Thursday, March 6, 2008

Top 5: Great Ongoing Non-Superhero Comic Series That You’re Probably Not Reading

Put down The Amazing Spider-Man and pick up something different. MediaZealot's new writer cuts the usual Top 10 list to 5 in the first of a series of comic book recommendations.
by dares

I really like talking about comics. I sometimes forget this, but when I start talking to a like-minded reader about a series that I’m digging, I can go on for hours. It’s been documented. I mean, I honestly think I could talk about Runaways forever. Or just all the time without even stopping.

So I decided to write about a few series that I like and, after compiling a list that was dominated by superhero titles, I thought that it would probably be wise to break them down into different lists. This is the first one.

I also wanted to debut on MediaZEALOT with the longest title ever.

These are not listed in any linear fashion (but if you want to read it in any particular order, go bananas).

Scott Pilgrim (Bryan Lee O’Malley)

If you like fun, you will love Scott Pilgrim. If you are not lame, you will love Scott Pilgrim. If you still have a soul, you will love Scott Pilgrim.

I wait eagerly--hands clasped in school-girlish anticipation--all year for a new volume of this book. I’m not the only one. Oh no. I know for a fact that perennial cool kids Michael Cera and Jonah Hill are also fans of Bryan O’Malley’s wickedly-keen graphic novel series.

And if that’s not enough of a reason for you to be checking it out, Edgar Wright, the man who brought you Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, is attached to direct the movie adaptation. So if you want to maintain your pretentious indie cred, so that, after watching the movie with a group of friends, you can reply, quite jerkily, that you read the graphic novels and while you thought the movie great, it left out a lot of your favorite and best parts of the comic, then you should be picking up the four volumes out right now.

If you want to do one awesome thing in your life before you die, read Scott Pilgrim. It will leave you feeling fulfilled.

Scalped (Jason Aaron & R. M. Guéra)

I love Scalped. I love it so much that I had a mild panic attack when I saw the Newsarama headline announcing that Jason Aaron had signed an exclusive deal to Marvel Comics. I read the article. I read that he was going to be writing an arc on Wolverine and would be the new ongoing writer of Ghost Rider. I would have been ecstatic, had I not been hyperventilating, worried about the fate of his vertigo series.

Then I started breathing easy. His Marvel exclusive would not affect his work on Scalped.

Scalped is that good. It’s good enough to throw me into complete disarray. I want ten volumes of this series. I want it to take up as much shelf space as Preacher and Y: The Last Man.
Jason Aaron is a writer that everyone should be keeping an eye on. If you need further convincing read his first series, a six-issue mini series called “The Other Side”. He’s even made me read a Ripclaw book. I swear to God. Ripclaw!

If you’re looking for one of the best crime comics out right now, or if you need a new Vertigo series to fill the void that Y: The Last Man has left, pick up the first two trades of Scalped.

Hawaiian Dick (B. Clay Moore, Steven Griffin & Scott Chanler)

Hawaiian Dick is akin to reading an old pulp novel. Or, it’s sort of like reading three pulp novels at once and having them all connect succinctly.

B. Clay Moore has created a comic book pastiche, the best parts of film noir and supernatural pulp fiction, setting it in 1950’s Hawaii. His original pitch (included in the second graphic novel collection) describes the series as “the X-Files meets the Rockford Files”, which sort of makes me giggle, but it’s pretty much on the nose.

Moore has formed a “virtual studio” called Atomic Revolver with the likes of Jason Aaron and Tony Moore (two other creators with series on this list).

I highly recommend picking up the first two graphic novels, which collect the first two miniseries of Hawaiian Dick.

Wormwood: Gentleman Corpse (Ben Templesmith)

You’ve probably seen Ben Templesmith’s work somewhere before. The illustrator and co-creator of Steve Nile’s “30 Days of Night” and Warren Ellis’ “Fell”, has his own series.
Well it’s technically his second series.

But. Ongoing. Right?

Wormwood is a very entertaining dark comedy that features some of the weirdest characters in comics. Templesmith mixes dry humor and sardonic wit with moments of slapstick and blends them perfectly together.

It also has some very, very pretty pictures. The colors are a bonus.

You can check out the first Wormwood series released by IDW and, if you’re into the single issues, start on the current miniseries, Calamari Rising.

The Walking Dead (Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore & Charlie Adlard)

Robert Kirkman is pure evil. He is evil for a variety of reasons, but the biggest reason, the big bold outstanding balance on his monthly bill of evil can be credited to The Walking Dead.

He does something with The Walking Dead. He does something so disgusting and perverse, that I still get physically upset thinking about it. Robert Kirkman makes you care about the characters in the book. He can control your emotions with a comic book. The worse part of it is that you don’t even realize it until they are put in danger. You become emotionally involved with fictional characters and there is nothing you’ll be able to do about it.

He has other books too. That’s the scary thing. I could cope with this series better if it was his only one. If this was his life’s work. But it isn’t. He has books like Invincible and The Astounding Wolf-Man, which are just as good as The Walking Dead.

He also has another zombie book, about superhero zombies, or something. It’s way less popular.

Pure evil.

The Walking Dead is a thoroughly entertaining book, but be warned: once you read the first volume, there is no turning back. It will be a part of your life forever. This comic book will become a necessity. You will go through withdrawals that can only be satisfied with more Walking Dead. Be prepared.

So that’s it for this list. Look out for one featuring a longer title and maybe, possibly superheroes soon.

Later days!

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Brendon said...

How you got to write a Top 5 before me is a joke. I'm going to have to take it up with this Chimp Man character.

Couldn't agree with you more on any of those picks. Just wanted to add:

'76: Only two issues in, but these guys are on to something. Two stories. A kung fu caper in California and a drug deal gone wrong in New York. Both taking place in 1976. Feel confident that you'll be a better person once having read this series.

Rick Remender: Engrave that name into your brain. Remender and the aforementioned B. Clay Moore are future of this business. See: Fear Agent, Sea of Red, End League

Larry_Chimp_Man said...

Brendon. While I have read both great issues of '76 I know I have not grown as a person because of it.

Keith said...

I watched Tron again last night, and as per usual, I grew as a person. I love lasers so much, guys. So very, very much.

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