Yeah, I know, another list this week. Sorry, but today was the day we moved house, and now I’m sitting on a sofa surrounded by unopened boxes of stuff (including my comics), and I’m exhausted and I’ve had a bit to drink. So in the spirit of being a bit lazy I’m doing a list again, but I hope it will be at least a somewhat helpful list. See, I have a great many friends who have no real interest in superheroes, but at least a curiosity about graphic storytelling. Therefore I find myself frequently passing on information to them about comics they should read that aren’t all about the capes and tights and supervillain monologues. And because of that (and because I had absolutely no time for research this week), I thought maybe you guys might be interested in what I consider to be good non-superhero comic book material. And no, I’m not going for the super-obvious suggestion that you read The Walking Dead. And no, this is not meant to be in any way a definitive list (again, no time for research). These are just some recommendations from me to you.
Global Frequency by Warren Ellis and various artists
Regular readers will note that I’m a Warren Ellis superfan, and I just finished reading this 12-part series that actually serves as an effective response to the superhero comic. Ellis concocts a number of world-shattering scenarios and then gives the responsibility of stopping them over to the Global Frequency, an international organization of ordinary people who use what skills they have to save the world. Every issue is different, every one is great, and at the heart of it all is the powerful message that we really can save ourselves if we want to.
Casanova by Matt Fraction, Fabio Moon and Gabriel Ba
I’ve written about this one before, but having read the second volume (and ordered the first two issues of the third) at this point, I feel the need to re-iterate how great it is. This is crazy mind-melting sci-fi action sex at its best.
The Books of Magic by Neil Gaiman and Various Artists
If you end up really enjoying this four-part miniseries you can move on to the continuing series with other writers, but this is the place to start. Neil Gaiman, a writer who understands magic like few other writers ever have, takes four of the DC Comics Universe’s greatest magical characters – The Phantom Stranger, John Constantine, Doctor Occult and Mister E – and places them in charge of a young boy with great magical potential. The results are – yes, I am really using this word, and meaning it – spellbinding.
From Hell by Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell
Here’s another one I’ve written about before. I know when we talk about Alan Moore we’re always supposed to bring up Watchmen, but as important as that comic is, this epic tale of Jack the Ripper might be the greatest thing Moore’s ever created.
Britten and Brulightly by Hannah Berry
If you’re looking for something brief, self-contained, strange and wonderful, consider Hannah Berry’s 2008 graphic novel about a melancholy detective and his partner, who just so happens to be a tea bag (no nothing dirty; an actual bag that you brew tea with). No, I’m not joking. And yes, it actually is good.