We could all use an escape from the onslaught of bad news, so why not make a beeline into the fantastic world of comic books? Here’s 10 indie offerings — none of that pesky DC or Marvel canon to bother with — to leave your days feeling slightly more magical. Happy reading!
Casanova (Image Comics)
Written by Matt Fraction and Drawn by Gabriel Ba and Fabio Moon
What do you get when you combine the James Bond franchise, Wes Anderson films, French dance music, and a High Fidelity-inspired obsession with pop culture? Oh, and just a tiny splash of Transmetropolitan for good measure? The most swinging, cerebral spy series ever.
Read If You Like: The Man from U.N.C.L.E. and Serge Gainsbourg
Dept. H (Dark Horse Comics)
Written and Drawn by Matt Kindt
A comic book about an underwater exploration mission is already a compelling enough tale packed with adventure and heroism. Then throw in a murder mystery and ample human drama, and the pressure to read this curious little series becomes greater than any seafloor sojourn.
Read If You Like: The Abyss and Sherlock Holmes
Godshaper (BOOM! Studios)
Written by Simon Spurrier and Drawn by Jonas Goonface
In this limited series, everyone has their personal deity, but one man who can shape other gods is paired with a humanless spirit. It’s a classic road trip story that poignantly muses on friendship, religion and spirituality, and our ceaseless pursuit of meaning.
Read If You Like: Trading Places and Wesley Willis
Written by Tini Howard and Drawn by Nick Robles
There is an afterlife, and you can explore it as if you were diving inside the wreckage of the RMS Lusitania. The series is a thoughtful meditation on life and the larger value of death.
Read If You Like: Flatliners and Six Feet Under
One Trick Rip-Off (Image Comics)
Written and Drawn by Paul Pope
The story’s not exactly original — a futuristic version of Bonnie and Clyde meets Romeo and Juliet. It’s the art of Paul Pope, however, that makes this book worthwhile, like the sleek and sexy love child of erotica and mainstream comics. No need to read this one in secret, though.
Read If You Like: Natural Born Killers and Blade Runner 2049
Multiple Authors and Artists
The whole modus operandi of Now is to invite writers and artists to create the wackiest and weirdest comics possible. Every issue feels like attending an art show in the middle of a rave (after downing too much cough syrup). Luckily, this crash-course into the obscure is always a hoot.
Read If You Like: MAD Magazine and peyote
Written by Jonathan Lang and Drawn by Andrea Mutti
This tale of a gangster’s last big score might feel a touch derivative on the surface. But that simplicity is how it hooks readers. With its historical roots (Meyer Lansky ran with Lucky Luciano), poignant interracial friendship, and exploration of Jewish identity, this book will steal your heart.
Read If You Like: Breaking Bad and Stir Crazy
East of West (Image Comics)
Written by Jonathan Hickman and Drawn by Nick Dragotta
This is more than a story of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse and dystopian geopolitics. It’s the love child of westerns, sci-fi, and Game of Thrones, a compelling commentary on what divides us (and what we all share in eternally). Plus, our apocalypse isn’t looking nearly as bleak.
Read If You Like: Westworld and Brazil
Girls (Image Comics)
Written by Joshua Luna and Drawn by Jonathan Luna
Girls is what happens when little green men are replaced by naked, fully mute women. This 2005 series explored toxic masculinity before we ever had the vocabulary, delving into male rage and entitlement with endless grit. It’s a book that shows us who the fiends were all along.
Read If You Like: The Leftovers and The Thing
In The Flood (Piper Snow Productions)
Written and Drawn by Ray Fawkes
Sometimes disasters can help people heal. Case in point: A couple are separated by “apocalyptic rainfall,” and their journey back together becomes a gripping metaphor for love, loss, and finding hope in others. In the Flood is a torrent of emotion and gripping visuals like few other comics.
Read If You Like: Marriage Story and Lost