The first preconceived notion most have for comics is that they are for children, snubbing their nose at the medium. The second is they’re all about guys and gals in spandex running around, punching villains that never die and escape every other week (in the states at least). Generally, they’re right. It’s fair to say about seventy percent of comics are superhero based (that statistic is based on zero research). Comics can, and are, so much more. I’m not here to plead the “comic books are art” case (they are). I want you to know what you’re missing.
If you are a fan of stories,whether they be ones of love, tragedy, comedy, triumph, or failure, I have a comic for you. As I write this, I’m staring at my shelf, ignoring all the Marvel/DC books (though I have plenty of those). Looking at everything else I have beyond superheroes, I guarantee I can find a book you’d love.
Who doesn’t love Jim Henson? An unproduced script of his was found, “Tale of Sand.” I’m leading off with this one because of the easy point of entry. There’s hardly any dialogue. Reading would take less than 10 minute. Pick this up at a book store and give it a try. Few fun facts: the lettering font is done in Henson’s handwriting, the script was never produced because that whole Muppet thing took off. Keeping in the family friendly genre is Cowboy by Nate Cosby and Chris Eliopoulos. Boyd Linney is out to catch his criminal family. I read this book with my children. Again, low barrier to entry with the entire book available online (legally and free).
Author Brian K. Vaughan is at the top of my list of recommendations. Ex Machina, Y: The Last Man, Private Eye, and currently running Saga are all amazing books. Each tells a very human story, overlaid with some mild sci-fi. Since I’m all about the ease of entry though, so I’d recommend Pride of Baghdad. This is fictional take of a true story featuring four lions that escaped the Baghdad Zoo after the U.S. bombing in 2003. Private Eye is easily accessible via their website, allowing you to pay what you want per issue. Try issue one.
Female characters are often poorly represented in comics. Cheesecake abound with overly large breasts and constant sexy/spin breaking poses. Writer/artist/creator Terry Moore has completely subverted this expectation. His books that he writes, draws, inks, and letters himself, all feature strong female leads. Strangers in Paradise is a 90 issue series about a difficult relationship between two women. Currently running is his horror story Rachel Rising. While both are great I suggest picking up Echo (only 30 issues). This sci-fi tale features a divorced woman who is accidentally caught in an explosion during a munitions test.
I can easily continue. Humor your thing? Pick up an issue of Chew. Rather have something a little more cerebral and award winning? Sandman by Neil Gaiman (a long one though – 90 issues). Horror? Locke & Key by Jonah Hill (son of Stephen King). Heartfelt? Daytripper, Blankets or Habibi. Post apocalyptic without zombies? Sweet Tooth. There is a comic book for everyone.
If you you’ve never read a comic or have only read superhero books, you don’t know what you’re missing. Like video games, comics have matured over time with the vast majority featuring creators who grew up reading them. If you’re in the market for a comic book, I can point you in the right direction, and guarantee you’ll be hooked.
Looking for a recommendation? What’s your favorite non-superhero book? Comment below!
My grandmother reads all my comic books.