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Comic Countdown #30: No Powers, No Problem

Posted on August 5, 2012 AT 08:20pm

Welcome to the landmark thirtieth edition of the Comic Countdown! This week’s comic book topic in list form focuses on one specific type of comic: those that do not include superheroes. Superheroes are a staple of comics, and for good reason. These titles are incredibly popular, very well known, and almost always very well done, so their place in comic book history is well warranted. There are, however, more ways to create comics than that, and many publishers have gone in a complete other direction, making books that focus not on superheroes, but on real people, and to great success. Time for the Countdown!

#10: Executive Assistant: Assassins (Aspen Comics)

The first ongoing book from Aspen Comics, EA: Assassins is a brand new title, but one with a lot of rich history with other mini-series. The book focuses on young ladies who have been trained at birth to be anything the were needed to be. Trained in etiquette, martial arts and more, these are very skilled ladies with a lot to offer. This title will add more and more of the EAs story, written by Vince Hernandez, creating a dynamic experience that is gritty and beautiful in a way only Aspen Comics can pull off.

#9: Mind The Gap (Image Comics)

Another new title that’s making a major impact, Mind The Gap is a complex thriller title, rife with gorgeous artwork by Rodin Esquejo and Sonia Oback and enthralling writing by Jim McCann, the story of attack victim Ellis Peterssen is one that has many speaking out about how great this book is. If this title keeps up at this pace, it will go down as one of this generation.

#8: Chew (Image Comics)

Chew is a very odd book, but one that has gained a major following. Set in a world where bird-meats are illegal after a catastrophic bird flu epidemic, cibopath Tony Chu investigates the mysteries of the chicken black market, finding clues through the psychic visions he gets from eating things (people count as things, in this case). While that is a special ability, it’s a bit far-fetched to call it a superpower, so this strange and wonderful book (written by John Layman) get the nod for this list.

#7: Red (Wildstorm Comics)

Focusing on a retired CIA agent, Red is one of those titles that became popular for being written and displayed extremely well, offering a departure from the commonplace superhero books. The protagonist has a hit by his former agency put on him, only narrowly escaping his own assassination when he recognizes his would-be killers attack patterns. This Warren Ellis written-book has seen a feature film made out of its contents,  proving the major success of the title.

#6: The Goon (Dark Horse Comics)

This Eric Powell-created book is violent, irreverent, and funny. The Goon himself is not the most beautiful of creatures, but he gets things done, often is gruesome and ridiculous fashion. Fans are clamoring for a film adaptation for this irreverent Dark Horse hit, and soon, they just may get it. The supernatural slant to the title makes it a must-read, especially when one of the many creatures is a skunk-ape with an unnatural hunger for pie. So, there’s that.

#5: Morning Glories (Image Comics)

The Morning Glories academy is a boarding school for teenagers with some very dirty secrets.  Despite its rather normal appearance, the school is involved in the supernatural, the occult, and there’s also the investigation into the torture and murder of some of the students. Rodin Esquejo makes another appearance on this countdown with some stunning artwork, and writer Nick Spencer creates a terrific and thrilling story out of the mundane, adding a twist that made it an incredible hit.

#4: Scott Pilgrim (OniPress)

Many know the story of this underground sensation from the film adaptation, but the graphic novel that inspired the movie is just as good, if not better. Scott, a slacker from Toronto goes through the typical courting process: Meet girl, date girl, fight girl’s seven evil exes. While Ramona Flowers isn’t the typical girl, Scott’s journey goes well beyond that of a normal relationship. With manga-inspired artwork by artist/writer Bryan Lee O’Malley, this book was a major cult hit, with fans from all over clamoring for the six volumes of material produced for the series.

#3: Sandman (DC Comics)

Published partially under the Veritgo Imprint, this Neil Gaiman written thrill has a supernatural vibe to it, but is not what most would call a superhero type comic. Focusing on Dream, the Lord of Dream, Sandman has gone through many changes, but this fantasy-themed book focuses on Dream and his past sins and present life, evolving from a more horror-driven book to a fantasy book that focuses on mythology. While the run has had its ups and down, this title is a classic in the world of comics,  and Gaiman has announced that he will return to explore some of the back-story that was missed in the original run.

#2: Sin City (Dark Horse Comics)

This Frank Miller written graphic novel is a legend in comics, with breathtaking black and white artwork (with emphasized splashes of color), violence and gritty realism with a mix of noir and the supernatural. Taking place in Basin City, crime, violence and complete chaos run rampant, with the books spanning several characters whose lives occasionally cross over. These books are a must-read for any comic book fan, as Sin City is a groundbreaking title full of noir vernacular and pulp fiction styling.

#1: The Walking Dead (Image Comics)

No series has been as popular in recent years as Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead. While other series are more known for being classics, this title has inspired television shows, video games, and has played a good part in creating the major popularity of zombies in common media. Following a group of survivors during a zombie outbreak, Kirkman’s comic now holds the title for the highest-selling single issue comic of the 20th century with their landmark 100th issue. Those looking for an engrossing and terrifying zombie apocalypse title, look no further than The Walking Dead.

That’s it for the countdown this week, please feel free to leave a comment below with any thoughts or corrections to the list. See everyone next week for another installment!


Russ Pirozek, known as "Noobcrawler" to some, is a gamer and comic book fan who sometimes gets around to writing for He's also awesome. If someone looked up "awesome" in the dictionary, his picture wouldn't be there, but that's because he's too busy being awesome to pose for a photo.

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