Superheroes are synonymous with comic books - there's just no escaping it. Through over 80 years of published material from Marvel, DC and their competitors both past and present, America's star-spangled do-gooders have made the medium their own. And with film, TV and gaming only expanding their influence even further, the impression of the medium as one synonymous with costume-clad characters isn't going to go away anytime soon.
But that doesn't that's all the industry has to offer. As many longtime readers are no doubt aware, the comics medium is home to a wide variety of genres and publishers. In fact, for a time, horror and western books actually outpaced superhero books in terms of sales and popularity, only being stymied when the Comics Code Authority introduced draconian rules on censorship in the 1950s. Even romance comics were massively popular for a long while.
Today, the reign of the superheroes is well and truly in effect, but their dominance doesn't mean that other genres aren't alive and well. Horror, sci-fi, true-crime, fantasy, noir and more all have a home in the medium, and at publishers who've largely departed the superhero spotlight.
Readers can read whatever they like (I'm certainly not here to police that), but once you broaden your horizons and start dabbling in bits and bobs from different kinds of storytellers, you'll find the comics medium is so much more interesting. The following stories - from outside the Big Two's sphere of control - are all a testament to that.