I recently spoke with someone who told me they don’t read comic books because they’re not into superheroes. Their perception of the medium was one of capes and tights and stories written for younger readers, not adults. The reality is far from that common misconception, and there are actually a wide range of compelling stories in diverse genres being told in comic book form. In fact, people are sometimes surprised to discover how many movies are based on comic books that don’t have a single superhero on the screen. So, for you readers out there who haven’t given comic books a try because superheroes aren’t your thing, here are my top five picks of ongoing comic book series that don’t feature a single superhero on their pages.

‘Fade Out,’ written by Ed Brubaker and illustrated by Sean Phillips

An up-and-coming starlet is found murdered, and the only person haunted enough by it to dig for the truth is Charlie, a big studio screenwriter who views life through the bottom of a bottle. Set in the old Hollywood of 1948, this noir thriller captures the deceitful things that those in the studio system do to stay in the public eye and the secrets they desperately keep from view.

‘Alex + Ada,’ written by Jonathan Luna and Sarah Vaughn and illustrated by Jonathan Luna

Set in the near future, Alex is a single young man who receives an unusual present from a family member. Into his life comes Ada, the newest in realistic android companions. At first, Alex has no interest in keeping Ada but slowly warms up to her. He soon realizes that his new relationship can only build to a point with a non-sentient partner and seeks out a group of hackers who can switch on Ada’s artificial intelligence and give her thoughts and feelings all her own. However, this form of hacking is highly illegal and could mean a life on the run if their secret is discovered.

‘Nutmeg,’ written by James Wright and illustrated by Jackie Crofts

Cassia and Poppy are two high school friends who are looked down on by the local Girl Scout-like group, The Lady Rangers. The duo plot their revenge in the kitchen with their special nutmeg laced brownies that eventually lead to their downfall. “Nutmeg” is a creative mash up of Mean Girls and Breaking Bad, written and drawn in an angsty yet whimsical style that is a refreshing read for all ages.

‘The Kitchen,’ written by Ollie Master and illustrated by Ming Doyle

Set in the gritty New York City of 1977, three mob wives decide to take over the Irish gangs of Hell’s Kitchen after their husbands are sent to jail. They quickly learn that no one will take them seriously and are forced to make themselves over as tough-as-nails mobsters to gain respect. The city itself feels like one of the main characters in a rough Scorcese-like way, with one issue taking place during the infamous 25-hour blackout of summer 1977.

‘Bitch Planet,’ written by Kelly Sue deConnick and illustrated by Valentine deLandro

Sending up the “women in prison” exploitation genre, this series follows five prisoners on a women’s prison planet. “Bitch Planet” is where women are sent to for being non-compliant with the oppressive patriarchal rules of society. Their offenses include being too outspoken and brash as well as thinking and standing up for themselves. Kelly Sue deConnick expertly takes this particular exploitation genre and turns it upside down into a much needed feminist and gender-equality battle cry.

Eddie deAngelini is a co-owner of Hi De Ho Comics, located at 1431 Lincoln Blvd., and the writer/artist of the weekly webcomic Collectors, found at www.collectorscomic.com.

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