Comics have been an American tradition since well before Superman slapped on his big red “S”. They were initially detective series’ and Westerns. Indie comics started well before the Caped Crusader or the Wall-Crawler ever but on the masks and tights. Indie comics are still going just as strong these days. It’s in that spirit that we bring you the top 10 indie comics outside of the Superhero genre! In this list, we’re featuring horror, crime, sci-fi and fantasy and everything in-between. From the classic to the contemporary, this list should be looked at as a diving board into the vast pool of comic book goodness.
1) The Walking Dead
Let’s begin with the comic event that has very nearly made Robert Kirkman a household name. Set almost entirely in Georgia, after the zombie outbreak, this comic series has given rise to one of the greatest modern fandoms of the last decade. Even if you don’t like the show, the series is phenomenal with fantastic characters. It’s different enough from the television series, but close enough that it’s doesn’t feel like one ripped off the other’s name.
Brian K Vaughn’s sci-fi/fantasy masterpiece is for those who like their epic dramas set on distant planets in a really cool alien society. The world building is spectacular in scope and fullness. There’s almost nothing I could say about this that will do it any sense of justice. Except…nope. I got nothin’. I really don’t know anything that’s like this series. It’s as original as anything I’ve ever seen. The best part is that it’s still on-going and I don’t see much of an end in sight.
Warren Ellis and Derrick Robertson’s dystopian series is an absolute marvel of gonzo journalism, vitriol and unabashed disdain for society would make Hunter S. Thompson blush. Having graduated college with a journalism degree, I can say that this book taught me as much about journalism as almost any text book I had to suffer through reading. For anyone interested in politics or human behavior, this is well-written and the artwork isn’t bad either.
4) Sin City
Frank Miller’s iconic masterpiece is an essential read for ALL comic fans. It’s the WATCHMEN of Indie comics. It’s everything you need in a crime series, plus a whole lot more. The collection we know as SIN CITY began as multiple mini-series’ between 1995-2000, this giving the book and the subsequent film a definite anthology feel. There’s grit, well-defined characters and a true sense of the crime noir style dialed up to 11.
Taking its name from the Norse legend/prophecy of the Twilight of the Gods, Walter Simons’ tale takes place 300 years after the supposed end of the Nine Worlds. Like any good bit of Norse mythology, the story bends and weaves through, above and around what you might expect and takes a few sharp turns here and there. The art is great, definitely from someone who has studied their Asgardian lore and dreamed of being one of the Aesir (the major gods) themselves, or at least a Vanir (one of the warriors from Valhalla that fight during Ragnarok alongside Thor and Odin.) The book has quite the roster, including demons, dark elves, dwarves, a giant talking squirrel and, of course, a zombie god. Do you see what you’ve been missing?