Weird, surreal, and psychedelic comics

This list of bizarre and trippy comic book series and graphic novels is intended as a companion to my list of weird literature. The comic book medium appears to be particularly well-suited to portraying dreamlike and hallucinatory narratives; it can be said that the visual aspect it utilized to the fullest when the artist is given the opportunity to depict the most unreal and wildly imaginative scenes. It is worth noting that many of the titles included on this list are often recommended as the best examples of the medium in general; this demonstrates the strong link between the comic book and the strange.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the list is very eclectic. For one thing, “weird” is a very broad descriptor. More importantly, it is a relative term that is determined by one’s own personal standards of normalcy. This explains why some relatively tame and sanitized mainstream comics appear alongside some truly off-the-wall bonkers avant-garde, underground, or alternative comix titles on the list. The jaded connoisseurs of the bizarre among us should remember, however, that the comics belonging to the first category are pretty weird when compared to even more mainstream offerings!

I’ve seen the vast majority of the titles on the list described as “surreal” and “psychedelic” (sometimes both at once). Each of these terms means something different, and each is frequently misused; many ostensibly “surreal” comics have very little to do with the ideas and practices of André Breton and his circle, whereas “psychedelic” is overused as a synonym for “colorful” or simply “strange”. I’ve also noticed that people tend to exaggerate the weirdness of comic books that are merely formally inventive, even when they deal with very mundane subject matter and slice-of-life narratives. But pedantry aside, my goal was to be as inclusive as possible, accounting for all types of strangeness: whimsical, disturbing, fabulist, oneiric, and grotesque alike.

There is a noticeable overlap between the present list and some of those I compiled earlier under different headings. I especially recommend looking through my lists of horror comics, sci-fi comics, and disturbing and transgressive comics, each of which expands on its own flavor of weirdness and imaginativeness.

The list