The Best Comic Books You Aren't Reading

You're damn well old enough to have earned the right to start reading picture books again.


Written by John Layman and drawn by Rob Guillory, Chew is one of the best comics Image (The Walking Dead) is currently publishing. The concept is way bizarro, but it makes for one of the best reads of the decade (never mind that it's only 2011). Chew is about FBI agent Tony Chu, a cibopath (I know, +10 made-up vocab), which means that he can gather psychic information by eating things, including people (they're usually dead). Frankly, he's the most lovable crime-fighting cannibal in picture books. Chew is currently in development at Showtime as a half-hour television series.
Sweet Tooth

There are plenty of books currently in publication that are simply too weirdly beautiful for popular tastes. Sweet Tooth is one such book, and it's a damn shame more people are mindlessly buying recognizable superhero rags instead of reading this. Sweet Tooth is written and drawn by dreamy Canadian Jeff Lemire, whom you might remember from the Essex County Trilogy and The Nobody. The sweet tooth in question is little Gus, an innocent, chocolate bar-loving fellow and one of the rare animal hybrid children born in a world ravaged by virus. Unfortunately, the rarity of these kids (and the belief that they might be the cure to the plague) makes them a hunted, endangered species. It's a heart-breaking, bizarro post-apocalypse that'll make you barf and cry at the same time.

The Unwritten

Lit freaks and Harry Potter fanatics, just read this already. The Unwritten focuses on Tom Taylor, inspiration for his father's Harry Potter-style, uber-popular fictional wizard, Tommy Taylor. Except the lines between who the adult Tom Taylor thought he was and the fictional Tommy Taylor start blurring, hard. Is Tom really Tommy Taylor, boy wizard? Or is his fame and his father's disappearance messing with his head? I won't tell you, so pick up the first three trades and start buying this book monthly.


When the amazing Mark Waid (Kingdom Come, The Flash, Superman: Birthright) left DC Comics to become Editor-in-Chief of BOOM! Studios, I thought I was going to throw up and die. Then he started putting out stuff like Irredeemable, which focuses on a Superman-type mega superhero who turns into the world's greatest supervillain, and I became thankful that he joined a house where he'd have the freedom to do that kind of storyline. Sorry, Superman is never going to turn evil for more than a few throwaway issues, and he'll never do really evil things. Amazon is currently selling Irredeemable, Volume 1 for a batshit insane $3.90--less than the cost of a single issue. Get that, then Volume 2 from them for a slightly less insane, but still crazy, $6. Today's my birthday, but I'm the one handing out all the presents today.


Echo has actually been around since 2008, but you might not have heard about it because he's self-publishing under his own Abstract Studio label. You know Terry Moore--or you should know Terry Moore--from the seminal Strangers in Paradise. If you haven't read that, drop everything and find the collected works somewhere, somehow. Echo is awesome, too, telling the story of a young woman named Julie who stumbles upon a kickass battle suit while taking photographs of the desert. It's currently on the second-to-last issue, so get to gettin'!

Locke & Key

If you want to know who the biggest powerhouse in comics is about to be, look no further than Joe Hill, son of none other than Stephen King. Yeah, you have reason to be skeptical, but that's probably why he doesn't use the same last name. Trust me, the guy can make a name for himself just fine. Locke & Key is a creepy, Lovecraft-ian book about three kids who relocate with their mother to their family estate after their father's murder. The kids begin finding keys stashed in odd places around the house, keys that don't open doors in the way you might think. A television series based on Locke & Key is currently in development at 20th Century Fox and Dreamworks. We hope it makes it past the pilot, but I can't say I feel great about Jesse McCartney (yes, that Jesse McCartney) playing male lead Ty Locke.

Alright, so Xombi is only in its first issue, but you need to be reading this, man! It's a new series tied to the original 90s Xombi series, which reportedly blew comic god Alan Moore's mind. It's being written by the same dude (John Rozum) and illustrated by Batman and Robin artist Frazer Irving. Xombi starts with the beginning of series protagonist David Kim's story and explains how he got his immortal nanotech powers, so don't worry if you missed the first run. The first issue introduces a few intriguing characters, including convent hardcore Nun of the Above. This is THE book to watch in 2011.


Somebody called Scalped the Rez version of HBO's The Wire, and I'm inclined to agree with that bitchin' assessment. Currently published by Vertigo, written by Jason Aaron, and illustrated by R.M. Guera, Scalped mixes organized crime with daily life on an Oglala Lakota Indian Reservation in South Dakota. The dirty sepia motif should give you some idea of the gritty stories you're in for. If and only if you are 18 years old and up (it says the eff!), go to the DC site to read the first issue in its entirety for free.
Morning Glories

Image rarely publishes bad stuff, do they? Morning Glories is a peek inside one of the fanciest prep schools in the country, where six teens are involved in a big crazy mystery. Check out a preview at CBR to find out why you need to be picking these up at your local comic book shop. At least do yourself a solid and get the 200-page Vol. 1 trade for a measly $9.99.


Who gives a shit about Superboy? The same people who give a shit about Batgirl and Superman's pet monkey, Beppo, I guess. But check this out: now that DC has the amazing Jeff Lemire (whose Sweet Tooth also shows up on this list), Superboy is suddenly one of the best titles they've got going. I cannot get enough of the Canuck's take on the boy of steel, and you won't be able to, either.


I know you want to mistake iZombie for a really shitty $0.99 iPhone game, but don't. This is a total class act, as evidenced by supercute superstar married artist couple Michael and Laura Allred. iZombie is written from the perspective of a female zombie (finally, we have reached the final feminist frontier), who is gainfully employed as a gravedigger in order to quench her brainlust. Along with her best gal pal (a ghost) and a were-pup buddy, Gwen forms a Scooby-Doo type murder-solving mystery crew. All that and it's actually well-written. No wonder it nabbed an Eisner nomination for best new series.