Pretty, Fizzy Paradise

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Wednesday, March 28, 2007


I've realized that, oddly enough, most (if not all) of my comic book reading is superhero related. What a surprise, huh? I'm not unhappy with this, mind you. I love superhero comics, after all.

But I've got a strange urge lately to hunt down some good old fashioned high fantasy (or even science fiction), alternate setting sorts of comic books.

I'm not terribly experienced with western comics though outside of superhero stuff, and I'm not really interested in going down the manga route again at this time.

Don't suppose you guys have any recommendations?


  • At March 28, 2007 8:01 AM, Blogger Madeley said…

    Has to be Jeff Smith's Bone for a great fantasy setting.

  • At March 28, 2007 8:35 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I just lost my first comment. This won't be as detailed.

    I'm not sure what classifies as high fantasy, but if it's what I think it is, I can't think of anything I know of in English. (If you knew Norwegian, I wouldn't hesitate to recommend Ridderne av Dor/Miranda.)

    Other fantasy, however, would be

    - Linda Medley: Castle Waiting

    - Can't remember: The Couragious Princess

    Straddling the border between fantasy and sci-fi: Colleen Doran: A Distant Soil (I really don't know how to classify this. It seems like there's something of everything.)

    Sci-fi: Warren Ellis and Colleen Doran: Orbiter

    When you say "Western Comics", do you rule out European stuff? Because if Laureline et Valerian has been translated, I'd jump on it.

  • At March 28, 2007 8:38 AM, Blogger Scott (The Mad Thinker) Anderson said…

    It you want to give Westerns a try, the Jonah Hex series out right now is surprisingly good. Clever plots, interesting characters, and thoughtful themes. I picked it up on a whim and was very glad I did.

  • At March 28, 2007 8:42 AM, Blogger kalinara said…

    Wow, thanks for the recs!

    ingvild: European comics are fine actually! I know very little about any, so I'd be glad for any recs!

    (I'm an ex-manga geek, so I usually use "Western" as synonymous with "not-manga". :-) It's not terribly accurate, I know, but old habits are hard to break..)

  • At March 28, 2007 8:44 AM, Blogger Ununnilium said…

    Girl Genius:

    Also, Crimson Dark:

  • At March 28, 2007 9:07 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I just wanted to second ingvild's recommendation of a Distant Soil. I just started reading it. Good stuff.

  • At March 28, 2007 9:37 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Mark Oakley's THIEVES & KINGS is very good. It really is high fantasy. You will have better luck googling his name or the title; I don't think Amazon offers his books. The first book is about a young thief who returns from sea to find Highborn City ruled by malevolent forces, his princess missing, and himself persued by a mysterious Shadow Lady. Some portions are written as illustrated prose rather than comics. I really can't recommend it enough.

    The Artesia series is another high fantasy series that I like, though I have only read the first book. A concubine with sorcerous powers leads an army to conquer the surrounding lands for her lord. When her lord betrays her to a rival religion, however, she must lead her army in revolt. A very well thought-out world is explored in beautiful illustrations.

    Dabel Brothers publishing is also releasing graphic novel versions of George R.R. Martin's The Hedge Night and Raymond Feist's The Magician series. These are all adaptations of well-known fantasy authers. I think many of them are coming out in June. Also, Marvel is releasing an original graphic novel by Robert Silverburg that is set in his fantasy setting of Majripoor (not the one with Wolverine).

    Marvel is also releasing a collection compiling issues of Red Prophet: Stories of Alvin Maker, by Orson Scott Card.

    On a more super-heroey note (if you need to ease yourself into fantasy), Kurt Busiek established the current Aquaman series as a proto-superhero setting, and fantasy/sci-fi author Tad Williams is currently writting the series.

    Elfquest has a pretty good reputation, but I haven't read much of that.

    So, there are some suggestions. I hope you find something you like!


  • At March 28, 2007 9:38 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hedge Knight, not Hedge Night.


  • At March 28, 2007 11:03 AM, Blogger Ragtime said…

    My non-superhero favorites:

    Y: The Last Man -- more post-apocolpytic than Sci-Fi/Fantasy, but by far my favorite of the un-caped genre.

    Fables -- has gotten much better since the first few arcs.

    Walk In -- Has sort of a "Matrix" vibe to it, if you like that sort of thing. Also, extra points for being created by a Eurythmic.

    Devi -- I don't know if a goddess inhabiting a human's body qualifies as a "superhero" or not. Maybe a good crossover title.

  • At March 28, 2007 11:45 AM, Blogger SallyP said…

    Jonah Hex, is always good of course.

    If you want to go the French route, try Lt. Blueberry, written by Jean Michel Charlier, and drawn by Jean Giraud, aka Moebius. It is simply AMAZING! It's also been around forever, so the early books are incredibly hard to find. Marvel's Epic line did translations and reprints quite a while back that are wonderful, and a little easier to find. The art of course is mind-boggling, and the stories are great, because they actually did their research, and tied them into actual events which I always find fun.

    Moebius also does some truely bizarre Science Fiction stuff, with the Metabarons, and John Difool that is fun, but again, it is a little hard to find in the average comic book store.

  • At March 28, 2007 12:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    *scratches head*
    I've heard good things about the Ballad of Halo Jones.

  • At March 28, 2007 12:55 PM, Blogger Philip said…

    Finder by Carla Speed McNeil is wonderful, if a little hard to describe. She calls it "aboriginal science fiction."

    Matt Howarth's Keif Llama, Xenotech is about a diplomat dealing with some genuinely alien cultures, and not just the Star Trek type people-in-funny-make-up" aliens. In many of the stories, the title character is the only human to appear.

  • At March 28, 2007 1:03 PM, Blogger Seth T. Hahne said…

    For fantasy, I'd recommend Bone. It's actually pretty genuine must-read material. Its prequel, Rose, is pretty worthwhile (with art by Charles "Stardust" Vess) and is a little closer to standard fantasy-fare.

    For a good mix of sci-fi and fantasy (or probably more accurately, folk mythology vs. folk science), volumes 3 and onward of BPRD are excellent. For the best understanding and history, I'd start with Hellboy, vol. 1-5 and move one to BPRD, vol. 1 and go forward from there. But really, BPRD, vol. 3-6 is where it's at.

    For a great adventure with sci-fi and fantasy elements, I highly recommend Mister Blank from SLG. It's got time-travel, immortals, ancient Hebrew mythology, clones, mimes, and love-conquers-all dynamism.

    And I know you said no manga, but for a creepy-cool, self-contained story of murder and telekinesis, I always liked Katsuhiro Otomo's Domo.

    I also second Y: the Last Man as a good example of apocalyptic fiction. The test of the tale will be how it ends, but up through volume 8 (I believe I heard it will will in 10), both my wife and I are loving it. I remember you expressing some kind of apathy toward the idea, but so far as I can tell, the joy is not so much in the idea, but the execution.

    Also defying categorization is Sparks: An Urban Fairytale (also from SLG). It's sci-fi in a non-sci-fi world. It's a fairy tale in a non-fantasy setting. And it's romance in a world where love is dead. Okay, that last part was melodramatic, but it's really a wonderful book.

  • At March 28, 2007 1:43 PM, Blogger Will Staples said…

    Check out the Drizzt Do'Urden comics from Devil's Due. You don't get much more "good-old high fantasy" than D&D!

    Fullmetal Alchemist by Hiromu Arakawa is one of the best manga out there right now, largely because it's so different from typical manga. It's got a unique art and storytelling style that doesn't feel like anything else from Japan.

  • At March 28, 2007 1:58 PM, Blogger Brett said…

    I second the Girl Genius above, but rather than try to catch up on the web grab the graphic novels.

  • At March 28, 2007 2:31 PM, Blogger Unknown said…

    I second Bone. Pick up the single volume edition. It's the book that got me back into comics after ignoring them for years.

  • At March 28, 2007 2:41 PM, Blogger Ferrous Buller said…

    The Courageous Princess is by Rod Espinosa, as is Neotopia. He's one of the better "Amerimanga" creators out there who doesn't get enough attention, IMHO.

    Shout out for Bone, Girl Genius, A Distant Soil, Castle Waiting, Finder, and Thieves & Kings. Also, while not really fantasy per se (though he does tangle with the occasional ghost or supernatural creature), Usagi Yojimbo remains consistently awesome.

  • At March 28, 2007 2:47 PM, Blogger Seth T. Hahne said…

    Usagi Yojimbo IS great. Consistently.

    Only, I've always found that the first volume is weaker than much of the story that comes after. Generally, when I start someone on Usagi, I beg them to at least finish volume two before rendering judgment. I kinda view the first book as Sakai finding his feet for the rest of the journey - a journey that is quite excellent.

  • At March 28, 2007 4:24 PM, Blogger Mr Leslie said…

    Warren Ellis' Ocean
    fun sci-fi adventure

    Gillen McKelvie's Phonogram
    Music is magic, britpop based hi-jinx

  • At March 28, 2007 4:47 PM, Blogger Rob S. said…

    I second the recs for Castle Waiting, Usagi Yojimbo, and Finder.

    There's a minicomic by Rachel Hartman called Amy Unbounded that I have to recommend -- it's more a coming of age story than adventure fantasy, but it's in a cool fantasy-medieval setting. There's one collection out, although it may be out of print.

  • At March 28, 2007 6:33 PM, Blogger Flidget Jerome said…

    My father would like to recommend Mouse Guard.

  • At March 28, 2007 6:49 PM, Blogger ShellyS said…

    I mostly read superheroes, too, but I do try to read some other things. The new Lone Ranger comic is excellent. I'm also enjoying Crossing Midnight, which I guess is a fantasy.

  • At March 28, 2007 7:52 PM, Blogger Bill D. said…

    Bone is all kinds of excellent as fantasy goes, but I'd so recommend Tellos by Todd Dezago and Mike Wieringo. That one's a lot of fun.

  • At March 28, 2007 7:53 PM, Blogger Bill D. said…

    That was supposed to be "also recommend," by the way.

  • At March 28, 2007 8:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I can't believe nobody hasn't reccomended Red Sonja and Conan yet.

    Then again, Sword and Sorcery fantasy is an acquired taste. But if you like high adventure, there's nothing better!

  • At March 28, 2007 9:04 PM, Blogger Rob S. said…

    Oh yeah, Conan is great. And I have to admit, I still long for the days when El Cazador sailed the racks...

  • At March 28, 2007 9:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Anything by Jack Vance!

  • At March 28, 2007 9:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Track down some old Raw Hide kid.

    Classic western comics.

    Trust me.

  • At March 29, 2007 12:38 AM, Blogger Amy Reads said…

    Hi Kali,
    Simon said the one I wanted to: Warren Ellis' Ocean
    fun sci-fi adventure

    Which is sheer delight.

    Also, I've loved, loved, loved Hellboy recently, a new title for me (despite its many years of wonderfulness, I've never read it).

    Platinum Grit (online) is fantastic, and tons of fun (

    the new Dark Tower series after Stephen King's novels is gorgeous, and really well done.


  • At March 29, 2007 12:51 AM, Blogger Michelle said…

    Does The Goon count as fantasy or sci-fi? In either or neither case: read, love, repeat.

  • At March 29, 2007 12:53 AM, Blogger Seth T. Hahne said…

    Sorry, that last one was me.

  • At March 29, 2007 1:35 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I'll also highly recommend Bone and Mouse Guard for fantasy. Conan is great if you like sword and sorcery even a little bit. Age of Bronze, a historically grounded telling of the Trojan War is also really good.

    I've also noticed that Dark Horde has released Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser, which I haven't read (neither the comic nor the original Leiber) but based on reputation is on my own to-buy list.

    For straight up espionage I'd suggest Queen & Country (Tara Chase kicks @$$!)

  • At March 29, 2007 5:05 AM, Blogger LurkerWithout said…

    People took all my pics already. :(

    So I'll just pretend no else has said anything yet...

    Fantasy: Bone, Castle Waiting, Mouse Guard (not really fantasy but its about warrior mice), Poison Elves (still sad you're gone Drew), Fables and Jack of Fables

    Romanitcal/Slice of Life/Bioish: Blankets, Strangers in Paradise, Box Office Poison, Teenagers from Mars

    Espionage: Losers and Queen & Country

    Humor: Barry Ween: Boy Genius and Frumpy the Clown (Ah, when Judd Winnick didn't suck)

    Hard to genreify SciFi: Finder, Grimjack, DMZ

    Horrorish: 30 Days of Night, The Crow (as with the movie version, only the first), Sandman

    Western: DC's Jonah Hex: Two Gun Mojo and Marvel's Blaze of Glory (Yes the second is yet ANOTHER 7 Samurai remake. Its a good one.)

    Not sure where to classify: The Pirates of Coney Island, Usagi Yojimbo, 100 Bullets

  • At March 29, 2007 12:49 PM, Blogger googum said…

    For sci-fi, Nexus is a great book. It's coming back soon, so give it a shot.

  • At March 29, 2007 4:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Ffarhd and the Grey Mouser (AKA Tales of Lankhmar by Fritz Leiber) is parody/satire. The books are good, but it's very deliberately cliche.

  • At March 30, 2007 12:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I can't believe I forgot WE3. Sort of a cross between The Incredible Journey and Universal Soldier, only bette rthan that sounds.

  • At March 30, 2007 11:14 AM, Blogger Seth T. Hahne said…

    I'm not sure if it's better than it sounds ;P

  • At March 30, 2007 11:35 AM, Blogger Ferrous Buller said…

    A comment in Chris's weekly review reminded me to recommend Far West: Tolkien-esque fantasy meets the Old West, essentially. I'm less fond of Boneyard, but it's fun too.

  • At March 30, 2007 11:36 AM, Blogger Ferrous Buller said…

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  • At March 30, 2007 11:37 AM, Blogger Ferrous Buller said…

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  • At March 30, 2007 11:37 AM, Blogger Ferrous Buller said…

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  • At March 30, 2007 5:09 PM, Blogger Ferrous Buller said…

    Sorry about the multiple postings: Blogger wigged out on me.

  • At March 30, 2007 9:10 PM, Blogger Denyer said…

    Transmetropolitan -- give it the first two volumes (Back on the Street & Lust For Life) and see if you like it. OTT the-future-is-quite-like-now character writing and sociology. With lots of bright colours, cynicism and a lead character who's basically Hunter S. Thompson.

    And another vote for Fables, which really benefits from being read in order from the start. Early arcs are quite standalone (but still need a set reading order), later ones delve into relationships and such.

  • At March 30, 2007 10:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    As others have, I would suggest Bone and especially The Hedge Knight. Just bought that in hardcover in fact. The writing is SO. GOOD. because it's basically just George R. R. Martin's straight from his story and he is just incredible.

    The majority of what I read is manga though, so I can't recommened anything else that is non-manga.

  • At March 31, 2007 4:48 PM, Blogger Seth T. Hahne said…

    Don't you already read Fables, K? Or did you drop it at some point?


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