I have been suffering from Superhero fatigue recently, partially due to overall saturation in the media but also due to my own shortcomings of reading 5 years of Batman/Detective Comics and anything with the Batman featured in it over a 2 week period.
This coupled with the anticipation boiling over for Netflix’s upcoming Locke & Key series, I have been taking a look into all my favourite comic book/graphic novel series of all time not published by either Marvel or DC
I realised on this journey that a lot of my all time favourite graphic novels are ones which are not published by either company and many of them do not even feature the whiff of a Superhero so if you, like me, are feeling a bit burned out on Superheroes but want to read more comics then look no further than my definitive list of all my favourites!
Let’s get the main one out of the way here and jump straight in with Locke and Key. I started reading this quite recently (before I knew about the Netflix show just saying) and it has absolutely blown me away.
The basic premise is that a family have been upended and moved to the town of “Lovecraft” (pretty on the nose if you ask me) into the family house – The Keyhouse. The children of the family slowly discover keys and doors hidden throughout the house that allow the user different “powers” ranging from the “Anywhere Key” which allows the user to teleport wherever they want to go through any door, to the “Head Key” which opens up the head of the user and allows them to remove or input knowledge and emotions.
Adults are known in this story to completely disregard the magic featured in the story so this allows for a really interesting dynamic between the children and adults.
Also it’s as full of swearwords and violence that even your staunchest Javier type will love it.
Being honest, I don’t watch the Walking Dead anymore, I think the series is bad now and I wish I didn’t. I did however get into the comics waaaaaay back when Issue 1 was first released and fell in love with the comic there and then, I have even gone on record as saying that Rick Grimes is probably my favourite comic book protagonist ever and there’s no Daryl in sight.
The thing that The Walking Dead does really well in the comics is build tension on such a level over numerous months to breaking point and my opinion is that this doesn’t translate to TV, with many people labelling the show “boring” but within comics, it’s a master stroke.
ANOTHER ONE, I read before the show. Preacher is my favourite of all the Ennis books and I feel is cleverer than his other works including the Boys. I GUESS technically Preacher is a superhuman gifted with God’s power of voice but… I’m going to let it slide.
Preacher is funny, violent and just brilliant. I fell in love with all the characters and I love it. If you have recently been disappointed by the fact that we are getting no more of the Amazon show then I implore you to take a look through the pages of these graphic novels as they tell quite the different story all round.
I will tell you a story with Fables. Around the time of me being 17 I was in college studying a load of subjects that I had no interest in and making no friends because I didn’t fit in, in a Law classroom compared to my peers.
Every day I would tell my mum I was going to college and I would go to the first couple of classes in the morning until the Library in the centre of town opened and I would spend the remainder of my day in the library reading graphic novels snuggled into a bean bag. It was a pretty great time.
It was during one of these sessions that one of the librarians came up to me and said “Afternoon, I see you have been reading through all our graphic novels over the past few weeks, we have just got these in I think youll like” and they vigorously thrust the first 3 Fables books into my hands.
It was brilliant, it took all the classic fairy tales that I grew up loving, the ones I loved via Disney and made them all gritty, neo noir characters with a murder mystery that fit perfectly within the style and I never looked back. Read it.
Okay yes, I have only read the first book at the time of writing and yes, I got into it after binge watching the first series of the fantastic Netflix show but the graphic novel is BRILLIANT.
It’s the only novel on this list that I got to the end of and thought to myself “what the hell did I just read” and left me a bit mentally scarred to the point I had genuine nightmares that night. I don’t know what it was about it but I can’t wait to get my hands on the second book as soon as possible.
I am hesitant to talk more about this one because the surprise is key here but if you are looking for a great horror graphic novel, you can do a lot worse than
Sabrina The Teenage Witch The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.
It’s basically James Bond, set in 80’s Russia and starring a female lead instead of James and it’s BRILLIANT. The film left a lot of people disgruntled who thought they were getting a female John Wick but both are brilliant for fans of the novel.
Intrigue, Mystery and violence galore Atomic Blonde is the best Spy focused Graphic Novel I have ever read and I will read it multiple more times in the coming years.
The surprise hit of the list for me is this love story. Grim Leaper is a romantic, gory comedy that follows protagonist Lou is a cycle of gruesome deaths and he cannot figure out why. Eventually he meets Ella who is stuck in the same cycle and they fall in love, throughout gruesome death after gruesome death.
Grim Leaper is also great because at just 4 issues long, it’s something you can read in around an hour and will leave you wanting more forever.