The cliché of comic book fans being pimply faced nerds living in their parents’ basement is one I’m more than happy to dispel. (For instance, I haven’t had acne nor lived with my parents in years. Years!) The fact is, contemporary comic books are as diverse as any medium, ranging from romance to fairy tales, science fiction to magic surrealism. Basically, (to use another cliché) there really is something for everyone. To wit, the following nine choices (capes and cowls, aka superhero comics, have been excluded for general lameness) are presented for your enjoyment.
If you like: George Orwell’s “Animal Farm,” and twisted, grown-up takes on fairy tales
Try this: “Fables” by Bill Willingham
Pro tip: This modern take on characters like Snow White and the three blind mice is one that helped turn my wife into a comic book nerd.
If you like: Conspiracy theories involving religious fanatics, Quentin Tarantino and political incorrectness ratcheted up to extreme levels
Try this: “Preacher” by Garth Ennis
Pro tip: This comic is so violent, gruesome and offensive that HBO hasn’t even figured out how to film it, though they’ve tried.
If you like: HBO’s TV show “Bored to Death,” but wish it had more Charles Bukowski (read: drunks)
Try this: “The Alcoholic” by Jonathan Ames
Pro tip: Ames created “Bored to Death” and wrote this comic.
If you like: Post-apocalyptic literature, Bambi, hockey and indie slice-of-life movies
Try this: “Sweet Tooth” by Jeff Lemire
Pro tip: This series about hybrid animal-human children just wrapped up its last issue (and it’s freaking fantastic), so you don’t have to worry about a major letdown at the end.
If you like: “Lost,” pet monkeys, Houdini references and plots by long-lost Amazonian tribes to wipe out every male species on Earth
Try this: “Y: The Last Man” by Brian K. Vaughan
Pro tips: Vaughan wrote for the hit ABC show and is currently writing “Saga,” the best “Romeo & Juliet” meets “Star Wars” meets “Parenthood” comic that’s ever existed (it might be the only one).
If you like: “Dazed and Confused,” gaping flesh wounds and lots of LSD
Try this: “Black Hole” by Charles Burns
Pro tip: Yeah, it’s weird. Just buy it. Trust me.
If you like: Woody Allen (read: neurotic, sad sack, middle aged male protagonists with bumbling romantic capabilities)
Try this: “Mister Wonderful” by Daniel Clowes
Pro tip: Clowes is also responsible for “Ghost World,” the comic that inspired the movie that basically gave us ScarJo. The world thanks you, Mr. Clowes.
If you like: “Twilight,” but minus all that romance stuff (basically, you just like vampires), and spaghetti Westerns
Try this: “American Vampire” by Scott Snyder
Pro tip: Vampires can actually be, surprise, kind of badass. Plus, Snyder’s possibly the most buzzed about new comic book author working today.
If you like: Anime, wine
Try this: “Drops of God” by Tadashi Agi
Pro tip: This manga is basically a Wine 101 course in a Japanese comic book. It tells the story of a man undergoing a rigorous vino education/competition in order to inherit the multi-million dollar wine collection of his famous wine critic father. A fun, easy way to learn more wine while reading comics. Win!