Drawn Out: The 50 Best Non-Superhero Graphic Novels

Disaffected hipsters, cyberpunk dystopias, cranky ducks and boy geniuses: here are the greatest comic-story collections that don't feature caped crusaders

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'Akira,' Katshuiro Otomo
Courtesy Random House21/50

21. 'Akira,' Katshuiro Otomo

Now THIS is high concept: teen gangs, one crew of which look like clowns; exceptionally creepy psychic children; a biker who turns into a techno-organic flesh monster; and the government that spawned the whole lot, all battling it out on the streets of post-apocalyptic Neo-Tokyo. No wonder Otomo's manga and the 1988 movie it inspired have become cyberpunk touchstones up there with Blade Runner and Neuromancer. Terrifying fun fact: The Olympics will be held in Tokyo in 2020, just like Akira predicted. So if you're watching the decathlon and hear a guy screaming "KANEDAAAA!," run the other way.

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