Last time around I named a handful of superhero-less comic works that wholeheartedly deserve your time and attention. This second part is no different, and features some titles that you may find yourself familiar with...or maybe you won't. Either way though, these works deserve to be checked out.
Thank me later...
Writer/Artist: Art Spiegelman
The Pulitzer Prize winning work from cartoonist Art Spiegelman details his struggles coming to grips with his holocaust survivor father's account of his time surviving Nazi-run Poland and the horrors of Auschwitz. Metaphorically illustrating himself and other Jews as mice and Germans as cats, "Maus" is a powerful tale that deserves to be read and cherished for generations to come. Originally published in two seperate parts, the complete story has since been collected in a handsome hardcover format. "Maus" is the definition of what the graphic/comic narrative is capable of being as it conveys to the reader such raw emotion that would be only be lost were it a more traditional, prose-driven book.
V FOR VENDETTA
Writer: Alan Moore
Artist: David Lloyd
Forget the lame Wachowski brothers-produced flick from a few years back. Alan Moore's "V For Vendetta" is an epic study of a totalitarian world. A person known only as V who wears a Guy Fawkes mask uses a young girl named Evie to strike back at the dictatorship who for all intents and purposes made him what he is. But is V a freedom-fighting hero, or is he simply little more than a terrorist? One thing about the movie that royally ticked me off was that is completely missed the aspects of moral ambiguity that populates Moore's work here, made all the more vivid by the brilliant washed-out art of David Lloyd. This is truly epic storytelling, and once you open this graphic novel up and start reading, you'll forget all about the movie adaptation.
Writer: Grant Morrison
Artist: Chris Weston & Gary Erskine
Greg Feely is a middle-aged man in a rundown city whose life is little more than caring for his ailing cat Tony and masturbating to porn. However, unbeknownst to Greg, is the fact that he is really Ned Slade, special negotiator for The Hand: a secret organization whose job is maintaining the social status quo by eliminating unhealthy variations of all sorts and kinds. Whether this ranges from pornstar Anders Klimakks, whose black-colored semen is being processed to fertilize women to death, to mysterious pocket worlds that threaten to overtake our very own, "The Filth" is definitely something that you won't soon forget. Not always the most comprehensible, and definitely not for everyone, "The Filth" is a total nightmare that should not be ignored.
Writer: Mark Millar
Artist J.G. Jones
I may be cheating myself here a little bit by claiming this list isn't including any superhero elements, but I just have to include this. Remember that "Wanted" movie from a while back with Morgan Freeman and Angelina Jolie? Well, the comic that it was adapted from is absolutely nothing like that piece of dogshit. Wesley Gibson is a down on his luck guy with a cheating girlfriend and a dead-end job. Then one day, Wesley learns he is the son of The Killer: the greatest supervillain who ever lived. That's right folks, superheroes and supervillains were real once, until the villains won and wiped any memory of superheroes away from history and reduced them to appearing in comic books. The villains rule, and with the recent demise of his father, Wesley learns his dying wish was to make his only son not be a pussy anymore and be made more like him. As Wesley joins the Fraternity, he soon comes to learn that he has the freedom to kill, maim, rape, and destroy whoever and whatever he wants to. But an uprising by the insane Mr. Rictus threatens to ruin Wesley's good time, and soon enough, he and his partner Fox are fighting for their survival. Unapologetic, sickeningly nihlistic, and loaded with dark humor, "Wanted" is simply a blast to read, and something that you'll have a hard time getting our of your head afterwards.
More to come...