I have loved comic books since I was in the fourth grade, but even though I have been an avid fan all my adult life who gets paid to write about comics, I still am constantly finding out about cool stuff that I’ve missed. This is because more comics than you could ever read come out every week and they typically cost $3 or $4 a pop. So in order to help along those of you who do not have the good fortune to write your comic book purchases off as a tax deduction, I’ve put together some awesome sci-fi and fantasy comics for film geeks. In an effort to show off some books you’ve hopefully never heard off, I’m not including caped crusaders.
If You Like The Matrix, Read Dream Sequence by Carla Speed McNeil
Dream Sequence is a Sci-Fi story set in the Finder universe about a wildly popular virtual reality called Elsewhere that is superior to other virtual realities because it is created directly from Magri White’s brain. Unfortunately, people are being discovered mutilated, leading Magri White to doubt his sanity.
Carla Speed McNeil is an Eisner award winning independent web cartoonist who is now getting more recognition from the Wednesday comic crowd and Barnes and Noble graphic novel buyers thanks to a distribution deal with Dark Horse. You can buy Dream Sequence as a stand alone book, but I highly recommend Finder Library: Volume 1 and Finder Library: Volume 2 (which contains Dream Sequence) and will save you some cash.
If You Liked Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Read Duncan the Wonder Dog by Adam Hines
Duncan the Wonder Dog was a big book with a small independent pressing that surprised everyone by ending up on a lot of best graphic novels of the year lists in 2010. The basic question underlying the book is what if animals could talk but we treated them exactly the same way we do now. The result is surprisingly nuanced and unsettling. Every page of Duncan the Wonder Dog is a work of art so if you don’t like the book you can always cut it up and hang it on your wall.
I should throw out a warning with this recommendation. Duncan the Wonder Dog is amazingly dense and layered with shifting perspectives and an ambiguous moral center. But if you like stories that raise ethical questions about humanity’s odd relationship with the animals we share this planet with, I doubt you can get a smarter, more beautiful book.
If You Like Harry Potter, Read Unwritten by Mike Carey and Peter Gross
Unwritten is the perfect comic for book lovers. The story centers around Tom Taylor, a cynical twentysomething whose father wrote an insanely popular YA book series about a boy wizard named Tommy Taylor, which is understood to be a stand in for Harry Potter. Tom’s father disappeared years ago and Tom is living a lazy life, profiting off of his famous name until he is kidnapped by a man who might just be the villain of his father’s books. Tom is then forced to navigate an increasingly dangerous world where the fiction books we love to read might just be real.
If you have any doubts about diving into this series, read issue #5 (the last story in Unwritten Volume 1). I guarantee after reading this self contained story about Rudyard Kipling (of The Jungle Book fame) you will not want to put Unwritten down. Plus, issue #17 (volume 3) is an awesome choose your own adventure story. What more could you want?