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Reccomend me some comic books / graphic novels without superheroes.

Chop LogicChop Logic Registered User regular
edited July 2008 in Help / Advice Forum
So, my friends have recently been getting to into comics. In the fall, I'll be starting a dual degree program, illustration and English, so it only makes sense that I'm starting to love comics, which is a combination of the two.

I've just read The Watchmen, and I liked it, but right now I'm reading MAUS by Art Spiegelman and I am in love with it. I love his art style, the way he tells the story, everything about it.

I'm looking for more comic books that are similar to this one. What I'm looking for is:

1. A similar art style. I love the art in MAUS, it mostly looks like this:

maus.jpg

MausRealityII16p500pxw.jpg

Those were the only good pictures I can find. The art is loose but still very good and at times both sketchy and beautiful. I love that it looks like a person actually drew it. It wasn't professionally inked and then professionally colored or anything, it's very apparent that a guy drew this, and I love that.

And / or:

2. The type of story. I'm really interested in stories dealing with real people. Perhaps something autobiographical, or just a story about a normal person or a semi-normal person. I'm not very interested in the typical superhero type story, but if a book approaches the superhero thing in a new way I'll look at it. But mainly, I'm looking for stuff that deals with 'real' people, or real life in some way.

Thanks for any recommendations or just general ideas, I'll check back in this thread soon.

Chop Logic on

Posts

  • KyouguKyougu Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    I think you would really enjoy Pedro and Me, by Judd Winick.

    Kyougu on
  • wallabeeXwallabeeX Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Check out Craig Thompson's Blankets and Goodbye Chunky Rice.

    Also, Black Hole by Charles Burns.

    And most of Chris Ware's work is incredible.

    wallabeeX on
  • ManonvonSuperockManonvonSuperock Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    http://forums.penny-arcade.com/showthread.php?t=50014

    Everything in the OP not under "superheroes"

    ManonvonSuperock on
  • Chop LogicChop Logic Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Thanks guys. When I get home today I'll check out the books you listed.

    I think the main thing I'm really looking for here is the art style. Most comics have this really polished 'perfect', art style and I'm just not really into that. I think that's part of the reason I like MAUS so much.

    Edit: Also, I'm looking for more of a one book type of thing. I don't really know the difference between a comic book or a graphic novel, but I think I'm looking for graphic novels. Like Sin City, The Watchmen, or Maus, a stoey that's contained in one book.

    Chop Logic on
  • enderwiggin13enderwiggin13 Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    The Sandman - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Sandman_(Vertigo)
    Stardust - (more of an illustrated novel, but still quite good.) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stardust_(novel)

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  • QuothQuoth the Raven Miami, FL FOR REALRegistered User regular
    edited July 2008
  • PirateJonPirateJon Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Have you read Gaiman's Sandman series? While he does have 'powers', the writing is top notch and much of the art isn't typical comic book.

    See also Johnny the homicidal maniac.

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  • virgilsammsvirgilsamms Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Sandman is what I immediately thought of when I read the thread title. Gaiman's writing is excellent and I believe the illustration is done by a series of different comic artists throughout, each with their own take.

    virgilsamms on
  • BalefuegoBalefuego Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Y: The Last Man

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  • HylianbunnyHylianbunny Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Balefuego wrote: »
    Y: The Last Man

    Seconding this.

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  • supabeastsupabeast Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Transmetropolitan, Preacher, The Invisibles, Fables

    supabeast on
  • grungeboxgrungebox Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    100 Bullets

    Summer Blonde and Shortcomings by Adrian Tomine

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  • honkymcgoohonkymcgoo Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Bone.

    honkymcgoo on
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  • QuothQuoth the Raven Miami, FL FOR REALRegistered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Preacher and Fables are great, but I think they might be a bit too far from what the OP is looking for. Preacher is extremely violent and sexually explicit, and Fables is very fantasy-oriented. Realistic they are not.

    Edit: Meant to mention Ghost World as another possible option.

    Quoth on
  • lostwordslostwords Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    You could check out Adrian Tomine's stuff. Has a few collections of his Optic Nerve comic that is good stuff.

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  • saggiosaggio Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Watchmen is an excellent graphic novel. Alan Moore is my favourite writer in the medium of all time. Another notable work from him is V for Vendetta - which is my favourite of his, and nothing like that abomination of a movie that they made recently. Another one that is great is Promethea.

    There is also 300 which is done by Frank Miller, I believe, and the art and style in it are great. The movie is actually very similar stylistically with it, but the comic is still great.

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  • TrowizillaTrowizilla Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Y the Last Man is pretty great, but not one-volume.

    Strangers in Paradise is very real-world and enjoyable, with the bonus of female characters that are shaped like people and not blow-up dolls.

    Trowizilla on
  • honkymcgoohonkymcgoo Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Oh! I have these books, theyre individual stories but theres 3 of them by Richard Delgado called Age of Reptiles. Each book is a different story, there isnt any dialogue because they are all about dinosaurs. Theyre freaking sweet, incredibly moving for a story with no words or people in it. Might not be what youre looking for but I would be remiss if I didnt recommend it.

    honkymcgoo on
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  • SteevLSteevL What can I do for you? Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    I'm surprised no one has recommended The Walking Dead yet, so I will.

    It is a multi-volume series and is still going, though.

    I enjoyed Pyongyang: A Journey in North Korea, which I checked out from my library a few months ago. Nothing too mindblowing happens in it; it's just the author's account of how he saw things when he worked in North Korea for a few months.

    SteevL on
  • KVWKVW Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Mouse Guard (see also: publisher's site) is probably right up the OP's alley.

    KVW on
  • CraigopogoCraigopogo Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    I read Fun Home a while ago, by Alison Bechdel, and it's really good.

    Craigopogo on
  • seasleepyseasleepy Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Not sure if it's exactly what you're looking for, but you might like American Elf, which is a diary comic.

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  • Local H JayLocal H Jay Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    The manga form of Akira, Shortcomings, and Blue Pills: A Positive Love Story.

    Local H Jay on
  • ForarForar #432 Toronto, Ontario, CanadaRegistered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Balefuego wrote: »
    Y: The Last Man

    Seconding this.

    Thirded.

    Also; Fables and Preacher.

    There are fantastical elements to both, but it's not "superhero" faire.

    Forar on
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  • ImprovoloneImprovolone Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Fables, Fables, Fables, and Jack of all Fables.

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  • vonPoonBurGervonPoonBurGer Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    You might be interested in some of the early underground comics artists/writers, people like Robert Crumb and Harvey Pekar. They were contemporaries of Art Spiegelman, and Maus is a product of that scene to some degree.

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  • jkylefultonjkylefulton Squid...or Kid? NNID - majpellRegistered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Most of what I'd normally recommend has already been recommended, so....how about CASANOVA? You're only looking at two trades for everything that's been published (though you might want to pick up the floppies at $1.99 per issue, since those include back matter and whatnot from the writer).

    Edit: And Fraction's FIVE FISTS OF SCIENCE would meet your 'real people' criteria.

    jkylefulton on
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  • ManonvonSuperockManonvonSuperock Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Five Fists was a little too superhero-y i would think
    giant lightning hologram robot?

    Also, Barefoot Gen and An American Born Chinese

    ManonvonSuperock on
  • RankenphileRankenphile Passersby were amazed by the unusually large amounts of blood.Registered User, Moderator mod
    edited July 2008
    davidbepileptics_thumb.jpg

    David B is a brilliant comics artist who helped found l'Association, a french publishing house for non-cape comics. He's become a bit of a legend in some circles, much the way Spiegelman did with Maus. The above book, Epileptic, is his masterpiece - an autobiography about growing up in France in the shadow of an epileptic brother while his parents tried every sort of treatment imaginable. Very heavy stuff, but wonderfully done.

    I'd also recommend reading a number of Craig Thompson's works from Top Shelf Press, including Goodbye Chunky Rice and Blankets. Both are incredibly touching and sad tales and are nothing like superhero comics.

    Also from Top Shelf is a great graphic novel called Box Office Poison. There's a few of them out now, although I've only read the first, but I thoroughly enjoyed it.

    Spiegelman's other works are really fascinating. Love & Rockets, by the Brothers Hernandez, is a great series from the 80s, as is most of the work by Daniel Clowes. He wrote Ghost World, Eightball, David Boring and Like a Velvet Glove Cast in Iron, all of which are worth a read.

    Sam Kieth also published, while working on The Maxx, a great little series he called Friends of Maxx, although it had nothing to do with the amazing purple "superhero". It was basically three issues only (that I know of) and was a wonderful little series just dealing with relationships. The Maxx itself, while the protagonist is a giant purple muscle freak, really isn't much of a superhero tale, and is most definitely worth a read - at least the first 20 issues.

    Honestly, if you're really interested in this sort of thing, order a catalog from Top Shelf, Fantagraphics and a couple of other indie publishers and just sort of browse, or spend some time doing some research from some of the links above. Even delving into the history of alternative comics, starting with Robert Crumb, is fascinating and often reveals a lot of incredible works you'd otherwise miss if you only read about dudes in tights punching monsters and masterminds.

    Rankenphile on
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  • TychoCelchuuuTychoCelchuuu PIGEON Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Seconding Transmetropolitan.

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  • ZombiemamboZombiemambo Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Any mention of Sin City yet?

    Zombiemambo on
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  • RankenphileRankenphile Passersby were amazed by the unusually large amounts of blood.Registered User, Moderator mod
    edited July 2008
    while transmet and sin city are both fun books, I don't think they're really fitting the criteria he was asking for originally

    I mean, don't get me wrong, I love them both

    but they're a far cry from Maus

    Rankenphile on
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  • GoodOmensGoodOmens Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    I just read both parts of Persepolis and enjoyed it completely. Also, "Pride of Baghdad" is awesome, even if it doesn't exactly deal with real people...rather, real lions.

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