At this stage in your comic-reading life, you should have at least one book in your ‘read’ pile, and seven million in the ‘to read‘ pile. It feels like every day people suggest new comics to read and with little time on your hands it can be easy to push those suggestions aside. Now that coronavirus has forced many of us indoors, you may have more time to catch up on the best indie comics around â€” here’s what we suggest.
The Unwritten, written by Mike Carey and illustrated by Peter Gross, tells the sorry tale of Tommy Taylor, a adult man whose childhood was fictionalised as a series of novels starring a boy wizard â€” and while it leans heavily into its association Harry Potter, this comic is nothing like the classic series.
When the Tommy Taylor books start to bleed into reality, Tommy is sent on a quest to discover who he really is and how he came into the world. The Unwritten, and it’s follow-up series, The Unwritten: Apocalypse are fantastically illustrated, well-written and constantly surprising. [Series length: 66 issues]
Southern Bastards, written by Jason Aaron and illustrated by Jason Latour, is set in the American South and follows a football team and their two-faced coach. By day, he coaches football and by night, he operates as a crime lord â€” and Southern Bastards story unfolds from there. It’s a small town tale where everyone has secrets, and crime and violence run rampant. It’s gritty, violent and incredibly told. [Series length: 20 so far]
American Vampire is a genre and era-crossing tale that follows vampires Pearl and Skinner through decades. It begins in the Wild West with the birth of Skinner Sweet, a deranged gunman that is turned into a vampire. A chance encounter with Skinner in the 1920s sends Pearl down a similar path â€” leading to this epic road tale of revenge. Each volume covers a new era and introduces wilder and more interesting ideas. With new issues set for release this year, now’s the perfect time to catch up with this tale. [Series length: 57 issues including mini-series, spin-offs and more]
Chew, written by John Layman and illustrated by Rob Guillory, follows a Food and Drug Administration agent who gains psychic impressions by eating food (as well as bodies) to solve crimes. Even while Tony Chu eats human tongues and other unnameable body parts, the series remains fun, funny and delightful. Every character is likeable and relatable and the ridiculousness of the series is handled with deft and engaging writing. There’s so many original ideas here it’s hard to name them all. [Series length: 60 issues]
The Umbrella Academy, written by Gerard Way and illustrated by Gabriel BÃ¡, recently got a big budget TV adaptation over on Netflix and while fans of the TV show should absolutely check out the comic, so should any comics fan. It’s zany, over-the-top, violent, weird and totally wonderful. Plots swing from ‘killer violinist’ to ‘God reject Klaus from the afterlife for being too strange’ so you know you’re in for a good time here.
East of West, written by Jonathan Hickman and illustrated by Nick Dragotta, is a dystopian, alternate history tale that takes place in modern day America â€” but one irrevocably changed by the oncoming Apocalypse. As the Four Horseman war, the people occupying the United States debate their salvation. East of West carves a brilliant, gorgeous tale of survival. It’s a high concept and gorgeously crafted story, one well worth checking out. [Series length: 45 issues]
Saga, written by Brian K. Vaughan and illustrated by Fiona Staples, is often in contendership for the ‘best indie title of all time’ title â€” and for good reason. It’s an epic blended sci-fi fantasy adventure that crosses entire planets as well as genres. It stars protagonists Alana and Marko as they flee across the stars with their daughter Hazel and try to avoid enemy forces from their respective planets. Along the way, they meet a cast of memorable and intriguing characters, all of which play an essential part of their escape. This is one comic you should make time for. [Series length: 54 issues]
Die, written by Kieron Gillen and illustrated by Stephanie Hans, is a Jumanji-like tale that follows a group of adults who, as children, fell into a magical, horrifying world and experienced trauma that they must deal with when the horror in the game returns once more. It’s a dark and deeply affecting comic, but one that’s extremely powerful. While it’s only just begun its run, now is the perfect time to check out Die and its killer narrative. [Series length: 12 issues so far]
The Wicked + The Divine, written by Kieron Gillen and illustrated by Jame McKelvie, is a high concept fantasy tale about the old gods being reborn in new bodies, and the struggle for power that ensues. It follows protagonist Laura as she comes to understand her place in the God’s pantheon and how it impacts her true identity. The Wicked + The Divine is lavishly illustrated by McKelvie and the story is simply phenomenal. This is one epic for the ages. [Series length: 51 issues]
Lumberjanes, created by Shannon Watters, Grace Ellis, Brooklyn A. Allen and Noelle Stevenson, is the kind of pure and wholesome comic that you need in your life right now. It follows a group of girls as they travel through a summer scout camp and uncover a range of supernatural mysteries â€” it’s perfect for all ages and features a genuinely heartwarming and brilliant tale of friendship and mystery. Its original series has now been expanded into an ongoing title, and there’s plenty of tales to keep you occupied here. [Series length: 70+ with more on the way]
Weavers, written by Si Spurrier and Triona Farrell and illustrated by Dylan Burnett, asks the question: what if Spider-Man’s powers actually went to a bunch of mob bosses? In this superb original tale, protagonist Sid Thyme is unwillingly inducted into an organised crime syndicated after he stumbles upon a magical spider related to the mob. Each mob member has some form of spider-related power, and it’s up to Sid to decide whether to become one of them, or to use his powers for greater things. This graphic novel is essential reading, and won’t take up much of your time, either. [Series length: 6 issues]
There should be plenty here to keep you going until lockdown ends â€” whenever that may be.
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