I’ve been thinking lately that, for someone who doesn’t really read superhero comics, I spend a lot of time on this column talking about superhero movies. To be fair, those are a whole different animal. But instead of talking about recent news re: the new X-Men and Thor movies (which I’m sure I’ll get to soon enough), this week I want to tell you about some of the non-superhero comics I’ve read recently.

–Jaime Hernandez’s God and Science: Return of the Ti-Girls. OK, technically this is actually a superhero book, except that it’s one that’s set in the Love and Rockets universe, and features non-superhero Maggie pretty prominently. And it’s also kind of all about friendship? With lots of fighting!  NPR just ran a review of this with a brief excerpt, if you’re curious! Anyway, Jaime Hernandez is basically the best and this is highly recommended for, say, high school and up.  It’s fine for younger readers too, I just think they wouldn’t relate to it as much.

–Jaime’s brother Gilbert Hernandez also put a small collection out recently — The Adventures of Venus, which collects his stories from the long-defunct Measles anthology. This didn’t hold up as well for me, though I remembered liking it a lot when I first read it. It’s aimed at a younger audience — middle-schoolers, probably. The story isn’t very strong, but the art is super cute.

Locke and Key Volume 5: I know I’ve recommended this series before, and it just gets better and better. Seriously, read it. For more mature audiences (lots of violence and scariness).

Blacksad: I can’t believe I haven’t read this before, because it’s GREAT. It’s this crazy noir book where all the characters are anthropomorphized animals, so the titular Blacksad is a cat private eye, dealing with the murder of a sexy cat lady, racially motivated violence, and other mysteries. Plus the art is stellar, and I love the roles of the different animals (rhinos and bears as local heavies, owls as academics). Pretty dark stuff and definitely just for adults. A second volume exists too, and you can bet I’ll be reading that one soon.

Phonogram: This two-volume (so far) series takes place in a world where the magic of music is a literal thing, and there are phonomancers who somehow get power from it. The first volume is an overly convoluted mystery (but has great art), but the second volume is pretty amazing and can be read on its own. It’s about one night in a club, told from eight different perspectives. And it’s in color! Again, aimed at an older audience, say 16 and up.

I also read the latest volume of Fables, a series that stays steadily in the “good” category and is well worth reading, if you haven’t read it yet. Skip volume 13, which dealt with various spin-offs and crossover, but the rest of the series is pretty solid.

And I’ll also be rereading Scott Pilgrim volume 1 when the color edition comes out (next week!). I’ve long said Scott Pilgrim is one of my all-time favorite series (just behind Love and Rockets), so I’m curious to see if I’m still TOTALLY IN LOVE with it.
One news tidbit I do want to share: This August 28th is the third annual Read Comics in Public Day! I don’t know what I’ll be reading yet, but I hope to see lots of other people out and about with comics!