The perception that comic books are only for children’s entertainment is a thing of the past. According to CNBC, the global comic book industry makes billions of dollars each year in revenue. Just like movies or anime, it is just another medium of story-telling, and one that has captivated generations of youth and adults alike. While there are a fair bit of comic books dedicated to the underage reader, Kaisar Kabir shares his list of must-read, non-mainstream comic series meant for adults:
by Rick Remender & Wes Craig
Imagine a school like Hogwarts. But instead of magic, they teach kids the art of assassination..and that’s ‘Deadly Class’ for you. The teenage protagonist, Marcus Lopez, lost his parents, hates school, has bad grades and lives like a homeless bum. But then he incidentally joins the most ruthless high school where the biggest crime families of the world send their young ones to become trained assassins. It’s got gory deaths, foul language, sexy times, psycho characters and crazy level action! Need I say more? Published by Image comics, this dark world is drawn brilliantly by Wes Craig with a narrative by the acclaimed Rick Remender that will keep you on the edge at every issue. Too bad the TV show got cancelled!
Number of Issues: 43 (ongoing). Publisher: Image Comics.
by Daniel Warren Johnson & Mike
One fine day, the world is under attack by forces of evil and nightmarish creatures. Humanity is in chaos and the human race is powerless. Bullets, tanks, missiles – no weapon can even touch them, except one – the power of Rock ‘n Roll! Eight issues of sheer action, adventure, bad-assery & ‘shredding’, this comic book is no less than the last biggest blockbuster movie you enjoyed. But above all else, this one will show you that darkness inevitably engulfs us in life where you can feel helpless, but not be silent as the writer says.
Number of Issues: 8 (Complete). Publisher: Image Comics.
by Grant Morrison & Frank Quitely
Three pet animals – a dog, a cat and a rabbit – are missing from their respective homes. They all end up in a high-tech covert government lab where inhumane and invasive experiments and surgeries are done on them to turn them into million dollar killing machines. With high tech weapons implanted in them that are powerful enough to level an army , the three manage to escape the facility and their run for survival begins. We3 is not only an action-packed thrill ride, but it will also make you well up with tears as it subtly deals with the burning issue of animal cruelty. I still wonder how they managed to tell such a compelling story in just 3 issues! But then again, it’s Grant Morrison we are talking about here. Where my fellow animal lovers at?
Number of Issues: 3 (Complete). Publisher: Vertigo (DC Comics).
by Rick Remender & Tony Moore
One of my favorite genres is ‘space-western’ – a sci-fi subgenre with wild-west tropes fused in a futuristic set up. When done right, it can give us great stuff like the anime ‘Cowboy Bebop’, the video game franchise ‘StarCraft’, the cult-favorite TV show ‘Firefly’ and more. And in the world of comics, I give you ‘Fear Agent’. Meet our hero Heath Huston – a rugged old-fashioned alcoholic devil-may-care cowboy whose job is to exterminate pestilent aliens. He’s a loner with a devastative past whose only friend is the A.I. of his spaceship called Annie. But as you read through the issues, do brace yourself for deadly space adventures, lots of blood, battles among alien and human races, terrific time travel tales, hot chicks & sex, and…did I mention blood? Lots of blood? Just dive into this roller coaster ride…but only if you are 18+.
Number of Issues: 32 (Complete). Publisher: Dark Horse Comics.
by Warren Ellis and Darick Robertson
If you ask me what’s that one comic book that you should read before dying, I would instantly answer ‘Transmetropolitan’ – a dark comedy, cyberpunk ride in the 23rd century with our protagonist Spider Jerusalem, a legendary investigative reporter who lives and breathes cynicism. But be warned! This one’s utterly disturbing, often quite disgusting and definitely not for prudes. But it’s something that will shock you, make you emotional, give cramps out of laughter and just make you wonder how something unique like this exists! Under the disguise of genius and witty dark humour (Warren Ellis, ladies and gentlemen), the story tackles the ugly side of grave issues like presidential election, corruption, identity crisis, crime, the pains and cries of the underrepresented and unheard, and many more. But it’s all set up in the context of a futuristic 23rd century world. This one’s a burning proof of how brilliant adult story-telling can be done perfectly on the two dimensional pages of comic books.
Number of Issues: 60 (Complete). Publisher: Helix, Vertigo (DC Comics).
Kaisar hosts a radio show focusing on pop-culture. While doing research for his show, he “rediscovered this medium of story-telling where there is always something for anyone and everyone. No doubt I got sucked into it and have been an avid reader ever since.”