August 23rd, 2010 / 10:06 am
Random & Snippets

What are some awesome Must Read more experimental or weirdo graphic novels? I enjoy, like, Monologues for Calculating the Density of Black Holes but I feel severely out of touch.

108 Comments

  1. A.C. Ford

      Transmetropolitan has been great.

  2. ZZZZIPP

      WELL THERE IS BODYWORLD WHICH IS MORE WEIRDO THAN EXPERIMENTAL. USED TO BE FREE ONLINE BUT NOT ANYMORE

  3. ZZZZIPP

      CLOWES’S LIKE A VELVET GLOVE CAST IN IRON?

  4. davidpeak

      grant morrison’s the invisibles is really good, not so much for the art, but for the sheer scope of its weirdness maybe.

  5. Pete Michael Smith

      The Invention of Hugo Cabret, by Brian Selznick is so beautiful and interesting. I am not so well versed in graphic novels to know if it qualifies as experimental, but, it employs a great deal of text in straight prose, mixed with lovely full-page panels and the occasional movie still. The book as an object is rather beautiful, too.

  6. chris

      If you’re looking for something not so much weird but profoundly fucked check out Crossed. Garth Ennis’s take on the zombie apocalypse. Instead of conventional zombies it’s people who have turned completely psychotic and find joy in horrifically brutal ways. It will change the way you see people.

  7. Jeff
  8. Paulo Campos

      The Italian horror/Sherlock Holmes series Dylan Dog isn’t as experimental as it is Continental. We don’t see too many non-British comics in the US. Worth a look.

  9. D.B.A.

      “The Frank Book” by Jim Woodring is blown-out weird.

  10. Salvatore Pane

      We3
      American Splendor
      Safe Area Gorazde
      Jimmy Corrigan
      Scott Pilgrim
      Wilson
      The Unwritten
      Sweet Tooth
      Morning Glories
      RASL
      Asterios Polyp
      Yossel
      Persepolis

  11. eric

      I love that quote from Chippendale in the Maggots preview; “It has loosely to do… I haven’t read that thing in three or four years because Tom fucking Devlin ran off with it! And I don’t even have a copy; I don’t even have photocopies of it. I had a bunch, but I left them all at Fort Thunder, and now they’re gone. I think the main character is this guy named Hot Potato. It’s something to do with… What is that thing about? It’s just little subplots. There’s a character of power who people are seeking. In other words I don’t remember what the hell it is about. They eat peanut-butter people; they run around a lot; there is a bad guy who is a capitalist; it’s like life: a lot of little tiny stories and finally something erupts that actually changes things.”

  12. waxlion

      These are good but might a little too confusing/experimental for an inexperienced comics reader:

      Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen
      Superman’s Girlfriend Lois Lane
      Betty and Veronica
      Spawn
      anything by Rob Liefield

  13. Mike Meginnis

      Yes, Bodyworld is really good. He’s also making a movie that I think is going to be spectacular and I’m fairly sure you’ll like both.

      Would be shocked if you weren’t into Charles Burns’ Black Hole, and also you would probably be into Hans Rickheit’s The Squirrel Machine. He’s also slowly posting a book online at http://www.ectopiary.com/

  14. ZZZZIPP

      JIM WOODRING GIVES ZZZZZIPP AWAKE NIGHTMARES

  15. Johannes Goransson
  16. ZZZZIPP

      ZZZZZIPPP HAS SEEN BLACK HOLE AROUND BUT NEVER LOOKED INTO IT BEFORE. THOUGHT IT WAS MORE ABOUT RELATIONSHIPS OR SOMETHING. THANK YOU M.M. WILL CHECK IT OUT

  17. Ogawa

      Promethea.

  18. ZZZZIPP

      SOME REALLY WEIRD SHIT ALSO HAPPENS ON LIVEJOURNAL. DEATH CHALUPA AND NO_GROWING ARE FANTASTIC AND OUT THERE. SIN TITULO IS ANOTHER ONLINE COMIC THAT IS PRETTY GOOD.

  19. Tricia

      That is so freaking exciting

  20. KevinS

      Squirrel Machine=YES!

  21. Mike Meginnis

      Black Hole has some teen relationship stuff going on but it also has the most beautiful, genuine approach to such potentially stale material I’ve seen in years.

      The only thing about hating your body I’ve seen that really tries to get you to embrace + love it by the end.

  22. Richard
  23. Jordan

      Fleep

  24. Tom K

      These are probably obvious ones and i think have been mentioned already but i’ll just spit them here anyway

      Jimmy Corrigan…more for it’s weird conjectures of narrative and style than any material oddness in the subject matter
      Like a velvet glove wrapped in iron – Snuff mutations.
      Black hole – Great art.

  25. magick mike

      blake you probably won’t like transmetropolitan tbh, not that i think it’s lame or anything, but like i can almost guarantee you won’t like it?

      picturebox is basically all you need:

      -c.f. – powr mastrs + his minis (i think you just got published in a thing he’s in, peep dat shit)
      -brian chippendale was mentioned above – he is like puke on a page but puke that smells really good and bones out and shits, pretty t.i.t.e.
      -carlos gonzales is the future, he is definitely IN THE VEIN OF c.f. but totally sweet
      -blaise larmee – young lions ; this dude is pretty awesome
      -benoit & peeter’s cités obscures books are fucking untouchable, forreal, if only for their architecture and intellectually titties
      -austin english likes to throw shit on a page and draw lines, he is cool
      -my favorite comic ever is martin vaughn-james’s THE CAGE, which is basically experimental french fiction in comic form written by a canadian, it’s from the 70s
      -guido crepax is both hot experimental and fucking clean as fuck, skinny dicks floating through witch space, more 70s, more perfection
      -al columbia’s “pim and francie: the golden bear days” is one of my favorite books of 2009, fucking terrifying and abject and fragmented
      -i’ll also second that hans rickheit is totally sweet, squirrel machine & chrome fetus for sure
      -basically everything ben jones/paperrad have done in comics form make me chuckle until i vomit rainbows and i don’t even like irony
      -amanda vahamaki is kind of like if tarkovsky were a 25 year old girl who was cold and really liked animals and liked to draw and erase and make smudge marks
      -jones & santoro’s COLD HEAT is so good so far, minotaur rape in witchcult 2 color screen printed pink and blue
      -peep the kramer’s ergot anthologies, duh, ignore best american comics, indie comics are dumb art comix rule
      -get your ero-guro freak on with suehiro maruo, best anthology is out of print, it’s cool bootleg a pdf
      -i got some reprints of midcentury brasilian porno comix from picturebox pretty recently, shit is like a soapopera with tits and tits and penetration.

  26. magick mike

      pope’s batman year 100 is the only batman comic i have ever liked ever

  27. magick mike
  28. Ben Spivey

      I really love Grant Morrison. He’s just about the only comic writer I follow these days.

  29. Ben Spivey

      Fables by Bill Willingham is fantastic.

  30. D.B.A.
  31. rr
  32. Bradley Sands

      Daniel Clowes new one is really good: Wilson. It’s a story told through many comic strips, using art of various styles.

      Also, I was never crazy about Grant Morrison’s The Filth, but I’m pretty sure you would feel differently, Blake.

  33. Bradley Sands

      Oh, and the miniseries, Flex Mentallo, if you can get your hands on the issues because I think there’s a legal thing with Charles Atlas that’s preventing it from being released as a trade paperback. Although you may only really enjoy it if you’re really familiar with superhero stuff.

  34. magick mike

      do they publish or just distribute?

  35. Jamie

      anders nilsen

  36. dddddan

      don’t think that persepolis was weird as much as it was just plain good

  37. dddddan

      weird note — Anders Nilsen lived in my apartment before I did; i still get his mail sometimes.

      there is more to this story but i am not entirely comfortable talking about it in a public forum — weird emotionally devastating leftovers found in strange places. real life!

  38. Blake Butler

      wow, Maggots looks like his music, i want that
      those are great all thanks you

  39. Blake Butler

      wow. awesome.

  40. Blake Butler

      great list, thank you

  41. Jordan

      Pekar and Brabner’s Cancer Year and also Pekar’s Macedonia

  42. reynard

      was just about to recommend maggots and i agree his music and art are pretty much extensions of one another

      yokoyama’s art is sick but i’ve never done a whole book, want to though

      i’d also recommend gary panter’s jimbo in purgatory as well as jimbo’s inferno

      sure you know about chris ware but jimmy corrigan is truly essential

  43. reynard
  44. Steven Augustine

      Son of Bosch!

  45. A.C. Ford

      Transmetropolitan has been great.

  46. ZZZZIPP

      WELL THERE IS BODYWORLD WHICH IS MORE WEIRDO THAN EXPERIMENTAL. USED TO BE FREE ONLINE BUT NOT ANYMORE

  47. ZZZZIPP

      CLOWES’S LIKE A VELVET GLOVE CAST IN IRON?

  48. davidpeak

      grant morrison’s the invisibles is really good, not so much for the art, but for the sheer scope of its weirdness maybe.

  49. Pete Michael Smith

      The Invention of Hugo Cabret, by Brian Selznick is so beautiful and interesting. I am not so well versed in graphic novels to know if it qualifies as experimental, but, it employs a great deal of text in straight prose, mixed with lovely full-page panels and the occasional movie still. The book as an object is rather beautiful, too.

  50. chris

      If you’re looking for something not so much weird but profoundly fucked check out Crossed. Garth Ennis’s take on the zombie apocalypse. Instead of conventional zombies it’s people who have turned completely psychotic and find joy in horrifically brutal ways. It will change the way you see people.

  51. Jeff
  52. Paulo Campos

      The Italian horror/Sherlock Holmes series Dylan Dog isn’t as experimental as it is Continental. We don’t see too many non-British comics in the US. Worth a look.

  53. D.B.A.

      “The Frank Book” by Jim Woodring is blown-out weird.

  54. Jak Cardini

      oh man. jim woodring. so good.

  55. Jak Cardini

      blase larmee. so whack.

  56. Salvatore Pane

      We3
      American Splendor
      Safe Area Gorazde
      Jimmy Corrigan
      Scott Pilgrim
      Wilson
      The Unwritten
      Sweet Tooth
      Morning Glories
      RASL
      Asterios Polyp
      Yossel
      Persepolis

  57. eric

      I love that quote from Chippendale in the Maggots preview; “It has loosely to do… I haven’t read that thing in three or four years because Tom fucking Devlin ran off with it! And I don’t even have a copy; I don’t even have photocopies of it. I had a bunch, but I left them all at Fort Thunder, and now they’re gone. I think the main character is this guy named Hot Potato. It’s something to do with… What is that thing about? It’s just little subplots. There’s a character of power who people are seeking. In other words I don’t remember what the hell it is about. They eat peanut-butter people; they run around a lot; there is a bad guy who is a capitalist; it’s like life: a lot of little tiny stories and finally something erupts that actually changes things.”

  58. waxlion

      These are good but might a little too confusing/experimental for an inexperienced comics reader:

      Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen
      Superman’s Girlfriend Lois Lane
      Betty and Veronica
      Spawn
      anything by Rob Liefield

  59. Mike Meginnis

      Yes, Bodyworld is really good. He’s also making a movie that I think is going to be spectacular and I’m fairly sure you’ll like both.

      Would be shocked if you weren’t into Charles Burns’ Black Hole, and also you would probably be into Hans Rickheit’s The Squirrel Machine. He’s also slowly posting a book online at http://www.ectopiary.com/

  60. ZZZZIPP

      JIM WOODRING GIVES ZZZZZIPP AWAKE NIGHTMARES

  61. Johannes Goransson
  62. ZZZZIPP

      ZZZZZIPPP HAS SEEN BLACK HOLE AROUND BUT NEVER LOOKED INTO IT BEFORE. THOUGHT IT WAS MORE ABOUT RELATIONSHIPS OR SOMETHING. THANK YOU M.M. WILL CHECK IT OUT

  63. Ogawa

      Promethea.

  64. ZZZZIPP

      SOME REALLY WEIRD SHIT ALSO HAPPENS ON LIVEJOURNAL. DEATH CHALUPA AND NO_GROWING ARE FANTASTIC AND OUT THERE. SIN TITULO IS ANOTHER ONLINE COMIC THAT IS PRETTY GOOD.

  65. Tricia

      That is so freaking exciting

  66. KevinS

      Squirrel Machine=YES!

  67. Mike Meginnis

      Black Hole has some teen relationship stuff going on but it also has the most beautiful, genuine approach to such potentially stale material I’ve seen in years.

      The only thing about hating your body I’ve seen that really tries to get you to embrace + love it by the end.

  68. Richard
  69. Jordan

      Fleep

  70. Tom K

      These are probably obvious ones and i think have been mentioned already but i’ll just spit them here anyway

      Jimmy Corrigan…more for it’s weird conjectures of narrative and style than any material oddness in the subject matter
      Like a velvet glove wrapped in iron – Snuff mutations.
      Black hole – Great art.

  71. magick mike

      blake you probably won’t like transmetropolitan tbh, not that i think it’s lame or anything, but like i can almost guarantee you won’t like it?

      picturebox is basically all you need:

      -c.f. – powr mastrs + his minis (i think you just got published in a thing he’s in, peep dat shit)
      -brian chippendale was mentioned above – he is like puke on a page but puke that smells really good and bones out and shits, pretty t.i.t.e.
      -carlos gonzales is the future, he is definitely IN THE VEIN OF c.f. but totally sweet
      -blaise larmee – young lions ; this dude is pretty awesome
      -benoit & peeter’s cités obscures books are fucking untouchable, forreal, if only for their architecture and intellectually titties
      -austin english likes to throw shit on a page and draw lines, he is cool
      -my favorite comic ever is martin vaughn-james’s THE CAGE, which is basically experimental french fiction in comic form written by a canadian, it’s from the 70s
      -guido crepax is both hot experimental and fucking clean as fuck, skinny dicks floating through witch space, more 70s, more perfection
      -al columbia’s “pim and francie: the golden bear days” is one of my favorite books of 2009, fucking terrifying and abject and fragmented
      -i’ll also second that hans rickheit is totally sweet, squirrel machine & chrome fetus for sure
      -basically everything ben jones/paperrad have done in comics form make me chuckle until i vomit rainbows and i don’t even like irony
      -amanda vahamaki is kind of like if tarkovsky were a 25 year old girl who was cold and really liked animals and liked to draw and erase and make smudge marks
      -jones & santoro’s COLD HEAT is so good so far, minotaur rape in witchcult 2 color screen printed pink and blue
      -peep the kramer’s ergot anthologies, duh, ignore best american comics, indie comics are dumb art comix rule
      -get your ero-guro freak on with suehiro maruo, best anthology is out of print, it’s cool bootleg a pdf
      -i got some reprints of midcentury brasilian porno comix from picturebox pretty recently, shit is like a soapopera with tits and tits and penetration.

  72. magick mike

      pope’s batman year 100 is the only batman comic i have ever liked ever

  73. magick mike
  74. Ben Spivey

      I really love Grant Morrison. He’s just about the only comic writer I follow these days.

  75. Ben Spivey

      Fables by Bill Willingham is fantastic.

  76. D.B.A.
  77. rr
  78. Bradley Sands

      Daniel Clowes new one is really good: Wilson. It’s a story told through many comic strips, using art of various styles.

      Also, I was never crazy about Grant Morrison’s The Filth, but I’m pretty sure you would feel differently, Blake.

  79. Bradley Sands

      Oh, and the miniseries, Flex Mentallo, if you can get your hands on the issues because I think there’s a legal thing with Charles Atlas that’s preventing it from being released as a trade paperback. Although you may only really enjoy it if you’re really familiar with superhero stuff.

  80. magick mike

      do they publish or just distribute?

  81. Jamie

      anders nilsen

  82. Tom K

      I really want to read MF Grimm’s graphic biography. It looks pretty amazing. I would want to read biography if it were in comic form.

  83. dddddan

      don’t think that persepolis was weird as much as it was just plain good

  84. dddddan

      weird note — Anders Nilsen lived in my apartment before I did; i still get his mail sometimes.

      there is more to this story but i am not entirely comfortable talking about it in a public forum — weird emotionally devastating leftovers found in strange places. real life!

  85. KevinS

      Secret Acres. Yes! That too. They publish Theo Ellsworth, who is also awesome.

  86. Blake Butler

      wow, Maggots looks like his music, i want that
      those are great all thanks you

  87. Blake Butler

      wow. awesome.

  88. Blake Butler

      great list, thank you

  89. Jordan

      Pekar and Brabner’s Cancer Year and also Pekar’s Macedonia

  90. reynard

      was just about to recommend maggots and i agree his music and art are pretty much extensions of one another

      yokoyama’s art is sick but i’ve never done a whole book, want to though

      i’d also recommend gary panter’s jimbo in purgatory as well as jimbo’s inferno

      sure you know about chris ware but jimmy corrigan is truly essential

  91. reynard
  92. Steven Augustine

      Son of Bosch!

  93. Jak Cardini

      oh man. jim woodring. so good.

  94. Jak Cardini

      blase larmee. so whack.

  95. Matthew Simmons

      Astronauts in Trouble.

  96. Matthew Simmons

      How far back do you go? Did you read Ed the Happy Clown? Do you know Mark Beyer’s work?

  97. Matthew Simmons

      I’ve never read any of them, but a guy named Elijah Brubaker was doing a comic biography of Wilhelm Reich. I haven’t read those, but I’m intrigued by them and would like to.

  98. rr

      they publish 3 or 4 books a year.

  99. Tom K

      I really want to read MF Grimm’s graphic biography. It looks pretty amazing. I would want to read biography if it were in comic form.

  100. KevinS

      Secret Acres. Yes! That too. They publish Theo Ellsworth, who is also awesome.

  101. Pemulis

      Jmmy Corrigan and Asterios Polyp. Awesome. Groundbreaking. Entertaining. Awesome.

      Yeah, I said awesome twice. There are also a lot of great graphic memoirs (or lightly fictiomalized memoirs) like Blankets or Epileptic, though they’re probably not ‘experimental’.

  102. Matthew Simmons

      Astronauts in Trouble.

  103. Matthew Simmons

      How far back do you go? Did you read Ed the Happy Clown? Do you know Mark Beyer’s work?

  104. Matthew Simmons

      I’ve never read any of them, but a guy named Elijah Brubaker was doing a comic biography of Wilhelm Reich. I haven’t read those, but I’m intrigued by them and would like to.

  105. rr

      they publish 3 or 4 books a year.

  106. Kevin Tadge

      Things not yet mentioned:

      Forming by Jesse Moynihan – strange, violent, lots of gods, aliens, and hermaphrodites. Free & online

      Sublife by John Pham – includes bizarre (existentialist?) story of lost astronauts (mostly in V. 2)

      Yoshihiro Tatsumi’s short stories – Early adult-oriented manga focusing on outsiders and perverts. Surprisingly fun.

      Jason – not really that weird, but you should read anything of his (yes, it’s just Jason). He’s pretty fantastic. Maybe the best. You Can’t Get There From Here and The Left Bank Gang are probably my favorites.

      And I agree with whoever said Theo Ellsworth. Capacity has some of the best storytelling told in second person that I can think of (regardless of medium).

  107. Pemulis

      Jmmy Corrigan and Asterios Polyp. Awesome. Groundbreaking. Entertaining. Awesome.

      Yeah, I said awesome twice. There are also a lot of great graphic memoirs (or lightly fictiomalized memoirs) like Blankets or Epileptic, though they’re probably not ‘experimental’.

  108. Kevin Tadge

      Things not yet mentioned:

      Forming by Jesse Moynihan – strange, violent, lots of gods, aliens, and hermaphrodites. Free & online

      Sublife by John Pham – includes bizarre (existentialist?) story of lost astronauts (mostly in V. 2)

      Yoshihiro Tatsumi’s short stories – Early adult-oriented manga focusing on outsiders and perverts. Surprisingly fun.

      Jason – not really that weird, but you should read anything of his (yes, it’s just Jason). He’s pretty fantastic. Maybe the best. You Can’t Get There From Here and The Left Bank Gang are probably my favorites.

      And I agree with whoever said Theo Ellsworth. Capacity has some of the best storytelling told in second person that I can think of (regardless of medium).