Etelka Lehoczky

If you're reading this on your phone, drop it! (Or at least, drop it once you've finished this article.) That little screen of yours won't give you access to some of the wildest, weirdest, most innovative images and words bubbling up into the culture right now. Said miraculous content can only be found — brace yourself — on paper. To be precise, it can only be found in a flood of new periodicals by brave (or perhaps deluded) publishers who've declared war on digital monotony. Where in the world could such a quixotic movement emerge, you ask? Only in alternative comics.

"Shame is a cruel thing," writes George Takei in They Called Us Enemy, his new graphic novel about his childhood years in an American concentration camp during World War II. "It should rest on the perpetrators, but they don't carry it the way the victims do."

There are some people who can look at complex equations — this one, for example:

If you want a nice little boost to your aesthete's ego, here's a fun exercise: Pick out a seemingly forgettable artwork and give it your attention.

When young urbanites move into poor neighborhoods in search of cheap rents and local color, they often get more than they bargained for. What they don't usually get are body parts spilling over toilet bowl rims and face-eating tentacles crawling out of ventilation systems. That's the kind of visceral revenge meted out in BTTM FDRS, Ezra Claytan Daniels and Ben Passmore's comedic horror comic. Daniels, who wrote BTTM FDRS, and Passmore, who illustrated it, wanted to distill the complex politics of gentrification into digestible (well, really fairly indigestible) form.

If you were to make a list of professions in which women have failed to achieve a fair share of renown, one of the topmost entries would surely be architecture.

Remember Loompanics? It was that dicey little press skulking on the cultural fringes from the 1970s through the mid-2000s.

Think you know the suburbs? Well, it might be time to revisit.

At least, that's what Amanda Kolson Hurley, a senior editor at urban news site CityLab, wants you to do. Kolson Hurley is well-acquainted with suburbia's numerous negative stereotypes — some of them, such as racial segregation and ecological threat, all too valid. But in Radical Suburbs: Experimental Living on the Fringes of the American City, Kolson Hurley sets out to reveal a different side of the vast patchwork of not-quite-urban, not-quite-rural zones in which more than half of Americans live.

Whether he's investigating such contentious celebs as André the Giant and Andy Kaufman or delving into the mythology of Tetris, Box Brown has a knack for using comics to illuminate tricky subjects.