Comic Books for People Who Don’t Read Comic Books

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By Shannon Fox, @shannonfox

 

I have issues (HA! Get it??) reading comic books.

 

Sometimes I think it’s that I read too quickly.  Reading one comic book, for me, takes about five seconds, and then there’s just too much waiting in between for the next issue.  But even with graphic novels, I have problems getting and staying interested, even if I like what I’m reading.  Maybe I’m just too used to “traditional” books?  I don’t know.

 

I think my other problem is more understandable: with so much history and so many stories behind some of the most popular comic book characters, it’s often difficult to know where to START.  Yes, you can ask a friend or comic shop employee who’s well-versed in comic knowledge, but even with that, everyone has different tastes, so it’s difficult to get just the right suggestion to get you hooked into a character’s storyline.  For example, I had a shop employee suggest one Deadpool starting point, while a friend of mine suggested another (my friend had the better suggestion, so maybe trust your comic-reading friends that might know your tastes better).  The same happened with Iron Man.  Everyone has their favorite writers, series, artists, etc.  So to a comic newbie, things can feel pretty overwhelming.

 

What I find to be a great way to start reading comics is sticking to graphic novels and original characters and stories (or, at least a complete reboot of pre-existing characters; more on that below).  But there are definitely some great runs from more familiar characters that can stand alone pretty well for those of us that don’t visit our local comic book shop on a weekly or monthly basis.

 

Below are some of my recommendations for comic books for those of you who are more like me… though avid comic readers should enjoy them, too!

 

The Sandman

 

morpheus

 

I don’t remember who recommended that I read “The Sandman”.  None of my friends had read it when I first discovered it, and I hadn’t read anything of Neil Gaiman’s before that.  Nevertheless, I heard of it somewhere and picked it up at my local library… and thus began my complete adoration of Neil Gaiman and his writing.  And the reason? “The Sandman”, like everything else Neil writes, is brilliant.  It reads far more like a book to me, and maybe that’s what helped, too.  The series is centered around Dream, or Morpheus, and his family, “The Endless”: Death, Desire, Delirium, Despair, Destiny, and Destruction.  And… yeah, it’s just brilliant.  Apparently, there’s a movie in the works and I’m a LITTLE worried, but Neil Gaiman is pretty protective of his stuff getting adapted well.  Here’s hoping!

 

Y: The Last Man

 

ythelastman

 

First things first: if you don’t IMMEDIATELY see Nerd #001 as Yorick, you’re kidding yourself.  Y: The Last Man is one of those post-apocalyptic stories, with a twist (that you can probably guess from the title)- all of mankind has perished, and only women survive.  Well, women, and the two last males on earth: Yorick and his monkey, Ampersand.  He wants to get to his girlfriend in Australia, but he has to keep himself hidden, because revealing his gender will only end in death or worse.  REALLY good stuff, here- and some seriously bad ass women.  And hey, dystopian stories are all the rage now, right?

 

Sex Criminals

 

sexcriminals.001

 

This is a newer addition to my list and definitely for adults only, since this is about a couple of people who are mysteriously able to stop time when they, uh… reach the best part of makin’ babies.  So definitely NSFW!  It’s Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky, so it’s AWESOME (see below for more on that), but it’s also funny and unique.  It’s also a really original and cute love story, so something for the whole family! Wait, no.  Not the WHOLE family.  Just y’know… the ones who are old enough to read a comic about sex.

 

Hawkeye

 

hawkeye

 

Like everyone else, I went on a mad comic hunt after The Avengers came out.  I came out unimpressed most of the time (I CANNOT get into Iron Man comics, even though he’s my favorite Avenger in the movies).  I had sporadic success with the Asgardians and their comics (Sif, specifically, had a really interesting series a few years back), but it wasn’t until I found Matt Fraction’s Hawkeye that I found something I was really on board with.  In direct opposition to Iron Man (where I prefer movie-Tony to comic-Tony), I so wish that movie Hawkeye had been more like THIS Hawkeye.  The series is hilarious, I love the artwork, and bro. BRO. BRO.  It’s awesome.  I never would’ve guessed that my least favorite character from the movie would produce my favorite comic series, but… surprise! Hawkeye is fantastic.

 

Locke & Key

 

lockenkey

 

Another newer addition to my list, this came about from reading some of Joe Hill’s NON-comic stuff and seeing Horns (which is on Netflix and REALLY awesome, so you should watch it immediately) and then stealing this from my husband when he was done reading it.  It’s dark (but then, it’s Joe Hill, who is the son of Stephen King, so you should kind of know what you’re getting into), but not, like, “Sin City” dark, so a nice in-between.  It’s about the Locke family and a series of keys that unlock doors to supernatural… things.  This is another one I’m not caught up with, but I love what I’ve read so far- it’s spooky and intriguing.

 

As for more recommendations, I also really enjoyed “Wolverine: Origin“, the Duggan/Posehn “Deadpool” run (the “Marvel NOW!” one- though watch out, Volume 3 will break your heart), and “The Books of Magic” by Neil Gaiman (EXTREMELY similar to Harry Potter).

 

Have your own recommendations?  Leave them in the comments below… and happy reading!


    One Comment

  1. Karen ValenzuelaFebruary 15th, 2016 at 11:01 am

    THIS IS AWESOME! And just what I need.

    Because I, too….do not read comics. It’s difficult for me. It really is.

    Thanks, Shannon!!! Great recs!

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