Monday, May 7, 2018

Escape the Cape Part 1 - Adventure & Sci-Fi

This is the first article in a series about comics without superheroes.


Y - The Last Man - Written by Brian K. Vaughan
Whenever adults get into comics, Y The Last Man is usually one of their first discoveries, and I was no different.

While the premise might at first sound like something you've seen before (every man on the planet dies, except one) what makes this comic so brilliant is that the whole thing is also a road-movie of sorts.

We follow the last man on earth as he travels the globe and sees how the surviving women try to cope on their own. There's murderous cults, lesbian man-ladies, samurais, pirates, zombies and astronauts, all sprinkled with a hefty dose of humor.

The whole thing is 60 issues long, but believe me, the series is so wildly entertaining that you'll sprint to the finish line way too fast.







 Transmetropolitan - Written by Warren Ellis
If you're a fan of either cyberpunk or Hunter S. Thomson, then this series is for you. Set in a not too distant future, a renegade journalist with the catchy name Spider Jerusalem is on a quest to expose corruption, while slapping people around and doing a lot of drugs.

Oh, so many drugs.

It's a colorful and freaky tale with all sorts of fun prophesies made in the innocent 90s. Still the series has aged extremely well (except for a few bulky laptops) and is often on point when describing the politics and censorship-hysteria of today.












Sweet Tooth - Written and illustrated by Jeff Lemire 

To say that Sweet Tooth is sweet, would be an understatement. Affectionately called "Mad Max meets Bambi", it tells the cutesy story of a mutant boy-deer who tries to find his way in a sort of post-apocalyptic winter-world.

But even though both the characters and illustrations are equally adorable, the story does not shy away from blood and violence. The result is a comic that is brutally awesome, but also manages to yank on your heart strings.

When I first started reading this, the series had not yet finished, and it was agonizing having to wait for the ending to get published. Luckily you can now fly through all 40 issues in a week. And trust me, you will.









Niourk - Written by Olivier Vatine

This is a bit of a rare one, but I highly recommend you make the effort and seek it out, because the story is fantastic!

It's another post-apocalyptic story where we follow an innocent kid through a desolate landscape.

Try to imagine Mowgli traveling to Planet of the Apes, and you might have an idea of what awaits you. The artwork is also quite amazing at times, as seen in this whole page spread:











The Incal - Written by Alejandro Jodorowsky

Alejandro Jodorowsky is a filmmaker famed for his surrealistic movies, most notably the outrageous Holy Mountain. However, he's also written a whole myriad of comic books, of which The Incal series is arguably the most successful.

Part of that success comes from the artwork of the legendary Mæbius, who's illustrations are both simple and precise, as well as wild and imaginative.

The story is quite out there, and it continues across a whole set of spin-off series which tells the same tale from different viewpoints. I wouldn't say it's an easy read, as the weirdness sometimes gets a bit hard to follow. However, if you're searching for something that's the total opposite of your typical Hollywood fare, then look no further.







The Exterminators - Written by Simon Oliver

The Exterminators is much campier and light-hearted than the others I've written about here. However, it's also a sort of goofy satire, which I rather enjoyed. At least the first couple of books are quite on point, when we follow a couple of exterminators tasked with killing off a slew of cockroaches. And gradually we realize that maybe the cockroaches are not the pests.

The series got derailed somewhere along the way, resorting in faltering readers and a rushed ending that's not at all in line with the original tone. I wouldn't really recommend you read all 30 issues, but simply enjoy the first 10 or so, when it's still about exterminators and human cockroaches.









Trigrammaton - Written and illustrated by Kristian Hammerstad

The beginning of Trigrammaton is super-boring. There's a few people in a business meeting discussing old politics, and it's portrayed in a very bureaucratic fashion. It's like looking at a video of an ancient share-holders meeting, and you start to wonder what the heck it is you've gotten into.

Then, slowly but surely, things start to get weird. And weirder. And weirder.

Finally, you're time-travelling between dimensions filled with murderers, zombies and fucked up mutant babies. At the end of it all you'll wonder if someone slipped something into your drink.

As far as I know, the graphic novel has only been released in Norwegian, but here's hoping it will soon get translated so that the rest of the world can also go on this wild ride.






Gipsy - Written by Thierry Smolderen 

If ever you wished there was a sequel to the movie Big Trouble in Little China (1986) then look no further.

It follows a truck driver on his adventures through exotic countries, where he fights bad guys and has sex with beautiful women.

The stories are more raunchy and the characters more ambiguous than what you might be used to in American comics, which makes it all the more interesting. It also features wonderful brutality, creating a tremendously entertaining series akin to the great action films of the 80s.

(Yes, I know there is also an official comic book sequel to Big Trouble in Little China, but honestly... it's not very good.)








Missing your favorite non-superhero adventure comic? Please let me know in the comments.
And do come back to see more of my personal favorite non-superhero comics.

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