« Starter Comics | Main | Four Soldiers »

June 13, 2005


Greg Morrow

In non-fiction, add Larry Gonick's Cartoon Histories of the Universe.


For what it's worth, Mother Come Home is not autobiographical.


...as I said, VERY loosely...

Nor, as it turns out, is it by "Paul Hornscheimer."

Michael Denton

Hornschemeier is another story, however!

Hey, you left out American Elf! :( I think it's great fun.

And I can't believe that I forgot to add "True Story Swear to God" by Tom Beland, it's the best romance comic that's been made in quite some time.

Michael Denton

I also neglected that for fans of Queer as Folk and such shows, "Calvacade of Boys" by Tim Fish (Poison Press) is sure to please. It's three volume TPB in the romantic comedy genre.

Michael Denton

Scott Mill's "Big Clay Pot" might be another good one - it's very sweet. Not convinced about it's newbie draw, but it's a contender

Matt Maxwell

GYO over UZUMAKI? I think not!

Though, for the record, I didin't find either of them scary.


Sorry for a mostly-OT comment, but do you think there's a market in comics for historic non-fiction?

Of the ones you listed, "Age of Bronze" seemed to be the only one to spark any real enthusiasm, but I'd be more than happy to be proven wrong.


I'm not sure I'd call Age of Bronze non-fiction, meticulously researched though it is. And I think there is a market for both history and historical fiction in comics; Maus, one of the most successful comics of all time, is historical non-fiction.

By the way, hello to everybody coming over from MSNBC! Look for more comics content today with a review of Grant Morrison's Seven Soldiers project.

Also linked in that same column: this guide to making comics by Jessica Abel.


I'd add Watchmen to that list. Also, the compilations of Warren Ellis's excellent Global Frequency. And J. Michael Straczynski's Supreme Power and Midnight Nation.


Hi Jennifer,

While I don't want to get into justifying particular selections or omissions, I should probably explain why Watchmen isn't on the list despite being one of my all-time favorites.

I wanted to build a list of graphic novels that are especially accessible for first-time comics readers (prompted by a friend with no comics experience who wanted to know what to start reading). Watchmen is as good as it gets, but it depends on a familiarity with certain superhero conventions and traditions for full effect. Now, I'm sure many people have been handed it as their first comic and have enjoyed it just fine, but I wanted to build a list of ideal choices that require little to no background in comics. I think there are other superhero comics, even other Moore superhero comics, that are more fully self-contained. The same goes for other acknowledged classics like Miller's Dark Knight Returns - probably fairly accessible, given how well-known Batman is, but maybe not the best starter comic.

Similarly, I don't know if a work like Supreme Power, which trades on the reader's knowledge of DC Comics characters and Marvel's prior work with the Squadron Supreme, is an ideal introduction to comics either. (On the other hand, maybe not knowing that Marvel has been to that well before works in its favor.)

Global Frequency, on the other hand, with its new characters and self-contained stories, is a great suggestion. Thanks.


Nice list, but I have to say I was disappointed that Terry Moore's Strangers didn't appear. While Moore does occasionally wander into the melodramatic, his work remains particularly inviting to a comic neophyte.

Also, Arcudi's Mask nicely juxtaposes how Hollywood typically views comics and how comics actually are (it's also incredibly funny/horrible). I was more than a little disappointed when realized I would not be seeing Jim Carrey hacking up cars with a double-bladed battle axe singing "I've been working on the railroad!"

miranda elizabeth

Really, Transmetropolitan belongs on the list ahead of the relentlessly ugly Preacher. I recognize Preacher as "good" - but almost medically so, in that I just don't like it. I avoided it when it first started coming out, started reading it on the heavy recommendation of a couple of people in 1999, quit after three volumes, and finally, upon heaving a deep sigh, picked it up again about six months ago. Kept expecting my opinion to improve, but it never, ever did.

Meanwhile, Transmet had more weak issues where Spider did nothing but wander around the city commenting on the poor, poor citizens, but overall, it has a great deal more charm.

Also, not sure that Hot Gimmick - while decent - is the romance manga I would recommend. It's good, but there are plenty just as good and accessible. People who liked the two you recommend should try things like Paradise Kiss by Ai Yazawa (her hugely popular Nana anchors the new magazine Shojo Beat) and the ultra-angsty Mars (can't recall the author, but since manga is shelved alpha-by-title in most shops, it should be easy to find).

Peter Merholz

Eightball. Eightball. Eightball. By Dan Clowes.

And any of the Hellboy trade paperbacks.


Ghost World, on the list under "General Fiction," was originally serialized in Eightball. The list is built around accessible, self-contained graphic novels ideal for first-time comics readers, not ongoing series.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Blog powered by Typepad
Member since 03/2004