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Read Harder Recommendations: Non-Traditional Art

Chris M. Arnone

Senior Contributor

The son of a librarian, Chris M. Arnone's love of books was as inevitable as gravity. He holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Missouri - Kansas City. His novel, The Hermes Protocol, was published by Castle Bridge Media in 2023 and the next book in that series is due out in winter 2024. His work can also be found in Adelaide Literary Magazine and FEED Lit Mag. You can find him writing more books, poetry, and acting in Kansas City. You can also follow him on social media (Facebook, Goodreads, Instagram, Twitter, website).

The Panels 2015 Read Harder Challenge consists of 26 challenge categories spanning the breadth and depth of all things that may be considered comics. Every week we’ll give you reading recommendations from one of the categories.

When finding recommendations for non-traditional art, the first task was to define traditional art. For the vast majority of comics, the artist begins with pencils. Once all the pencils are in place, inks go on. Colors after that. Lettering is the final stage. So now we’ve set the standard for traditional art. Here are some reading recommendations for books that fall outside the normal.

Kingdom ComeKingdom Come by Alex Ross and Mark Waid

Alex Ross is a painter by trade, so everything he does falls outside the bounds of traditional artwork. I didn’t want to list everything Ross has done, so I just picked one of my favorites: Kingdom Come. In it, Waid and Ross tell the story of a future DC Universe where the old heroes have retired and a new generation of heroes have lost their moral compasses. What must the old guard do to restore order?




Mr Punch 20th AnniversaryThe Tragical Comedy or Comical Tragedy of Mr. Punch by Dave McKean and Neil Gaiman

Dave McKean is another artist that rarely stays within the bounds of the traditional. While he’s done some pencil/ink/color work, he’s also prone to dabble in paints and mixed media. His collaborations with Neil Gaiman are frequent and The Tragical Comedy or Comical Tragedy of Mr. Punch is one of their early works. It looks at domestic violence through the lens of a young boy, whose buried memories are shaken loose by the Punch and Judy puppets.

Lupus Volume 1 Peeters

Lupus by Frederik Peeters

Lupus is a science fiction tale of two friends on an intergalactic fishing trip. Peeters uses drawing as a process of automatic writing and “improvises” while drawing. He figures out the story as he draws. No pencil, he uses ink directly not to lose the spontaneity of his process. — Hélène




Other Recommendations:

Havok Wolverine MeltdownHavok and Wolverine: Meltdown by John Muth, Kent Williams, Walter Simonson, and Louise Simonson

A Softer World by Emily Horne and Joey Comeau

Marvels by Alex Ross and Kurt Busiek






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