Y’all know I love me some superheroes, but many of the comics readers I talk to on Twitter or elsewhere disagree. They’re iffy on the whole costume-and-powers thing, or they prefer fantasy to science fiction, or they’re confused by the continuity and have no idea where to start.
Marvel, alas, isn't exactly brimming with books for these sorts of readers, but I've uncovered a few titles that may be of interest. I offer 'em up to you now.
Outright Non-Superhero Titles
An out-and-out secondary world fantasy miniseries about two childhood friends who find themselves on opposite sides of a class-driven magical conflict. It’s a CrossGen book that sits outside Marvel continuity, and it’s fab. I wish it were a full series with seventy-five issues and counting.
An ongoing MYSTIC series did predate this one, but Marvel didn't revive it when they purchased CrossGen's stock and it's out of print due to the company's bankruptcy.
Doctor Strange is an established part of Marvel continuity, but this miniseries is far more concerned with his magic than with the superheroes he sometimes teams up with. It’s contemporary fantasy and makes a great introduction for anyone curious about the character (which was me a couple months back).
Fans of the X-Men will recognize the characters in this four-issue miniseries as well as the bare bones of each story, but the tales themselves are pure fantasy and divorced from the established continuity. That makes this miniseries a nice pick for people who simply enjoy fairy tales.
Okay, so MARVELS is very much concerned with superheroes, but it’s not really about them. Instead, Busiek and Ross explore how the existence of superpowered individuals impacts the average person on the street. It’s deeply affecting stuff, and a great book for either established fans of superheroic shenanigans or for people who just aren’t sure what all the fuss is about and want to approach it from a different angle.
Less Superheroic Superheroes:
Jennifer Walters is a green giantess with super strength. She’s also a fiercely talented lawyer, and this sadly short-lived series gives far more weight to her law practice than to her superheroic antics. It’s fascinating and I wish it were still going strong with no end in sight.
Kamala Khan, uberfan of Captain Marvel, must figure out how to balance her newly acquired superpowers with her life as a Muslim-American teenager in New Jersey. She’s part of continuity, but she’s new enough to the whole superhero schtick that she’s a great pick for anyone who's interested in easing their way into the genre.
The two Hawkeyes--Clint Barton and Kate Bishop (light of my heart, breath in my lungs)--don’t have superpowers. They’re just really, really good at firing arrows into things and/or people. This comic follows their adventures when they’re not being superheroes. Mostly. Sometimes the day job creeps in. It’s my favourite.
What are your favourite non-superheroic Marvel comics?