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Old 10-09-2015, 13:55   #1
LeftHandedGuitarist
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Comic recommendations for a newbie

I've never read comics/graphic novels before, something didn't appeal. I've decided to give them a go, though, because I feel I may be missing out on some great storytelling. I was hoping I could get some recommendations to dip my toe in with.

So far, I'm pretty sure I'm not really interested in superhero stuff. Batman, The Avengers, X-Men etc., just doesn't do anything for me, plus there is just too much of it. I also don't think I'd like The Walking Dead or anything by Alan Moore (Watchmen, etc.).

Right now, I'm planning to go with what I know. I'm going to pick up the collected TPBs of the new Star Wars comics as they release starting next month. I'm also nearing the end of watching Buffy and Angel for the first time, so I'm going to continue with the canon comics for Angel season 6 and Buffy season 8, etc.

Other than that, a few random things have caught my eye from browsing, and I think I'm tempted by:

Saga
Giant Days
Scott Pilgrim


I'm kind of using my taste in television shows for comparison. I love sci-fi and fantasy (Star Trek, Firefly, Game of Thrones), but I also get very caught up in fun character-based drama (Veronica Mars, Freaks & Geeks).
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Old 10-09-2015, 14:01   #2
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personally I can recommend as a starter:

Preacher
Y - The last man
Chew
Transmetropolitan
The Sandman
Hellblazer

Wide berth of stuff, but not superhero based and all very good character comics.
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Old 10-09-2015, 14:09   #3
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Love & Rockets
Cerebus
Poison Elves
Anything by Will Eisner (Dropsie Avenue, A Contract With God, etc)
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Old 10-09-2015, 17:33   #4
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Surprised by the no Alan Moore but bumfrogs list is pretty good. As u like sf I'd say try trans metropolitan.

A good character piece is maus, the biography of the writers dads survival of Auschwitz
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Old 10-09-2015, 17:44   #5
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Quite like the sound of Sandman, will investigate your other suggestions in a bit more detail!

My dislike of Alan Moore is a gut feeling comes from seeing the film adaptations of his works (Watchmen, V for Vendetta, Constantine, From Hell) and hating everything about them. The entire tone just irks me and is extremely off-putting.
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Old 11-09-2015, 05:23   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LeftHandedGuitarist View Post
Quite like the sound of Sandman, will investigate your other suggestions in a bit more detail!

My dislike of Alan Moore is a gut feeling comes from seeing the film adaptations of his works (Watchmen, V for Vendetta, Constantine, From Hell) and hating everything about them. The entire tone just irks me and is extremely off-putting.
To be fair I think Alan Moore shared your views on the films

I was mightily disappointed with the canon Buffy and Angel comics. They both started ok but got a little silly too quickly for my liking

I've always been a DC / Batman guy but that ended when they started the new 52

Watchmen is pretty much a must though despite your reservations and The Dark Knight returns is essential reading too
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Old 11-09-2015, 06:02   #7
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Quote:
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To be fair I think Alan Moore shared your views on the films
didn't he just. Mind you, he is quite an odd fellow to put it mildly. I don't think he likes anything does he?

I think the biggest deviation was probably from hell. They took a book which was laden and dripping with historical research (and the references to back it up) and was basically the insight in the mind of jack the ripper and turned it into a crappy whodunnit.
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Old 11-09-2015, 08:04   #8
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From Hell is one of my absolute favourites (nothing like the film) and I'm a DC/Batman fan. Sin City may also be worth looking into.

Having come to Sandman, V for Vendetta and Watchmen from being held in such high esteem, I've been underwhelmed by all of them. I didn't really enjoy V for Vendetta, I enjoyed Watchmen but wasn't blown away by it, and having completed over 2000 pages in the two Sandman Omnibus editions, I was left thinking 'is that it?'. The artwork is fantastic but I was expecting more from the ending. Perhaps I'm missing the point?
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Old 14-09-2015, 15:57   #9
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Zero
Providence (in fact any of the Alan Moore Lovecraft inspired stuff)
League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (theres a great Omnibus available)
Saga (a must)
Walking Dead
Uber
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Old 14-09-2015, 16:04   #10
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Not an avid graphic novel fan, but read Brubaker"s Criminal six books on holiday and really liked them

Got Snyder's Wytches to start next
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Old 14-09-2015, 16:57   #11
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You mentioned Star Wars and Buffy, so assuming sci-fi and horror are your thing:

Fear Agent (there are two omnibus collections of the whole thing).
BPRD (5 omniboo out now)
Crossed (Garth Ennis + lots of others)
The Invisibles (Grant Morrison)
Lucifer (Mike Carey)
Punisher Max (Garth Ennis)
Southern ************ (Jason Aaron)
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Old 15-09-2015, 06:18   #12
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Quote:
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Got Snyder's Wytches to start next
not long finished them. Thought they were great, but very creepy in an almost asian way.
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Old 15-09-2015, 15:01   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LeftHandedGuitarist View Post
My dislike of Alan Moore is a gut feeling comes from seeing the film adaptations of his works (Watchmen, V for Vendetta, Constantine, From Hell) and hating everything about them. The entire tone just irks me and is extremely off-putting.
I'm not sure what "tone" those adaptations have in common, but as others have said, they all deviate quite a bit from Moore's comics (this is not like Mark Millar, where the movies give you a pretty good idea of what his comics are like, only toned down). Moore is such a huge influence on modern comics (both superhero and fantasy and horror) that if you really don't like his stuff, you'll probably not like a lot of the other recommendations people have mentioned, either (Sandman, Lucifer, Hellblazer, etc.). I think you should give him a chance, maybe with something you haven't seen adapted, like his Swamp Thing, or Supreme.

OK, recommendations... Geez! There's so much stuff out there, and so much different stuff. I second a lot of the stuff already mentioned, and would add Kurt Busiek's Astro City. It's a good gateway into superhero comics, since it's set in an original universe and doesn't assume you're familiar with decades of continuity (although some knowledge of DC/Marvel history would help you pick up on various references). Excellent writing and art, and really explores both the human and fantastic sides of its characters.

Also, European comics also have a lot to offer, with a slightly different style of art and storytelling to American comics. These days, they're much more accessible in English than they used to be, too. (European comics are typically published in "albums" of about 40-60 pages, about half the length of an American-style "graphic novel" paperback, but in larger page format.)

For science fiction, I would recommend:

-Valerian (Mezieres & Christin), in which a duo of agents (rebellious redhead Laureline and affable company man Valerian) travel through space and time, investigating and neutralizing threats against a galactic civilization. Think Star Wars (there are long articles listing everything Lucas stole from the comic), The Fifth Element (Mezieres did a lot of the design for the movie, and Besson is just starting production on an adaptation of the comic), Doctor Who... There's loose continuity between adventures, and the series improves considerably as it goes. The high point is the recently translated Destination Cassiopeia, but it's a bit unconventional and could be hard to follow if you don't know the setup, so maybe start off with Ambassador of the Shadows or Heroes of the Equinox. (From Cinebook)

-Cities of the Fantastic aka The Obscure Cities (Schuiten & Peeters), might technically be described as steampunk, since it mixes 19th-century architecture with Metropolis-style futurism, but don't let that put you off: these are absolutely unique tales of individuals caught between rationalism and the surreal. Think Jules Verne crossed with J.G. Ballard... Each album or book (some are a bit longer than the European standard) is a standalone story, usually set in a different city, so start anywhere. (From NBM and Alaxis Press)

-Orbital (Pellé & Runberg) is pure space opera, like the action-movie version of Babylon 5. Again we have a duo of agents (one human, one alien) of a future galactic coalition, but here politics take center stage, as secessionist terrorists as well as conspiracies within the government threaten to overthrow a fragile peace. Each adventure is split across two albums, with continuity in between, so start from the beginning. (From Cinebook)

On the fantasy side:

-Alone (Gazzotti & Vehlmann) is a post-apocalyptic story where, for whatever reason, most of the population has suddenly disappeared, leaving a small group of children to survive as best they can, facing various threats. Pretty "realistic" at first, but as the mysteries of their world deepen and come more to the fore, it becomes more firmly fantasy. Think Lost crossed with The Tribe or The Hunger Games. (If this were a book series, it would probably be classified as YA.) Each album is essentially an "episode": a self-contained chapter in an ongoing story. The first four are available in English, and make up the first "season". (In French they've just started the third "season" with album nine.) (From Cinebook)

- Thorgal (Rosinski & Van Hamme) is classic heroic fantasy in the Conan mold, though Thorgal is much more of a family man, forced to fight by circumstances outside his control. It's nominally set in the Viking era, but draws in magic, aliens, lost civilizations and pretty much any fantasy trope you can think of. It's by no means groundbreaking, but likable characters, solid plots and marvelous art makes this a popular favorite. There's some loose continuity, but most albums are standalone adventures (a few adventures are split into multiple parts), so you can start pretty much anywhere. (From Cinebook)

- Corto Maltese (Pratt) is a languid adventure series with mystical elements, about a sailor who drifts around exotic locales and shady people during the early 20th century. One of the absolute classics of European comics, it's just now being released in a new English edition. Each book is a standalone adventure. (From NBM and IDW Publishing)
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Old 15-09-2015, 17:00   #14
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Im just going to say buy anything published by Image comics and you have a very strong chance of getting a winner. Image are also very new reader friendly with lots of free issue ones knocking about. They also discount vol 1 of their graphic novels so you start collecting quite cheaply.
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Old 16-09-2015, 20:22   #15
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The biggie for sf and comics is probably judge dredd. Try america, considered to be his best story
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Old 17-09-2015, 02:13   #16
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Obviously most of the top titles have been mentioned, so I'll just mention two ultra-popular ones that definitely need mentioning:

Hellboy - Awesome, awesome series which the films hardly do justice to tbh/
Berserk - Japanese manga that's an ultra-dark, ultra violent fantasy serial with very strong Sci-Fi/Horror influences (think a wandering swordsman tale with undertones of Philip K. Dick meets Clive Barker).
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Old 20-09-2015, 17:20   #17
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Thanks for all your input, guys. I've been researching loads and loads and asked for advice in tonnes of places to try and get a feel for what appeals to me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr Majestik View Post
Im just going to say buy anything published by Image comics and you have a very strong chance of getting a winner. Image are also very new reader friendly with lots of free issue ones knocking about. They also discount vol 1 of their graphic novels so you start collecting quite cheaply.
I have also come to this conclusion!
I'll be buying my first batch of stuff soon-ish (I'm pretty broke right now, unfortunately), and have decided to check these out in addition to what I listed in my first post:

Sandman
Hellboy
Low
Sex Criminals (this sounds AMAZING!)
The Wicked + the Divine
Y: The Last Man
Rat Queens
Bone
Orbital
Fear Agent

Obviously, not all at once.
It goes without saying that personal preference is obviously playing a large part here, and there are certain art styles which I find appealing and those which immediately turn me off.
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Old 20-09-2015, 18:42   #18
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Personally Vertigo has always been my label: Preacher, Helblazer, Sandman, SHade the changing man - all amazing comics
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Old 20-09-2015, 19:50   #19
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Vertigo aint what they used to be. All the top talent have now gone to the bigger indies for the better creator rights. Far too many tv shows and films being made from comics for the creators to sign the ip away.
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Old 20-09-2015, 20:31   #20
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I was pretty much a complete newbie to comics myself about a year ago and then my brother went comic insane and as a result I ended up trying a few.

Saga (what I read of it) is really good with fascinating characters and lots going on. Personally though I simply cannot abide the 1 a month (if they can be bothered) schedule and once I was caught up I chucked it in pretty quickly after.

Y The Last Man is by the same author and because it's already finished was much more to my liking. It's very good.

Fables is probably my favourite. Great twists on familiar characters with so much depth and some pretty epic storylines.

Rising Stars (compendium 1) was pretty good as well. It's about people with powers, but it's not your typical superhero stuff (which I've also chosen to steer clear of). Written by the Babylon 5 guy.

East of West and Lazarus were also comics I enjoyed but like Saga the fact they're ongoing just killed my interest.
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