Summer Reading Recommendations – Independent Comics

Last week I did a reading list of recommended comics from Marvel comics. We’ve had a couple of other reading recommendations lists as well. This week I’d like to focus on independent comics, to recommend some more great reads for your summer!

When I say “independent comics,” I pretty much mean “not Marvel or DC.” There are a lot of other publishers, although some of the big small ones are Image, IDW, and Dark Horse. You can find most all of the publishers on ComiXology – which is why it’s distressing that they have been changing hands and changing how they do business. They were an amazing portal for finding, buying and reading independent comics.

Meaning, most everything I have to recommend are things I found through ComiXology. Or had recommended by others. However, I could see these being more likely to show up places like your local library, in trade paperbacks or as graphic novels. Or even your local bookstore or comic store!

Buffy: Seasons 8 & 9

Season 8, Volume 1

Season 8, Volume 1. By Joss Whedon.

In case 7 seasons of Buffy: The Vampire Slayer just weren’t enough for you (which, let’s face it, they probably weren’t…), then these comics are for you! They completed a whole set that are considered “season 8,” following the plot after the TV show ended. They’re into season 9 now. 

Some of what is great about these comics is that they are larger than life, larger than the budget of a TV show. Let’s face it: there’s only so much you can do with the effects of a TV show. In a comic, you’re limited by your imagination, and your artist. They prove this by leading with Dawn as a giant, and other ridiculous things.

If you were a fan of Buffy, you should definitely check these comics out. These are published by Dark Horse comics, who have their own app. Want to know more? @CompGeeksHolly has written a review as well! Read these and looking for more? They’re releasing Serenity comics that sound like they are doing much the same for Firefly what these comics do for Buffy!

Scott Pilgrim

Cover to Scott Pilgrim 4: Scott Pilgrim Gets It Together

Cover to Scott Pilgrim 4: Scott Pilgrim Gets It Together

I saw Scott Pilgrim vs. The World and thought it was pretty good. Then I read the comics.

Then I read the comics again, just right back from the start as I ended the last one.

I had to stop myself, so I loaned them to a friend. But I’ve also bought the albums. Watched the movie a bunch of times. I’m completely hooked. The comics are originally black and white, and there is a new color edition coming out. I am waiting to buy these once they are all out in color, and I am holding off on reading them again until I have them all in color. But it’s going to happen.

Maybe it’s the voice of a generation. Maybe it’s the sheer joy of the comics. The sweet sorrow. (of the Clash at Demonhead!) The music is great too because it not only fits the movie, but it fits the comics. So much fun. If you’re looking for something to read, definitely give Scott Pilgrim a go. Read Scott Pilgrim and looking for more? The author, Bryan Lee O’Malley, has a new comic coming out this summer called Seconds; Amazon says July 15 for a release date.


Lumberjanes #1

Lumberjanes #1

This ended up with a pretty big release for being a small new little title. Lumberjanes! Written by one of my favorite people on Tumblr, Gingerhaze, or Noelle Stevenson. Interestingly, she’s not the one doing the art. Nonetheless, this adventure comic about a group of lady campers – the Lumberjanes – has attracted a lot of Internet talk and interest.

Definitely one to check out, not just for its notoriety and popularity, but because Noelle’s humor is fantastic! This is one I am keeping up with and buying current, and it’s only 2 issues in as I write this so there’s not a lot of catching up to do at all. 


Saga #8 by Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples

Saga #8 by Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples

There’s one comic that’s been beating up the others at the awards ceremonies lately. One comic that’s setting the ground-work to be a Space Opera that we’re still reading years from now. And that’s Saga.

What I don’t know that I can tell you is what it is about this comic that is just so enthralling. Is it the voice of the narrator – the young daughter of our main characters? Is it the tragic, Romeo-and-Juliet sort of love story? Is it the horror and violence? The imagination and new things? Is it Prince Robot IV? Or is it just Lying Cat? It’s probably Lying Cat.

Whatever it is, Saga is a great journey, and some of it is just about wondering where it’s going next! Bounty Hunters, Romance Novelists, Tabloid Journalists… it’s got everything! Check out Saga!

Doctor Who

There are so many Doctor Who comics! There were a number of them on sale around the 50th Anniversary episode, and they’ve had other sales since, and so I have amassed quite the collection of these. However, I don’t even know where to start!

All the Evil Robots!

All the Evil Robots!

The ones I have read so far were a series called Assimilation (squared), a crossover between Doctor Who and Star Trek: The Next Generation. Therein, you guessed it, the Borg and the Cybermen team up to really get some assimilation going. Only the Enterprise and the Doctor can stop this sort of madness!

Another completed series I am thinking about reading next is called Prisoners of Time, which I think was put together as a 50th Anniversary sort of story – it has issues specific to each of the Doctors, it looks like. Could be fun, and a good intro to some of the past Doctors!

There are a lot of comics from recent years – so a lot of stories with both the Tenth and Eleventh Doctors. Have one you like? Check out some of there extended adventures in comics form!

Locke & Key

Locke & Key, by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez

Locke & Key, by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez

Saved the best for last. Holly and I both just finished reading the end of Locke & Key this last weekend, and oh man! The graphic novel at its finest. You pick up the first volume and are greeted with the phrase “Welcome to Lovecraft.” This is not a safe place to be.

What follows is a combination of horrors, both monstrous and personal, as well as some amazingly imaginative stuff. Basic premise, the sort that the name implies? There are keys, and the Locke family finds them. The keys make strange things happen, magical things. And you learn more as things go along.

Maybe it’s even enough for someone to survive being around them…

These were great, if you haven’t read them, read them. The last volume just came out earlier this year, so it’s only recently finished up the story. So there’s no suspense or waiting for more, now – it’s done and you can read it all! Want more of a review? Check out Holly’s first thoughts!

What about you? Any indie comics you would recommend? I’m only scratching the surface, both with what I’ve read and what I’m recommending here. Let us know in the comments below! And next week, I’ll showcase my favorite comic author, and one of the big names in the business right now – Jonathan Hickman!

11 thoughts on “Summer Reading Recommendations – Independent Comics

    • I apparently don’t spend enough time browsing Dark Horse Comics! Just looking at this on their app, it looks like some of the original creators were involved – creators who have also stayed in the form of The Legend of Korra.

      Avatar was amazing, and the thought of a comic series continuing the story, much like with the Buffy comics, sounds like a great idea. So I haven’t read them, but I now want to as well!

      It looks like they run $10 a volume for digital, so checking out one won’t put you back too far. The other thing to do might be to wait for a big sale to grab them all!


  1. I’m pretty keen on East of West. It’s one of Hickman’s high concept titles, but it’s fascinating. I also just picked up the first trade of Black Science which feels a lot like Fear Agent, but a little darker. Also, just read Fear Agent.


  2. Pingback: Myth and Science – The Comics of Jonathan Hickman | Sourcerer

  3. Pingback: Catching Up on our Big List of Things | Comparative Geeks

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