Being a comic book fan that does not like super heroes is a lonely and limited life. However, even if the concept of super heroes rubs you the wrong way, there are still some options out there without them. Maybe you are new to the world of comic books and are just so overwhelmed by the sheer amount of stories and side stories for every super hero and want to start with something simpler. Comics without buff men in tights and women in barely anything are difficult to find but not impossible.
If you would like to sample more comics that are not on this list, I recommend you browse the comic selection of Image, Vertigo, and / or Dark Horse comic companies. These comic companies are less about super heroes, unlike Marvel and DC.
Thief of Thieves
Story: Robert Kirkman, Nick Spencer. Art: Shawn Martinbrough
Conrad Paulson has led the secret life of the master thief Redmond for awhile. There was nothing he couldn't get his hands on. However, now when he decides to quit his life is left in ruins. he has a grown son he barely knows and an ex-wife he still loves. To right the wrongs in his life, Conrad decides to steal what has already been stolen, from other thieves.
This is a side work by Robert Kirkman, author of the Walking Dead. Honestly, I only bought the comic because my boyfriend played World of Warcraft once upon a time with the man that did the coloring (Felix Serrano). However, the comic actually turned out to be pretty good. It is a bit like Oceans Eleven with more plots. So many plots. Plots within plots (plotception) that unfold so magically by the time it is all done and over with your mind is just completely blown.
Y: The Last Man
Story: Brian K. Vaughan. Art: Pia Guerra
As it turns out, being the last man on Earth is not all orgies and fun times as Yorick Brown will tell you. A mysterious phenomenon swept the nation and it killed all the male species on Earth save for Yorick brown and his capuchin monkey sidekick. Now he travels with his bodyguard Agent 355 and tries to avoid female ninjas, Amazon women warriors, and other crazed women to find his girlfriend Beth who is trapped in Australia.
Y: The Last Man is an older comic with a unique premise. I'm sure a few men have heard that a woman wouldn't sleep with them if they were the last man on Earth, turns out that probably isn't true. All the women seem just plain crazed or baby crazed.
Story: John Layman. Art: Rob Guillory
Philadelphia Police Department detective Tony Chu is a cibopath, he cannot eat anything without getting a psychic sensation about what happened to it. In a world where chicken and meat birds have been made illegal to eat because of a massive and deadly outbreak of the bird flu, Tony Chu is sent to a black market chicken restaurant to catch them smuggling chickens. However, when he tastes the soup, he gets a psychic vision of not chicken, but people. After the cook kills himself, Tony eats the cook to find out the names of the victims. This causes him to lose his job from the police, but he gets hired to the FDA by another fellow cibopath.
If the idea of seeing people being eaten bothers you, you might need to pass on this one. However, if you can look past that Chew is a incredibly innovative story with a variety of interesting techniques that the other characters have.
The Walking Dead
Story: Robert Kirkman. Art: Tony Moore and Charlie Adlard
A zombie epidemic is sweeping the nation. The dead rise to feed on the living and within a matter of months, society has completely crumbled. Rick Grimes wakes up after being in a coma from being shot. From the hospital he sets out through the zombie ravaged world to find his wife and son.
Almost everyone who looks for comics without super heroes has read The Walking Dead, or at least watch AMC's hit television show, but it still merits mentioning. If you have only watched the show, I highly recommend reading the comic. Everything is so much more brutal and just more emotionally stirring.
Story: Brian K. Vaughan. Art: Fiona Staples
Alana and Marko are in love. However, Alana comes from the technologically advanced Landfall Coalition and Marko is from the magic wielding Wreath. Though peace was achieve between the two peoples, they were made to take sides. However, the two lovers trying to carve out a place together only causes conflict to flare.
Saga is an excellent story about racism and a great reimagining of the Romeo and Juliet story. What is truly awe-inspiring from this story is the world. I have never seen a comic with such a dedicated world to detail. It is never easy creating alien races and breathing life into them, but Saga does just that. It does just that with such vigor and detail that it makes the world of Star Wars look puny.
Buffy The Vampire Slayer: Season Eight
Various Authors and Artists (far too many to list)
Buffy The Vampire Slayer comic picks up one year after the show left off. After the destruction of Sunnydale, Buffy and her gang are hunted by the U.S. Government as an international terrorist. However, that is the least of her problems. She now resides in a powerful compound filled with high tech technology in Scotland and has 1,800 slayers worldwide to manage. Though she has the help of her friends that run little sub-squads of slayers worldwide to fight powerful evil.
Some may argue with this being on this particular list. Buffy is kind of a super hero, but honestly, she is normal enough to be on this list. If you are a fan of the show, you will absolutely love this comic as it just continues on with the story. There are also various offshoot comics featuring Angel, Spike, Faith, and / or Willow.
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Art and Story by Terry Moore
Rachel wakes up in the middle of the woods in her own shallow grave. She comes to the awful realization that she is still in fact dead. From there she seeks out the help of her aunt the mortician to find her killer. She also seeks out to find her boyfriend Phillip, though when she does find him, he seems to have already found a new girl. Elsewhere around town there is a little girl on a killing spree and a mysterious woman is raising the dead.
Rachel Rising is a bit like The Walking Dead, what with the zombies, but they are more sentient beings rather than blood thirsty cannon fodder. It strongly reminds me of books like warm bodies or Breathers: A Zombies Lament. The theme of sentient zombies seems to be catching on in media these days and I have no problem with that.
The Dark Tower
Story: Stephen King, Peter David, Robin Furth. Art: Jae Lee
The Dark Tower comic series follows the story of Roland Deschain, son of Steven Deschain, king of Gilead. Roland is fourteen and taunted into taking his test of manhood too early by his father's sorcerer. The sorcerer is in cahoots with the enemy of Gilead and hopes that Roland will fail and be sent away in disgrace. However he passes the test and becomes a fully fledged gunslinger. After being hunted by enemy assassin's, Roland's father sends him and his friends away to the backwater town of Hambry. Hambry is not as backwater as they think as it is the heart of the enemies war machine.
Based on the book series of the same name by Stephen King, the Dark Tower comic book is an imaginative and visually thrilling adaption of the novels. Of course, the comic book is more of flashback that happened in the first few books, but it pairs well with the book series. I have always like books that come with comics as you can see what everything looks like.
Story by Neil Gaiman, Various Artists (too many to list)
The Lord of Dreams, who has many other names, is the personification of dreams. However, he was captures by an occult ritual and held prisoner for 70 years. After he escapes, and punishes his captors, he realizes that his kingdom has fallen into ruin without him. In order for him to rebuild and survive, he must change his ways. It is hard to change your ways when you have been doing them for billions of years.
Sandman is an older comic that was made and ended in the 90's, however it won quite the handful of awards at the time. It is not hard to see why. The Lord of dreams has to rebuild his realm of Dreaming, however he travels and gives us a visible look at places like Hell and Asgard. I personally love the way it also gives little peeks of events through history as well.
Story: Bill Willingham. Art: James Jean and Alex Maleev
Snow White found no happily ever after when Prince Charming came and whisked her away. In fact, after cheating on her, she dumped his butt! Now she is trying to reign in her powerful attraction to the Big Bad Wolf and keeping her rebellious sister Rose Red out of jail. After being chased out of their fairy tale land by the mysterious villain Adversary, Snow White must deal with the drama and political instability of their new town in our world called Fabletown.
You know that television show Once Upon a Time where the evil queen destroyed the fairy tale world and everyone lives in this town in Maine with no memories of the fairy tale creatures they were? Fables is a lot like that, except they remember who they are. Fables is a fantastic reimagining of the classics we heard when we were kids. Using and abusing these public domain figures is a great way to create a comic that everyone can get into.
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