooke's The New Frontier.

Hellboy: specifically Seed of Destruction and The Right Hand of Doom, but really, it's all good. (I will also mention Mike Mignola's The Doom That Came to Gotham: the Batman Mythos reimagined in the style of Lovecraft.)

I am very fond of Rick Geary's Treasuries of Victorian Murder, in particular Jack the Ripper and The Borden Tragedy.

And just about everything by Phil Foglio, including his current Girl Genius steampunk stories.
posted by SPrintF at 6:27 PM on November 13, 2007

If you liked Gaiman's Sandman, you'll love the spinoff Lucifer.
posted by arungoodboy at 6:30 PM on November 13, 2007

I am not a superhero fan either (nor am I male, which seems to affect that particular preference a fair bit)...

Nth Maus, Chris Ware, Alison Bechdel. (Dykes to Watch Out For is great.) I like Bone but find it fluffy and quick reading; it's in the kids' section in my local library and I'm not surprised by that.

Stuff I like:

Ben Katchor
Joe Matt
David Collier
American Splendor
Lynda Barry

Fantagraphics and Drawn & Quarterly are reliable publishers -- any anthologies of theirs are good starting points, and the 2006 edition of this was great. Oh, and Epileptic and Dupuy & Berberian.
posted by kmennie at 6:35 PM on November 13, 2007

seconding the dark knight returns - so gritty & awesome.

also, for a quick read, erik moe's "tales of a young urban failure."
posted by ncc1701d at 6:43 PM on November 13, 2007

I just read "The Mammoth Book of War Comics" which I can recommend, and which is also quite cheap for the amount of comics contained inside.
posted by wittgenstein at 6:44 PM on November 13, 2007


I don't really read too many comics, but I loved that series from start to end.
posted by fishmasta at 6:46 PM on November 13, 2007

Some 2000AD stuff I like:

Song of the Surfer (worth it just for the art)

Ballad of Halo Jones
posted by damn dirty ape at 6:51 PM on November 13, 2007

Stuff from First Second. I've read American Born Chinese and Deogratias so far, and liked them both. I can't wait to read the one about Laika!

People have already mentioned Marjane Satrapi's Persepolis, but also check out her other books: Persepolis 2: The Story of a Return, Embroideries , and Chicken with Plums.

Pedro and Me, by Judd Winick.

Check out Harvey Pekar's work - I just finished reading The Quitter. His Macedonia, with Heather Roberson, is on my list of things to read. (You might also be interested in the movie that was made about him - American Splendor.)

I've also recently read Guy Delisle's Pyongyang: A Journey in North Korea - apparently he's got another book out, this one called Shenzhen: A Travelogue From China.
posted by splendid animal at 7:00 PM on November 13, 2007

One of the great comics of the 1980s - Moonshadow.
posted by meehawl at 7:08 PM on November 13, 2007

It's been said, but:

Bone. A thousand times Bone!
posted by ORthey at 7:08 PM on November 13, 2007

Also, Moore's Skizz or Mills' Nemesis.
posted by meehawl at 7:21 PM on November 13, 2007

Seconding Bone, and also adding Astro City. It's super hero stuff, but the stories are very human. I really liked the Steekjack story in The Tarnished Angel.

Preacher is good stuff too.
posted by formless at 7:23 PM on November 13, 2007

Cerebus, at least up through "Church and State II", being sure to stop well before getting to "Reads".
posted by rlk at 7:49 PM on November 13, 2007

Without doubt, Strangers In Paradise. Terry Moore completed the series last spring. It's available as a string of trade paperbacks, but also as a series of six digest-sized "pocket books. Definitely not a superhero comic.
posted by lhauser at 8:03 PM on November 13, 2007

2nding Lucifer, the Sandman-spinoff that I liked even more than I liked Sandman.
posted by foobario at 8:04 PM on November 13, 2007

I highly, highly recommend the Grendel stories by Matt Wagner. The original 42-issue Comico run is well worth reading, and is mostly collected in GN now (the latter part of the series is expected in the near future). Each story arc has a different artist, so you get a good variety of styles. The stories themselves are written by Wagner, and are deeply fascinating meditations on the nature of evil, beginning in the near-future and running through an apocalyptic distant time. The Grendel Tales series, also collected in GN, are equally interesting. Those mini-series, however, are written and drawn by other artists, so they are somewhat hit-or-miss. Some of them are brilliant, to be sure. If you enjoy the main Grendel run, you could move on to War Child (which takes place between the Comico series and the Grendel Tales era), and then the miscellaneous Grendel books (Black, White & Red, Devil By The Deed, &c.) and the early, early stuff (the 3-issue black & white series, now reprinted I believe).

Wagner wrote for Sandman Mystery Theater, so I'm guessing his stuff might be right up your alley.
posted by Banky_Edwards at 8:20 PM on November 13, 2007

100 Bullets


Also, nth-ing Y: The Last Man, Box Office Poison, Blankets, and Astro City. Oh, and my other choice for "You said no superheroes but..." would be James Robinson's Starman. It lasted 80 issues but you could tell it was well planned out instead of the rambling mess a lot of super hero comics turn into.
posted by Gary at 8:24 PM on November 13, 2007

Surprised no one's done this yet:

I'm a snob. What graphic novels should I read?
Graphic novels for the mature reader
I'm looking for graphic novels to read and am hopelessly out of the loop.
I am looking for recommendations for some good graphic novels.
What graphic novels can I use to persuade my wife to join me in geekdom?
Let's say I want to read some comic books...Like Warren Ellis style comic books or the walking dead or Alan Moore...graphic novels, new and strange and good

Compile, triangulate, enjoy. Oh, and I'll strongly endorse Guy Delisle's Pyongyang, and liked Craig Thompson's Goodbye Chunky Rice better than Blankets; it's in a somewhat more childlike storytelling vein, but has very poignant adult themes. I loved Howard Cruse's Stuck Rubber Baby strongly enough; it's a realistic semiautobiographical story about coming of age as a gay kid in a small Southern town during the early years of the civil rights struggle (and made The Comics Journal's infamous list of the top 100 comics of the 20th century, which you might find useful). Brian Ralph's fantastic little myths, particularly the wordless Cave-In, are wonderful, too. And don't overlook French Bande Dessinée. Lewis Trondheim in particular is a cartoony hoot. Fantagraphics has translated some of his work but some of his best - like "La Mouche," 100 pages of a fly's-eye view of the world - are wordless gems and true classics of the form. And Ralf Konig's "Bull's Balls" and "Maybe, Maybe Not" are hilarious translations of German sexual comedies with a mostly queer tilt, if you're interested in that kind of thing.
posted by mediareport at 8:59 PM on November 13, 2007 [6 favorites]

I loved Howard Cruse's Stuck Rubber Baby strongly enough

Er, I can't recommend it strongly enough, I mean.
posted by mediareport at 9:00 PM on November 13, 2007

Throwing another pair of votes on Y: The Last Man and Preacher. You mentioned Moore, but didn't say anything about the The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. The movie was mediocre at best, but the comics are really good, especially if you like Victorian fiction.

Rex Mundi is a great soft-mystic, grand sweeping conspiracy series. Alternate history where the Catholic church rules Europe, magic is kinda real, but heavily regulated, etc.

It's become a web comic now, but Girl Genius by Phil and Kaja Foglio is some of their best work. It started in print and they print new collections when there's enough material, so it's still a paper comic.
posted by Nelsormensch at 10:07 PM on November 13, 2007

Louis Riel: A Comic-Strip Biography

posted by mlis at 10:09 PM on November 13, 2007

The Rabbi's Cat - very unusual story, reflective of society, philosophy, change, nice art too. You really ought to take a look at it.
posted by amtho at 10:22 PM on November 13, 2007

Nthing Pyongyang. It's my favourite graphic novel ever, closely followed by Maus I and II.

You might enjoy It's A Good Life If You Don't Weaken, by Seth. It's about the author's quest to track down an obscure New Yorker cartoonist and find out what happened to him, but it's really about his own relationship to the world around him and his own career and aspirations.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 10:52 PM on November 13, 2007

On the euro side i'll recommend anything by Jason but especially Why are you doing this ?, The left bank gang, and I killed Adolf Hitler.
Also Epileptic by David B, it is widely considered as one of the best euro graphic novel in recent years.
posted by SageLeVoid at 11:44 PM on November 13, 2007

3rding Lucifer. I, too, liked it better than Sandman.
posted by Skyanth at 1:04 AM on November 14, 2007

Nthing lucifer because you liked sandman
posted by Black_Umbrella at 4:37 AM on November 14, 2007

Nthing Grant Morrison's The Invisibles and Azarello's 100 Bullets. Many people have commented on how the art and the writing fit very well / go hand-in-hand for the latter, and I have to agree.

You might also find the comic book forums at barbelith useful.
posted by nihraguk at 4:51 AM on November 14, 2007

Stray Bullets by David Lapham
Jar of Fools by Jason Lutes - I liked his other series Berlin, but I haven't seen new issues for a long time.
Death Note by Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata - I'm not a big manga reader at all, but picked this one up on a recommendation and loved it.
Abandon the Old in Tokyo and The Pushman and Other Stories by Yoshihiro Tatsumi
posted by borjomi at 9:50 AM on November 14, 2007

Rising Stars by J. Michael Straczynski. I'm not a comics fan per-se, and not too interested in the super hero mode of comics, but this series is really, really good.
posted by dryad at 11:37 AM on November 14, 2007

If you like things unremitingly grim I'd check out the current run of The Punisher by Garth Ennis. It feels so wrong recommending something as historically dumb as "The Punisher" but it really is the best monthly comic out there at the moment.
posted by Artw at 11:58 AM on November 19, 2007

Oh, and I;d strongly second Criminal and DMZ.
posted by Artw at 1:15 PM on November 19, 2007

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