I promised Sabrina a recommended reading list for alternative comics, but it wasn’t as easy as I expected it to be. Here, I will list comics that I personally think are really worth the read, and anyone who love comics would never have a life well-spent if they haven’t read these.
Alternative comics is a really hard category to define, so I include here comics that are mostly not explicitly about superheroes, and generally would not attract the mainstream readers on the spot.
The list is limited only to those that I have read, so it includes mostly easy to attain titles, i.e. not too obscure, since I believe people should be able to find these too. This is also not necessarily a list of every good alternative comics out there, just those I judge to be really really good.
I’m segregating the titles alphabetically into their respective publishers and imprints, followed by their creators (writer & penciller) and a short description.
Last but not least, I hope this list will help you in getting into alternative comics, and if you have any suggestions and comments, don’t forget to comment! =)
Update (29/03/2009): I found that the task is becoming greater as I go on, so I shall be splitting this post into a number of parts. For Part 1, we’ll be looking at titles from DC first:
Animal Man (#1-#26) by Grant Morrison & Chas Truog
Lesser known Animal Man gets his own title which discusses human morality and environmental issues. Morrison plays with metafiction and breaking the fourth wall as Animal Man becomes temporarily aware of his fictional existence.
Doom Patrol (Vol. 2, #19-#63) by Grant Morrison & Richard Case
Morrison transformed Doom Patrol from an X-Men rip-off to a dysfunctional family of crazies and misfits fighting surreal threats and Dadaist villains.
Hitman by Garth Ennis & John McCrea
Tommy Monaghan is a hitman with telepathy and x-ray vision, who specialises in metahumans, but only those he deems as evil. The series is a bizarre sidestory to the DC universe full of other famous superheroes.
(The Saga of The) Swamp Thing (#20-#64) by Alan Moore & Steve Bissette
The title was nearing cancellation when Moore took over the rein and totally rebooted the Swamp Thing into a plant-based creature who only thinks that he’s human. Just like Animal Man, it discusses human cruelty towards nature. This run was responsible for revealing Moore to the general public, and introducing John Constantine.
V for Vendetta by Alan Moore & David Lloyd
In a dystopian future United Kingdom, V is an anarchist who opposes the totalitarian government. He recruits a girl, Evey, with events leading towards the blowing up of the Parliament on Guy Fawkes Day.
Watchmen by Alan Moore & Dave Gibbons
Come on, haven’t you watched the film yet? No? Well, simply put, it’s about a retired group of superheroes trying to solve a deeper conspiracy behind the murder of their former comrade, set against the background of alternate 1980s Nixonian USA and Cold War.
Stay tuned for Part 2: Wildstorm!