Comics are probably one of the biggest influences for my drawing and for my art. I’ve been reading them for years and I’ve read a lot of them because I’m a loser like that. They’ve always interested me. One of my earliest memories is sneaking into my uncle’s room when he was still in college to read his stash of Spider-Man comics. I was too young to read but I could get the jest of the story by looking at the art. I was hooked. Still am.
I have comics I love, and comics I hate but I also have a select few that I need to read. There’s this need to get them out from under my bed and read them at least once a year. They’re just that good. So for anyone interested in comics or for those who just want to see if my taste in comics is as shit as yours read on to see the ten comics that I can’t stop reading.
Berserk – Kentaro Miura
Starting if off with the most basic series that almost everyone will have heard. Berserk is a fantasy series following this big guy as he hacks and slashes stuff until he gets to hacks up his old mate. It’s a really simple plot. What keeps me so gripped by it however is how beautifully drawn it is. Berserk is drawn with such detail and in such a unique visual style compared to most other works that it’s impossible not to read once you pick it up. The story is tragic and compelling and the art is stunning and shocking at the best of times.
Just a shame the author is addicted to dating sims now and can’t find the time between 2D girlfriends and jerking off under his futon to draw a few pages now and again.
Goodnight Pun Pun – Inio Asano
Goodnight Pun Pun is heavy as fuck.
No, seriously. It’s a really heavy read. The story is so fucking brutal. It is not for folk who want a good time. It goes to some very very dark places.
Goodnight Pun Pun follows the life of Pun Pun. A typical awkward child in modern day japan. The main pull of the story is how Pun Pun is portrayed not as a normal person but as this little cartoon looking doodle. Pun Pun is portrayed as this strange manifestation that changes as he grows and experiences new things. Couple this with a plot that takes a brutally honest look at life and is especially good at bringing back those childhood pains of yesteryear.
Goodnight Pun Pun is an excellent read and I find myself picking it up every now and then because of this unique character depiction coupled with a plot that captures the mundane nature of everyday life and the beauty of it.
Batman: The Dark Knight Returns – Frank Miller
I was forced to read The dark knight returns for a university class and got so into it that I had it in my backpack for the rest of the school year. I liked it that much. This comic was my introduction to Alan Moore and his dark and gritty writing style. The Dark Knight Returns was such a 180 compared to other Western comics I had read previously. It was dark, the line work was unrefined and scratchy. The colours were subtle and drew the eye. The pages were composed brilliantly and demanded that you soak in every detail.
Couple that with the plot that was so good it deserved to be the next Dark Knight trilogy than that shitty Batman Vs Superman shit and you have a winner here. I pick this comic up and flip through it so often I’ve already gone through two physical copies. It’s compulsory reading if you’re into comics.
Also no spoilers but that superman monologue in the final act is so fucking beautiful. Makes me want to squat the planet while shedding multiple manly tears.
Vagabond – Takehiko Inoue
If you’re into samurai and feudal Japan then this is a must read. Vagabond is the fictional biopic of Myamoto Musashi, a famed swordsman, as he travels Japan and proves his skills against various other martial artists. It comes off as another run of the mill, villain of the week type story but beneath the surface level action is a much deeper plot revolving around self improvement and the dedication to the attainment of strength and recognition and the sacrifices needed to achieve your goals.
What sets Vagabond apart from the rest however is the incredibly beautiful brush work from the artist. The majority of the comic is done in brush pen and this lends itself well to a beautiful style which captures the movements of the battles well and also captures the stunning scenery throughout the pages.
Saga – Brian K. Vaughan
Sage is pretty much Rome’s and Juliet in space. If they didn’t die and had a kid. It’s brilliant. It’s essentially just someone’s high school original character fan-fiction come to life. I love it. I fucking love it. The settings and different races are all unique and eye catching and the plot is simple enough to follow but complex enough and engaging enough to keep you interested.
Saga is an excellent work and every issue is a treat from start to finish. I find myself revisiting it often thanks to brilliant settings and colourful characters. Give it a read.
Invincible – R Kirkman, C Walker, R Ottley
Invincible is a mixed bag for me. What began as a paradox of the superhero genre eventually morphed into just another superhero comic. Some lost their taste for it as it moved from parody to typical superhero comic. I still enjoyed it all the same however as the characters still had their appeal and the story arcs were still different enough to keep me interested.
The real reason I give Invincible a read through time and time again is because it has a childish sense of wonder attached to it. The stories are just ridiculous and campy but written with the full knowledge that they’re so dumb. It’s like an ode to the older days of comics with a modern coat of paint. I love it.
The Wicked and the Divine – K Gillen, J McKelvie
The Wicked and the Divine is a weird read. It’s writing is mostly an appeal to the modern young adult audience. Old people are bad and the hip young cool kids are alright. It can get a bit grating at times but otherwise the plot is great and the lore that keeps the world propped up is interesting and left vague enough to let your mind wander.
In essence the world gets inhabited by gods every few decades and these gods act as the pop stars of the modern age for two years until they die from being too godly. It’s an obvious remark on celebrity culture but it’s done well and it’s not ran into the ground right away so that’s something.
What keeps me engaged with this comic is the flawed characters and plot twists. One mystery is solved only for three more to pop up. It’s a gripping and engaging story worth reading.
The Sandman – Niel Gaiman
The Sandman comics are a trip. Written by famed author Neil Gaiman they tell the tale of Dream, the titular Sandman. Imprisoned by cultists for 70 years he escapes and sets to work rebuilding his Kingdom of dreams. The fantastic story is whimsical yet dark and the art is passed off from numerous artists. Each story has it’s own art style or unique flare that helps each story stand out in it’s own right.
Sandman is a beautiful fantasy story with some horror elements and brilliant settings. For anyone familiar with Neil Gaiman’s books this is a definite must read.
Hell boy – Mike Mignola
My first introduction to Hellboy was with the 2004 movie. It was amazing but at 11 years old I couldn’t truly appreciate the tropes and more subtle jokes. I discovered the comics in high school and fell in love with the initial issues heavy shadows and bold line work. I loved the angular slim design of Hellboy and how expressive he was. It was the first time I could hear sarcasm as I read it.
Hellboy is a perfect mix of sarcasm, edge and high school humour that still gets a kick out of me when I read it. It’s also easy to pick up since the comics run mainly as miniseries rather than continuous issues.
Fables – Bill Willingham
Is Fables the best comic books series I’ve ever read? Quite possibly.
The setting is simple enough to grasp. Fables from old folk tales are in the modern world after being exiled from their homeland by the Adversary, an unknown evil force. Fables follows Bigby Wolf as he acts as the law of Fable-town and tries his best at keeping the peace. It’s basically a detective flick in a fantasy setting and it’s brilliant.
What makes Fables so good is how it uses the source material. No one is as you think they’ll be for the most part. The damsels are actually pretty tough, the villains are interesting and always have a unique spin on tropes of old. Fables peaked my interest because I was always curious to see how the writers and artists would depict each Fable as they were introduced. Fables is by far a worthwhile experience and definitely a must read for any avid reader.
So there’s my list of comics I read over and over. If you think this was interesting let me know. If you have any recommendations for me based on this list then definitely let me know. Please. I’m lonely.