Welcome back kids to another brand spanking new edition of Fangirl Ramblings. This week I am continuing my series on how to get the non comic book reading (NCBR) people in your life to try a little bit of the comic book love. Last week, I explained how to figure out what to give your NCBR. This week, because I love my new readers, I am giving you my specially handpicked recommendation list of books to hand the first time reader.
These are books that I happen to find outstanding reading wise, and are easily accessible for the first time reader. Now this isn’t a complete list either. I would love to add to it in the upcoming months and post it somewhere so that people may visit it. If you have recommendations, please send them over. I will take a look at the book, read it, and figure out if I think it should belong on my list.
Now, I’m not saying that you should obey my list and only my list, but I am totally awesome, and I rule, so yeah, obey the list. You know you want to.
I want you to know, this list took a while to compile and quite a bit of research went into it. Many disagreements were spawned by creating this list, and I would like to take a moment to thank the Nexus’ own James Hatton and Bill “when the hell is he going to write a new column again” Ellis for helping me out with this. They helped me figure out those few difficult books that are incredibly hard to categorize.
And without further ado, I give to you, Dani’s List of Great Comics for the NCBR.
This list is broken up into two categories, the non super-hero and the super-hero. The non super-hero category is broken up into more sections to differentiate between genres. Some of these books don’t fit perfectly into categories, so please, go easy on me. You try figuring out where to place Preacher.
Also, please remember that some of these books are one shot graphic novels, and others are trades within a series. If you happen to have one book in that series, and it isn’t number 1, do not give it to your NCBR. Always start someone off with the first trade in a series, never in the middle. And I apologize now if my explanations are not complete enough for you. I’ve included links to all the companies that produce these trades so you can get an even better explanation then I could ever give. And I hope I got every creators names right. Now, onto the list.
Non Super-Hero Books.
Slice of Life
The slice of life category is a great starting point for anyone. These are books that are written from the perspective of sometime in someone’s life. Either, high school, college, after college. They are character driven stories that focus on life and how people relate in it.
– The Waiting Place,written by Sean Mckeever, published by Slave Labor Graphics.
This is the high school story of kids in a small town out in nowhere. A true classic and should be on comic book readers list to read.
–Box Office Poison, written by Alex Robinson, published by Top Shelf Productions.
It’s the story of people out of college, in the city, and going through the motions of life. The good and bad decisions and the dead end jobs. It’s life after college, and drifting through it, finding your place in the world.
–Tricked, written by Alex Robinson, published by Top Shelf Productions.
Another piece written by Robinson, who really knows how to write a character driven story. Watch the story unfold as you are introduced to numerous characters, and at the end, see how they all end up intermingled in each others lives.
–Strangers in Paradise, written by Terry Moore, published by Abstract Studio.
SIP is one of the longer running independent series on the market. The story revolves around the love and friendship of Francine and Katchoo. Be warned though, there are some more fantastical elements of crime and drama in this series. It does come with a highly recommended Dani Seal of Approval though.
Another aspect of the Slice of Life story is the romance angle. Here are a couple picks that have a more romantic slant to them.
–True Story Swear to God, written by Tom Beland, the trades published by AIT/Planet Lar.
If you have a female in your life, who loves romance novels, this is the book to give her. This is the true story of Tom and how he met his lovely wife. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll love reading this. This books deserves all the love and adoration you can give it. This is a great story for anyone who has a soft spot for a little romance. Nice guys, this book gives you hope.
–Blankets, written by Craig Thompson, Published by Top Shelf Productions.
What can be said about Blankets that hasn’t already been said. It’s the story of young love and faith. This was the hit of San Diego comic con last year. It’s going on its 6th printing. That many people can’t be wrong. It’s a coming of age story told in a beautiful narrative with artwork that captures the moment of what the author was feeling. His depiction of his lover and his faith show that this book was written and drawn with great love and care.
This is the category for the person in your life who just enjoys a good laugh. These stories are fun and whimsical, not taking themselves to seriously. If your NCBR enjoys a good comedy or just loves something that is laid back and fun, this is the category for them.
–Adventures of Barry Ween Boy Genius, written by Judd Winick, published by Oni Press
Barry Ween is the adventures of a foul mouthed boy genius and his horny best friend. Think of Jimmy Neutron, if they put him on adult swim, and then allowed him to curse like a sailor. You’d have something close to akin to Barry Ween. The book is just pure fun. Just remember, there is some language.
–Blue Monday, written by Chynna Clugston-Major, Published by Oni Press
Take a group of teenagers, draw them in a more manga style, and have them lead normal teenage lives. It’s a fun look at high school life through the fun and energetic style of Chynna Clugston. This book is all about fun.
–Hopeless Savages, written by Jen Van Meter, Published by Oni Press.
This series is all about fun, action and adventure. It’s all about a punk rock family and the adventures of the different siblings. This is another great fun read for anyone who enjoys music and loves a good story.
–PVP, written by Scott Kurtz, Published by Image Comics
I threw this book in because there are still some people in the realm of geekdom who haven’t crossed over yet onto the side of comics. These are the gamers who haven’t given the comic medium a chance. This book is done in strip format, so it’s a great start for anyone who started out reading the newspaper funnies, or web comics now a days. It takes place in a office of a gaming magazine company, and the wild hijinxs of the workers and the occasional pop culture reference. Gamers, this is your book.
Black Comedy/Quest/a little bit of adventure
Now this is where the categories start to become tricky. These are books that are incredibly hard to pigeon hold. They all feature the aspect of a quest, and they all feature a supernatural force in them, and they are all for the more mature reader. These are the books that are located in the trade tower of goodness at my job.
–Preacher, written by Garth Ennis, drawn by Steve Dillion, Published by Vertigo.
A preacher becomes empowered with the voice of God and decides to go on a cross country hunt to find God and kick his ass. Along the way he meets up with an ex girlfriend and an irish Vampire, and things just get even more surreal from there. I can’t even do this series justice by describing it. It’s the book that we give new customers, knowing that they’ll will come back to the store to finish up the series.
–Y The Last Man, written by Brian K Vaugn, drawn Pia Guerra, Published by Vertigo.
What would happen if one day all the men in the world just died. No explanation, nothing. One minute they are alive, next minute gone. What would happen if one man survived the whole catastrophe and was woman kinds only hope. This is that story. The trades are addicting. Once you start, you won’t stop.
–The Walking Dead, written by Robert Kirkman, Published by Image.
One day the world is normal, the next, you wake up and there are zombies. This is the tale of people who are stranded in a world that is now populated by zombies. Sounds like a bad horror movie, but it’s not. The Walking Dead is all about the people and their lives and how they are affected by this new world. The zombies are just a background story. This book focuses on the characters and how they survive in this new deadly world.
Sorry folks, that’s all you get for today. Between job searching and packing up for a weekend trip, I will not be able to finish the list up in this column. I will be back next week though, with more recommendations. Drop me a line and let me know how you are enjoying the list so far. Or tell me if you tried out some of these examples on your NCBR. I’d love to hear the results.
If you are going to try out any of these suggestions, remember, the trade is the way to go. I’ve included in the column the companies that published all these books. If you don’t own any of these stories and you are interested in picking them up, go to your local comic book shop and pick it up. You’ve got to support your local shop. If you are low on budget though, some of the titles are a little on the pricey side, try ebay or half.com, they might be able to hook you up. And remember, all these books on this list are great reads. If you haven’t picked any of them up, I highly recommend you do. The holiday season is coming upon us, get those wish lists ready.
I’ll see you guys again next week where I finish off this mammoth list of goodness. I hope you guys enjoy.