Comic books are usually seen as super hero based by non comic readers. A lot of people only know of characters whom have either been adapted in to movies, or are part of our pop culture. Either way, comics carry the stigma of only being for kids. But while super hero comics do appeal to adults as well, there are a variety of comics that cater to adults completely. There are so many great stories to enjoy for someone willing to open their mind to another form of entertainment. So I’ve put together what I recommend as the top five comic books to introduce first time readers to without overwhelming them with the comic book continuity of Marvel and DC. The comics I’m recommending are already completed, so there is a beginning and an official ending to their run. And while there are plenty of stories to chose from like Hellblazer, Watchmen, and even Punisher MAX if you want something a little more violent, the stories I’ve chosen to include are some of my personal favorite stories that I have recommended to some of my friends. So it’s not the be-all end-all of adult comics that don’t fit the super hero mold comics have been associated with. Just a few of my personal favorites.
The Walking Dead
When it comes to The Walking Dead, most people are more familiar with the television show than the comic. But in reality, the comic started long before the show, and is currently still running. So if you’re a die hard fan of the show and want to see the comparisons of the two, then you will enjoy the fact that the show is different enough to enjoy both the comic and the show separately. The current season teased the death of a character that was actually killed in the comic as an Easter egg for fans. So it pays to read the comic if you love the show. Plus if you think the show is dark, the comic can go places the show can’t.
An older book, but a classic one. It’s the story of a preacher, Jesse Custer, going on a road trip with his vampire friend and ex girlfriend to find God. I mean to literally find God. There’s a lot of crazy moments in this series that I don’t want to give away, but it has to be said that this book is a wild read. Prepare for extremely harsh language and violence. This is not for the easily offended. And although the book was first published in 1995, there have been repeated attempts to bring the comic to both the big screen and television with AMC recently deciding to a shot at it. AMC is actually pushing forward with turning it in to a series, so it’s worth a read before the show premieres.
Ex Machina is not only a book I highly recommend to non comic readers, it’s solely responsible for keeping my interest in comics. I was searching for something different from what I was reading at the moment when a friend of mine introduced me to this book. I fell in love with it and decided to introduce it to my significant other. Considering that she was a non comic reader at the time but was still sucked in to this amazing read proves that a great story can transcend the form in which it is told. Mitchell Hundred became the world’s first real superhero when he is given the power to control machines. His first attempts at being a hero are hit and miss, so he gives it up to run for mayor of New York. But when the events on 9/11 take place, Hundred is able to use his power to prevent the second plane from hitting the World Trade Center and save one of the towers. This leads to him winning the election and becoming mayor. With intentions of making the city a better place within the system while his family friend tries to push him to continue being a hero, Hundred has to deal with issues of being mayor while discovering the truth behind his mysterious powers. A very complex story with brilliant writing. Definitely a book that will keep you invested to its shocking conclusion.
Y: The Last Man
A great read for someone looking for a story that has nothing to do with superheroes at all. Yorick Brown and his pet monkey Ampersand are the only males left on earth. Escorted by Agent 355 and Dr. Allison Mann, Yorick must travel across the globe in hopes of helping to create a cure and reuniting with his girlfriend. During his travels, an all female society is left to themselves to rebuild the world around them. Written by Brian K. Vaughan, whom is also the writer of Ex Machina, Y: The Last Man is filled with memorable characters, crazy events, and heart breaking moments. Y: The Last Man is definitely worth a read through.
Although it is completely based around superheroes, Starman contains a story that anyone can relate to. Ted Knight was the original golden age Starman. He eventually had two sons. His son, David, eventually took over the mantle of Starman while his his son, Jack, rebelled against Ted and grew to become disdainful of the idea if superheroes altogether. But when his brother is killed by the son of one of the original Starman’s villains, Jack goes after him for revenge and inadvertently becomes the new Starman. The media deems him Starman against his will, but the chance to finally connect with his father gives Jack reason enough to eventually accept his new given title and bring his own style to Starman with a leather jacket, goggles, and whatever he’s wearing at the moment. Regardless of it’s comic book roots and the fact that it was considered cannon within DC Comics, Starman is actually about a father and son relationship. It’s the story of a son with resentment towards his father who deemed him as a disappointment. And how they both found a way to connect and learn more about each other. A really good read and great hero to cheer for, Starman is highly recommended for anyone willing to give it a shot.
And that is my top five recommendations for someone interested in giving comics a try, but not interested in actually reading about superheroes. I also recommend checking them out even if you’re a comic book lover. And if you’ve read any of these or have any recommendations of your own, please comment below. I’d love to hear your thoughts.