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Top 5 Current Non-Superhero Comic Books that Should be on any Geek’s Pull List

Top 5 Current Non-Superhero Comic Books Every Geek Should have on their pull list

This is a story about how one comic book geek got tired with the same old superhero titles and ventured out into the vast array of awesome non-superhero titles the comic book industry has to offer.

This is my top 5 list of such comic book titles – I hope you enjoy.

Once upon a time…

When I first started reading comic books back in the 90′s, my choices were very limited. I lived in the UK, in a town which didn’t have a comic book shop and the only comic books available to me were basically reprints retitled in a monthly magazine.

Truth be told, they were good for the beginner. They contained classic storylines as well as relatively new ones and went a long way to pacifying my geeky needs.

Problem was, the choice was limited. It started with Spider-Man and X-Men titles, later venturing into The Avengers and Wolverine and Gambit. It was quite some time before any DC titles became available.

The point is, when I first started reading comic books I only had superhero-based titles to choose from and I loved it. I had no complaints, but as I grew older I wanted more. I wanted more titles and I wanted more mature storylines.

Years later, I learnt of a comic book shop that’d been set up in a small market store in my town. It had all the latest titles and a whole array of graphic novels for me to choose from. I was in heaven. I pretty much spent my entire student loan at that store in lieu of booze and food and I regret nothing.

As I devoured all the titles that took my fancy, I realised the storylines were becoming more mature to cater for the audience. It’s what the industry needed and it kept me captivated.

But after a time, I became a little bored with the superhero genre. I saw the same old stories repeated in the same yearly cycles by competing publishers. I just wanted something else.

I asked my comic book guy whether he could recommend a book beyond the superhero genre. He was happy to help and pointed me towards my first non-superhero book: Preacher.

It’d long since finished its run by the time I got around to reading it, but my comic book guy got me the Trade Paperbacks and I devoured them eagerly.

It wasn’t long before I’d finished all of them. My mind had been opened to the world of non-superhero comics and I went away from the experience with a much deeper appreciation from the industry and a new favourite author in Garth Ennis.

After Preacher, I found Warren Ellis’ awesome Transmetropolitan, then the classic Alan Moore V for Vendetta, The Watchmen and the Extraordinary League of Gentlemen, Brian K. Vaughan’s Y: The Last Man and Ex Machina, Brian Wood’s DMZ, Jason Aaron’s Scalped and the list continues.

Now I find myself with more non-superhero comic books in my pick list than superhero ones and the non-superhero titles are just getting better and better.

So I decided to put together a list of all the non-superhero titles like I’m currently reading and share with you my favourites of the bunch.

Sound awesome? Good, because it is.

The Passion of the Comic Book Geek

This is a top 5 list so obviously there are titles that I read and like, but haven’t made it on my elite list. You might not agree with it or your favourite book might be on the honourable mentions list, but either you might be a little pissed off about it – that’s a good thing. That just means you’re passionate about your comic book tastes and that’s something every geek can respect.

But this list is about my comic book tastes and I hope that readers of this article can respect my choices, even if you don’t necessarily agree with them. I also hope to turn comic book readers onto titles they may not have heard of before in the hopes of sharing such awesome books.

Like or dislike my list, I urge you to comment on the article to let your opinions be known.

Honourable Mentions

First of all, let me run through the list of titles I’m currently reading but didn’t quite make the top 5 list. Again, the criteria for my choices are simple:

  • They must be non-superhero comic book titles.
  • They must be current and on-going titles. No titles from the past – I don’t want the headache of trying to pick between Transmetropolitan and Preacher. If the title has finished, it won’t be considered. Also, limited issue titles (such as Andy Diggle and Jock’s awesome Snapshot) won’t be considered either.

So, let’s get to it. My honourable mentions list is as follows:

  • Fatale.
  • Saucer Country.
  • Locke and Key.
  • Fables.
  • Morning Glories.
  • Secret Service.

At this juncture I’d like to once again reiterate that I love the above listed titles. I read them, they’re on my pull list – there are just 5 titles I enjoy a little better is all.

My Top 5 List of Current Non-Superhero Titles

5. The Walking Dead
Written by Robert Kirkman & Illustrated by Charlie Adlard.

The Walking Dead Comic Book Cover

Some might find it a little predictable this title is on the list, but I don’t care. I love it. Kirkman makes The Walking Dead consistently a good read and has me eagerly wanting more.

The desolate and zombified world Kirkman has crafted has a lot more to explore, with numerous questions begging for answers and constant twists and turns to keep up me well captivated along the way.

I’m eager to see what Kirkman has up his sleeve next for Rick and the survivors and I’m fairly sure I’ll be sticking with the title right up until the bitter, and most likely bloody, end.

The Walking Dead comic book deals

4. Thief of Thieves
Created by Robert Kirman, Written by Nick Spencer and later James Asmus and Illustrated by Shawn Martinbrough.

Theif of Thieves

Fourth on the list is a title created by Robert Kirkman for his Skybound publication and follows the story of master thief Redmond who has decided to quite the high-concept thieving game while he’s ahead.

But it’s not as easy as that.

With a son trying to live up to his father’s reputation and failing considerably, a young protégée not wanting to simply give up her training and dangerous business associates who still have work that requires his attention, Redmond finds his exit strategy troublesome at best.

I like the title because it’s captivating. It paints a fantastic, fresh and uber-slick take on the crime story and captivates with every read.

Thief of Thieves awesome comic book deals

3. Saga
Written by Brian K. Vaughan & Illustrated by Fiona Staples.

saga

Saga is a wildly imaginative story brought to us from the great mind behind Y: The Last Man and Ex Machina and is looking promising to be nothing short of an epic.

A love story set in the world of magic yet in out of space, seamlessly merging the fantasy and sci-fi genres with minimal effort which is no easy feat. At the centre of the tale are two warriors on opposing sides of war fall in love and have a baby. They escape the war and go on the run, but with bounty hunters and empire’s chasing after them, how long can they realistically hold out for?

In my eyes, the true beauty of the piece is that in just ten issues (as of writing this) Vaughan and Staples have crafted a rich and colourful universe to play with, where the realms of story is only matched by their imagination.

I really hope this book has a very long and bright future.

Saga awesome comic book deals

2. Chew
Written by John Layman & Illustrated by Rob Guillory

chew

Chew is a book that I just love. A mix of science fiction, cop drama and absurdity all rolled into one awesome and highly compelling read.

Chew is set in a world where 23 Americans died to a catastrophic outbreak of bird flu and as a result all chicken and other bird meats have been made illegal. Our main character, Tony Chu, is a police detective in the vice department who’s main task is to crack down on black market chicken.

Chu is a Cibopath, which basically means he has the power to get an historic psychic impression of whatever he eats. I know what you’re thinking: I thought you said this was non-superhero comic books? And rest assured it is. This is the furthest away you can get from a superhero comic. No capes and none of the same old storylines or characters. This is a fresh book, with an intriguing and entirely original story to tell.

It’s also as entertaining as hell. It’s absurd and funny one moment and dramatic and captivating another.

If you pick up the trade paperbacks, I guarantee you won’t be able to put them down.

Chew awesome comic book deals

1. The Manhattan Projects
Written by Jonathan Hickman and Illustrated by Nick Pitarra

The Manhattan Projects

The Manhattan Projects is just cool. Jonathan Hickman takes everything you thought you knew about the Manhattan Projects and some of the most famous figures in history and turns your perception upside down. What’s more it’s highly imaginative and captivating too. Each new issue leaves you wanting more. It’s the book I always put to the top of the pile whenever it comes out. It’s my new go-to comic book.

The Manhattan Projects features an array of awesome characters from 20th Century history and casts them in the new light. The list includes Joseph Oppenheimer, Albrect Einstein, Richard Feynman, Enrico Fermi and Harry S. Truman to name but a few.

TMP is essentially an alternate history comic book which imagines the historic and iconic WWII Manhattan Project has a front for other more adventurous and outrageous science fiction projects.

I love it because it’s so imaginative, dark and very well structured. It just goes a long way to confirming what I’ve suspected for a time: Jonathan Hickman is one hell of a writer and he’s edging closer to the top of my list of favourite current comic book writers, closing in on the likes of Garth Ennis and Warren Ellis. I can read anything written by these two and Hickman is proving himself to be in that very same category for me.

The Manhattan Projects awesome comic book deals

What do you think?

Like or dislike my list? Am I missing any titles you think should at the very least be mentioned? Are there any new comic book titles out there that qualify for the list but I might not have heard of and you recommend? Then let me know in the comments below – it’d be awesome to hear your opinion!

Check out these related posts of interest::

5 Responses to Top 5 Current Non-Superhero Comic Books that Should be on any Geek’s Pull List

  1. Andy H says:

    Some good choices although I have to say I haven’t read some of them. Saga number one was selling for crazy prices due to the supply and demand quota being fumbled big time, as though Brian K. Vaughn’s new comic wasn’t going to sell by the truckload?

    I love Fatale as it combines both noir and lovecraftian horror, tow of my favourite things.

    I remember picking up the first slipcased omnibus for The Walking Dead back when hardly anyone knew what it was at my comic shop. Whilst it has its flaws I still think it’s one of the best horror comics around.

    Morning Glories is really good but also incredibly confusing, it’s at risk of becoming the comics equivalent of Lost and just adding more questions and not giving any answers. It reminds me a little of Grant Morrison’s The Invisibles it’s really good but I don’t know what the hell is going on really.

    Locke & Key is excellent, really amazing stuff.

    I haven’t read Chew, Thief of Thieves or Manhattan Projects.

  2. admin says:

    Glad you approve – I really recommend Manhattan Projects. Really awesome stuff.

  3. Ed A. says:

    I agree with all of your list (especially putting Manhattan Projects at the top, that comic is absolutely fantastic in every issue) except for ‘Thief of Thieves’.

    It’s got a great concept but it essentially reads like a storyboard for a TV show – and that’s pretty much what Kirkman has meant it to be. Aside from the excellent colours, there’s nothing about it which wouldn’t work better on TV.

    Personally I’d recommend Brandon Graham & Co’s ‘Prophet’. It manages to be a breakneck paced action thrill-ride which also explores some sophisticated and powerful sci-fi ideas (as well as some purely nutty ones). The artwork is gorgeous in every issue too and what’s more is it does things on the page that couldn’t be replicated in any other art form.

  4. Egypt Urnash says:

    I keep hearing good things about Saga but haven’t tried it yet. Other than that my list is completely orthogonal to this one.

    1. Prophet. Gonzo SF reinterpretation of a crappy 90s Rob Liefeld character whose power seemed to be “had guns, was large”. Now it’s about a clone army waking up in the alien-filled remnants of the Earth Empire.

    2. Hellboy in Hell. Mignola is having SO MUCH FUN with this.

    3. Hawkeye. Yes you should be picking up something from Marvel. I’m as surprised as anyone. Gorgeous art and really fun stories about what happens when the purple costume is off.

    4. Mind MGMT. A dense, twisty tale about a psychic spy network.

    5. Giant Robo.

    What can I say? I like sci-fi. I like sci-fi enough to be hip-deep in doing my own sci-fi comic.

    Honorable mentions: the recently-completed RASL (SF by the creator of Bone), Usagi Yojimbo every now and then. (Currently on hiatus for the first time in twenty years while Sakai works on “47 Ronin” with Mike Richardson.)

  5. admin says:

    @ Ed A. & Egypt Urnash – Two recommendations for The Prophet? Awesome – I’ll definitely check that out.

    I love Hawkeye too and it’s already in my pull list. I love that book. As for Marvel, I’ll follow Hickman anywhere so I’m also picking up the new array of Avengers books – just because of Hickman.

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