29 Binge-able Comics For Your Weekend
What makes a great binge? Sometimes it’s a thing that’s super episodic, like The Twilight Zone. Sometimes it’s a show that pays off damn near every little thing, like Breaking Bad. Sometimes it’s something that you can watch 50 times and not get tired of, like The Office.
Why not try a comics binge? You can read a ton over a weekend, you don’t have to wear clothes while you do it, and there’s more than you could ever get through in a lifetime.
Which comics make for good binges? Here are some ideas. Some are complete series, some are portions of on-going series, and regardless, I'll link you to a good starting place.
The best of the buddy cop trope you’ll ever find. Plus superheroes. Plus, the stories and dialogue Christopher Priest put together are hilarious. If you recognize the greatness of Tango and Cash, you’ll dig this one right away.
Gail Simone put together over 50 issues of Birds of Prey. Cop drama. Also with superheroes. The lineup is interesting, the characters are worth following, and the setups are all solid. Gail Simone has written a boatload of books, and she said leaving Birds of Prey was physically painful. Read it and see why.
Tom King has earned a reputation for taking mediocre characters and doing great things with them. In Vision he created an android who was trying to live a human life. That...didn’t work out so well for our android friend. In Mister Miracle, the titular character balances family life and interplanetary war. That went better somehow. Although King’s three big superhero books aren’t technically connected, they make up what I’m calling the Tommyverse. Or King Comics. Whatever. They make a great set of back-to-back reads.
Doofy, fun, and just what you need if you want a crime caper mixed with comedy. Think of it as Ocean’s 11 except all the players involved are sort of inept. Watching characters piss themselves with the arrival of the Punisher is a HUGE laugh.
Wanna read through a few decades of X-Men history in no time flat? This is your answer. The first volume takes some stories that might not be all that fun to read but have great story ideas and turns them into something more digestible, more fun, and with stylized art.
In the last few years DC comics decided to remake some Hanna Barbera properties. The Flintstones? Goofy sitcom turned into non-obnoxious political commentary. Snagglepuss? Pink cat man turned into a gay McCarthy-era playwright. Scooby-Doo? Kind of the same, except more gritty. Read back-to-back, these books build a wider universe of stories, just like their Saturday morning inspirations.
I always feel like this one needs a push with adults. It looks like a book for kids, and it works for kids, but damn if you won’t have a great time with it. Heroic grandmas, a great trio of main characters. This one even sees me go against one of my primary rules: Nothing with dragons. You can even buy the entire saga in one volume, which will strengthen your forearms while you read.
Garth Ennis could make this list for so many different reasons. Preacher, The Boys, Punisher. But if you’ve read Ennis, you know that war stories creep into just about everything he does. At some point, someone had the brilliant idea of just letting him go for it.
Elseworlds is a DC thing where they take heroes and put them in different settings, different time periods, give them different powers, and then tell stories that are non-canonical, sometimes weird, and always make you think. These Batman collections in particular are sort of like Black Mirror except Batman stars in each one. Or, maybe I should say A Batman. Because sometimes he’s a vampire or something. Because why the hell not?
It took a long time for me to find a Conan series I liked. Which is weird, right? What’s to mess up? Barbarian guy swinging a sword? Seems like a home run. Kurt Busiek pulled it off. Way more fun than that Kevin Sorbo Hercules stuff. Man versus wolf. Man versus frost giant. There's not much else to ask for.
J. Michael Straczynski put together a series with a great premise, good pacing, and totally-worth-it payoff. If you were ever even mildly intrigued by Heroes, this is the comic that show ripped off.
This is some wonderfully nerdy stuff right here. A sort of reincarnation of King Arthur, except Excalibur is now a magic baseball bat. I don’t want to say too much about what else happens. It’s a cool indie comic that’s been running for decades. Added bonus: You get to watch the main character go bald. This might be amusing only for me.
If you like your comics a little more soap opera-y, little less super-powered, this might be the ticket. A love triangle between two ladies and a dude, which only gets more complicated as some crime drama unfolds, Strangers in Paradise is charming, fun to read, and combines some of the feel of your favorite sitcoms with the joy of a cheesy crime show.
Alan Moore is a huge name in comics. Any number of series could work here, but...I think this is the one to go with for a binge. For one, you probably haven’t read it. For another, it ran its course and is complete. It’s weird, different, and an underappreciated masterpiece.
This is like watching a Japanese version of the 60’s Batman show. In volume one Batman battles: a crazed guy who decides to destroy anything that looks like a face, a rubber ball man, a weather magician, and a psychic gorilla who wears a superhero costume. It’s absolutely bonkers in the best possible way, and the villain of the week formula has never been stronger.
The writer, Robert Kirkman, is most famous for Walking Dead, of course. But that series is a little slow for a good binge (#HotTake). Invincible, in my opinion, is not only better, but it has a tighter arc that wasn't elongated for a TV schedule (#HotTakeAgain). The art is gorgeous, and the story ups the ante just often enough to keep you rolling along.
Smart, under-read comics by James Robinson. This series does a great job wrapping up all of its loose ends, paying off anything that’s set up, and yet it’s somehow not well known outside hardcore comics fans. The art is also very classic. If you miss the 90’s, this’ll give you a nice booster.
If the pop art style of Mike Allred isn’t enough for you from the beginning, Peter Milligan’s take on mutants and reality TV will push you through. The team had a great run, and it’s more than worth your time to revisit.
Before he got big doing mainstream stuff, Jeff Lemire was doing small-scale comics about growing up Canadian. Lemire made a return with Royal City, creating an indie masterpiece you can read from start to finish in a few short hours.
This stuff is nerdy as all hell, but it makes for a great extended read. Elfquest is a long-running series with multiple branches popping off the main trunk, and if you dig fantasy action, this is the way to go. Nerdy, yes. But hey, bingeing in your house over the weekend is the perfect opportunity to experience this bad boy. Don’t worry. We won’t tell.
Matt Kindt put together an unusual story that’ll be great for fans of things like The Raw Shark Texts by Steven Hall. Sometimes indie books lack intensity, but Mind MGMT ranks up there with the great, high-tension thrillers you find on TV.
If you’re someone who does a lot of martial arts movies, Luther Strode is the way to go. Hyper violent, beautifully rendered, and with a wink and a nod here and there for comics fans, this one is destined to please.
Warren Ellis is another creator who HAS to make the list. The hard part is choosing just one thing. I choose Planetary. Because there’s a huge benefit to reading this one straight through. Get a drink, pop some popcorn, and settle in for a hell of a ride. It’s sci-fi/superhero action at its best.
Do you like your downers? Binges that leave you feeling hollowed out? This one’s for you. The world starts ending in this book, and it only gets worse as it goes. Weird creatures (on both sides), hard choices, and a good dose of the supernatural bring this one home.
This is probably my favorite Spider-Man run, and that’s saying something. You can read it from start to finish, it gives you a great sense of the character’s history (updated to keep things fresh), and the highs and lows would make Smilin’ Stan proud. It leads straight into the Miles Morales stories too, which extends your binge well beyond a weekend.
Harvey Pekar’s comics tell the story of a quiet, simple person living a quiet, simple life. They’re short, and most of the stories are unspectacular. It’s in bingeing them that you really see their greatness. Each story acts as a layer that builds on the previous. Maybe you’ve read some American Splendor and didn’t see the appeal. I suggest you give it a good, long read and see what you think.
How much Fart Party is too much Fart Party? I don’t know because I haven’t reached my limit yet. Julia Wertz is one of the funniest creators in comics, and c’mon. Who doesn’t want to repeat the name Fart Party over and over?
Starting right off with my personal favorite character, Maggie Chascarillo, the decades-spanning run of Love & Rockets is among the masterpieces of comics. Weird, fun, heartbreaking, this epic series has something for everybody.
For this binge, you've gotta get Chip Zdarsky's Spectacular Spider-Man vols 1 and 2, and pre-order Spider-Man: Life Story. I'll never make a comics list without a Zdarsky book or two on it, and although these two books aren't directly connected, you'll laugh, cry, and have a whole new view of our favorite webslinger.
That should be a good...decade of comics binges. Got any for me?
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