So "Preacher" and "The Sandman" are gonna cost me $350?

I just read the first volumes of both Preacher and The Sandman and now I’m fricking hooked. The former go for $15 each; the latter for 20. Somehow I doubt my library will carry Preacher. Fuck it, think I’ll just order the whole lot from Amazon and be done. Any other must read graphic novels/comics before I order? Take into account that I’m generally not into the costumed superhero thing. Someone said I should check out Wanted because it’s about a group of anti-heroes (at least that’s what I’d call them) who slaughter all the superheroes. Might like that one.

Make sure you check out for used TPB. That’s generally how I buy mine and has helped me build a little library.

Check out The Books of Magic; Neil Gaiman created the characters and did the first series. There’s also bound collections of The Dreaming and Lucifer, which are based on characters that originated in Sandman. (Okay, I know Neil Gaiman didn’t invent the character of Lucifer but he’s the guy who made him a comic book character.)

And if you find that you’ve still got too much money, consider starting on Love & Rockets or Cerebus.

Ask your library to get it for you through Interlibrary Loan. All libraries do this, it’s usually free of charge or very nominal, and I’ve never had a problem getting graphic novels through ILL.

And if you still want to buy, remember this site to get the best price. When I bought SANDMAN there were several times that half and ebay were more expensive than new copies I found on this.

One more and then I’ll shut up:

If you liked SANDMAN and PREACHER then try

A Thousand Ships - book 1 (of an eventual 7) in a retelling of The Iliad.

The Promethea series by Alan Moore (of League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and From Hell fame- if you’ve only seen the movies of those two, ignore them- they sucked leprous donkeys, but the graphic novels were good). Promethea deals with mythic archetypes, the Qabbalah, and other esoterica.

Check out Transmetropolitan, by Warren Ellis. It’s an entirely unholy combination of William Gibson, Heavy Metal, Hunter S. Thompson, and election year politics. Try not to think about how relevent it all feels, unless you want an ulcer. The first volume is “Back on the Street,” and the series absolutely must be read in its proper order.

The Invisibles, by Grant Morrison, is another of my favorites. Postmodernist anarchist terrorists must save the world from Lovecraftian horrors by destroying it. Sort of like the Illuminatus! Trilogy, except weird. Although all the comics share the same narrative, the story loops back on itself so often it really doesn’t matter what order you read them in. I own all the graphic novels, and I still don’t know which one is supposed to come first.

I was never much interested in superhero comics, either, but Kurt Busiek’s Astro City is not your average tights-and-biceps comic. Busiek’s superheros have a realism that entirely belies their rooftop hijinks. This is more a collection of short stories than any sort of massive story arc, so again, it doesn’t matter what order you read them in. Stories that span more than one issue are always collected together in the same graphic novel.

If you liked Preacher, you’ll probably enjoy other stuff from Garth Ennis, although nothing of his I’ve read to date has been able to sustain itself the way Preacher did. Hitman is set in the standard DC universe: it take place in Gotham City, and Batman and Green Lantern both make cameos. But, it’s about a mob hitman with a few minor super powers who specializes in targets who might be a little too tough for your run-of-the-mill enforcers. Very good, up to a point, but I was pretty disappointed in the last one. Punisher, illustrated by Preacher’s Steve Dillon, is sort of like Preacher without all the theology, but after the first two graphic novels, it take a turn towards self-parody, and the quality drops off preciptously. In the first two volumes, though, Ennis and Dillon out-do themselves in hilariously over-the-top gore.

And, as always, absolutely anything by Alan Moore or Frank Miller. Doesn’t matter what: it’ll always be worth reading. (Exception: Miller’s sequel to his seminal The Dark Knight Returns, The Dark Knight Strikes Again. The original is a must-read. The sequel is a must-avoid.)

Starman: Sins of the Father. This TPB reprints the first six issues of the epic 82-issue series, and you’ll be hooked after this first taste. (Don’t worry, they’ve reprinted about two-thirds of the run in TPBs already.) Starman is Jack Knight, a reluctant “everyman” superhero who is carrying on his father’s heroic name and legacy, although he refuses to wear a costume. While set in the DC Universe (and referencing past events and continuity), Starman is the perfect superhero comic for people who don’t care for traditional capes-and-spandex superheroes. Great writing by James Robinson and beautiful art by Tony Harris. Starman is my all-time favorite comic, and the writing in later volumes is so good that it has made me cry more than once. I’d rank the series right alongside Sandman and Preacher.

And you really can’t go wrong with Alan Moore. Nobody has a body of work as deep or as varied or as good as his. Nobody even comes close:
V For Vendetta
From Hell
Swamp Thing (six TPBs)
Supreme (two TPBs: Story of the Year and The Return)
Judgment Day
WildC.A.T.s (two TPBs: Homecoming and Gang War)
Across the Universe (collecting random DCU stories he wrote in the '80s)

And his entire line of America’s Best Comics, which have several TPBs of each title:
Top Ten
Tom Strong
League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
Tomorrow Stories

A few of my favorite creators’ series that I recommend are Mike Allred’s Madman (start with The Oddity Odyssey), Mike Mignola’s Hellboy (start with Seed of Destruction), and Matt Wagner’s Grendel (start with Black, White, and Red).

If you want some great atmospheric crime-noir stories that just happen to have costumes and/or superheroes, check out:

Daredevil: Born Again by Frank Miller and David Mazzuchelli
Batman: Year One by Frank Miller and David Mazzuchelli
Catwoman: The Dark End of the Street by Ed Brubaker and Darwyn Cooke
Sandman Mystery Theatre: The Tarantula by Matt Wagner, Steven Seagle, and Guy Davis

Finally, if you feel like humor, I recommend Why I Hate Saturn, You Are Here, I Die At Midnight, and The Cowboy Wally Show, all original graphic novels written and drawn by Kyle Baker, one of the most talented creators in comics.

One more that almost everyone likes:
Terminal City, by Dean Motter and Michael Lark. Great retro-futuristic TPB!

You might want to try ebay for buying your trade paperbacks. Find the store called “Grasshoppers comics”; they have new full tpb sets for a ton of different titles. You could get Preacher and Sandman for about $260 with free shipping. You’ll find pretty much everything else recommended here listed there. I’m not affiliated with them in any way, but I have found that to be a good, convenient, reasonably-priced place to buy.

Also, you can often find a complete collection of individual issues for less than the cost of the tpb’s, unless you just prefer the trades. Right now, a complete run of Starman, with annuals, specials, and one-shots is up for auction and may well go for less than a set of tpb. There are a couple of complete runs of Sandman available, though those usually get pretty pricy.

You might want to check out Y: The Last Man. All the male mammals on Earth, except one man and his pet monkey, die at the same moment one day. Yorick, the literal last man on Earth, a secret agent (Agent 355), and a biologist set off across the country to try to find the cause (though we already know it and Agent 355 might know) and possibly a way for humanity to survive. The most recent story arc has Yorick being held captive by a dominatrix who is putting him through a series of psychological tortures.

Pedant: we don’t strictly know that taking the Amulet of Helene out of Jordan was the cause. It’s just very likely.

Hellblazer, dude. Hellblazer.

I second the vote for Starman. Wonderful, addicting stuff. Seriously, read it.

I liked the initial miniseries Gaiman did of Books of Magic, but I wasn’t as crazy about the stuff that followed (by other writers). Lucifer has pretty covers, but what’s inside never really lived up to my expectations. As for Hellblazer, I liked Ennis’ run on it, but didn’t care for Azzarello’s. I know I’ll get smacked for saying that, but I just didn’t like it.

Ebay is also pretty good for getting cheap TPBs. I’ve had good luck there so far.

Get Hellboy by Mike Mignola. Once again, get Hellboy by Mike Mignola. There are several trade paperbacks available; the first one is Seed of Destruction but they get better from there. My favorite is The Chained Coffin and Others.

I would second the recommendation for Hellblazer, if you like Preacher. Garth Ennis’ run starts with the Dangerous Habits compilation, which is a good starting point if you’re not familiar with Constantine or the back-story to the comic. (It also has one of my favorite comic stories ever in the second issue of that storyline.) I’ve got all the issues of the series from the first through halfway into Ennis’ run, where I just lost interest. Jamie Delano, the first writer of the series, did some excellent stuff, but it’s not for everybody.

And you really should get Hellboy by Mike Mignola. And also, Hellboy.

I’d second Hellboy. It’s a sort of offbeat mix of X-Files flavor with a strong twist of mysticism and a bit of superheroics in there. It also manages to infuse humor into perfectly straightforward stories, and make it WORK, weirdly enough. That, and Mike Mignola’s art is… different, and interesting.

I’d also second Transmetropolitan. That’s a comic that talks.

Don’t forget the first several Cerebus TPB. Sim at his best.

And any of the Love and Rockets TPB by Los Bros Hernandez. I particularly recommend Human Diastrophism and The Death of Speedy.

Vida Locas, cholos!

One thing I forgot to mention about Hellboy: don’t judge it from Seed of Destruction. It was written by John Byrne, because Mike Mignola didn’t have enough confidence in his own writing at that point. The later stuff he does solo, and it’s much better.

It’s not that Byrne’s writing is particularly bad, it’s just that it’s serviceable, like a writer putting words to someone else’s idea. Mignola’s solo stuff is a lot sparser with the dialog and heavier on mood, and the balance of horror to comedy is just dead-on perfect.

Hellboy. My all time favorite and visually stunning. Also Bone and Cerebus but cerebus may be a bit long winded and inaccessible to some. For pure art bizzareness check out the Hellspawn series <spawn knockoff> The art is weird and disturbing.

Okay, in my previous post I was trying for specific collections that a Preacher/Sandman fan would like. If we’re talking graphic novel collections in general, I’d recommend any of the following:

Watchmen, Powers, Kingdom Come, The Elementals, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and Return of the Dark Knight are all excellent super-hero comics.

Some collections in non-super-hero genres would be my previous mentions of Cerebus and Love & Rockets. Also Hate, Bone, Strangers in Paradise, Vamps, Fables, Y: The Last Man, Box Office Poison, Omaha the Cat Dancer and 30 Days of Night.

Mike Carey’s been on it for quite a while now and the stories are great. (Think you mentioned you’re not a Lucifer fan, though, so he may be a hard sell too. I’ve never tried Lucifer, myself.)