- Nine out of ten doctors agree that the average American needs more comics and graphic novels in their diet.
- Studies show that 74% of Americans are under the misapprehension that they don’t like comics when, in fact, they do.
- Research out of the Mayo Clinic points to a dangerous lack of curiosity in adults over the age of 23, making it less likely they try new things, such as reading graphic novels.
I’m glad those numbers are out there, providing verifiable proof that things need to change. Otherwise, you’d have to take my word for it.
An informed populace is our best chance at beating this thing. Too many readers who think they dislike comics just haven’t encountered the right one(s). That’s why I keep using this blog as a way to provide important information by writing about some comics or graphic novels – amazing titles like Saga or Paper Girls – for people who think they don’t like the medium.
Still, this is a national health crisis, and it falls on me to do more.
In that spirit, here are more great comics for the skeptical.
James Tyrion IV – Rian Sygh – Walter Baiamonte
If you like: sweet, laugh-out-loud funny, genuinely heartwarming stories populated by characters you want to spend as much time with as possible.
The Backstagers has it all. Magical hallways of unending, ever changing corridors full of monsters, mysteries, and backstage tech resources? Check. The most endearing, original, and delightfully weird cast of characters you could ask for? Yes. Charm for days and days and days. Got it!
The only downside is that the book’s run was far too short. When I turned the last page, I had no idea it was the last last page. I went on Goodreads to find the next volume’s publication date, only to discover that there would be no next volume. The revelation left me genuinely sad for days. I sure hope we somehow get more graphic novels with these characters someday.
Also, The Backstagers is put out by BOOM! Studios, an seemingly unending resource of amazing comics. They also exclusively put stuff out that would fit into the category of comics for skeptics.
Jeff Lemire – Andrea Torrentino
If you like: horror (think Stephen King’s more sprawling, epic titles, with some Lovecraftian flavor), or genre-bending fiction that adds up to more than the sum of its parts
Gideon Falls is relentlessly grisly and dark, with an intriguing mystery and – once it gets moving in earnest – a thrilling pace. It’s fuuuucked up in the best possible ways, and as the story progresses, it just keeps getting more and more bonkers. Yet every new twist and revelation totally works within the narrative. Each big, surprising expansion of the world comes off as deft and clever, and not a desperate attempt to keep upping the ante to keep people reading.
With serial storytelling, I get wary when it begins to feel like the writer(s) have no idea what’s next, or worse, keep jumping tracks and retconning entire through lines. With Gideon Falls, it’s clear Lemire is in total control of his narrative. He isn’t throwing out captivating but hollow mysteries with the vague hope that maybe he can figure out what they all mean down the line. [I’m looking at you Lost.]**
Jeff LeHeup – Nathan Fox – Moreno Dinisio
If you like: smart, fun, irreverent, vibrantly colored, hyper-violent sci-fi.
We’re in a bit of a sci-fi golden age in comics, and The Weatherman is a great addition to the trend.
It begins with an immature, wisecracking, food obsessed weatherman in the distant future finding out that nothing in his life is as it seems, as suddenly the entire solar system is trying to kill him.
I’d recommend you learn nothing else about this title before jumping in. I picked it up purely because it was on a staff picks shelf and it looks gorgeous. As soon as I finished reading it, I went online and ordered the next volume.
** To be fair, my beloved X-Files was also egregiously guilty of this. Fortunately, most of the episodes were Monster of the Week eps, distinct from the series’s ongoing mythology. The good to great MotW eps are some of the greatest hours of television ever created, so, unlike shows like Lost, the X-Files can’t be judged purely on whether or not it had a coherent mythology. Ask huge fans what their favorite episodes are, and you’re usually going to find lists made up entirely of Monsters of the Week.