FAVORITE (non-superhero) COMICS.

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mostly I read and write about superhero comics, so I don't know who I'm writing this to... but for anyone who's paying attention, these are some of the best comics I've read, period, and I recommend them all very highly.

Tried to write a bit about each of these without being too long-winded or gushy, but pretty much all of these were life-changing works for me, so bare that in mind.

List items

  • Reid Fleming is like that little voice in the back of your head that keeps you up at night by throwing bottles at your window.

    Reid Fleming is the champion of the daring in the world of the especially mediocre. His very existences challenges us all to meet each new day as an opportunity to be alive, to not be put down by mediocrity and routine, but to experience those as simply the edge of a vast canvass ripe to be lived in.

    Is your supervisor at work an unpleasant individual? Certainly you can't be the only one that feels that way, why not let your feelings be known? Do people disregard your humanity because of your function in their lives? Remind them! Is anything more fun than what you're supposed to be doing?

    Why, yes, yes it is.

  • You ever had one of those dreams that seemed to go on, for days and days, and no matter how many times you went to sleep you kept waking up in it?

    That's kind of what this book's like, but more so.

  • oh my word, cuz.. Cerebus, you're a critter..

    originally I was just going to post Cerebus as just one story worthy of reading -which it is- but at 300 issues, and that being the least daunting thing about the series, I decided to go with some selected works.

    Here's 3 things you need to know about Cerebus going in:

    1. Cerebus, though starting off as a parody of Conan the Barbarian, is one of the most singular and noteworthy stories to ever be written in a comic.

    2. should you accept the challenge of reading this story, you will never read another story like it again in your life; that's a promise.

    3. you really don't need to read the first book, it doesn't get that good until High Society.

    Cerebus is one of those rare series that improves in both artistic quality and depth the further into it you read; but it is certainly challenging, and becomes more challenging the deeper you go, especially to the casual reader.

    My advice to anyone who's interested: read High Society, read the Church & State books; those are just good stories, just good comics, regardless of how interested you are in Cerebus' story.

    The more of this series you read, the more challenging it becomes, but also the more worthwhile. Not everyone will be able to see this story through to it's end, but for those who do, new worlds await.

    This particular volume is the best place to start; it's about a barbarian becoming the Prime Minister.

  • and this one's about a barbarian and former Prime Minister becoming Prime Minister yet again. And then becoming the Pope.

  • and this one's about a barbarian being the Pope.. I guess..

  • For those unfamiliar with Aan Moore's Swamp Thing, it may seem like I'm putting a superhero book on this list, but i can assure you I'm not.

    if anything, Moore's Swamp Thing wrestled the roots of classic mythology back from contemporary stories of heroes and villains, challenging the genre as it redefined it.

    if anything on this list is an essential read for fans of the superhero or supernatural genres, this is.

  • ..or maybe this.

    While arguably not as revolutionary as it's obvious inspiration in Moore's Swamp Thing, Neil Gaiman's the Sandman is still a singular work of contemporary literature.

    Crossing the lines between mythological symbolism and historical fiction, this series breaks a barrier that no other modern comic series does: between your life and any fiction, the Sandman is there, just as real as you or I; if you don't believe it, just shut your eyes..

  • Somewhere between Tintin and the Fantastic Four lies one of the most singularly human stories I've ever read.

    And still.. somehow I wouldn't give this comic to a kid, if only because I'd want them to be able to fully appreciate the profound subtlety of the story, which on certain days I'm still not even sure I do myself..

  • I've never read an issue of HATE! that I didn't love.

    This volume, reprinting HATE! #1-5 is pretty much the perfect example of why. Buddy Bradly and the rest of these all-too-familiar characters perfectly express the frustration of being young, free, and having absolutely no idea what to do with your life.

  • Read all of Bone.

  • Like Like a Velvet Glove Cast in Iron, David Boring is another surrealist mystery novel in graphic form. Unlike it though, DB focuses on the perspective of it's protagonist as separate from the perspective of the reader, making us voyeurs of his personal life beyond the surreal things that happen to him. This gives the story a sense of subjectivity that arguably enhances the suspension of disbelief enough to be more akin to a series of genuine surreal experiences, but rarely submerging us into a completely dream-like state the way his Velvet Glove' does.

    A shade of gray perhaps only Clowes could master.

  • Never have I read a comic that was so equally balanced in it's capacity towards the random, the absurd, the horrifying, and the hilarious.

    If you've never read anything else by Chester Brown, I can assure you he's really one of the masters of his generation. For examples of that check his The Playboy or Louis Riel; but for a dose of the shear insanity behind his genius, nothing beats the existential angst and absurdity of his Yummy Fur comics, of which Ed' was a crowning achievement.

  • this book is like a thousand guilty pleasures.

    or, like, a bunch anyway; I always lose count.

  • Basically anything by either of the Hernandez brothers is worth reading, and they've both done some stuff I loved even more than their standard L&R stories, but for a great read by two of comics most singular talents, pretty much any volume or issue of Love and Rockets illustrates why you need to read pretty much anything either of them do.

  • Any book of Bill Watterson's Calvin and Hobbes comics are worth reading, but the one I've listed here is as good a place to start as any.

    not much needs be said about this classic serial; Watterson's legacy of quality craftsmanship and artistic integrity have made his work a singular voice. But if for some reason it's one you haven't read much, I'd recommend just about any volume you can get your hands on. It's the pure juice.

  • Any Tintin comic is a good one.

    At worst you'll be treated to some great art and classic adventure, and maybe the older versions of certain stories are a little more of a guilty pleasure for the Captain's colorful insults, but any Tintin story is worth the read.

    Some stories contain some bloodless violence, but nothing that wouldn't be okay for kids. In fact I think they were made for kids, but I'm still loving them almost 30 years later.

  • This is another read anything entry.

    Probably best known for his signature series Groo, as well as his decades of work for Mad Magazine (both of which are personal favorites of mine), I selected Boogeyman simply because it seems far less known and no less good than any of his classic works.

    And, of course this is another good all-ages style read.

  • If you've ever liked or been interested in Philosophy, Sam Keith, or Asterix, you'll probably appreciate this book.