Classic Comic Books That Every Kiwi Fan Should Read

Jun 5, 2024

Comic books have long been a cherished medium, captivating readers with their unique blend of visual artistry and compelling narratives. For comic book enthusiasts in New Zealand, or Kiwis, as they are affectionately known, certain classic comic books hold a special place. These timeless treasures not only provide entertainment but also offer a profound cultural experience. Here, we explore some of the classic comic books that every Kiwi fan should read.

1. The Adventures of Tintin

The Adventures of Tintin is a comic book series that Belgian cartoonist Hergé created. Spanning from 1929 to 1976, Tintin’s adventures have captivated readers globally, including a dedicated fanbase in New Zealand.

Why Tintin is Essential for Kiwi Fans

Intriguing Storylines: Tintin’s adventures are rich with diverse and engaging plots, ranging from treasure hunts to political intrigue, which appeal to readers of all ages.

Cultural Exploration: The series provides a window into different cultures and historical contexts, fostering a broader understanding and appreciation of the world.

Timeless Characters: Characters like Captain Haddock, Professor Calculus, and Snowy, Tintin’s loyal dog, have become iconic figures in the comic book realm.

2. Asterix

Another European masterpiece, “Asterix” by René Goscinny and Albert Uderzo, has enchanted readers since its debut in 1959. Set in a small Gaulish village resisting Roman occupation, Asterix’s tales are a blend of humor, history, and adventure.

The Appeal of Asterix

Humorous Satire: Asterix is renowned for its witty humor and satirical take on historical events and contemporary issues.

Rich Illustrations: The detailed artwork and expressive characters bring the ancient world to life in a vivid and engaging manner.

Universal Themes: Themes of resistance, friendship, and ingenuity resonate with readers, making the stories timeless and relevant.

3. The Sandman

The “Sandman” series, which Neil Gaiman wrote, is a classic in the comic book genre and is renowned for its sophisticated storytelling and profound philosophical themes. It gained a sizable following all over the world, including in New Zealand, when DC Comics’ Vertigo imprint published it from 1989 to 1996.

Why The Sandman Stands Out

Complex Narratives: Gaiman’s storytelling weaves together mythology, history, and fantasy, creating a rich tapestry that challenges and engages readers.

Mature Themes: The series delves into profound themes such as dreams, death, and destiny, appealing to a more mature audience for the best New Zealand casinos.

Stunning Artwork: Collaborations with various artists have resulted in a visually stunning series that complements its intricate narratives.

4. Watchmen

Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ “Watchmen,” first published in 1986–1987, is a groundbreaking work that redefined the superhero genre. It is a must-read for any comic book aficionado.

The Impact of Watchmen

Deconstruction of Superheroes: Watchmen offers a gritty, realistic take on superheroes, exploring their flaws and moral complexities.

Innovative Storytelling: The non-linear narrative and use of metafictional elements make it a pioneering work in comic book storytelling.

Cultural Relevance: Themes of power, corruption, and existentialism provide a critical commentary on contemporary society.

5. Maus

Art Spiegelman’s “Maus” is a Pulitzer Prize-winning graphic novel that portrays the harrowing experiences of the author’s father during the Holocaust. This deeply moving work has a profound impact on readers and is an essential read for understanding the potential of comic books as a medium.

Why Maus is a Must-Read

Historical Significance: Maus offers a personal and poignant depiction of the Holocaust, making history accessible and impactful.

Innovative Format: The use of anthropomorphic characters to tell such a serious story highlights the versatility and depth of the comic book medium.

Emotional Depth: The intergenerational narrative explores themes of trauma, memory, and survival, resonating deeply with readers.

6. Batman: The Dark Knight Returns

Frank Miller’s “Batman: The Dark Knight Returns,” published in 1986, is a defining work in the Batman canon. It reimagined Batman as a darker, more complex character, influencing countless subsequent works.

The Significance of The Dark Knight Returns

Revolutionary Character Development: The portrayal of an older, grizzled Batman facing his own demons brought a new depth to the character.

Dark and Gritty Tone: The series’ darker tone and mature themes marked a shift in the portrayal of superheroes, appealing to an older audience.

Influential Legacy: Its impact on the Batman mythos and the superhero genre as a whole is undeniable, influencing films, TV shows, and other media.

7. Akira

Katsuhiro Otomo’s “Akira” is a landmark work in manga and cyberpunk genres. Since being first serialized in 1982, it has had a lasting influence on both comic books and popular culture.

Why Akira is Essential Reading

Epic Storytelling: Akira’s sprawling narrative and complex characters offer a deep and immersive reading experience.

Stunning Artwork: The detailed and dynamic illustrations set a high standard for visual storytelling in comics.

Cultural Impact: Akira’s themes of power, corruption, and rebellion have resonated globally, inspiring countless creators and works across various media.

8. The Killing Joke

“The Killing Joke,” a crucial Batman tale by Alan Moore and Brian Bolland, explores the Joker’s history and relationship with Batman.

The Enduring Appeal of The Killing Joke

Psychological Depth: The exploration of the Joker’s psyche and his symbiotic relationship with Batman provides a deep psychological insight into both characters.

Impactful Storyline: The graphic novel’s shocking and thought-provoking narrative has left a lasting impact on the Batman mythos.

Artistic Excellence: Bolland’s detailed and expressive artwork enhances the story’s dark and intense atmosphere.


These classic comic books are not merely stories; they are cultural artifacts that have shaped the medium and continue to inspire new generations of readers. For Kiwi fans, diving into these works offers both an appreciation of the art form and a connection to a global community of comic book enthusiasts. Whether it’s the adventurous spirit of Tintin, the satirical humor of Asterix, or the profound narratives of The Sandman and Maus, these comics provide a rich and rewarding reading experience.