Many people don’t associate comics with dark themes, strong characters and compelling stories. I’m not one of those people. Comics are as important to me as movies or TV. As a child I learned to read through comics and as an adult I worked for Marvel Comics in a corporate capacity. If you avoid comics, you’re missing out.
Last week I wrote about the movies that inspire me, but my writing has been influenced by comics as much as any other medium. I don’t write stories about guys running around in leather and spandex, but a lot of my favorite comics don’t fit into the traditional superhero formula. If you like the following comics as much as I do, then you have a pretty good insight into the characters I create and the stories I write.
- 100 Bullets: A nationwide mafia style drama wrapped around one of the most inventive premises ever.
- Batman (Dark Knight Returns): Redefined an icon and started a multi-billion dollar comics to movie success story
- Daredevil (The Elektra Saga): Combined tragic romance with deranged killers and the desperate need for redemption
- Grendel (Devil by the Deed, Devil Child & Black White and Red): The story of a gifted child twisted into an assassin, a crime lord and ultimately an icon of evil
- Lone Wolf and Cub: a classic revenge manga that is sparse and beautiful in its brutality
- Master of Kung Fu (1984-1989): a reimagining of a pulp series complete with betrayal, intrigue and of course…kung fu.
- Queen and Country: A spy series that is part Jason Bourne, part George Smiley with a female lead that is more than a match for Bond
- Sin City: The quintessential noir comic of the modern era, dragged down by an uninspired movie adaptation
- Shi: A warrior priest fights with her own heritage and the yakuza in this modern interpretation of the Lone Wolf formula
- Wolverine (The First Graphic Novel): A Japanese noir story that put this famous character on the map (and might be the plot for the next Wolverine movie…)
So what comics do you read (or have read) that have the same flavor as these? I don’t read comics as much as I want to anymore, but I’m always looking for new inspiration.