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11 awesome comics and graphic novels you can read online

Marvel's latest blockbuster releases have been postponed due to the Covid-19 outbreak, so why not go straight to the source?

Watchmen comic
Image: Watchmen
By Travis Johnson |
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In 2019, comic juggernaut Marvel ruled the world, raking in US$2.8 billion globally with their big-screen offering Avengers: Endgame. Capping two decades worth of storytelling in the MCU, it became one of the most-watched movies in history.

Flash forward a year and the Covid-19 pandemic has managed what Thanos could not, by taking out the heroes we know and love. Both Black Widow and The New Mutants have been pulled from the release schedules as cinemas have shut worldwide. Production has also halted on the next installment of The Eternals. It's looking likely major competitor DC will further delay Wonder Woman 1984 too.

But don’t despair. If you’re itching for some super-powered action, you can always go straight to the source. These 11 awesome comics are all available on Comixology, but make sure to check if your friendly neighbourhood comic shop is delivering – they’ll appreciate the business in these uncertain times. And yes, that was a Spiderman reference.

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11 comic books we love

Black Widow comic
Marvel

Black Widow: No Restraints Play

Horror auteurs Jen and Silvia Soska (Rabid, American Mary) pen this dark little adventure, with art from Flaviano, that sees Marvel’s favourite reformed spy hunting down a ring of wealthy perverts in the fictional South East Asian island nation of Madripoor. More hardcore than anything the MCU has ever seen, this is capital G Gritty.

Wonder Woman comic
Photograph: DC

Wonder Woman: Earth One Vol. 1

While powerhouse DC's upcoming Wonder Woman 1984 hasn't delayed as yet, what are the odds it will be? Instead, take in this mature reimagining of her origin story by career iconoclast Grant Morrison and artist Yannick Paquette. It forefronts the character's kinky, queer themes while still delivering all the superhero action you could want.

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Y the Last Man comic
Photograph: Vertigo

Y the Last Man Vol. 1: Unmanned

Pandemic-themed for your pleasure, everyman Yorick Brown becomes a prize worth going to war over after a plague wipes out every other male mammal on earth in this highlight from DC's adult-orientated Vertigo imprint. Writer Brian K. Vaughn and artist Pia Guerra construct a decidedly offbeat epic tale of lost love, desperation, and unlikely heroism. A screen adaptation has been in various stages of development for years, but given the way things are right now, maybe just read it online.

DCeased comic
Photograph: DC

DCeased

Australian writer Tom Taylor and an all-star squadron of superstar artists basically kill off the entire DC Universe, the goddamn Batman included, in this alternate worlds tale. Teh dreaded Darkseid unleashes his Anti-Life Equation, society collapses and formerly heroic figures are reduced to rampaging monsters as a pandemic of evil rips the good guys apart. Seems a bit timely, doesn’t it?

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The Walking Dead comic book
Photograph: Image comics

The Walking Dead Compendium Vol. 1

Like its shambling stars, The Walking Dead TV series seems to lurch on forever, but the Image comic that inspired it recently called it quits after an astonishing 193 issues. Following a global zombie outbreak, Kentucky sheriff’s deputy Rick Grimes finds himself the leader of a ragtag group of survivors in an apocalyptic world where the living are just as dangerous as the undead. This mammoth collection includes the first 48 issues, as written by Robert Kirkman with art by Stuart Moor and Charles Adlard.

The New Mutants: Demon Bear comics
Photograph: Marvel

The New Mutants: Demon Bear

Originally published back in 1983, this is the storyline they’ve adapted for Josh Boone’s seemingly cursed big-screen X-Men movie starring Anya Taylor-Joy and Maisie Williams. A team of young mutants struggling to control their emerging superpowers are stalked by a monstrous supernatural bear. Written by legendary X-Men scribe Chris Claremont, this Marvel book boasts extraordinary impressionistic artwork by the great Bill Sienkiewicz. Given the film has been delayed, and not for the first time, this is pretty much your only shot at experiencing this classic story.

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Preacher comic book
Photograph: Vertigo

Preacher: Book One

The four-season TV adaptation recently wrapped on Stan, so what better time to sample the (much, much better) source comic form Vertigo. Written by Garth Ennis with art by the late, great Steve Dillon, this slice of supernatural Americana sees Jesse Custer, a preacher imbued with extraordinary powers, hit the road with his assassin girlfriend Tulip and Irish vampire Cassidy to find God and hold Him to account for all the evils in the world. Blasphemous, bloody, and brilliant.

Watchmen comic book
Photograph: DC

Watchmen

Writer Alan Moore and artist Dave Gibbons’ landmark series recently got a stunning live-action sequel on HBO, which means it’s high time to revisit the original from DC. In a world where costumed vigilantes have existed since World War II, someone is murdering retired heroes. As a handful of desperate former masks try to discover who and why, a vast conspiracy is uncovered that shakes the world’s foundations. Even 35 years on, Watchmen remains a pinnacle achievement in mature comics storytelling.

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Locke & Key comic book
Photograph: IDW Publishing

Locke & Key Vol 1: Welcome to Lovecraft

Written by Joe Hill and drawn by Gabriel Rodriguez, Locke & Key is an epic tale of familial horror. After their father is murdered, the Locke family return to their ancestral home, the Keyhouse, where they must contend with a vengeful supernatural creature stalking the magical power of the ancient mansion for its terrible purposes. The recent Netflix adaptation of this IDW Publishing title didn't quite capture what makes the book great, so unlock the original instead.

Superman comic book
Photograph: DC

Superman: Red Son

What if baby Superman’s rocket had landed in Soviet Russia? That’s it – that’s your concept right there. Superstar writer Mark Millar and artists Dave Johnson and Kilian Plunkett spin a remarkable alternative universe out of this simple conceit, with startlingly different takes on a slew of DC's familiar heroes. The animated adaptation was just released too, but savour the original, comrade.

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Fence comic book
Photograph: Boom!

Fence Vol. 1

Another local hero here in Captive Prince author C.S. Pacat’s queer-themed Fence. While protagonists Nicholas Cox and Seiji Katayama don't wear capes, the boarding school boys are kitted out in fencing gear, and their roommate squabbles hide way too much sexual tension. You can guess where this is headed. There's a fun support cast showcasing plenty of diversity, all beautifully rendered by fan-favourite artist Johanna the Mad. Take a stab at this parry from publishers Boom!

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