Netflix’s “Sweet Tooth” show showed how many different worlds comic books can open up to people who are willing to look beyond superheroes and see what else they can offer. A good-guy vs. bad-guy fight isn’t the only thing that can be found in the world of post-apocalyptic settings and stories. Here is a list of new ways the world could end, both big and small. There would be no superheroes to save the day.
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1. ‘Something Is Killing the Children Vol. 1’
Title: James Tynion IV and Werther Dell’Edera’s comic is a big hit, but the title only tells part of the story. Is it true that something is killing the children in the small town of Archer’s Peak? Yes, but what that something is and who is trying to stop it isn’t what you’d expect. This turns this horror story into something that feels like the next generation of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” or “Scream,” if only either one could actually be creepy.
2. Lazarus: One
Greg Rucka and Michael Lark’s dystopian series is based on the fears of a generation. In this future, corporations rule the world under the guise of “family,” creating something that’s part feudal rule and part industrialization on a huge scale. Each of the 16 ruling families on the planet has a Lazarus, a genetically modified soldier who works for them. “Game of Thrones” mixed with “Blade Runner,” “Occupy Wall Street,” and “Game of Thrones” is what you get when you mix this together.
3. ‘Fran of the Floods’
“Fran of the Floods” is a real oddity from the 1970s that was recently rediscovered and republished. It’s a grim story of environmental collapse from the pages of the “Jinty” comic in the UK. This is even worse for Fran, who was just 14 when Britain was flooded by a freak storm. She also loses family and friends. Then she meets new people as she travels to try and find out if her sister has survived the storms. People like Alan Davidson and Phil Gascoine are to blame for all the bad things that happened to the little girl. You, the reader, will love every minute of it. There is no way you can be this big.
4. ‘The Hard Tomorrow’
Graphic novel: Eleanor Davis’s book about Hannah, a home-health worker, is at the same time shocking and heartwarming. It tells the story of Hannah and her husband and best friend. To set it against the political turmoil in the United States over the last few years, it’s a book that asks hard questions and doesn’t settle for easy answers. It also has a lot of heart as you follow Hannah through her attempts at becoming pregnant in a time when it was hard to see the future. There are a lot of people who want to find out more about their father and son’s relationship in the show’s beginning. This is where to look.
5. ‘Lumberjanes Vol. 1: Beware the Kitten Holy’
In the first season of “Sweet Tooth,” maybe it was Gus’ can-do spirit that made you like him. Is that what you’re looking for? If so, then Boom! Studios’ “Lumberjanes,” which talks a lot about the value of friendship and bravery when things go wrong, should be on your list. This is the story of five teenagers at a “Hardcore Lady Types” summer camp where weird things happen all the time. Shannon Watters, Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis, and Brooke Allen made the movie. not much can break the friendship between the five. As you might have guessed, this story is both funny and bad ass.
6. ‘Die Vol. 1: Fantasy Heartbreaker’
If you’re a fan of role-playing games, you’re going to love this new twist on the genre from writer Kieron Gillen and artist Stephanie Hans. Imagine “Tron,” but with Dungeons & Dragons. Gillen and Hans are both smart enough to infect the whole thing with horror tropes to keep the reader (and the characters themselves) on their toes. The chances of being killed by people in your own party would make the game bad, right?
7. ‘Berlin,’ Jason Lutes
Berlin, by Lutes, hasn’t been published very often since 1996. It’s a long-in-the-works, multi-volume story of Weimar Berlin from 1928 to the start of the Nazi era. As of issue 18, it felt like it was taking forever to get to some kind of end. In the meantime, you can pick up one of the two collections that have been published so far. Then, this story of politics and problems seems worth the wait.
8. ‘Safe Area Gorazde,’ Joe Sacco
Joe Sacco is one of the best journalists in the world, and the fact that he has chosen to write about war-torn areas makes his work even more impressive. Sacco’s books about the Middle East are great, but this monumental 2000 book about the Bosnian War is a good place to start. It includes interviews with people who lived in (or were stuck in) the Gorazde, and Sacco’s time in the mid-90s Bosnia.
9. ‘Onward Toward Our Noble Deaths,’ Shigeru Mizuki
In 1973, Japanese cartoonist Shigeru Mizuki wrote a book about his time in the Japanese army during World War II. It was a war that cost Mizuki many of his friends and his left arm. In Onward, war is just like the vets say it is: crushing boredom mixed with terror. Death haunts these men at all times.
10. ‘100 Bullets,’ Brian Azarello and Eduardo Risso
It started out as a high-concept crime comic about revenge. A mysterious man gives you a gun, 100 bullets that can’t be traced, and proof about the people who have hurt you. There are some good stories in Azarello’s work, but Rizzo’s art is simply amazing, especially his work with shadow and chiaroscuro, which is very good. In Azarello’s world, he is the best artist.
11. ‘You’ll Never Know,’ C. Tyler
Lovely ink and carefully controlled watercolors are used in this great trilogy by author Carol Tyler to show how the war and the war’s effects on her family changed her family and her own life. Tyler is a great memoirist, and You’ll Never Know has a level of maturity that isn’t usually found in this type of book.