Comic books aren’t just for kids anymore. Sure, you could make the case that they used to be, but beginning in the mid-1980s comic book publishers began marketing their works to adults and this trend has only increase as time has passed. Walk into any comic book store today and you won’t see too many ten-year-olds, but you will see a lot of people in their 20s, 30s, and 40s. Here are a few adult-orientated comic book titles that are among the cream of the crop.
Bill Willingham’s story of fairy tale characters that have come to live in the real world has a complex plot and very convincing characterization. It has had a long publication history starting in 2002 under DC’s Vertigo imprint. Highly imaginative and compelling, “Fables” will alternately make you laugh out loud and leave your jaws hanging open in amazement at its many plot twists.
Dark Horse’s adaption of Robert E. Howard’s famous barbarian is enthralling to read and quite often simply beautiful to look at. Beginning in 2004, readers have thrilled to the adventures of the title character as he traverses the lands of the Hyborian as a thief, sell-sword, swashbuckler, lover, and hero. Conan is true high adventure and continues to be a great monthly source of incredible tales.
Watchmen is writer Alan Moore and artist Dave Gibbon’s masterpiece. Widely considered the greatest graphic novel of all time since it was first published in 1986, it is steeped in symbolism and proves that comics can and should indeed be considered art. It tells the story of middle-aged, retired, classical super heroes that become embroiled in a plot that may solve all the ills of society, but at a horrific cost.
The Dark Knight Returns
Frank Miller’s tale of a 50-something Bruce Wayne who dons the cowl once more to defend a horribly degenerated Gotham City is a gritty, fast-paced read. It deconstructs the character of the Batman and brings him back to his dark 1930s roots while moving him far, far away from the campy reputation he once had from Adam West’s 1960s TV show. This is Batman the way he was meant to be.
The Walking Dead
The Walking Dead is, quite simply, the most brutally honest story of the zombie apocalypse ever produced. Robert Kirkman crafted a world where nothing is ever certain, no one is ever safe, and only the strong can possibly hope to survive. It questions the nature of humanity in the face of such utter disaster and dares to ask if survival is worth the cost in such a world. I cannot recommend this book enough.