Getting into reading and collecting comics can seem difficult to the newcomer and not everyone likes Superheroes.


Given the early connections between comic and pulp novels, the popularity of crime comic goes without saying.  A famous example is DC’s Detective Comics which introduced the hero Batman in issue #27.  However the introduction of the Comic Code and its restrictions on the depiction of crime killed off the crime comic (and many other genres.)

Part of getting people into comics is finding something they like.  Trying to make people read superhero comics isn’t going to make them like comics if they don’t like superheroes.  So here are some comics in different genres:




Marvel/Icon. 2006 –

  • Creator owned series by writer Ed Brubaker and artist Sean Phillips.
  • A series of self-contained stories set in Centre City.
  • Where to start:  Criminal vol 1 Coward (collects vol 1 #1 – 5) or Criminal Deluxe Edition vol 1 (collects vol 1 #1 – 10 & vol 2 #1 – 3)


From Hell

Eddie Campbell Comics.  Serialised 1989 – 1996.  Mature Readers.

  • Written by Alan Moore, art by Eddie Campbell.
  • About the Jack the Ripper investigation, but being Alan Moore, it’s about so much more.
  • Where to start:  Available in a single collected edition.
  • Released as a film in 2001.



A History of Violence

Paradox Press (Vertigo/DC Comics).  1997 Graphic Novel.  Mature Readers.

  • Written by John Wagner, art by Vince Looke.
  • A man quiet life is shattered by an act of violence and his own criminal past.
  • Reviewed here.
  • Where to start:  Stand alone graphic novel.
  • Released as a film in 2005 (reviewed here.)




Futabasha.  Serialised in Weekly Manga Action 1996 – 1998.  Mature Readers.

  • Written by Garon Tsuchiya, art by Nobuaki Minegishi.
  • A man released from prison looks for answers.
  • Where to start:  Old Boy vol 1 (translated into English and available from Dark Horse Comics).
  • Released as a film in 2003 and remade in 2013.



100 Bullets

Vertigo (DC).  1999 – 2009.  Mature Readers.

  • Written by Brian Azzarello, art by Eduardo Risso.
  • The mysterious Agent Graves gives people a briefcase that contains the identity (and proof) of someone who did the recipient wrong, a handgun and 100 unmarked, untraceable bullets and the choice of whether to use them or not.
  • Where to start:  100 Bullets: First Shot, Last Call.  (Collects 100 Bullets #1 – 5 & material from Vertigo: Winter’s Edge #3) or 100 Bullets Deluxe Edition vol 1 (Collects 100 Bullets #1 – 9 & material from Vertigo: Winter’s Edge #3).



Road to Perdition

Paradox Press (Vertigo/DC Comics).

  • Written by Max Allan Collins, art by Richard Piers Rayner.
  • A mob enforcer and his son go on the lam when their family is murdered by his bosses.
  • Reviewed here.
  • Where to start:  Stand alone graphic novel (although spin-offs were published later.)
  • Released as a film in 2002.  (Reviewed here.)




Vertigo (DC Comics).  2007 – 2012.  Mature Readers.

  • Written by Jason Aaron, art by R. M. Guéra.
  • Modern day crime on a reservation.
  • Where to start:  Scalped: Indian Country (collects #1 – 5)



Sin City

Dark Horse Comics.  1991 – 2000.  Mature Readers.

  • By Frank Miller.
  • A series of self-contained stories set in Sin City.
  • Where to Start:  Sin City: The Hard Goodbye.
  • Released as films in 2005 and 2014.


 2 Guns

2 Guns

Boom! Studios.  2007 mini-series.

  • Written by Steven Grant, art by Mateus Santolouco.
  • Action with two undercover agents infiltrating the mob.
  • Where to start:  2Guns collected edition (a sequel 3Guns has been published.)
  • Released as a film in 2013.

~ DUG.

[October 2014][November 2014][December 2014]

This blog is meant to iron out issues and help understanding of comic book terms and ideas.  However, it also uses many terms and ideas new readers may be unfamiliar with.  For clarifications or corrects, comment below.


7 thoughts on “NOT JUST SUPER HEROES – Crime Comics

  1. This made me realize how many of the best comics I’ve read are crime comics- criminal is great and 100 Bullets is one of my favourite stories ever in any medium. It’s so rich in its story and the dialogue, including accents, is superb.

    • Crime fiction and comics are a genre and media that really complement each other, I think. And the modern crime comic is so much more.

      Yeah, 100 Bullets is great. The “Be numb”/heartbeat thing sticks with me as a moment of brilliance.

      Do you have any recommendations beyond the above?

      • Not really, you’ve covered most of the crime comics I’ve read. There’s some nice crime/superhero crossover work like Gotham Central, and Rucka’s Queen and Country espionage comics will appeal to almost anyone who enjoys Criminal or 100 Bullets.

      • I haven’t seen it, but I did a comparison between the show and Queen and Country – possibly in an introduction to a Queen and Country collection. Have you watched it? And if you did was it any good?

  2. Pingback: MY TOP X – Still more Top 10s By Me | Top X Topics

  3. Pingback: NOT JUST SUPER-HEROES – Autobiographical & Semi-autobiographical comics | Comic Book Stepping On Point

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