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Comics or Graphic Novels

Do you read comics or graphic novels? Please discuss your favorites?


JamieS86's picture

 Whenever I am asked what

Whenever I am asked what comic books someone should start with, I direct them to Neil Gaiman's Sandman series. If they aren't as into the fantasy stuff, I give them Y: The Last Man.

People who are into crime stories or thrillers would enjoy 100 bullets or Sin City by Frank Miller.

There are also some classics by Alan Moore like The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and Watchmen, both of which are far superior to the movies.

At the moment, I'm reading Locke and Key by Joe Hill, which is more of a horror comic but has a great story and beautiful illustrations.

There is also a huge number of really good superhero comics, many of which have been collected into volumes and are available at the bookstore.

bandella's picture

Comics, my first love.

I found an old (as in, late 80s) issue of Uncanny X-Men in my brother's room as a kid and decided that I wanted to know more about these crazy mutants. Shortly afterward, Fox began airing the X-Men cartoon, which I watched religiously and even still watch on occasion when I'm feeling nostalgic. That pretty much did it. I was an X-Men junkie from then on, and it's pretty much been my greatest obsession for most of my life.

My sophomore year of college, I took a class called "Comics as Literature" that actually counted as one of the two American lit classes I needed for my English major. Sweet. My professor, who at that time was the chair of the department, was a huge DC fanboy, so mostly we read a little Superman and lots of Batman, but you know, that suited me just fine. Before that point, I'd never really considered comics as legitimate storytelling avenues, despite being a die-hard comic fan since childhood. That class really opened my eyes, though, particularly through works like Watchmen and Maus. Sure, the market's full of superhero books, but there are some seriously powerful books out there, too. And you know what? Even the superhero books can be exceptional both in terms of story and art. Not always, and not all of them, but you can't read The Dark Knight or Batman: Year One and not get chills.

Michelle's picture

Re; comics first love


Hello Bandella, I found and read your article about comics and their relationship to storytelling very interesting. I am presently exploring the comic style and am overwhelmed in the many directions I should take. I very much enjoy fantasy art and the ways it is produced. I have brought to my talents airbrushing and using Photoshop elements but not yet accomplished. I was just wondering if you had any opinion on this and your feelings toward comics and computers. If you have the opportunity a request of your opinion is also sought toward the photo realism of airbrushing and the best possible direction I should take.

bandella's picture


Hey, sorry for the delay! I totally overlooked this. Anyway, I'm not sure how I feel about comics and computers. I mean, on an aesthetic level I'm often blown away by the incredible detail and realism people can accomplish with digital art. On the other hand, I often wonder if maybe comics as a medium should stay true to its roots and rely primarily on hand-drawn artwork with minimal interference from computers. That's probably just me being naive and idealistic, but still. It's a little jarring now to go back and look at comics I thoroughly enjoyed from the 90s and see just how drastically the artwork has changed. Again, being a huge X-Men fangirl, I'll use that as my primary example. For much of the 90s, I swore by Jim Lee, the Kuberts, and Chris Bachalo's art (before Bachalo started careening into awful cartoony stuff). My main love, however, was Joe Maduirera, whose last name I'm probably mangling but you get the idea. He was the first person, at least at Marvel, to introduce a more Eastern approach to comic art, and he created this really interesting fusion of manga and traditional Western art that was just so different from everything else in mainstream comics at the time, and so fresh and beautiful. I still count him as among my all-time favorite artists. 

But now, looking back even at those books, I almost feel like they look childish compared to the trend of photo-realism in today's comic art. I don't know which style I like better, but I don't even think it's about that. They're two completely different styles and comparing them is like comparing apples and oranges. You're not supposed to choose one over the other, I don't think, just appreciate them both for what they are and value their individual strengths. 

I know, this didn't really answer your question at all. Sorry. :( As far as what direction you should take, that's hard to tell. I think the photo-realism trend is here to stay, but particularly if you plan on sticking to more independent projects, there will always be a market for fresh, unique art. Any way you can distinguish yourself from the rest of the pack is worth following.

onlinerewardz's picture

supa strikas,justice league and marvel comics

Well I spent my life time reading mostly two comics - the first one is the supastrikas, which talks about the adventure of a soccer team in a football league and focus most attention on their star striker and key man shegs okoro, the second one is the justice league, and the last one is a series of comics known as marvel comics.

Lets look at the supastrikas. This comic tells a story of how a young soccer player came into prominence and became famous in the league due to his exceptional talent. The story shows how he with the help of his team mate was able to apply different strategies to defeat the opposing team. The comic also put some fictional abilities for each players of the team which made the comic more interesting to me.

The second comic that I love reading was spiderman and his other compatriots in the marvel comics I have always being a fan of every marvel comic character so I also have fallen in love with this comic too.

The last of my favourite comic is the justice league. The justice league includes seven super heroes of the DC comics which are superman, john batman, wonder woman and so on. The comic shows different episodes of how the justice league makes effort to keep the city free from criminal activities and save lives and properties.

Hopefully I would try to start reading more comics and get acquainted with them but for now these are my favourite comics.

zwright55's picture

DC and Marvel fan~!

My all time favorite comic would have to be any of the assortmant  of the Batman/Superman: The World's Finest series and Frank Miller's Batman: The Dark Knight Raeturns. Batman is one of my favorite all time 'super' heroes because he's so much more human than the rest of them. Some other favorites in the comic world aremostly all of the Superman comics.  

On another hand, I really do love manga as well and I have to say my top 3 manga are: Doll, Bleach and Yu Yu Hakusho. Doll is a very smart, dramatic, and beautifully written manga and it leaves one sad at the end. Both Bleach and Yu Yu Hakusho are both shonen (boys) manga and are fun, cool and colorful. I  also reccommend any assortment of  Marvel comics. You can't go wrong with thos as well. 

yiliang95's picture

Japanese manga vs comics

First of, let me say that I love reading manga. While very different from American comics, manga vary so much, from cute romance to downright frightening psycho-tragedy. On the whole, I prefer manga to comics, simply because it looks more pleasing to my eyes. For some reason, all the comics I've read have terrible looking characters. While I do enjoy comics like spiderman, the art simply can't compare to that of a manga (I know, it's a preferance thing).

The most well known manga are Bleach, Naruto and One Piece form WSJ. Sother shonen manga I like are Mahou Sensei Negima! (fun story about boy genius mage teacher), Noblesse and Fairy tail. While I do read those, I also like shojo (girls) comics such as Dengeku Diasy and Skip beat.

In the end, comics and manga are all for entertainment. Grab any that catches your eyes and start reading!

betterintheory's picture


I have never really been one for comic books or graphic novels, I just assumed it was a childish medium. But last year a friend insisted that I read the Watchmen and keep an open mind to give it a chance. I thought it was really good, great story and excellent artwork. But there is still something about the medium itself that I don't like. It's the imagination that comes along with reading. When I was a kid and I read The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe I got to make up how everything looked in my own mind, making me part of the journey. That is what I still like about reading, and I think the graphic novel takes that away.

jvstanley's picture

I read both

I do enjoy comic books and graphic novels as well as regular novels and books.  Basically I enjoy art in all its forms.  I was most especially intrigued by Neil Gaiman's "The Sandman" graphic novel.  The story line was fantastic and the visuals of the illustrations complimented the piece instead of making it distracting.  I have found that depending upon the comic or graphic novel I am reading, sometimes the visuals take away from the storyline rather than compliment it and make it easier to read.  Sometimes the visuals take away from the story.  I also enjoy the True Blood comics (I love True Blood) and I have found the extra story lines to be quite interesting.  


As for novels, I love Stephen King, Charlaine Harris, Anne Rice, Augusten Burroughs, Barry Eisler, and Terry Pratchett.  All amazing authors. As most of my tastes go, they are very eclectic but I do tend to gravitate more to horror stories than anything but I will not discount a story simply over genre, I like pretty much anything and everything so long it is well written and the story line is captivating, meaning basically I can get lost within the world that the author has created.  Comic books tend to end abruptly and lack the length of a regular novel which is why if I am going to read anything with graphics, its going to be a graphic novel but if I am bored and want something quick and fun to read, I'll read a comic because i can read it within one sitting.  It all depends on mood, time, and what interests me at that particular moment.  

BeHereNow's picture

Best Graphic Novel

Two words: The Crow by James O'Barr. This guy's story breaks my heart. His wife died, and he wrote this novel as a way of coping with her death, and a healthy way of coping with his feelings of vengeance. I can't remember how much of the novel he took from the actual events, but I'm not a comic book reader, and this is one of my favorite books. The movie was great as well. I like the first one, not the crappy sequels. But if you saw the movie and liked it, it's a graphic novel worth owning. I let someone borrow mine a long time ago, and I wish I could get it back.

Ashlynn Hall's picture


While I have never read a print comic, I do love to read comics online. Some of my favorites are Dinosaur Comics, and The Adventures of Dr. McNinja. Dinosaur Comics is just what you'd expect it to be. It's basically the same exact panels every comic, but each one is new and different. T-Rex talks to God sometimes, and it's kind of hilarious. As for the Adventures of Dr. McNinja, he is a doctor, and a ninja. He has several cohorts such as Gordito the Mexican mustachio'd bandito, Judy the Gorilla, and Yoshi the velociraptor. There are tons of crazy antics such as Dracula's moon laser and the Clone of Ben Franklin. It is absolutely amazing.

Ashlynn Hall's picture

Text Adventures

I don't know if these count as "comics" per se, but I do love to go online to MS Paint Adventures and read their text adventures. There are pictures along with it, so I guess it can be considered a comic. I've only read through Problem Sleuth so far. But there are others. My boyfriend is working on reading Homestuck right now. They're all really neat, and the pictures are done with MS Paint. I love the wacky random storylines that don't seem to make any sense at all. One other thing that I've frequented is Hyperbole and a Half. It's more like an illustrated blog.

nodnyl10's picture

Comics or Graphic Novels. I

Comics or Graphic Novels. I haven't had any share of graphic novels, but with comics, yes and a whole lot of them. The gist of comics is that, it can be a short, satisfying, fun, and good for pastime-kind of thing. While it can also give moral stories (some have), its main targets are readers who have an adventurous side. One of the comics here in the Philippines where I live is called Funny Komiks (making the C turn K as it is in the Filipino language), I was still very little when I started reading such comics, and it was fun I tell you. You'll start to laugh as you read it and of course, people around will wonder, why is this person laughing? Especially to friends or relatives, they'll ask, what's so funny, and you'll in turn share the funny moment you just had in the comics you're reading. There are lots of comics I'm reading, some are Japanese comics translated into English (called Manga). It's as fun as reading comics (even better I suppose), and it gives me inspiration to write. Most of the stories you'll be reading will probably make you write here and there, because you'll be inspired for the awesome stories.

Ashlynn Hall's picture


My god, it seems that I have forgotten Manga. I've read quite a few of them in my day. My favorite would have to be Hellsing. It's great. There's vampires and Nazis, and all kinds of crazy action. I recommend it for anyone that has some down time. I also read one called Mine and Your Secret, in which a guy and this very manly girl he liked switched bodies. It's hilarious, just as you would expect it to be. Another good one is The Wallflower. It's about a somewhat drab goth girl whose aunt decides to board her with three hot guys to turn her into more of a lady. It has all kinds of wacky chaos.

rachelsholiday's picture

Scott Pilgrim

I used to not be very into graphic novels.  Then my husband rented “Scot Pilgrim vs. the World” on Netflix.  I was captivated after that.  The graphic novels that the movie is based off of were my first series of comics.  They are amazing!

One of my favorite things about the Scott Pilgrim series is the female characters.  Ramona, Kim, Knives, and Stacy all are fantastic women who are extremely complex characters.  I always appreciate when female characters are complex, especially in spaces that are stereotypically not women friendly.  One thing I find to be especially notable is that Ramona is a sexual competent young woman who doesn't have any labels assigned to her simply because she likes sex.

The other thing that I love about the Scott Pilgrim is the ability of the author to portray students after college in a realistic way.  Everyone in the books (except for Knives) has graduated from college.  However, almost none of them are working in whatever field they graduated in.  I think this paints a really realistic picture of what life is like after college.  I appreciate the lack of sugar coating.

I would highly recommend the “Scott Pilgrim vs. The World” series to anyone considering it.  I’m sure you will find it to be an extremely enjoyable read.

ViCairo's picture

The memories

I remember the first time I started reading comics and manga, my god I was such an old school nerd about it, drawing as much as I could, trying to mimic the style, the straight up absurdity of certain expressions and movements and the story telling element that I generally didn't see in my day to day life. I remember I was such a junkie that I used to make characters based off of that world and just, give them the worst names known to mankind. It was quite an ordeal in itself and eventually I grew out of it. I mean I like them, I still do up to this day, there is something relatively playful about comics and manga, for me, although not all of them are like that and I've found quite a few that have made my stomach churn and cry simply because of the impact of the stories and how well depicted some expressions were. I do not read them as much anymore considering that I like reading a novel  and imagining the events taking place. Novels have always outclassed comics and an especially good novel will always, remain with me in my mind where I imagined the events happening rather than watching it happen. 

pianodude701's picture

Kingdom Come

Kingdom Come is a masterpiece of the comic genre, with a story by Mark Waid and Alex Ross, and illustrated by Alex Ross. It was published as a four part miniseries in 1996, and later compiled into a collected edition with additional scenes.

Kingdom Come is set a generation after the current DC universe. It superimposes the modern vigilante-style superheroes with the iconic moral stalwarts of the past era. For a decade the Silver-Age Justice League has become inactive following the meteoric rise of a more modern superhero Magog. Magog has no issues with murder to accopmlish a mission, a stark contrast with the strong moral obligations of the older heroes. In their wake, a new generation of metahumans rise up and begin to battle without regard for safety of the humans or the distinction between hero and villian.

The pastor Norman McCay attempts to minister to a dying man named Wesley Dodds who is having apocolyptic visions. McCay struggles to give answers to Dodds, who shortly after dies. McCay begins to have the visions himself and is confronted by Specter, an angelic being sent to guide Norman. Specter recruits him as an aid in passing judgment on the coming crisis, and asks him to decide who is to blame: the humans or the super humans?

I can't say much more without spoiling it, but be sure to pick this up. The art is absolutely fantastic, and the synergy with the writing elevates the work above most everything I've read. The treatment of the characters highlights the qualities that make them great, and brings a fresh new look at the spirit of the silver and golden age, against a backdrop of moral ambiguity and difficult questions.

ShadaeDillard's picture

Comics or Graphic

I have never read a graphic novel or comic, but I think it would be interesting too, and I would love to read some, do anyone recommend good ones, classics,oldies? Anything of that nature? Some light reading for a college student? If so, just comment and let me know what you think I should check out.


It's not really my cup of tea, but I'm up for reading anything to see if I like it and would be interested in reading more.

dholden's picture

Girl Genius

One of the comics that I like to read is Girl Genius by Phil and Kaja Foglio, which can be found at The story is set in a land where mad scientists, or 'Sparks', terrorize the landscape of Europe, though a shaky peace has been formed by Baron Klaus Wulfenbach. The story follows one Agatha Clay, who has her locket stolen, is late for her job as a lab assistant, and is captured by the Baron. Eventually she finds out something shocking about her heritage and meets the heroic Othar Trygvassen, Gentleman Adventurer, whose determination to complete his goal to kill all Sparks to stop them from terrorizing the countryside is only stopped by the fact that he is a comic relief character in the series. The art style is very good and if you like drawings of machines, then this is the story for you! It features an engaging plot and always has that bit of comedy, even when things are at their worst. It is fairly long, though, so I would not recommend it for those who are short on time. Girl Genius is one of the best webcomics I have encountered and I strongly recommend that you look at it!

karijunebugg's picture


I do not often have enough time to read comics, but when I do here are some of my favorites. I love reading For Better or Worse, I can relate so much to the mom's character. It is always funny and so true to life and I love how long it has been around. Another great one was Garfield, always sarcastic and funny, really loved Garfield. 

One that has a special spot for me is Calvin & Hobbes. That comic series is one that can be read and enjoyed over and over. The story of a boy and his pet tiger is so touching and funny and imaginative. My son who is 8 actually just got really sucked in to Calvin & Hobbes. I find it so cute how much he loves it, he just brought home a Calvin & Hobbes book from school to read and he cannot put it down!

I know there are more comics that I find entertaining but I cannot seem to think of them right now. Comics are such a great outlet, a great break when homework gets too tiring or school is stressful. Taking thirty minutes or so to sit down and read a good comic strip is therapeutic. As they say, laughter is the best medicine.


shamie21's picture

I love Japanese mangas

I'm an avid reader of Japanese mangas. It started as a hobby in high school, and continued even if I’m in college now. I seldom read before because we don’t have Internet connection in my house, in my hometown. Now that I’m in college and I have consistent Internet connection, I have learned to love them. Why? Because first, almost, if not all, Japanese mangas are drawn nicely. In this kind of comic/graphical novel, the characters are already drawn, unlike in textual books wherein the characters are just being described, that I still have to visualize their appearance. Since there are pictures of what’s happening in Japanese mangas, it shows the emotions that are being felt by the characters.

In addition, Japanese mangas also have nice plots and stories. Even if some are similar to another, there would still be a difference in some parts. As for me, among the other categories, most of the time, I read shoujo with romance mangas. The main focus of shoujo mangas are girls.

I’m also fortunate because there are already a lot of sites where I can read my favourite Japanes mangas online. There are also sites which allow readers to download the manga that they like. These sites have advanced search facility which allows readers to filter their search according to the category which they prefer (e.g Comedy, Drama, Romance, etc.). And lucky me, because there are also desktop and mobile application s that were developed wherein all I have to do is search for the manga in a built-in directory and automatically download chapters.

TBanton's picture

Graphic Novels

Reading comics has always been a love of mine and it's true, sometimes the art outweighs the story. Like some others here, I also read Japanese comics (aka manga). My parents weren't sold on the ideas that comics could be beneficial so I didn't own any until I was old enough to have my own money and buy them. I do feel like I've missed out on some great issues--especially when I think about American comics--and it seems impossible to catch up. However, with American comics, the stories will change depending on who the authors are and how they treat the characters. While lately that's lead to a lot of anger in the fan-community, I think it's great that the stories can't get old because they're always being re-imagined.

With the success of comic-based movies like Sin City, Iron Man and Batman, comics have become really popular and the field is getting a little more respect. At my university, there was a class dedicated to studying the elements of graphic novels (like plot, character, setting, etc. like you would with any novel) and it was really fascinating. We read 'Jimmy Corrigan: Smartest Kid on Earth' and I was surprised at how much I liked it. I think there are such a wide variety of comics nowadays that it's easy to find one that you life.

Hearty Marial's picture


Yes it is! Comics are very much entertaining since it shows images of what is actually happening in the story though not every movement is printed, still you’d get an idea or you could actually see the picture. Comics had also been my inanimate mentor when it comes to cartooning. I get ideas in there on how to draw this and that. I could still remember when I was still in elementary (that was the time when my mom would not allow me to watch TV or play outside with kids during school days), I used to tell my uncle to stop over a store which sells comics of all genre. I would buy my favorite comics, unfortunately I forgot the titles. But those comic books usually made my day. I kept them in a box and amazingly, I still have them when I reached high school. Some of them were used for school projects such as scrap-book makings, collage makings, poster presentations and paper works that require images and sort of things like that. Whenever I would remember my elementary years which I really miss, I would just open that box and try to read them and would imagine myself holding back my tears as I read emotional pieces, and again, those memories would make my day. They are still with me actually up to this very moment. Unfortunately, the box was at our tree-house during the time a typhoon washed our city. Every time I would need a break, I would just climb up the tree and open each comic book and would go back to the days where life was still easy, and was still free from worries. 

ksequir0's picture

Graphic Novels, huh?

Might I suggest 1982's "X-Men: God Loves, Man Kills"? Has anyone here seen the second X-Men film, better known as "X2"? The graphic novel is essentially the basis for the plot of that film. Of course, over the course of twenty years, the plot has been altered significantly, but it's still very obvious. Then, if you haven't read it already, read Batman: Killing Joke. That one shows what happened to the original Batgirl, leaving her crippled from the waist down. Another good DC graphic novel I may suggest is, of course, Watchmen. And I assure you all, it is far superior to the recently released film. The next one, The Dark Knight, is actually a four-issue miniseries of graphic novels. I'm sure many of you are familiar with it, an alternate future Batman in which he has been retired for over a decade after the death of Robin II (Jason Todd), and is now in hid mis to late fifties, but ends up being forced to come out of retirement as crime becomes increasingly rampant in Gotham due to a street gang known as the Mutants. Another one I would recommend, If I could remember the name of it, would be an old Captain America graphic novel taking place during WWII.

ksequir0's picture

Watchmen: Graphic Novel vs. Movie

I'm not sure how many of you have watched or read DC's 1986 graphic novel, "The Watchmen", but if you have not by this point, I would suggest you do. I would recommend the graphic novel over the film anyday. After having read the graphic novel and watching the film twice, I suppose I should explain why. Might I add that both times I watched the film, I did not finish it? The first time, I passed out. The second time was with a group of teenagers, several of whom demanded we change the movie. First of all, they damage several of the canon elements, giving two major characters superpowers they did NOT have in the book, changing the ages and backstories for several characters, adding scenes that did not belong and removing or poorly altering scenes from the book.  I suppose it tends to go that way with virtually any film adaptation, unless it's done right. Even the Harry Potter film series, which was excellent, strayed from the canon storyline just a little bit. And to be honest, some books simply do not translate well to film. Does anyone remember the film adaptation of "Eragon"? It was so awful they didn't even make a sequel.

ksequir0's picture


Is anyone here a fan of the cult webcomic "Homestuck"? It has been one of my favorite webcomics (sometimes) for the past year or so. Whether or not you have heard of it, the webcomic is a micture of sprite-like images, animated GIFs, short videos, and interactive scenes. It has currently been running for nearly four years, and is infamous for its complicated, rather convoluted plot, outlandish characters, foul language, and unabashedly bizarre content. The plot is incredibly hard to follow unless you are a diehard fan, so I will not attempt to explain it here. But try mixing Earthbound, The Sims, and a sheet of LSD, and that's essentially what the product would be. The majority of the characters are the Trolls, an alien race of grey skinned, horned people who are literally trolls. They are initially introduced as annoying internet trolls, but, in one of many plot twists, they are revealed to be actual trolls, living in a relative timeline on a distant grey planet. While it is an overall thrilling webcomic, it can become rather boring at times due to sudden and unexpected transitions to 20+ pages of nothing but IM conversations between characters; many of which are funny, but others still are asinine and boring. While it is not for everybody, Homestuck is certainly worth a read.