It’s that time of year again — school is out, work is (hopefully) slowing down, and you have some extra time to kill. Like so many things in life, comic books are the answer — and if you’re like many other comic fans, San Diego Comic-Con is at the top of your mind.
Don’t worry, we’re here to help. If you have a craving for comics, you have a ton of options available to you. Ready to take on the world of digital comics? Good: right now is the perfect time to pick up a tablet for comics, at least if your an Amazon Prime subscriber. Thanks to Kindle Fire 7 can be had for just $30, with the nicer Kindle fire HD 8 and HD 10 going for just $50 or $100 a each., the decent, abliet older
Already have a tablet? Perfect. If you’re an Amazon Prime subscriber, you already have access to a huge library of comics through Prime Reading — an online library loaded with tons of comics, books and magazines.
Prefer physical comcis? We can help with that, too. This guide runs through everything from superheroics to old classics and fresh series that may have flown under your radar. Want to save $5? Make sure to use the code PRIMEBOOKS18 at checkout if you spend more than $20.
So kick back, keep tabs on Comic-Con news (yes, there’s still some comics stuff happening) and enjoy these fantastic comics.
Disclaimer: CNET may get a share of revenue from the sale of the products featured on this page. Retail links are to Amazon unless otherwise indicated.
Marvel Cinematic Universe — why not go back and read the comic that inspired it? Just brace yourself: Thanos’ motivation in the original story is a bit… different. As is the narration-heavy storytelling Starlin employs throughout the series. It was the standard of its day, but may come as an interesting surprise to readers accustomed to the deconstructed storytelling of modern superhero series.in the
Today, Gene Yang is known for writing the excellent New Super-Man (which sadly ended with issue 18), heading up the story of the Avatar: The Last Airbender series and serving as the National Ambassador for Young People’s literature in 2016. But if you only read one of Yang’s books, read American Born Chinese. It’s both a great story, and an honest, insightful look at the Asian-American experience.
Avatar: The Last Airbender
Actually, while we’re talking about it, check out the Avatar: The Last Airbender comics, too. There’s a lot more adventure to be had after the end of the iconic Nickelodeon TV series, especially for fans missing the series now that the follow-up The Legend of Korra has concluded.
The Complete Calvin and Hobbes
Yes, it’s more of a comic strip than a “comic book,” but admit it — you can’t say no to the greatest newspaper strip ever written. Whether it’s a gift for yourself or a gift to a younger relative, the timelessness of Bill Watterson’s masterpiece makes it the ideal comic for fans of all ages.
The Walking Dead
Still watching AMC’s adaptation of The Walking Dead? Turn it off and go back to the source. Robert Kirkman’s original zombie epic series imagined the zombie apocalypse in a whole new way — unending. Unlike most stories about the undead, Kirkman’s characters had to live with the consequences of the outbreak long-term — which leads them to discover that zombies weren’t the most terrifying threat they would have to face.
The Walking Dead might be Robert Kirkman’s most famous work, but for superhero fans, there’s a better option. Imagine if the DC and Marvel universes never retconned and rebooted themselves, but instead, allowed time to move forward, all while embracing a brutality that should definitely keep later issues out of the hands of younger readers. That’s Invincible — and now that the series has reached its conclusion with issue 144 you can finally dive in and begin to follow the story from start to finish.
The Adventure Zone: Here There Be Gerblins
If you ever wasted a summer playing Dungeons and Dragons, you know that tabletop gaming can be a gloriously fun, adventure-filled and hilarious way to bond with your friends. But you also know rolling up character sheets and calculating THACO is a lot of work. Skip the work and read the McElroy brothers’ adventure instead: The comic adaptation of the first arc of the beloved Adventure Zone podcast debuts Tuesday.
Godzilla: Half-Century War
Author and artist James Stokoe has made a name for himself with his meticulous storytelling and absurdly detailed panels. Seriously, just look at some of the art for Godzilla in Hell. And while Stokoe’s recent take on the Aliens franchise has been warmly-received, the series Godzilla: Half-Century War remains the best starting point, managing to thread together decades of Gozilla stories by focusing on the people left in the wake of the radioactive dinosaur’s destruction.
Want an epic adventure in a Tolkien-esque world filled with royalty, dragons, monsters and war? How about one starring a trio of funny looking cartoon people in a semi-realistic world? While lengthy, interconnected storytelling is all the rage, give Bone its due for striking a keen balance between fantastical accessibility and complexity.
A boy finds a mysterious notebook that grants him the power to kill anyone whose name and face he knows — and the story only gets darker from there. Pretend that the recent Netflix adaptation never happened and read the original manga.
My Hero Academia
The most refreshing take on superhero tropes isn’t coming from DC or Marvel, but from the mind of Kouhei Horikoshi and Japanese manga mainstay Shonen Jump. While the solid anime adaptation of My Hero Academia is available on numerous streaming platforms, it’s still playing catch-up with the manga’s story line. Or, you can read the manga’s first 30 chapters for free until the end of July via US distributor VIZ Media.
The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina
No, this doesn’t feature Melissa Joan Heart or an amusingly snarky talking cat. The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina presents itself as a horror series, and it more than deliveries on that promise. Think more along the lines of The Witch and less on the Wicked Witch of the West. Plus, Sabrina will soon make its Neflix debut:
Screenshot by Bonnie Burton/CNET
You thought this list could exist without mentioning Watchmen? It was a turning point for the comics industry, both changing mainstream perceptions of what comics could be and how writers and artists honed their craft. And if you’ve avoided picking up a copy for this long, there’s no better time to familiarize yourself with Alan Moore’s masterpiece.
Amazon Prime Day 2018: Complete coverage on CNET.
CNET Deals: The best bargains we’ve found online.