Comic books have had a bad rap in the past. Viewed exclusively as the medium for young, male nerds, geeks and fan boys, comics have not been taken seriously as an art form or as respectable literature. We need not look any further than The Big Bang Theory for familiar stereotypes. However, just as the times have changed, so have comics.?

From their humble origins as single image woodblock prints criticizing officials in 1830s Japan, through Charles Wargman’s invention of the satirical Punch cartoon newspaper in 1862,? and the invention of Story Manga in Japan and the sequential art comics stateside in the 1930s, comics have come a long way indeed.?

Growing up, I couldn’t get enough of comics and collected several titles. My tastes changed and grew over the years and looking back, the styles, titles and topics are diverse. It’s amazing to me now that when I say I’m a comic book fan, I don’t get quite the same wilting glares. The reason for this is the release of blockbuster movies featuring many of these comic characters, and also the amazing things writers and artists are doing with the medium. ?

In recent years, the comic and its pal the graphic novel have been catering to more than just the superhero-loving crowd. You think you don’t like comics? Maybe you haven’t found the right one? Since there are countless audiences, readers and tastes, here’s a handful of different titles I would recommend that are currently on sale. And if you have an aversion to local comics stores, many of these titles are found in trade paperback form in most book stores.???

North 40. A small American town falls asleep after two bored teens unwittingly read a spell from a demonic book. The townspeople awake the next day to mutations, monsters, demons and the coming of the demonic Cthulhu who will bring hell on earth.

Chew. Tony Chu is a successful homicide detective, but success comes at a price. Chu gains psychic information from anything he eats.

Batman and Robin. A new Batman and Robin take over from an absent Bruce Wayne and deal with a new Villain named Professor Pyg and his Circus of Strange.?

Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The ongoing season 8 picked up where the T.V show ended. New characters, situations and big bads’ as well as older fan favorite The Sword. Paraplegic Dara Brighton’s family is massacred by individuals searching for a sword of great power. Dara finds the sword that heals her and sets her on a violent, bloody quest of vengeance.

Pride and Prejudice. Marvel comics brings it’s adaptation of Jane Austen’s fan favorite to the comic format. I myself am holding out for the adaptation of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, being released in early 2010,

Uncanny X-Men. Feared and hated by those they wish to protect, the X-Men face off against corrupt government, bigots, the titular sisterhood of evil and other countless villains in San Francisco.
The Walking Dead. A handful of disposable survivors of a zombie apocalypse strive to keep one step ahead of zombies, insane humans, cannibals and themselves in this survival-horror title.?