Where do we start with comics? In virtually every big town and city there is at least one store devoted to comic books. They line the shelves en masse, and there are literally thousands of titles available if you’re counting back issues and graphic novels. It is easy when trying to find something to stick to what we know– to go after a DC or Marvel book that has been or will be turned into a show or movie. But what is there after that?
If you really do your homework, you’ll maybe pick up Eisner or Harvey Award-winning books (the two most prestigious comic book awards). We recommend that you do! Great idea! If you’re looking for something a little more off-the-beaten-path, however, and you’re afraid to ask your local comic shop workers (don’t worry, they’re not all like Comic Book Guy from The Simpsons) then we are happy to help with a few suggestions. Outside of one book (which won for Best Colorist), none of these titles won a Harvey or an Eisner. All the books are relatively recent (last 20 years) or are still current, and all of them should be easily available physically or digitally.
15. Moon Knight (Warren Ellis run)
Yes, the writers of Screen Rant definitely have a soft spot for the Fist of Khonshu. There is, however, good reason for that. Moon Knight is a fascinating case of a character who has transcended his origins to become more fascinating, arguably, than his influences. It is widely seen that Moon Knight is a derivative version of DC’s Batman. Unlike Batman, Moon Knight grapples with mental illness and split personalities (or does he?). And unlike Batman, Moon Knight operates as the avatar of the Egyptian god of the moon and travellers.
Perhaps no superhero was better suited for a revival at the hands of Warren Ellis (most famous for his gonzo journalist sci-fi dystopia comic Transmetropolitan). With the help of stark and gorgeous art from Declan Shalvey, Ellis explores multiple facets of the hero and his personas in his six-issue run. There are supernatural issues, there are gritty street-level issues, and we are treated to probably the greatest nearly-wordless comic of all-time. Issue 5 sees Mr. Knight (the dapper MK persona that wears the best costume in comics) rescue a kidnapped girl from an abandoned hotel where she’s held hostage by mobsters (think a comic version of The Raid).
If you want super-heroes but have done The Avengers or Justice League to death, Moon Knight is a great direction to go in. It should also be noted that Jeff Lemire’s current Moon Knight book is also pretty freaking great (and involves pyramids in New York City and space werewolves).
14. Rat Queens
Rat Queens is a book currently on hiatus (until the new issue/arc comes out in March 2017) because it has been embroiled in seemingly unending controversy. The original artist accompanying creator/writer Kurtis Wiebe, was involved in a domestic abuse issue – and that’s just the start of it.
What gets lost in all the admittedly serious issues of crime and abuse and personality is that Rat Queens is a seriously kickass book. The book is a fantasy title (with elves and swords and magic and whatnot), but with stunningly modern sensibilities. The titular group are an all-woman band of mercenary adventurers: the leader is a rockabilly necromancer named Hannah, Dee is a cleric whose former religion worships an evil Elder One squid-god, Violet is a dwarven warrior, and Betty is a halfling thief with a penchant for being adorable and off her mind on drugs. This is fantasy as you’ve never seen it, and there are some amazing original ideas inside the framework of the traditional setting. The characters have an undeniable chemistry with one another and the writing is stellar. The book is simultaneously funny, heartfelt, and adrenaline-pumping.