Sunday, April 17, 2016

Thematic Sunday: Graphic Novels For Those Who Aren't Ready For Superheroes

So for the past year and a half I've been slowly, but surely, getting back into comics. I used to be a big regular reader but time, lack of money, and lack of a local space that sold comics kind of made it so I had to drop the habit over five years ago. But I now have access to a library that has a huge trade selection, and there have been so many good comics coming out in the past few years that I just had to get back into it and I'm so glad I did. Granted, catching up with Marvel and DC has been a pain, particularly with DC and the whole New 52 nonsense (and now apparently, we're doing this again. Grr...). But it's still been a fun ride.

So this is the first of a couple of graphic novel lists I'm going to do. This one is for people who are new to the scene, but maybe don't want to delve into the capes and tights area right away. I get it, it can be daunting and confusing about where to start. Plus, some people just aren't into superheroes. If that is you and you've been thinking of getting into comics, this list is for you.

These comics are all series that don't have to do with superheroes that I recommend for new or old comic book readers:

1) Saga series by Brian K. Vaughan

This is an excellent sci-fi series. Think Romeo and Juliet in space, if Romeo and Juliet were smarter about things, got married and had the kid, but still had a war on their hands.

This is a very adult comic though, so warning for that. If you can handle Game of Thrones though, then you should be able to handle this one.

2) Lumberjanes series by Noelle Stevenson

Looking for light hearted fun with lots of female friendship? Definitely pick up this series. It's about a group of girls who go to a summer camp where very strange things start to happen.

3) Gotham Academy series

I know, I promised no superheroes. Now yes, this does take place in Batman's universe. But Batman barely features at all. Like, he's there. His presence is no secret. Also some Robins occasionally pop up. But mostly this is about Olive and her friends looking into secrets at the creepy Gotham Academy school. If you're a fan of YA gothic paranormals, this one is for you.

4) Chew series by John Layman

Love mystery shows with a psychic bent? Check this one out. It features Tony Chu, a detective who gets psychic impressions off of whatever he eats. It's also a bit of a alternate reality where chicken is contraband because of a flu that broke out, so food is heavily regulated. There's mystery of the moments and a long standing villain and it's hilarious to boot.

5) Locke and Key series by Joe Hill

Fan of Joe Hill's books? Love horror? I recommend this series then. It's got characters with dark pasts and creepy houses and paranormal hijinks of all kinds. Also it's complete. So no having to wait for new volumes to come out. You can read it all in one sitting.

6) Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel

Big fan of memoirs? You're in lock, graphic memoirs have become a big thing, thanks in part to this one.

If you like this one, go on and check out Persopolis, and This One Summer

7) Rat Queens by Kurtis J. Wiebe

Big fantasy reader? Then look no further then Rat Queens. A fantasy comic about a group of fabulous women mercenaries who get into various adventures and drama.

8) The Wicked + the Divine series by Kieron Gillen

A urban fantasyish type series that takes place in a world where every ninety years twelve gods reincarnate as humans and then die two years later. This time around, they've been reincarnated as pop stars...

9) Jem and the Holograms series by Kelly Thompson

I know what you're thinking: Jem? Really? But I swear, this is much better then the bad reboot movie. This is in fact, everything the reboot movie should have been. If you loved Jem or just love band drama and female friendship, then absolutely look into this.

10) Nimona by Noelle Stevenson

Yes, Stevenson again. What can I say? I love her stuff. This is a collected edition of the webcomic Nimona, that she did a few years ago. It is fantasy humor with lots of meta thrown in. If you aren't smiling like a goof throughout this, I don't know what to say to you.

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