Comics. Do you like them? Would you like to use them to improve your English too?
Here are my 10 favourite comics in English.
Have a look and see if you can find one or two that you’d like to read.
1. Calvin And Hobbes By Bill Watterson
“Calvin and Hobbes” is often cited as “the last great newspaper comic”.
According to Wikipedia, at the peak of its popularity, this comic strip was featured in over 2,400 newspapers worldwide so the chances are that you might have seen it in one of your national newspapers too.
“Calvin and Hobbes” was created by Bill Watterson, an American cartoonist, and it follows the adventures of a young boy named Calvin and his stuffed tiger Hobbes.
The two friends go on all sorts of adventures together but what really makes this comic strip so special is its clever humour and insightful observations. It also explores themes such as imagination, friendship, relationships, and philosophy.
“Calvin and Hobbes” is a comic that you’ll enjoy no matter how old you are.
2. Peanuts By Charles M. Schulz
“Peanuts” is one of the most popular comic strips ever.
It was published continuously for 50 years, from 1950 to 2000, and you’ve probably read it in your first language as well.
The stories revolve around the lives and adventures of Charlie Brown, his circle of friends, and his dog, Snoopy.
These characters are beloved by people from all around the world and some of their catchphrases such as “Good grief!” have become so well-known that are now part of popular culture.
Not many other comics have made such an impact on culture!
The themes that emerge in this comic strip are often the joys and challenges of childhood, the complexities of human relationships, and the pursuit of happiness.
Last but not least, “Peanuts” has even collaborated with NASA to encourage young people to be interested in space exploration. Not many other comics have made such an impact on education either!
3. Garfield By Jim Davis
Garfield is a lazy, selfish, and sarcastic orange cat. He likes naps, food, and TV, but hates Mondays.
Garfield sounds like many people I know and this is probably why readers from all over the world can relate to him!
This popular comic has been around since 1978 and focuses mostly on the interactions among Garfield, Jon – Garfield’s owner – and Odie the dog.
Garfield often makes funny observations and sarcastic comments that can help you appreciate and understand how English speakers use humour.
And if you’re a cat owner, you’ll especially enjoy reading this comic as it explores the dynamics of pet-owner relationships.
4. Batman By DC
Batman is a famous superhero known worldwide, so I don’t think he needs an introduction.
But let me give you the most important info about who he is and what he does so you can be more clear about the sort of stories you’ll be reading in this comic.
During the day, Bruce Wayne lives a wealthy lifestyle, but at night, he transforms into Batman, a superhero that wears a cape and patrols the dark streets and rooftops of Gotham City to keep it safe.
He has a clear life mission: protect others and seek justice for his parents, who were killed by a criminal named Joe Chill.
Batman has trained himself to be physically and mentally strong and has exceptional martial arts abilities, endless wealth, brilliant deductive skills, and advanced technology.
He runs in the streets, flies in the darkness, and fights criminals for you. Wouldn’t you want to have him in your hometown? What a shame he’s just a fictional comic character!
5. The Simpsons Comics By Matt Groening
If you love watching the American yellow family from Springfield, you’ll also love reading their stories in “The Simpsons Comics”, a comic series that was first published in November 1993.
Each issue of this comic presents a standalone story where you'll find hilarious jokes, clever references, and witty dialogue that will keep you entertained from cover to cover.
Unfortunately “The Simpsons Comics” stopped being published in 2018. But don’t worry, you have over 240 issues waiting for you to be read so you’ll have plenty of stories to enjoy.
Oh, remember “Batman” in number 4? Well, look what I’ve found: Bartman, a comic reprint that was not included in the original series of “The Simpsons Comics”.
By the way, “The Simpsons” is one of my 20 best TV shows to learn English.
6. The Walking Dead By Robert Kirkman
The stories in this highly acclaimed comic series take place in a post-apocalyptic world overrun by zombies. But it wouldn’t be fun if all the characters were zombies, would it?
So here comes a group of humans trying hard not to become a zombie’s lunch. Challenging, huh?
The storytelling and the drawings in this comic are so brilliant that they were turned into a TV series with the same name. So it would be a great idea to grab some popcorn and watch that too for maximum English exposure.
Just a warning: lots of English but also lots of blood and violence too!
7. Watchmen By Alan Moore And Dave Gibbons
“Watchmen” is a comic book that was published as a limited series by DC Comics between 1986 and 1987.
You’ll read the stories of a group of retired and active superheroes – known as the Watchmen – living in an alternate version of America during the Cold War era.
When one of them, the Comedian, is murdered, this sets in motion a series of events that unveil a conspiracy threatening the stability of the world.
Power, morality, identity, and the nature of heroism itself are the main themes.
But why does “Watchmen” stand out? Why is it considered a masterpiece?
Innovative narrative techniques and non-linear storytelling are the answer. This isn’t just another superhero story. “Watchmen” challenges your expectations and offers you a thought-provoking examination of society and the human condition.
Like “The Walking Dead”, this comic was adapted into a highly regarded film in 2009 and later into a mini TV series in 2019 too.
Again, plenty of English and fun for you.
8. Sapiens: A Graphic History, Volume 1: The Birth Of Humankind By Yuval Noah Harari, David Vandermeulen & Daniel Casanave
Have you read “Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind” by historian Harari? If not, why not?!
It’s an amazing book about the history of you, me, and all other humans that have ever existed!
But I'm talking about comics in this post, so here is “Sapiens: A Graphic History, Volume 1: The Birth of Humankind” a graphic novel adaptation of Yuval Noah Harari's best-selling book.
In Harari’s book you’ll get pages and pages filled with words. No images but lots of amazing facts, details, and information.
This graphic novel, on the other hand, condenses the complex ideas and concepts of the original book into visuals, texts, and illustrations.
You’ll discover and learn about significant milestones in human history such as the development of language, the agricultural revolution, the rise of civilisations, and the impact of technological advancements.
The texts are easy to understand so you’ll not only get exposed to language you can comprehend but you’ll explore the history of humankind without sweating.
If you don’t feel like reading the book, this graphic novel is definitely the best alternative for you.
9. The Art Of War: A Graphic Novel By Sun Tzu And Pete Katz
“All warfare is based on deception. When strong and able, appear weak. When utilising your forces, appear inactive. When near, appear far away. When far away, appear close by. Tempt your enemy with baits. Mimic disorder, then destroy him.”
I’ve taken this from a page of “The Art of War: A Graphic Novel” – an adaptation of the ancient Chinese military treatise “The Art of War” by Sun Tzu.
You’ll explore various aspects of warfare such as strategic planning, leadership, and tactics. Timeless wisdom in a visually engaging format.
You may say, “I have no intention of starting a war! Why should I read this?” I hear you. But let me tell you that you can apply Sun Tzu’s wisdom in various aspects of your life like business and personal relationships.
You may encounter opponents along the way. How are you going to deal with them?
You’ll find the answer (and improve your English) by reading this great graphic novel.
10. 1984: The Graphic Novel By George Orwell And Fido Nesti
“1984” is a dystopian masterpiece by George Orwell (I’ve already told you about it in this post.)
Here’s 1984: The Graphic Novel, where you’ll find a condensed and visual representation of the story that combines artwork and dialogue.
The graphic novel format of “1984” allows you to immerse yourself in the oppressive environment that Winston Smith, the main character, lives in.
Its drawings have the power to bring to life iconic scenes from the novel, such as Winston's illicit relationship with Julia, his encounters with O'Brien, and his ultimate rebellion against the oppressive regime.
Read it in a dark room for maximum effect!
Comics In English: Read For Fluency
I hope you enjoyed my list of favourite comics in English.
Did any of these stories spark your interest? As you may know, reading stories is the core of the StoryLearning method, as here you get fluent through stories, not rules.
So pick a comic that you like and find some time each day to read. And if you’d like to read books, have a look at some short stories in English I've written for you.
Enjoy whatever you’re reading!