Comics For Beginners

Spinning out of a few posts/ discussions elsewhere on the forums, I thought it might be a cool idea to start this up.

If you’re curious about comics but don’t know where to start, ask here and some of the local geeks (myself, @ tylerisrandom and @ lesbiangamesnob are known comic geeks, anyone else feel free to put your hand up) will give some suggestions.

A few things to think about to help us direct you:

  • what genre (superhero, fantasy, sci-fi, adventure, romance, etc)?
  • Classic, modern or both?
  • Any specific publisher?
  • Any specific character?
  • Any specific creator?
  • Particular story arc?
  • Story/ character origins?
  • Anything else that takes your fancy in fiction

As a start, anyone who is interested in exploring the world of DC Comics has some good stuff coming in November. I can personally speak to the Wonder Woman collection being brilliant as I bought the issues it collects when they first came out. Really, fantastic stuff!


Dropped off the hobby years ago, but can attest at least to the Batwoman (2011 - 2015) run by J. H. Williams III, and Haden Blackman being well worth anyone’s time, but spoilers aside, don’t expect any conclusions as DC hates this character for some backwards, anti-LGBTQ bullshit.

Why Batwoman Can’t Get Married


I always had a love for comics that are just one panel or one strip long. I really feel that I only ever saw what was most mainstream, mostly drawn by white male cartoonists.

I would love to see what the whole spectrum is of that. Especially if it is at least partially available online. My library has a handful of German cartoonists and then Calvin &Hobbes and Garfield and that’s basically it when it comes to this short format.

Any ideas to widen my horizont with this is welcome!


DC hates this character for some backwards, anti-LGBTQ bullshit.

That is certainly not the cast anymore. DC have embraced LGBTQ now, with several characters being such.

@ Nelemania

Any ideas to widen my horizont with this is welcome!

You mean widen them in regard to panel and/or strip comics? Unfortunately, I’m not hugely knowledgable in those areas, but I know you can read all of King Features Syndicat’s comics online.

If you’d like a strip you’ve probably not seen before, albeit still white-male written, you could check out Footrot Flats, a brilliant New Zealand strip. Many of the strips can be read on the website.


I hope that’s true. It was a travesty at the time and a disgrace to not only the character but the team working so hard to make each issue works of pure art.


I wouldn’t have said so if it wasn’t? They’ve been doing stuff like this for a while now.

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Thank you, I saved the links and will look into them! Happy to explore something new!


If you enjoy the quick, light cadence of a daily comic strip but are looking for more diversity, I’d definitely check out the work of Sergio Aragonés. His “Louder Than Words” and “Actions Speak” collections will be reprinted by Dark Horse later this year. I also enjoy the work of Keith Knight: There are many affordable collections of his “‘K’ Chronicles” strips, which are autobiographical daily gags. The cartoonist Kazu Kibuishi has a single collection of his Copper strips you might also enjoy: Less laugh-out-loud funny, but very charming in the way that some of the gentler Calvin & Hobbes strips are.

If you like the artwork of Calvin & Hobbes (some of the best ever) but are open to different styles of storytelling, you might check out Walt Kelly’s Pogo strips (a big influence on Bill Watterson) or Jeff Smith’s Bone (also greatly inspired by Pogo).


You should definitely check out G. Willow Wilson’s recent run on Poison Ivy if you get a chance. She’s written as a polyamorous, bisexual eco-terrorist, and she’s the protagonist. It started as a miniseries but sold really well so it became an ongoing. Great Marcio Takara artwork, too.

(Slight representation tangent: Big shout out to Becky Cloonan’s recent 19-issue Batgirls run, a really fun story arc that represented Barbara Gordon’s disability way more accurately than usual.)


Bone is an absolute masterpiece of cartoon comics fiction!

I second the new Poison Ivy series. I love the eco-terrorist angle. And the art is so beautiful!


I’ve always been intrigued by the visual novel genre. Never into superheroes though, although I gave a go at Watchmen and enjoyed it a fair bit. I’m the least knowledgeable person in the world in the genre though, so I can’t talk about specific comic ones, but some of the ones that always struck me the most and always wanted to try were Maus (Spiegelman) and Palestine (Sacco). In non visual novel books (aka, books), I’m into science fiction, realism, and non-fiction. Does anyone have any recommendation, if I may ask?


Maus is a classic! I’m aware of Joe Sacco but I’ll admit his work is a blind spot for me… which is a real shame, since he’s an Oregonian who went to school in the district right next to mine!

In terms of science fiction, there are so many books I’d recommend that I guess I’ll just list a bunch:

  • Akira is wonderful. If you’ve only seen the film, the six-volume series has a much larger scope.
  • The Incal by Jodorowsky and Moebius inspired so many popular science fiction films. Moebius’ World of Edena is also terrific.
  • If you’re into a funky intersection of science fiction and rock and roll, Red Rocket 7 by Mike Allred is a real trip.
  • If you like really pulpy type science fiction, look up any Fantagraphics collection of EC Comics sci-fi that appeals to you visually. Ray Bradbury wrote several of those stories, and while they can be pretty cheesy, they’re arguably the Rosetta Stone of sci-fi comics (especially those illustrated by Wally Wood).

In terms of realism and non-fiction:

  • Guy Delisle is a great Canadian cartoonist, I really enjoyed his Pyongyang: A Journey in North Korea.
  • I haven’t read it yet, but Kate Beaton’s Ducks: Two Years in the Oil Sands is at the top of my wish list.
  • Jonathan Case’s Green River Killer and Derf Backderf’s My Friend Dahmer are very different but very good graphic novels about real serial killers.
  • Anything by Craig Thompson (Blankets is probably the biggest classic) is rooted in real-world themes, but be forewarned: These books wrecked me emotionally.

The fact that you mentioned El Incal is funny, I’ve had the deluxe edition in my hands so many times (mostly due to the fact that he’s Chilean, so not that uncommon to hear his name and see his work in exhibition) but never pulled the trigger about it.

Thanks a lot for the really thorough reply! I’ll go through the ones you mentioned with a more open mind.


Perhaps a silly question, but what counts as “realism”? I know what it means in artistic terms, so I guess it’s the same for literature; telling things “how they are” without any kind of grandiose stuff that could be considered far-fetched?


Kind of, yes. Realism is a broad genre where you could fit anything that wouldn’t sound odd if it happened in our world. Could be quite broad and if you’re lax on your scopes and definition, even something like a rom-com could be catalogued as realist. The difference with non-fiction is that non-fiction are things that actually happened (biographies, history-ish books, investigative journalist, I guess Palestine would fit in here as well).


Thank you very much, that’s a lot to look into! :hugs:


A Contract With God by Will Eisner would probably be up your street then. It’s an absolute classic and the man’s artistic skill is second to none!

Strangers in Paradise by Terry Moore is considered a modern classic. It’s basically a love story, but is a wonderful slice-of-life tale with some great humour and, again, amazing artwork.

Paying for It by Chester Brown is also quite good, very heartfelt.

Sorry I can’t be more help. I’m very much fan of fantastical fiction - often the more out there the better - so I haven’t read a heap of realism comics. Hope you enjoy these though if you check them out.


I’m a big fan of artists like Adrian Tomine and Jillian Tamaki. Both work in narrative realism (Jillian sometimes departs from that but the themes are grounded in realism).

Jillian Tamaki often works with her cousin Mariko, and a book I highly recommend from the both of the them is This One Summer. I’m also a huge fan of Jillian Tamaki’s Supermutant Magic Academy which has a somewhat fantastical setting but is still dealing with very human moments.

Tomine’s major work is Optic Nerve. Several of the stories within that series have been released as standalone volumes such as Shortcomings.


My question for comics aficionados- which comic reading services/apps you would recommend? My brother does the Marvel one (Unlimited I think it is called), but I don’t have a huge interest in Marvel.


I would have had more definitive answers for you 5 or 10 years ago! My favorite time to read is before bed, and after working with a migraine specialist I was able to determine that one of the causes of my headaches was looking at screens too close to bed, so I went entirely back to print.

Since then, my understanding is that Amazon has completely gutted the Comixology experience. Very curious if others have recommendations.