Mrs. Flanagan’s Top Five Comics

Before becoming a comics evangelist to all of you, I had plenty of practice with my wife, who was then my girlfriend, whom you may have met on this episode. Like many young women, she was under the ridiculous impression that comic books were childish, silly, uninteresting, and certainly not for her. But, as you can imagine, spending a lot of time with me it is almost impossible not to be affected by the lure of the sequential. I started slowly, and only gave her work that I thought would appeal to her specifically.

Here are the five titles that she loved most. You may notice that they’re not too far off from my Top Five. I guess that means we get along pretty well.

We get a lot of letters asking what comics people should give to their girlfriend, and most of the time, I’d follow that question with, “Well, what does she like?” Obviously, like all men, not all women have the same likes and dislikes. It works just the same with women. It’s a catchall, and not at all effective to say that books with love and relationships will appeal to all girls in some blanket fashion. It works the same way that all guys don’t like full on action books, or horror books.

There are many books I suggested to my special ladyfriend, and these are the ones that meant the most to her.

5) Fables and Jack of Fables

Lindsay’s story with this book is very similar to my own. I started reading this book in issues, and for some reason, I lost interest in it around issue 8 or 9. But I kept buying it for her, because she was reading it, and then she’d lost interest around issue 17, where I stopped buying it. Cut to about a year ago, when I’d been hearing more and more about how great the book was. So I went and read through those issues, most of which I hadn’t read the first time around. Then I handed them to her, and said, “you’ve got to read these again,” and we were both on board again. A little while after that, the spinoff that’s too good to be a spinoff, Jack of Fables, started up, and we’re both having a lot of fun with that too.

Lindsay: I like Fables a lot, but I think I might like Jack a bit more. Either way I put them both in as a tie for number 5. Fables is great because you get to see how these fantasy characters, who you grew up reading about, act in their every day lives. I love peering behind the curtain to see how someone else lives. But I like Jack because he’s a real jerk – that makes it fun to read – and funny. And his stint in Hollywood made me feel nostalgic for when I lived in LA.

4) The Walking Dead

This was a long shot recommendation for me, because I think this would just look like a dumb splatter-fest book. But a good story is a good story is a good story, and this one is so good, I defy anyone not to get into it. Such was the case with my lovely wife, where every 3-4 weeks, I get questioned about when the next volume of the trade paperback will show up. I think this is a great book for almost anyone, provided they can get past the gore, and see that there’s a great story in there too, with rich compelling characters.

Lindsay: I like that they’re on an adventure, and there’s ridiculous drama going on, and and that they’re working together as a team, even though it’s really stressful and difficult. Also, I ended up liking the book even more after I saw Robert Kirkman on the first iFanboy video, and he was so charming, and funny, and sort of round in that cute way where you wanted to squeeze him like a chipmunk. Mostly, you’d just want to hang out with him.

3) Invincible

I realize this is no surprise to the iFanboy audience, but this is, for me, the reason why I think this book is good enough for anyone who can get over the idea that it’s a superhero book, in much the same way that Battlestar Galactica is a great show for people who can get over the fact that it sounds like a lame show, when, in fact, it’s not. This is the best kind of superhero story, in the same way that the Spider-Man movie appealed to a mass audience. If this ever gets made into a movie, and they capture 10% of what makes this book about an emerging teenage superhero good, it’ll be in the top ten of all time. Well, probably. Then you add in the twist and the father drama, and that’s just gold storytelling.

Lindsay: I love a mix of real life stories and something completely unreal — i.e. fighting aliens, being from another planet and being able to fly to South Africa in 4 minutes. And the art is absolutely beautiful.

2) Box Office Poison

This might have been one of the first books that didn’t take much of a pitch to get Lindsay to read it, early on, before she had read many comics. But I read this immense volume in one day. I could not put it down. Plus, there was no genre hurdle to get over. It was just a story about people who were flawed and real, and were just like ourselves, or people we know. The story hits just as the characters are starting their real lives, after college, wondering what the hell they’re going to do, and when they’re gonna do it. If you’re in your 20’s, this is not a hard situation to relate to. But the thing is, the only way this works is if it’s done really well, because if it’s not, who cares? We’ve all been through it, so you better do a good job to make sure we care, and Alex Robinson does just that.

Lindsay: This was one of the first comics I read that was about “real” people, and it changed my opinion of what I thought comics were supposed to be. The characters feel real and I liked that I could relate.

1) Preacher

This one isn’t a stretch for comic readers. Most know about it, but it’s usually a bit of shock, because there’s nothing like this out there in books, film, or TV. It’s an utterly unique story. It has no equivalent, because it’s made up of all sorts of things that came before it, and they became something new. I didn’t know if Lindsay would like this one, and I’ll admit that I was surprised when she kept asking for more, and I’m even more surprised that to this day, this is her favorite comic series ever. Lindsay is not really into this kind of over the top entertainment in other media, but something in this Ennis/Dillon masterpiece really struck a cord in her that has yet to be surpassed.

Lindsay: While making this list, I realize I love books that, surprisingly, relate to the supernatural or science-fiction — this book is definitely supernatural and also questions religion. Both are good. But it’s also just a lot of fun. This book is about killing, drinking, God, demons and vampires all in one. What more can you ask for? It’s serious and fun, all at once. It’s my favorite.


  1. Very nice list…haven’t read Box Office Poison yet. surprised that Preacher is at the top spot. Can’t get my girlfriend to read many comics…not much out there about gardening and mysteries…

  2. Per iFanboy’s suggestion, recently, I passed a copy of “Box Office Poison” to a lady friend. She really enjoyed it so I gave her “Blankets” as a follow up. She really really liked Blankets and went out and bought “Good-bye, Chunky Rice” and “The Plain Janes”, which I am now borrowing off of her. So there you go, another convert.

    On the flip side. I passed a copy of “Marvels” to a female friend who was really into the X-Men movies and she lost it without ever reading it. So it seems to be a good idea to start with something outside of the superhero world.

  3. On the flip side. I passed a copy of “Marvels” to a female friend who was really into the X-Men movies and she lost it without ever reading it. So it seems to be a good idea to start with something outside of the superhero world.

    I think this is true for any non-comics reader, as it immediately deprives them of the pre-conceived notion that comics are all about superheroes.

  4. I got the wife into Runaways, Mouse Guard, and Blankets. That makes for a happy marriage.

    Tried to get her into Ultimate Spider-man–that pushed it too far.

    She has actually been mad at me before and yelled at me, “Quit listening to those three geeks and listen to me!” I’m sorry guys. In domestic disputes, things get said that we all want to forget.

  5. I have been trying to get my wife to read Fables and, she is genuinely interested, however that first book is kind of hard to get over. It just isn’t nearly as good as what that book becomes.

    She shocked the hell out of me one day when we were driving for 4 hours and she found a Sandman: Endless Nights book in my backseat and read the entire thing. I haven’t even finished that book and she LOVED it. She is in no way a “goth” girl, but she loves fantasy such as Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter so maybe this is a comic extension of that. Since then she has asked me to purchase the Sandman series for her (which I did from the Amazon link on your page.)

    I love how we all try to share the other passion in our lives with our significant others. I suppose we all want them to get the same enjoyment we receive from these “silly picture books.”

  6. My soon to be wife is a librarian, specifically a children’s librarian but also heads up a lot of the teen programs, so when I got back into comics a few years ago she would just start randomly bringing things home to me that I had never heard of. “Babe, what are these Runaways books down here? And this one, Blankets?” I’ve got her on board with Y, and have been sneaking Walking Dead trades underneath her pillow before bed but she still hasn’t taken to it as ravenously as myself. But she did let me put the Marvel Heroes stamps on the wedding invitations last week, so hope is still alive.

  7. David, if she put Marvel stamps on the invitations, you have chosen well my friend. My wife wouldn’t have allowed that in a millions years.

    When we entered the reception she bent and let us walk in to the March of the Imperial Stormtroopers/Vader’s Theme and I thought I was in heaven.

  8. Josh, I have a question for Lindsay:

    Does she think her experience as a photographer has anything to do with her interest in comics as a medium? Considering it’s a bunch of still frames which compile to tell that sequential story? Does she look at it that way, or is it a completely different animal?

  9. Whoa, that list is cooler than mine. It’s cooler than a lot of peoples, and I am talking about the most hardcore of comic fans.

    When in doubt fellas, Bone is always a safe bet.

  10. When I was much younger, middle school I think, I gave a lady friend Understanding Comics and asked her just to read the first chapter. My thought at the time was that it would teach her about what comics can be

  11. My last girlfriend told me that I should read Preacher. I read the first issue, but I have yet to get the rest, due to money and time constraints.

    Still, it was good.

  12. My thought at the time was that it would teach her about what comics can be

  13. I have tried for the past year or so to try and get my girlfriend to read comics, but there just doesn’t seem to be much out there that holds her attention for long. And I mean, I tried some good ones, like American Born Chinese, Bone, Y: The Last Man, Ex Machina, and Fables. Alas, as Mr. Flanagan pointed out, different strokes for different folks.

    I’m not particularly bothered though, and she always makes an effort to listen when I talk about them and show a marginal amount of interest. I’m one lucky guy.

  14. Because she was not into it at all. As much as I love that book, it is really not the best thing to get someone into comics who has no interest.

  15. I’ve lent Blankets to every girl at my job and all of them loved it. I know people all have different tastes, but I can’t grasp the thought of someone not likeing it.

    Neither myself, not my wife particularly loved that book. I don’t think either of us related to the characters all that much. We liked Clumsy (which we talked about in a recent video show), and Stylish Vittles better on that front.

    I’ll do some sort of review on Stylish Vittles some day.

  16. Hey all! Yeah! I finally have a reason to post…

    Josh, I have a question for Lindsay: Does she think her experience as a photographer has anything to do with her interest in comics as a medium? Considering it’s a bunch of still frames which compile to tell that sequential story? Does she look at it that way, or is it a completely different animal?

    There’s definitely no direct connection, but I am a very visual person, so the artwork does draw me to the medium. And a good personal story never hurts.

  17. i’m happy to say that my girlfriend is becoming a big fans of the mediums

    the books she collects are

    Red Sonja, Runaways, Ms.marvel,fables (in trades)
    wonder woman, Ninja scroll
    new avengers & mighty avengers

    plus @ WW Chicago she picked up like 15 trades & hardcovers of all diferent Genres.

  18. Wow, pretty close to my own wife. Sub out preacher with Runaways and it’s pretty much the same thing. She used to read X-men in the late 90’s, but lost interest. Now she reads mine and gets a few of her own.

  19. he-he… – Sinful Comics