Tell Us Dammit: Comic Books And Manga. I Want Recommendations!

Yesterday we ran an article about the top 5 new anime you should check out. When we published it I wasn't sure if people would care or not, but it turns out a lot of you enjoy anime. Me too! But I'm really more into reading manga. Always have been. I figured a massive amount of you guys and girls would be in the same boat so I thought, why don't we recommend each other some good stuff to read?

But I don't want to limit this to just manga — I recognise that's a bit niche. Let's bring western comics into the mix as well!

Anyway, in no particular order, here are some of my recommendations...

Vagabond: A retelling of Musashi. Probably has the best art I've ever seen in a manga. By Takehiko Inoue, creator of Slam Dunk.

Pluto: From the creator of 20th Century Boys and Monster. It reboots Astro Boy as a noirse style detective thriller. Dazzling, smart storytelling.

Ping Pong: One of the most sophisticated sports manga I've ever read. Really subverts a lot of the cliches of sports drama. And it's about Ping Pong!

Alright, I'll leave it there since I'm really looking for your recommendations! Drop them in the comments below!


    The best manga ever written

      He's been really bad with updates recently, which makes the current arc a pain to read, but other than that I have to give a thumbs up to this series too.

    I read a fair bit of mainstream type (ie DC) comics. I really highly recommend New 52 Aquaman though. I really enjoyed it.
    Also Batman: Hush.

    And then there's like eleventy billion more comics which I will not detail because I am sure others will.

    I recommend Tintin for anyone who isn't @serrels, since I assume you don't want to reread your past.

      I've been reading the New 52 a fair bit too. I am a huge fan of the new Animal Man and Swamp Thing - they tie together and focus on the new flora/fauna/rot... trichotomy and feature stunningly horrific art throughout. They're like a return to the Swamp Thing of Alan Moore, although not quite as good.

      I haven't read any supers from the New 52 though, what makes the new Aquaman appealing?

      Also obligatory insistence everyone read Irredeemable and Incorruptible if you haven't already.

    Is pretty good, if you like Brian Azzarello' writing style.

    I totally don't get comics.

      They're like most forms - there are good ones and not-so-good ones. I personally have very little time for the vast majority of comics out there, despite working in the field.

      But there's something for every taste, even if you have to look pretty hard to find it sometimes.

        Admittedly, the only comics I have are from Easter Show bags years and years ago, a few random Xmen ones. But even digging them out and flicking through them again recently... I dunno. I feel like I'd rather just read a book.

        But then it's not like I even read books these days either :P Once I borrowed a friend's copy of Watchmen. A year or two later for his 21st, I gave it back to him as his "present", still unread.

      I didn't either until I downloaded the DC Comics App on my iPad and read some comics that way! changed everything....


    In no particular order

    Blade of the Immortal: A immortal samurai playing bodyguard to a young girl who sets out to kill her father's killer. Simple, yet the plot is wholly engaging, the fight scenes are well choreographed and with plenty of tension, and the art is simply exquisite. The series is finished as of late, and there are, what, 22 volumes so it's not too heavy to get into.

    Usagi Drop: A slice-of-life Manga about a single, 30-year old bachelor who adopts his grandfather's apparent illegitimate six-year old daughter. The characters are all memorable in their own right, it has rather simple art style that nonetheless is easy on the eyes, and plenty of warm moments about being thrust into parenthood. Also completed.

    One-Punch Man: Still fairly new, it's the story of a guy who became a hero because he felt like it and ends up destroying any opponent, with, well, one punch. Imagine Dragon Ball Z except the drawers spent a billion years pouring detail into the art. Seriously, the effort put into this is mind-boggling (and it's only one guy doing the art!)- you like action and comedy, this has got it in spades.

    I'm sure there's more I can dredge up, but these were off the top of my head.

    Also, I hear really good things about The Lesser Evil made by some guy named Shane W Smith. I'd give a oscar and a grammy and maybe the nobel award if I could. Well, no, that's a bit much, I'd only give it a oscar.

    Last edited 16/05/13 11:37 am

      I highly recommend watching the Usagi Drop Anime instead of the manga if anyone is interested.

      As the manga the devolves into the authors incest fetish and ruins it.

        Indeed, post-time skip can be.. polarizing. A fair amount of it is still enjoyable, however.

          Well apart from that, I find the art style of the Anime much better.

            Are they that different? It's only in the beginning of the manga that the art is rough, but eventually it goes hand-in-hand. The way colors are handled in the anime however is quite pleasing to the eyes.

              There is a bit of a difference, and I much preferred it.

        Agree! Fair warning to all who wants to try Usagi Drop the manga out after watching the anime. Don't do it!

        Last edited 16/05/13 2:29 pm

    I just finished reading Terra Formars and man was it crazy. I only occasionally read action manga because i prefer drama. But damn. I've never seen character die so fast in a story.

    some of my favourites include-

    Molester man (Chikan Otoko): Don't let the name discourage you. It's a story about a guy who gets wrongly accused of being a molester. Because of the events though, the MC finds friends for the first time and has to deal with his developing love. (Also, another work by the same author; Onani Master Kurosawa, is fantastic as well)

    Doubt: A horror, mystery where a group of people meet to play a new mobile game called "rabbit doubt". But they soon discover that they're trapped inside a building and someone is slowly killing them off.

    Until Death do us Part: Fighting, blind samurai, girl who can see the future. That pretty much sums it up. But it's damn good, and i'm always extremely happy when new chapters are released.

    I could have this list go on forever, but i doubt anyone would want that. So i'll end it with those 3.
    But some other good ones to check out are: Oyasumi PunPun, Ichigo 100%, One-Punch Man, 1/2 Prince, BTOOOOM! and Gangsta.

      In the same vein as Terra Formers, Attack of the Titans has some crazy action stuff with characters dropping ridiculously fast

    I have several triple stacked shelves full of manga and comics so I don't even know where to start. The Adventure Time comic series is pretty good, moreso if you're a fan of the series. I'm also enjoying Psyren at the moment. Axe Cop is a definite must if you love random funny stuff. Soulfire is pretty good too if you're into Fantasy meets Technology style stories. Fairy Quest: Outlaws is a rather charming story too with some fantastic art. The Scott Pilgrim series should almost be mandatory for anyone into Videogames and awesomeness.

    Just read Saga and it was amazing. Something new and different but now I have to wait for the next issue :( Chew is a cool read and also Unwritten. Keeping on with the walking dead but I'm not sure if it will ever get back its form.

      I picked up Saga #1 last week (the #1 for $1 deal is fantastic) and i enjoyed it. I havent caught up but there is a TPB out that i'm trying to look for.

        It is great, finished the TPB in one sitting. Hunt down a copy!

          Got a TPB yesterday, its fantastic. I wish i was keeping up with the single issues but i'll have to wait impatiently for the 2nd volume to come out.

      So damn funny/emotional/action-packed/pretty! +10 recommendations for Saga from me

    First, we start with shounen manga series like Naruto, One piece, Dragon Ball and The Breaker (and its sequel Breaker New Waves). Also, Psyren.

    Then we move onto manga that have more mature themes, that are also darker and also more violent such as: Death Note, Monster, Welcome to the NHK, Gantz, Berserk, Attack on Titan (Shingeki no Kyojin), Vinland Saga, and Death Frenzy (Shigurui).

    After having had your fill of blood, we will move onto lighthearted genres, with highschool romance/comedies such as School Rumble, Yamada-kun and the seven witches, and The World God only knows. Slice of life genres also available include Genshiken, and Bakuman.

    Then we also have more ecchi mangas such as Prison School (Kangoku Gakuen), To Love Ru, and Nozoki Ana. Strongly recommend Prison School; very hilarious and has quite a unique art style differing it from other manga.

      Monster! By the guy who did 20th Century Boys and Pluto (which Mark recommended). I personally believe this is his best work.

        For me it goes Pluto>Monster>>>>>>>> 20th Century Boys.

        I like Billy Bat as well, but I'll wait until it's finished before making my FINAL JUDGEMENT!

          Way agree with 20th Century Boys being lower than either works. Started off well, but near the end things were just plain weird, like the last arc.

          No love for Happy! or Yawara? I kid, not quite the same level. Only problem with Pluto is that it's too short for me. Monster was equally awesome but looong, so that pips it for me

          Well, throw my hat into the ring for 20th century boys as my favourite Urasawa work, followed by Pluto with Monster trailing far behind.

          I enjoyed Monster and I think it's a finely crafted piece of fiction, but I just couldn't get over how, despite the fact it's a realistic setting, Tenma is a paragon of absolute righteous morality who's only flaw was that he was *too* omnibenevolent.

          and yes, I know that one of the series main themes was "who's worse? the man who does evil, or the man who does nothing to stop him" and Tenma trying to weigh that against his moral code is the main struggle of the series, but seriously, he didn't have to be Jesus Christ.

          Case in point, that concept and struggle is directly inspired by the Osamu Tezuka manga "MW" which also features a righteous man, a priest, agonising over whether to kill a serial killer. Only in this version the righteous man has human, flawed and somewhat relatable reasoning for not doing so, (he is the killers gay lover, and is partially responsible for his psychotic state) rather than Tenmas' absolute black and white morality.

          I still liked it a lot.

          As for 20th century boys, I felt like it was a really personal manga for Urasawa and that there was a lot of himself in Kenji.

          Urasawa and Kenji are the same age, grew up in the same city, both read shonen magazines, and both played guitar in bands. Some of that's superficial, but there is a tangible connection there and you can feel it in the work.

          That connection made Kenji come alive for me, and the manga felt almost like a biopic, like you're journeying through the story of these peoples lives, through all the ups and downs. And well, I got swept up in it, like I hadn't been by a narrative in a long time. I love 20th century boys.

          While I'm heaping praise on it, I might as well give some that's a bit more objective. It deals with the flow of time in the most ambitious way I've ever seen in a graphic novel. just look at that first chapter, it contains the beginning, middle and end of the story, which are literally decades apart and still feels coherent.

          This happens continually throughout, it often has different stories, with different characters from different time periods running concurrently, and still manages to feel thematically, and tonally coherent and have all those stories result in unified climax that feeds the reader a little more information about the mystery.

          I'll admit it has flaws, that last arc was quite weird, but I felt that it wasn't that jarring seeing as the story was about people trying to impose shonen manga inspired fantasy over reailty, and that it was just an extension of that. Still, it was damn weird.

    I guess I'm pretty mainstream with manga:
    - One Piece is a true epic. Given it's size, might be difficult to get into.
    - Full Metal Alchemist is still my favourite manga ever. Nothing has really come close.
    - Beelzebub is a new fairly popular manga that is great if you know a lot of the tropes. It's part comedy, part action, part comedy.

    Hmm, there are so many others I've read that just don't really make the cut in the same way these three do for me. It's all personal taste though. I'll probably give a lot of the other mangas discussed here a try eventually.

      One piece is pretty epic. I'd been reading Naruto for yonks and was up to date. then decided id start reading bleach - had to read through about 300 or to get up to speed. then after i was up to speed, 2 weekly manga were not enough so i jumped in to One Piece and had to read about 400 odd at the time to catch up. so definitely worth it though. i recommend using the Mango app on Android, can download the chapters to your phone ahead of time, or just read one after the other. i used to stay up reading bleach and one piece from the time i went to bed around 11pm till 3 or 4 in the morning during my catch up phases. now i'm hanging out till every tueday/wednesday just for the next chapters - and am severely pissed off when there is a week off. (is it sad that i love these manga so much as a 28 year old?)

    Criminal - Ed Brubaker
    Astonishing X_men - Joss Whedon
    Ex Machina - brian k Vaughn
    Saga - Brian K Vaughn
    Y: The Last Man - Brian K Vaughn
    Parker adaptations - Darwyn Cooke
    Death: The High Cost of Living & The Time of Your Life - Neil Gaiman
    V for Vendetta - Alan Moore
    Promethea - Alan Moore
    Swamp Thing - Alan Moore
    Supreme - Alan Moore
    Planetary - Warreen Ellis
    Batwoman - Greg Rucka
    Gotham Central - Greg rucka & Ed brubaker
    Iron Fist - Ed Brubaker & Matt Fraction
    The Goon - Eric Powell
    Kabuki - David Mack
    Preacher - Garth Ennis
    Powers - brian Michael Bendis
    Ultimate Spider-Man - Brian Michael Bendi
    Daredevil - Brian Michael Bendis
    Akira - Katsuhiro Otomo
    Ghost In the Shell - Masamune Shirow
    Asterios Polyp - David Mazzuchelli
    The Invisibles - Grant Morrison
    Summer Blonde - Adrian Tomine
    Empowered - Adam Warren
    Fatale - Ed Brubaker
    The Lesser Evil - Shane W Smith


      you my friend, have good taste. I do think Sleeper is the better Brubaker book of that genre.

      Alias by Bendis
      Old Man Logan by Mark Miller. hell pretty much anything by Mark Miller lol.
      first 2 trades of The Authority
      Supreme Power by JMS

        Oh, thanks for mentioning Sleeper, that's sitting across the room and I still forgot!

    Let's get started.

    Suzuka/Kimi no Iru Machi/Half&Half
    Shokugeki no Soma
    Mx0/Pretty Face
    Great Teacher Onizuka/Bad Company/Shounan 14 Days
    Denpa Kyoushi
    Saru Lock
    Gin no Saji
    Akame ga Kiru
    Himegoto - Jyuukyuusai no Seifuku
    Team Medical Dragon

    There are more but those are off the top of my head.

      A warning on Suzuka, it's starts off as a sports manga, but then changes into a drama manga. If you want sports, don't read this!

      Aria is a recommend for those looking for a melancholic, slice-of-life, slow pace story. Very touching story.

      Gin no Saji/Silver Spoon - by the same person who brought you Full Metal Alchemist(surprisingly). Great high-school story about Agriculture up in Hokkaido. Awesome read.

    All Star Superman - Grant Morrison

    Best Superman story imho

    The Last Days of American Crime - Amazing art and great story, only 6 issues though :(
    Siegfried - Awesome art, so good I bought it twice!
    Sharaz-De: Tales From The Arabian Nights - Sergio Toppi (RIP) is incredible

    I'll add more later if I remember.

    a lot of stuff has already been mentioned, but i'll recommend some of my favourites.

    Bakuman is a great story about manga creation and dreams and junk, i'm pretty sure it's by the guys who did Death Note.

    one of my recent favourites was Medaka Box, a weird manga as it starts off as a slice of life fairly generic high school romance comedy manga, then the author seems to go "screw this" and turns it into what i think is a fantastic tribute to classic shonen manga (like Dragon Ball). With great tropes like an invincible main character, Bad guys who are pure evil, and ridiculously over the top fights. you do have to deal with a bit of fan service, but other than that, i can say it's worth a shot to see if you like it.

    the only sad thing is that it just finished a month ago :(

    also The Lesser Evil by Shane W. Smith

    This one isn't really in line with your three but I feel I have to mention 'Tower of God'.

    League of extraordinary gentleman
    Or indeed Anything by Alan Moore

    Crisis on infinite earths

    The Frank Miller Dark Knight series

    Non Superhero comics: Spera, Dream Merchant, Lookouts, Hammer of The Gods, Mice Templar and Non-Player.

    Superhero comics: DC the New Frontier, All New X-men and anything with art from Sarah Pichelli, especially "Ultimate Spiderman" and "Spider-Men".

    Manga: Bakuman's probably the only one i've read recently...

    The Meek -‎
    Oglaf (NSFW) -
    Unsounded -
    Hanna Is Not A Boy's Name -

      oh crap. Don't forget POWERS.

      All new xmen is awesome, one of my favourite books atm. Although new people may not understand whats going on without reading Avengers vs Xmen first

        Yeah, I avoided mentioning titles mired in heavy continuity

        I think it's pretty straight forward, plus Immonen is on the art so it's reeeeeeally nice to look at.

    I've never dipped my toe into Manga, or gone in-depth with comics, but my recommendations are Watchmen, Sin City, Kick-Ass and The Walking Dead.
    Seriously - the comics of TWD annihilate the TV show. I've completely gone off the show simply because the comics just blow it out of the water.
    And because of Negan. Goddamn, that's one horrible character.

    Great Teacher Onizuka- if you haven't read this before, do it now.
    Honey & Clover-well made and sincere slice of life drama about poor art students and life issues
    One PIece- obviously "mainstream" but nothing besides DBZ can touch it.
    Genshiken- realistic otakus doing otaku things
    Giant Killing- underdog soccer team winning against all the odds. What's not to like?

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