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If You Liked The Walking Dead, You Should Read These

With new episodes of Walking Dead off the air until next October, we're going to fill the void left with these amazing comics, that eschew the typical superhero stereotypes.

With the first season of The Walking Dead wrapping up this today, we're all looking for some gritty, real-world drama to fill the void left by the Rick Grimes' imminent departure from prime time. We've shared with you how to get more of The Walking Dead before Season 2 begins next October. Some of you may have already discovered those options. Luckily, there's a whole world of other gritty, real-world drama available in it's more traditional graphic novel/comic form. 

Here are some of our favorites--check them out:     
== TEASER ==

Y: The Last Man

Y is the story of young, carefree Yorick Brown--the last man on earth. There's a catch though, when every mammal with a Y chromosome mysteriously drops dead, the world's 3 billion women survived. This might sound like the ultimate male fantasy, but Yorick's journey to find his missing girlfriend (and simultaneously save humanity) is fraught with peril--as society collapses and a new world order emerges. The series is absolutely brilliant, filled with nuanced characters and awesome post-apocalyptic action. Oh, and Yorick has a pet monkey, Ampersand, so that's pretty cool too. As well as the original comics, Y: The Last Man is available as a series of 10 trade paperbacks today, and is currently being released in collectors deluxe editions.  


Preacher

Gritty really can't begin to describe Preacher, which tells the tale of a cursed southern Preacher, a hard living Irish vampire and the Preacher's gunslinging ex-girlfriend as they embark in an epic quest to find out exactly why god has forsaken the world. Along the way they find justice for the weak, uncover ancient conspiracies, and just generally fight evil. Not for the squeamish or easily offended, Preacher contains graphic violence, lots of blood and gore, and quite a few saucy bits. Preacher is available as nine trade paperbacks. Two hardcover versions have been released with more on the way.

Planetary

The story of the Archaologists of the Impossible, Planetary tells the tale of a mysterious team of superhumans who set out to uncover the world's secret history. Unlike more mainstream hidden conspiracy tales, writer Warren Ellis focused Planetary on the 20th century's mythology--giant monsters, Hong Kong ghost cops, and the hidden back stories of well-known figures from popular culture. As the compelling single-issue stories gradually unveil a larger meta-tale, Planetary delivers where series like the X-Files fell flat. Planetary is available in a series of four trade paperbacks, but if you can afford the scratch, the two Absolute editions really show off John Cassaday's amazing art.  


Transmetropolitan

What would you get if you took Hunter S. Thompson, pumped him full of drugs, and dumped him into a distant, anarchical-fascist future? Transmetropolitan. As the lone voice of sanity in a perverse dystopia, Spider Jerusalem tells a cautionary tale about the present dangers of censorship, consumerism, and power-hungry politicians filtered through a far-future lens. Although the series can lags in the middle, it's especially relevant in today's world of constant scandal and economic collapse. If you liked Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, you'll love Transmetropolitan, which is available in trade paperback, but sadly not in a swanky Absolute edition.


The Sandman

The Sandman tells the story of Dream of the Endless, the ruler of the land of dreams and a member of the Endless (along with Death, Despair, Destruction, Delirium, Desire, and Destiny). Written by Neil Gaiman, The Sandman has won numerous awards, and was described by Norman Mailer as "a comic book for intellectuals". The tale of Dream takes place in the waking world, the land of dreams, and also visits other mythological settings--weaving them all together into a parable about the necessity of change. Sandman is available in a series of ten trade paperbacks or four gorgeous Absolute editions. 
 

Criminal 

Criminal is not an ongoing series but rather a series of story arcs dealing with the crime and characters in Center City. Writer Ed Brubaker and artist Sean Phillips tell the stories that often center around the same bar. There are ties in the different arcs dealing with two generations of crime revolving around Tommy Patterson and Teeg Lawless and their offspring. The stories often focus on different crime cliches but are told in a compelling way that sucks you in. The writing and art go hand-in-hand in giving life to this fictional city. The five different story arcs have been collected in trades and a deluxe edition containing the first three is also available.
 

Fables

Fables tells the stories of all your favorite fairy tales but goes way beyond the "happily ever after." In fact, the opposite happened when the evil Adversary attacked all the lands of Fables and they were forced to flee into our world. Full of adult themes, sex, violence and nudity, this is goes way beyond the versions you heard as a child. With over one hundred issues, most of the series has been collected in fifteen trades as well as two deluxe editions. 
 
              

Sin City 

You've probably heard of the movie with the same name, Frank Miller first introduced us to this world of crime, sex and violence way back in 1991. The stories often deal with different characters set in the fictional Basin City, which has been given the nickname Sin City. The city has literally gone to hell and it's not a place you'd want to visit, except when reading the books. Sin City has been collected in seven different trades and news of a sequel to the movie continues to surface from time to time. 
 

    

Chew

Chew has been around for less than two years but each issue has left readers hungry for more. The premise deals with cibopath, Tony Chu. What's a cibopath? A cibopath is someone that gets psychic impressions off the food they eat. In other words, once Tony eats an object, he can tell you history of where it came from and how it was prepared. In Tony Chu's world, the government has outlawed poultry after the bird flu outbreak. Formerly a police officer, Chu now works for the FDA, one of the most powerful government agencies in the United States. Chu also can use his ability to determine how the dead were killed. You might ask how but you can figure it out if you think about it. With several of the early issues selling out, the first fifteen have been collected in three trades. 

    

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen

Alan Moore started out with the idea of a Justice League of Victorian England but has expanded on the idea to include different works of fiction into the same universe. Some of the members of the League include Allan Quatermain, The Invisible Man, Dr. Jekyll, Captain Nemo and others. The stories have been collected in four trades as well as two Absolute Editions.
 

These are just some of our favorite, non-traditional comics to help you wait out the next season of The Walking Dead TV show. Don't forget to check out our guide on how to get more of The Walking Dead posted the other day.  
 
For those that have read these books or others similar to them, why don't you share your recommendations as well? What must-read books did we leave off this list? 
 
This article was a collaboration between Will Smith of Tested.com and Tony "G-Man" Guerrero of ComicVine. 
57 Comments
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Edited by MoonstoneEvil

There are some really great titles here. I'm reading Fables at the moment which is excellent.

Posted by teewillis1981

Excellent list!!! I'm going to pick up the first volume of Criminal soon. I think I have everything else on this list read lol

Posted by eldestrisk

=)

Posted by comicbikerscott

i loved all these titles
Posted by Decept-O

Still need to catch up with Fables and Y The Last Man!   
 
Sandman is a must have for virtually anyone who's ever heard of Neil Gaiman.   

Sin City--oh heck to the yes!  Even if you don't care for Frank Miller this is definitely great work.  Always blows me away with the style and content.   
 
League of Extraordinary Gentlemen--really what else needs to be said about these?  Above and beyond what you'd expect!   
 
Nice recommendations. 
Posted by J1ml33

great list but where is Kick-Ass ....? its in both trade and Paperback ....

Mark Millar Crossover
Posted by Yumulu

 Great titles, I just don't get the link with most of them and the Walking Dead.

Posted by Nighthunter

tom sawyer is not in the books but in the movie
 
the least we talk about the movie the better ;)

Posted by aztek_the_lost

read all of those but Criminal and Sin City, might have to bump them up on my list of great-reads-to-get-to...along with Walking Dead of course :P

Moderator
Posted by Raul_The_Man

I will definitely be looking up some of these titles. I will be putting them on my amazon wish list for Christmas. Y and Planetary sound very interesting to me.  
I know it has been out only for three issues I would recomend checking out  
SCARLET.
Scarlet #2
        
Edited by aztek_the_lost

@Article Writer: Preacher is in nine trade paperbacks and they are collecting it in hardcover with Book 3 coming out this month 
 
also Tom Sawyer is only in the film version of LoXG

Moderator
Posted by Sexy Merc

Read the first 5. Never had any particular interest in the others except Fables. Might check that out sometime.

Edited by aztek_the_lost
@Sexy Merc said:

" Read the first 5. Never had any particular interest in the others except Fables. Might check that out sometime. "

the first two volumes of League of Extraordinary Gentlemen are actually pretty good, the fourth I have yet to read because it's a Part 1 of 3 and I have no certainty 2 and 3 will ever come out...Chew is enjoyable as well although I wouldn't personally put it on the same list with these other comics...a) because it's only one quarter done and b) it's just not the same caliber, it's enjoyable but not an "intellectuals" comic IMO 
 
also Fables is epic...some would say the beginning is weak and indeed it's not nearly as awesome as the current stuff but when you take all of it into account, the growth the series has gone through makes it even better
Moderator
Posted by aztek_the_lost
@Yumulu said:
"  Great titles, I just don't get the link with most of them and the Walking Dead. "
I haven't read Walking Dead yet but I've been meaning to read it quite a while before the show even existed but are you saying you don't think it's the same caliber as these other comics?
Moderator
Posted by JPJordan

Love Sandman and Fables.  glad to see them on this list.  Y the Last Man was great but I was really disappointed by the end. 
Posted by danhimself
@aztek the lost said:
" @Yumulu said:
"  Great titles, I just don't get the link with most of them and the Walking Dead. "
I haven't read Walking Dead yet but I've been meaning to read it quite a while before the show even existed but are you saying you don't think it's the same caliber as these other comics? "
I think he's saying that he doesn't understand the connection for this article
 
this is a "if you like this then you might like this other thing to" situation Yumulu...they're just recommendations
Edited by longbowhunter

I've never read Planetary or Transmetropolitan. Warren Ellis is kinda hit or miss with me. Y: The Last Man and Preacher are two of my all time favorite comic series though. Still working my way through Criminal, Sandman and Fables. All great reads. Also highly recommend Ex Machina, The Sword and Powers.
Posted by aztek_the_lost
@jpjordan said:
" Love Sandman and Fables.  glad to see them on this list.  Y the Last Man was great but I was really disappointed by the end.  "
I thought the ending was the most powerful part... 
 
@danhimself said:
" @aztek the lost said:
" @Yumulu said:
"  Great titles, I just don't get the link with most of them and the Walking Dead. "
I haven't read Walking Dead yet but I've been meaning to read it quite a while before the show even existed but are you saying you don't think it's the same caliber as these other comics? "
I think he's saying that he doesn't understand the connection for this article  this is a "if you like this then you might like this other thing to" situation Yumulu...they're just recommendations "
YOU! you're the reason I want to read Walking Dead, if it wasn't for you, I could ignore this hype entirely shakes fist 
 
and yeah, if we're talking like that, then I think of this as like a "if you're reading comics that aren't about superheroes, guess what, there's a lot more of them." also...you and IE are the two Walking Dead fans I know and you guys also love several of these titles at least -although IE doesn't like Fables- so at least for some people a connection can be made
Moderator
Posted by danhimself
@aztek the lost:  it's only fair...it's because of you that I'm reading Hellblazer now....I really like Fables but it reads so much better as a trade than it does as individual issues...Y: The Last Man is probably one of the greatest series of all time...I may be one of the few but I tried reading LoXG but I just couldn't get into it...I do want to read Planetary, Transmetropolitan, and Sandman but I haven't gotten around to it yet
Posted by Korg

I haven't read Criminal, but the rest are all excellent, with the exception of Sin City, which has good chapters and lousy ones. It gets old after a while. 
 
@aztek the lost: I'm surprised you didn't plug Lucifer. Come on man, you've got a reputation to uphold here.

Posted by LiquidSwords
Read a lot of these titles and really need to pick up Y: The Last Man
 
@J1ml33 said:
" great list but where is Kick-Ass ....? its in both trade and Paperback ....

Mark Millar Crossover
"
These are their picks, not yours.
Posted by aztek_the_lost
@danhimself: okay, you're right, it's fair, I only have to read a third of what you have to :P 
 
the reason I'm nervous about this is the last time ComicVine really hyped a comic, I was disappointed, I was more excited when it was just you telling me to read it instead of people over on my Screened podcast who don't even read comics 
 
but yes, Fables is definitely a trade read...amazing ride so far and BKV is just a flawless writer
 
LoXG: Black Dossier just left me rolling my eyes but I thought the first two were good, some parts were great even but yeah, I can understand you not getting into it 
 
and if you plan on reading them, that's all I ask as I understand the concept of having an already full plate of comics...you read all the current titles and I read all the back-issues and then we recommend them to each other...isn't that the way it works? :P Transmet I'd just wait until they finish these new editions, Vol. 9 comes out in spring and Vol. 10 I have no idea...Sandman I'd wait until they finish these Absoloute-Recolored trades, Vol. 4 comes out early next year, not sure about the schedule after that (unless you just want the Absolute Editions in which case you could buy them)...Planetary you could get already
Moderator
Posted by nick_verissimo
@Raul_The_Man said:
"
I will definitely be looking up some of these titles. I will be putting them on my amazon wish list for Christmas. Y and Planetary sound very interesting to me.  
I know it has been out only for three issues I would recomend checking out  
SCARLET.
Scarlet #2
         "
I went to a panel with Alex Maleev, who illustrates and Co-Created the concept, and he made that series sound extremely interesting.  Good to know it's turned out alright, I'm going to pick up the issues once I'm finally on Christmas break.
Posted by danhimself
@aztek the lost:  there was a time a while ago where I couldn't find a single person to talk about Walking Dead with...IE was the only other person that I knew was reading but while I'm reading the monthly issues he's reading the trades so I still couldn't talk to him about it....now it seems like it's everyone's favorite book....it's kind of like when you like a band before they get popular..except I'm really happy that so many people are reading it now and that it's become extremely popular...it just means there's less chance of it get canceled
 
dude I'm reading all of the current titles and a bunch of back issues lol...you need to get a bigger plate d@mn it....my only problem is that I can only read one series as back issues at a time..there's no way I could read more than 1 with all the other stuff I'm reading already...I'm already beginning to get confused sometimes with new issues and sometimes I even have to go back and reread the last issue...it's getting crazy lol
Posted by Yumulu
@danhimself said:

" @aztek the lost said:

" @Yumulu said:

"  Great titles, I just don't get the link with most of them and the Walking Dead. "
I haven't read Walking Dead yet but I've been meaning to read it quite a while before the show even existed but are you saying you don't think it's the same caliber as these other comics? "
I think he's saying that he doesn't understand the connection for this article  this is a "if you like this then you might like this other thing to" situation Yumulu...they're just recommendations "
Yeah i got that, but it feel like they are saying :  " If you like Walking Dead you might like most of the major hit series directed to mature reader from the last two decade, here are some examples. " 
Posted by aztek_the_lost
@Korg said:
" @aztek the lost: I'm surprised you didn't plug Lucifer. Come on man, you've got a reputation to uphold here. "
I'd love to add Lucifer into the article -I don't think anyone in the CV staff has ever read it- but plugging it in the comments doesn't work because the only people who care about my opinion already know I love Lucifer...which is my favorite series of all time!!!!!!!!
 

Lucifer

 
Lucifer is a spin-off of the aforementioned The Sandman, although reading the latter first will reveal some hidden gems for you, it is not necessarily essential as I actually read Lucifer first myself and still fell in love with the book. As The Sandman was once DC's greatest title hitting shelves every month they tried to preserve it's legacy long after it's death through Vertigo with such things as Essential Vertigo: The Sandman, The Dreaming and The Sandman Presents line. Lucifer began as a three-issue Sandman Presents mini but spun-off into its own ongoing which like it's predecessor lasted for seventy-five issues and unlike it's competitors in the "Sandman follow-up", it gained its own acclaim and proved to be its own success. The story follows Lucifer Morningstar, who abandoned his position as Lord of Hell in the pages of The Sandman and in this series is now setting into motion his own plans with no concern over how it affects the rest of the universe. It's a great story about a son's defiance to an omniscient father, the fate of the prideful (Divine Comedy), one of the most beautiful romances I've ever read about (Lucifer/Mazikeen) and the growth of a young girl who's got the entire universe on her shoulders. Really, the story is amazing, Mike Carey is an amazing writer and Peter Gross an amazing artist and their collaborations have never failed yet (as their current work The Unwritten proves). The series is collected in eleven great trades!!!!!! READ IT!
Moderator
Posted by aztek_the_lost
@danhimself: goddammit! I've read over 1000 comics this year, what more do you want from me?! actually you've probably read way more then that...but...okay, my problem is that I've spent the past few months in a process of change having moved out, got a new job, etc. 
 
I hope to be more stable by January and then we'll see how big my plate gets 
 
but yeah, you and IE are the only reason I trust that Walking Dead is actually good but I still try to ignore the hype so it doesn't get me too hyped and lead to disappointment
Moderator
Posted by G-Man
@Yumulu: Just keep in mind that there are millions of people that have been watching Walking Dead and have never read a comic. We've been new visitors to the site because of the show. They may not be aware of some of these books. That's the purpose of the post. Also you can see from some of the comments that not everyone has been reading all these books.
Staff
Posted by aztek_the_lost
@G-Man: don't know if you can edit the article, but:  

@aztek the lost said: 

" @Article Writer: Preacher is in nine trade paperbacks and they are collecting it in hardcover with Book 3 coming out this month  also Tom Sawyer is only in the film version of LoXG "

the article says seven trades and no other format for Preacher and lists Tom Sawyer as one of the character's in the comic
Moderator
Posted by Catastrophic

Talking about gritty comics but leaving out Garth Ennis's run on Punisher MAX??? Shame on you!!

Posted by aztek_the_lost
@Korg: the last Frank Miller thing I tried to read was Ronin...ugh...maybe it's just a weak first issue, I'll try to finish it but that was not the greatness I expected...as long as Sin City is better than that, I'll be happy...I don't have huge expectations for that series
Moderator
Posted by aztek_the_lost
@Catastrophic said:
" Talking about gritty comics but leaving out Garth Ennis's run on Punisher MAX??? Shame on you!! "
everything Ennis does is gritty, Preacher was just his big hit, admittedly they put two Ellis comics on the list but I don't think a list of the greatest should include too much of the same writer's because most of the writers of the listed comics have written other comics of equal greatness so if you like the one listed, you should eventually seek out the others
Moderator
Posted by willsmith
@aztek the lost: That's it. Basically, we wanted to put recommend our favorite adult comics that aren't about superheroes. I think Tony is putting together some recommendations about supers soon.
Staff
Posted by aztek_the_lost
@willsmith: GO ME! I got a staff member to make their first post! and thanks for the clarification, I'll be interested to see this other list as I spend a lot more time reading non-superhero comics
Moderator
Posted by D34dM4n

great list. i am currently reading Fables and Chew, i have read Y: The Last Man, currently reading Sin City and have read a couple of issues of Sandman and League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and i have really enjoyed them all.

Posted by flamingBurrito

I absolutely heart Chew. Everyone should go pick up the trades or better yet, pick up the Omnivore edition which collects the first 10 issues.

Posted by JonesDeini

This is a great list of titles, I'd have to 100% co-sign all the stuff you've name checked here. I have the first 3 Deluxe Y The Last Man trades, nearly all of Sandman (missing the side stories, great as they are) in trades, and Preacher is one of the greatest works of literature I've read...period. I need to get the rest of Fables/Transmetropolitian. Another series I'd suggest is Mike Carey's Unwritten. Which is an amazing, amazing, amazing title. 

Posted by Eyz

I love Y: The Last Man, one of my all time favs!
 
Lemme give some suggestion too.
If you wanna check out comics but are not interested in the main genre, superheroes:
 

 
Ex Machina!
 
Another of my favorite comics.
Politics, mystery drama, intrigues and a more realistic grounded superhero!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Exterminators!
 
If you never tought a subject like bugs could provide a complexe storyline, try this one!
Part Ghostbusters, part Lost and lots of insects in it.
Very fun survival/scifi-ysh story.
 
 
 

 
 

DMZ.
 
There may not be zombies in this very human story, but it's pretty close to Walking Dead's desolation, terror and story of human conflicts. NYC becomes a real "DMZ" a No man's land, apart from the rest of the USA.
Fantastic story, great characters.
Posted by NightFang
@comicbikerscott said:
" i loved all these titles "
And the all should be on TV!
Posted by Baron_Emo

I'm going to put all of these on my Christmas List. 
 
Great article, you guys.

Posted by TheMinister707

Alan Moore's "Top Ten" all the way!

Posted by Kid_Zombie

LOVE THE LIST!!
 
I read most of these, personal favorites being Y the last man, Chew, Fables and Criminal.
 
I haven't started reading planitary yet, but I am interested but my friend told me they never finished the book, so there's no ending. is the true?

Edited by CaptHowdy

 ARGH!  Now I am gonna have to spend TONS more cash!
 
Ya.  The Walking Dead... I've been a fan for years and he show is alright too now that it is out.  I started reading Y and liked it too.... I have to get around to finishing that series.
 
All the rest tho are now on my wish list.  Yes, Az.. even Lucifer.
 
My Addition would be Fall of Cthulhu... awesome read.

Posted by Bruce Vain

Sin City all the way.
Edited by BKole

It's interesting, because actually, I have read all of those titles, and enjoyed them all immensely save one. Everyone harps on about Gaiman being brilliant and stuff, but, I didn't enjoy it. I found very little connection to the characters, or the events or anything else. It's one of the few comics I don't recommend to people - Same with his Prose work, it leaves me cold. Dunno why. I know a lot of people rate him, and fair play he's done well, and a lot of people like him - Just not for me Much rather read Shade the Changing Man.

Posted by MrLetsPlay

I love Chew only read the first one at the moment but loved it

Edited by Dr. Maxwell

All of these comics are extremely good reads, but i wouldn't link any of them with The Walking Dead
 
" What would you get if you took Hunter S. Thompson, pumped him full of drugs, and dumped him into a distant, anarchical-fascist future?"
 
Should read: What would you get if you took Hunter S. Thompson and dumped him into a distant, anarchical-fascist future? 
 
hehehe

Posted by Silkcuts
@TheMinister707 said:
" Alan Moore's "Top Ten" all the way! "
Top Ten is so underrated!
I loved the series and Smax.
Posted by GraphicCasualFreak

Not to be a wet blanket here, but even though these are great titles. It doesn't really take a love of the Walking Dead to like these books.  There is very little correlation between Walking Dead and any of these. Not even any Zombies. Lol!

Posted by skaarason

the only book on this list should be Robert kirkman's  invincible !!!!!!! 
 
THE BEST SUPERHERO COMIC BOOK IN THE UNIVERSE 

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