There are many international comic book genres available nowadays.
The majority of comics read by most comic fans tend to be superhero comics. They are without a doubt the most popular genre in America, and superheroes as they are today are very much an American thing. Outside of the US, however, there is a very wide range of international comic book genres that have had huge lasting impacts on the industry, even in America.
Many international comic book genres will often be far darker and bleaker in tone, and often in very different genres to the standard superhero affair. This four point guide will give you some basic knowledge about international comic book genres.
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1. British Comics
British comics are very different to what some readers may expect. While American comics were often more fantastical with high flying, swashbuckling adventures in comics like Superman and Spider-Man, British comics were a much more gritty affair.
British media is usually quite sordid in tone, save for a few Doctor Who like shows here and there. A big part of the reason for this is that Britain is a nation that has been through quite a lot, with a long history that is far older than America.
Everything from economic depressions, caused by the Second World War, and back even further to the poverty of the Victorian era, the stereotype of Britain being a cheerful place of gentleman has always been a misguide one.
This has had a notable effect on the tone of British comic books, with comics such as 2000AD (particularly Judge Dredd), Crisis and many more being bleak, dark, cynical tales with characters to match.
British comics often dealt with issues that were plaguing the country at the time. A great example being Raymond Briggs’ When the Wind Blows, which dealt with the aftermath of Nuclear War and follows an elderly couple, misinformed by the government, slowly dying of radiation poisoning.
Other politically driven comics include the aforementioned Crisis, a left leaning comic published by Fleetaway, which contained stories such as Third World War which gave heavy criticism of Thatcherism, something that fellow British comic V for Vendetta also did.
Writers such as Garth Ennis also got their start in Crisis. Ennis wrote True Faith for the magazine, a controversial story which followed an angry widower in his campaign to destroy churches in order to get revenge on God. Due to the complaints that it received from Christian groups, Fleetaway removed it from sale after only two months.
The irony that a publisher that prided itself on being politically aware and actually about political topics caved in and censored its own comic should not be lost on anyone. What was even more humorous was that it was published in the United States, a far more Christian country than the UK, with no issue whatsoever.
The concept behind True Faith, a man out for revenge on God is not something that Ennis would forget either, as he later created Preacher with Steve Dillon (who also worked on Punisher with him). Other comics from American publishers with entirely British creators include The Killing Joke, Watchmen, and Sandman by Neil Gaiman.
The impact that British writers had on American comics is no doubt huge, and the British invasion was a large part of the reason that American comics developed and started dealing with more mature topics.
They are not the only comics from Europe that a hardcore comic fan should look into however…
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