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If You Liked The Walking Dead, You Should Read These

With new episodes of Walking Dead off the air until next October, we're going to fill the void left with these amazing comics, that eschew the typical superhero stereotypes.

With the first season of The Walking Dead wrapping up this today, we're all looking for some gritty, real-world drama to fill the void left by the Rick Grimes' imminent departure from prime time. We've shared with you how to get more of The Walking Dead before Season 2 begins next October. Some of you may have already discovered those options. Luckily, there's a whole world of other gritty, real-world drama available in it's more traditional graphic novel/comic form. 

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Here are some of our favorites--check them out:     
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Y: The Last Man

Y is the story of young, carefree Yorick Brown--the last man on earth. There's a catch though, when every mammal with a Y chromosome mysteriously drops dead, the world's 3 billion women survived. This might sound like the ultimate male fantasy, but Yorick's journey to find his missing girlfriend (and simultaneously save humanity) is fraught with peril--as society collapses and a new world order emerges. The series is absolutely brilliant, filled with nuanced characters and awesome post-apocalyptic action. Oh, and Yorick has a pet monkey, Ampersand, so that's pretty cool too. As well as the original comics, Y: The Last Man is available as a series of 10 trade paperbacks today, and is currently being released in collectors deluxe editions.  

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Gritty really can't begin to describe Preacher, which tells the tale of a cursed southern Preacher, a hard living Irish vampire and the Preacher's gunslinging ex-girlfriend as they embark in an epic quest to find out exactly why god has forsaken the world. Along the way they find justice for the weak, uncover ancient conspiracies, and just generally fight evil. Not for the squeamish or easily offended, Preacher contains graphic violence, lots of blood and gore, and quite a few saucy bits. Preacher is available as nine trade paperbacks. Two hardcover versions have been released with more on the way.

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The story of the Archaologists of the Impossible, Planetary tells the tale of a mysterious team of superhumans who set out to uncover the world's secret history. Unlike more mainstream hidden conspiracy tales, writer Warren Ellis focused Planetary on the 20th century's mythology--giant monsters, Hong Kong ghost cops, and the hidden back stories of well-known figures from popular culture. As the compelling single-issue stories gradually unveil a larger meta-tale, Planetary delivers where series like the X-Files fell flat. Planetary is available in a series of four trade paperbacks, but if you can afford the scratch, the two Absolute editions really show off John Cassaday's amazing art.  

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What would you get if you took Hunter S. Thompson, pumped him full of drugs, and dumped him into a distant, anarchical-fascist future? Transmetropolitan. As the lone voice of sanity in a perverse dystopia, Spider Jerusalem tells a cautionary tale about the present dangers of censorship, consumerism, and power-hungry politicians filtered through a far-future lens. Although the series can lags in the middle, it's especially relevant in today's world of constant scandal and economic collapse. If you liked Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, you'll love Transmetropolitan, which is available in trade paperback, but sadly not in a swanky Absolute edition.

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The Sandman

The Sandman tells the story of Dream of the Endless, the ruler of the land of dreams and a member of the Endless (along with Death, Despair, Destruction, Delirium, Desire, and Destiny). Written by Neil Gaiman, The Sandman has won numerous awards, and was described by Norman Mailer as "a comic book for intellectuals". The tale of Dream takes place in the waking world, the land of dreams, and also visits other mythological settings--weaving them all together into a parable about the necessity of change. Sandman is available in a series of ten trade paperbacks or four gorgeous Absolute editions. 

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Criminal is not an ongoing series but rather a series of story arcs dealing with the crime and characters in Center City. Writer Ed Brubaker and artist Sean Phillips tell the stories that often center around the same bar. There are ties in the different arcs dealing with two generations of crime revolving around Tommy Patterson and Teeg Lawless and their offspring. The stories often focus on different crime cliches but are told in a compelling way that sucks you in. The writing and art go hand-in-hand in giving life to this fictional city. The five different story arcs have been collected in trades and a deluxe edition containing the first three is also available.

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Fables tells the stories of all your favorite fairy tales but goes way beyond the "happily ever after." In fact, the opposite happened when the evil Adversary attacked all the lands of Fables and they were forced to flee into our world. Full of adult themes, sex, violence and nudity, this is goes way beyond the versions you heard as a child. With over one hundred issues, most of the series has been collected in fifteen trades as well as two deluxe editions. 
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Sin City 

You've probably heard of the movie with the same name, Frank Miller first introduced us to this world of crime, sex and violence way back in 1991. The stories often deal with different characters set in the fictional Basin City, which has been given the nickname Sin City. The city has literally gone to hell and it's not a place you'd want to visit, except when reading the books. Sin City has been collected in seven different trades and news of a sequel to the movie continues to surface from time to time. 

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Chew has been around for less than two years but each issue has left readers hungry for more. The premise deals with cibopath, Tony Chu. What's a cibopath? A cibopath is someone that gets psychic impressions off the food they eat. In other words, once Tony eats an object, he can tell you history of where it came from and how it was prepared. In Tony Chu's world, the government has outlawed poultry after the bird flu outbreak. Formerly a police officer, Chu now works for the FDA, one of the most powerful government agencies in the United States. Chu also can use his ability to determine how the dead were killed. You might ask how but you can figure it out if you think about it. With several of the early issues selling out, the first fifteen have been collected in three trades. 

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The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen

Alan Moore started out with the idea of a Justice League of Victorian England but has expanded on the idea to include different works of fiction into the same universe. Some of the members of the League include Allan Quatermain, The Invisible Man, Dr. Jekyll, Captain Nemo and others. The stories have been collected in four trades as well as two Absolute Editions.

These are just some of our favorite, non-traditional comics to help you wait out the next season of The Walking Dead TV show. Don't forget to check out our guide on how to get more of The Walking Dead posted the other day.  
For those that have read these books or others similar to them, why don't you share your recommendations as well? What must-read books did we leave off this list? 
This article was a collaboration between Will Smith of and Tony "G-Man" Guerrero of ComicVine.