So you got a new tablet for Christmas? Congratulations. iPads and Android tablets are great ways to consume content. That large screen is perfect for movies, games, books, and comics. That’s one of the great advantages of full-blown tablets over e-readers like the Kindle- they can display comic book pages just like you’re reading the real thing.
I wanted to read some comics when I got a tablet, but I had no idea where to start. Where do you start? Comics like Batman and Superman have run for decades. How do you jump in? Where do you go?
I did some searching and found a couple series that are approachable, high-quality, and limited. You can actually finish these stories. That seems better than the endless serials, in my opinion.
You also don’t have to be a comic-book geek or serious fan to read these. Anyone moderately well versed in literature can get by here. Here are a few cool comics for that new tablet.
How to Download
A more complete solution is Comics by ComiXology. It includes a store for in-app comic purchases, as well as a nifty panel-by-panel view for phones.
Only one comic book made it onto Time magazine’s list of the 100 best books since 1923.
Watchmen is unlike any comic you’ll ever read. It masterfully deconstructs super hero tropes and rewrites them into a fascinating case study of the genre.
This short miniseries, usually collected into a graphic novel, contains stunning depth and imagery. Every time I read it, from the opening lines of Rorschach’s journal to the bold ending, I find something new.
Watchmen is short but unforgettable. Critics call it the best comic ever written for a reason.
Y: The Last Man (2002-2008)
A listless twenty-something English major named Yorick and his pet monkey Ampersand venture out one day to find that every male creature in the world except them has died.
The two embark on a worldwide adventure that uses its unique premise to indirectly discuss gender issues, personal relationships, and social problems.
Any other comic would come off as preachy from trying that. However, writer Brian K. Vaughn’s script comes across as lucid and intelligent.
Y: The Last Man is an excellent comic by itself. What makes it a great comic, though is the emotional finale. The last two issues are brutally raw, but it couldn’t have ended any other way.
100 Bullets (1999-2009)
What would you do if someone gave you a gun with 100 rounds? What if he could guarantee the police would never touch you for using it? What would you do?
100 Bullets is best described as Reservoir Dogs meets Lost meets Saw. It blends moral complexity with ultra-violence, all within a complex plot focused on backstabbing.
The 100 issues are well worth reading on a tablet, especially with the high-contrast art that relies on light and shadow.
Blankets is different than the other entries in this list. Comic book writer Craig Thompson write a 600-page memoir of his childhood in a fundamentalist Christian household.
Thompson writes wonderfully, and his story has something others lack: heart.
The A.V. Club captured its spirit better than I could, saying Thompson’s work offers “an impressively concrete portrait of emotional ephemera, captured with talent, disarming humor, and a gentle sincerity that glows through on every remarkable page.”
If you don’t mind getting teary-eyed, read Blankets. It’s worth it.
British author Neil Gaiman is known for his imaginative worlds and creative writing. So when he wrote a comic in the ‘90s, people noticed.
Sandman takes a D-list DC comics character, the Sandman, and reinvents him as the center of an interesting world.
While the first series is entirely skippable, Sandman’s stories stand out for their ingenuity. The Corinthian in particular is like nothing you’ve ever seen.
The series looks good on tablets, too. The art tends toward the weird and colorful, perfect for that shiny new screen.
Sin City (1991-2000)
Longtime comic author Frank Miller always produces gritty work, but Sin City lives in a class of its own.
The neo-noir series depicts a series of interlocking tales in the town where men are burly, dames are seductive, and nothing good ever happens.
The black-and-white art leaps off the screen. This comic does stylized action like nobody else.
I’m not a serious comic book person, so I’m sure I’m missing some other franchises. What are some of your favorite comics? Share your suggestions with us in the comments section below.