If there are two certainties in comics right now, it’s that adaptations are all the rage (from theaters to your TV screen), and that we’re probably never going to see any kind of filmed version of one of the most popular comics running, Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples’ Saga. It’s not that Saga wouldn’t make for an awesome movie—its world just feels to expansive for the screen, resistant to being compressed into a two-hour screenplay, even with a mega-budget and a, er, slightly prohibitive rating from the MPAA. (The same holds true for Vaughan’s other zeitgeist-y title, Paper Girls, which just keeps getting better.)
To celebrate the release of Saga, Vol. 7, we asked Vaughan to recommend 10 comics he loves because they are, if not unadaptable, then perfectly suited to life on the page.
I like adaptations just fine, but my favorite comics are those that feel like they’re not desperate to become a movie or television series or whatever. So here are ten of my favorite recent graphic novels that take advantage of comics’ unique ability to explore the world and ourselves in ways that no other visual medium can.
Bumf, by Joe Sacco
One of the most important journalists working today returns to his roots as an underground cartoonist with this brutally hilarious volume satirizing the horrors, past and future, of America’s executive branch.
Injection, by Warren Ellis, Declan Shalvey, and Jordie Bellaire
A perfect blend of crime, science fiction and horror, with some of the most beautifully executed action scenes ever designed.
Providence, by Alan Moore and Jacen Burrows
The greatest writer in the history of comics is doing some of his finest work ever with artist Jacen Burrows and their harrowing exploration of Lovecraft.
I Love This Part, by Tillie Walden
A creator who’s half my age and twice as talented as I’ll ever be, Tillie Walden is the master of gorgeously melancholy dreamscapes.
Moonshine, by Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso
Whiskey and werewolves! Killer period drama from one of the strongest writer/artist duos ever assembled.
War Stories, by Garth Ennis and Tomas Aria
I don’t think any writer in any medium writes better dialogue than Garth Ennis, as evidenced by any volume of this series, which explores lesser-known battles from World War II in brilliant detail.
The Fix, by Nick Spencer and Steve Lieber
This insanely funny series about two extremely dirty LAPD detectives is the blackest comedy being published today.
Our Expanding Universe, by Alex Robinson
Robinson has created some of my favorite slice-of-life comics, and this ensemble story about five New York City friends grappling with early middle age is his best yet.
Resident Alien, by Peter Hogan and Steve Parkhouse
Featuring one of the most likable protagonists I’ve ever encountered, this series follows a benevolent alien who, after crash-landing on Earth, poses as a human doctor and spends his days solving mysteries while waiting for a ride home that might never come.
Tenements, Towers, and Trash: An Unconventional Illustrated History of New York City, by Julia Wertz
One of the funniest voices in comics is now also one of New York City’s most interesting historians. Check out some of Julia Wertz’s fascinating contributions to The New Yorker and Harper’s Magazine while you wait for this book to come out later in 2017.
What unadaptable comics would you add to Brian’s list?