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So you don’t like comics: Here are 5 that might be for you

Comics to read if you don’t want to read about superheroes

This might surprise you, but there are more companies making comics than just Marvel and DC. And in my opinion, the other companies make some of the best stories out there. 

Whereas Marvel and DC create long-running series centering on superheroes, publishers like Image Comics and Vertigo create shorter series that focus heavily on characters, story and world building. If you have been thinking about getting into comics recently, but find the Marvel and DC catalogs a little overwhelming, here are some picks for you.

Note: These are all comics that I have read. I realize that there are plenty more where these came from, but I can’t speak on what I haven’t read, but let me know which comics you think deserve to be on this list.

Scott Pilgrim

Scott Pilgrim is just a dopey 20-something who’s in a band and is in between jobs when he meets Ramona Flowers. She’s mysterious, colorful and beautiful, but when Scott starts dating her he finds out a dark secret about his new girlfriend: she has seven evil ex-boyfriends. If he wants to keep dating her, Scott needs to battle and defeat each one of her exes, which is easier said than done. 

Not only is the Scott Pilgrim series funny, well drawn and incredibly well paced, but also every single character is memorable — no matter how evil they are. Spanning only six volumes, it’s a quick read that has a ton of heart, humor, and action. 

It’s also a great read for fans of video games, as it throws in references and clever nods at every turn. There’s also a movie of the comic series — Scott Pilgrim Vs The World — which is a much better watch when you’ve read the comics a time or two. 

Y: The Last Man

A vicious virus has swept across the world, wiping out everything with a Y chromosome. In other words, every man on the planet is dead; except for a young man named Yorick and his pet monkey, Ampersand. The two team up with a government agent and a scientist to travel across the United States in order to find out what allowed Yorick to survive the disease. 

This one is a bit of a heavier read. The themes it tackles are incredibly dense, looking at a world that was ruled by men where men no longer exist. 

Women are left to pick up the fragmented pieces of society, but the results are mixed. It’s a very different kind of dystopian story, focusing on characters and how they interact in a very politically charged hellscape. 

Very few of the remaining women are fans of the last man on earth, which creates plenty of thought-provoking moments. It’s a bit of a longer series, and the morbid tone can occasionally be a bit overbearing, but it’s worth going through just for the social commentary alone. 

The Walking Dead

You’ve probably already heard of this one; most likely because it’s one of the most successful shows on television. But I’m here to say something that might be controversial: the comic is much better than the show. 

The show is great in its own right, but the pacing and twists of the comic are far more satisfying. The story of a group of survivors in a zombie apocalypse is much more bleak on paper than it could ever be on-screen. This is partly because the show has a budget and the comic can go wherever it pleases, but the interpersonal moments, beautiful illustrations and gratuitously violent moments all come together perfectly. 

This is the longest series yet on this list, but there are five or six large story arcs that introduce new characters, villains and twists, so it never gets old. The villains are well fleshed out, making you care about them almost as much as the main cast. 

And just like the show, no one is safe. This element keeps you on your toes, never knowing what’s going to happen and who will fall prey to the shambling corpses next. 


The premise alone is worth the entry price for Fables. All of the characters from classic fairy tales have been driven out of their homeland, so now they live a secluded life in New York City. Snow White is the mayor’s assistant; The Big Bad Wolf is the detective. Plenty more characters fill seemingly mundane roles in society. 

They have been living in secrecy for years, but evil starts to rear its ugly head once again, sending ripples through the previously peaceful dwellings of these characters. 

Seeing such timeless characters reimagined as gritty, vulgar and sometimes even violent people takes a bit of getting used to, but it definitely works. 

The contrast between the colourful nature of the world mixed with the grim reality of the situations they find themselves in is a brilliant idea that never ceases to entertain. Even if you aren’t interested in working your way through the entire lengthy series, at least give it a shot. You won’t be disappointed. 


This entry is a bit different from the others on this list. 

Hailing from Japan, Bakuman is technically a manga, but that doesn’t make it any less enjoyable. Two young high school boys – a writer and an artist – team up to make a manga, but they have some inspiration. 

The writer, Mashiro, has a girl in his class named Miho. He learns that she dreams of becoming a voice actress so they make a promise to each other: When Mashiro and Akito finally make a manga and turn it into an anime, if Miho is cast as the voice of the main heroine, they will get married.

So what starts out as an inspirational story about two young boys dreaming of writing a comic and getting it animated, actually blossoms into a touching love story. Japanese storytelling is much different from Western storytelling, so the characters are much more flamboyant and the story much more dramatic, but that doesn’t detract from the wonderful story beneath it all.

Matthew Herst is a Carleton University communications student, video game journalist and’s resident geek writer. Yeah, this guy love’s video games. Besides, you can also find his work on Follow him on Twitter @supergurst.


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