Featured Image Credit: Image Comics/Rat Queens by: Stjepan Sejic
Even though I love superheroes, and I believe that everyone would get into superhero comics if they found the right one, I know that not all genres are for everyone.
However, I do believe and stick to my convictions that there is a comic or graphic novel out there for everyone.
Comics are a fascinating medium of storytelling. There’s so much that can be represented visually in panels that pure text can’t always convey. It’s a beautiful combination of art and literature, and the stories are often important and cannot be replicated in any other way.
There is a story out there for you. Here are what I consider to be some of the best comics that have nothing to do with superheroes to introduce readers to the wonderful world of graphic novels and comic books.
Kelly Sue DeConnick (writer) & Valentine De Landro (artist)
Series length: Bitch Planet is still a relatively new series, so there’s not much to catch up on. There is one trade paperback (a collection of comic books published as a single volume) out with the second coming out in May.
Synposis: Bitch Planet follows “non-compliant” women sent to a prison planet. The story closely follows several characters through their time in the prison, as well as featuring flashbacks. It also follows the patriarchal government system that put these harsh, sexist laws into place.
You’ll like this if you like: science fiction, feminist critique, stories exploring gender, thrillers, political satire, 60’s and 70’s exploitation films
Brian K. Vaughn (writer) & Fiona Staples (artist)
Series length: Saga has been running since 2012. Currently, there are 42 issues out. These 42 issues are collected into seven trade paperback volumes and one hardcover collection (this spans issues one to eighteen).
Synposis: It would be easier to say what Saga isn’t about. The central story in Saga follows a couple–one with horns and one with wings–from two warring worlds who have just given birth to their first child. Not only is she their first child, but, as far as they know, she is the first child to be born from both of their species. The story is narrated by this child years into the future as she follows her parents on their journey hiding around the galaxy. There are many other characters and subplots as well, each expertly crafted.
You’ll like this if you like: science fiction, fantasy, stories about war, romance, drama, horror, thrillers, stories about family
Matt Fraction (writer) & Chip Zdarsky (artist)
Series length: Sex Criminals has three trade paperback volumes and 15 issues.
Synopsis: Suzie and John meet each other and begin to date. Shortly thereafter, they realize that they both have the ability to stop time when they orgasm, a secret they have kept to themselves since childhood. From there, they devise a plan to rob the bank where John works to pay off the debt Suzie’s library owes. However, they quickly find out that they aren’t the only ones with this ability.
You’ll like this if you like: crime dramas, thrillers, romances, pulp fiction
Kurtis J Wiebe (writer), Roc Upchurch (artist), Stjepan Šejić (artist), Tess Fowler (artist), & Owen Gieni (artist)
Series length: Rat Queens has had two runs so far. The first run includes 3 trade paperback volumes and 16 issues (the last issue is not included in the trade paperback volumes). The first issue of the new Rat Queens can be found starting today at your local comic book store.
Synopsis: Rat Queens is like every Dungeons and Dragons game. It follows four characters: Betty, the drug addled halfling theif; Dee, the atheist human cleric; Violet, the hipster dwarf; and Hannah, the rockabilly elven mage (Braga, the half-orc barbarian is the fifth Queen in the reboot). They go on adventures, fight, fall in love, and resolve issues from their pasts, all while defeating some monsters along the way.
You’ll like this if you like: fantasy, adventure, comedy, drama, Dungeons and Dragons
Noelle Stevenson (writer), Grace Ellis (writer), Shannon Watters (writer), Faith Erin Hicks (writer and artist), Brooke A Allen (artist), Brittney Williams (artist), Aimee Fleck (artist), Becca Tobin (artist), Carolyn Nowak (artist), Felicia Choo (artist), & T Zysk (artist)
Series Length: Lumberjanes has 27 issues and six trade paperbacks. There are also two hardcover collections.
Synopsis: Lumberjanes follows five bunkmates at Miss Qiunzella Thiskwin Penniquiqul Thistle Crumpet’s Camp for Hardcore Lady Types. During the summer, Jo, April, Molly, Mal, and Ripley go on adventures while earning their Lumberjane Scout badges. Each girl has a unique personality and set of skills to help them solve problems and support one another.
You’ll like this if you like: LGBTQIA+ representation, women’s history, fantasy, adventure, coming-of-age stories, summer camp stories
Y: The Last Man
Brian K Vaughn (writer), Pia Guerra (penciller), Goran Sudžuka (penciller), Paul Chadwick (penciller), Jose Marzan Jr (inker)
Series length: This is the only series on this list no longer running (don’t worry; it did finish the story). There are 60 issues, 10 trade paperbacks, 5 hardcover or paperback deluxe editions, and three oversize slip-cover “absolute” editions.
Synopsis: Every male mammal on earth spontaneously dies except for Yorick and his pet monkey Ampersand. The world is thrown into chaos as the population is suddenly a fraction of the size it once was moments before (with many women also being killed in accidents caused by the sudden death of all men). Still, Yorick’s one goal is to get to Australia to find his girlfriend. His mother, a member of the United States Congress commissions Agent 355 to protect Yorick and get him to Dr. Allison Mann, the world’s leading geneticist and cloning expert.
You’ll like this if you like: action, stories exploring gender, post-apocalyptic stories, adventure, drama.