Comics books have been getting a lot of attention, especially with what’s been going on with Marvel and DC movies. And then there’s the feminist in the room. The fact that the comics industry has become a sick old man dying from policial correctness. The terrible, bland, and uninteresting fan-fiction quality comics being released in recent years proves that current day writers are more loyal to their politics and petty hatreds than to the characters they write.
So in the spirit of good comics, and what makes a good comic to be, I’ve put together a list for #NationalComicBookDay. These are works that I’ve read and have kept reading and re-reading. To me, a great comic or comic series is more than a good story and well-written characters. To me, a great comic needs more substance than a good adventure. There needs to be an exploration of much deeper questions. Ethics, mortality, the very nature of human nature.
Every comic or series listed here fulfills each requirement I set to what I believe makes a great comic.
(This list is in no particular order.)
I hope you enjoy!
According to the grinning engine of madness and mayhem known as the Joker, that’s all that separates the sane from the psychotic. Freed once again from the confines of Arkham Asylum, he’s out to prove his deranged point. And he’s going to use Gotham City’s top cop, Commissioner Jim Gordon, and the Commissioner’s brilliant and beautiful daughter Barbara to do it.
#2 – The Dark Knight Returns
Writer/artist Frank Miller completely reinvents the legend of Batman in this saga of a near-future Gotham City gone to rot, 10 years after the Dark Knight’s retirement. Forced to take action, the Dark Knight returns in a blaze of fury, taking on a whole new generation of criminals and matching their level of violence. He is soon joined by a new Robin–a girl named Carrie Kelley–who proves to be just as invaluable as her predecessors.
But can Batman and Robin deal with the threat posed by their deadliest enemies after years of incarceration have turned them into perfect psychopaths? And more important, can anyone survive the coming fallout from an undeclared war between the superpowers–or the clash of what were once the world’s greatest heroes?
#3 – Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader
Best-selling author Neil Gaiman (The Sandman) joins a murderer’s row of talented artists in lending his unique touch to the Batman mythos for this Deluxe Edition hardcover! Spotlighting the story “Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader?” from Batman #685 and Detective Comics #852, Gaiman joins artist Andy Kubert and inker Scott Williams for a story that shines a new light on the Batman mythos. Batman: Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader? also collects Gaiman stories from Secret Origins #36, Secret Origins Special #1, and Batman Black And White #2. This collection is not to be missed!
#4 – Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow
An unforgettable collection of WATCHMEN writer Alan Moore’s definitive Superman tales that is sure to appeal of readers of his BATMAN: THE KILLING JOKE graphic novel. Moore teams with Curt Swan, the definitive Superman artist from the 1950’s through the 1970’s, to tell the final adventure of the Man of Steel featuring his last stand against Lex Luthor, Brainiac and his other foes in “WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE MAN OF TOMORROW?”.
This volume also includes Moore’s classic early collaboration with WATCHMEN illustrator Dave Gibbons, “FOR THE MAN WHO HAS EVERYTHING”, in which Batman, Robin and Wonder Woman find Superman held captive by the villain Mongul in the Fortress of Solitude and dreaming of an idyllic life on Krypton courtesy of a wish-fulfilling parasitic plant known as the Black Mercy. Both tales are considered two of the top five all-time best Superman stories among fans.
#5 – The Lucifer Series
Spinning out of SANDMAN, when fallen angel Lucifer Morningstar decided to walk among mortals, he thought he was making the right decision. But managing a piano bar in L.A. has lost its charm, and now the darkest star in the City of Angels is ready to get back in the game.
#6 – Watchmen
Considered the greatest graphic novel in the history of the medium, the Hugo Award-winning story chronicles the fall from grace of a group of superheroes plagued by all-too-human failings. Along the way, the concept of the superhero is dissected as an unknown assassin stalks the erstwhile heroes.
#7 – The Sandman Series
A rich blend of modern myth and dark fantasy in which contemporary fiction, historical drama and legend are seamlessly interwoven, THE SANDMAN follows the people and places affected by Morpheus, the Dream King, as he mends the cosmic–and human–mistakes he’s made during his vast existence.
#8 – Punisher: Welcome Back Frank
The Punisher, aka Frank Castle, returns to Manhattan to take on Ma Gnucchi and her crime family, and on the way he battles The Russian and encounters a vigilante squad composed of Elite, Mr. Payback, and The Holy.
#9 – The Punisher Born
In the waning days of the Vietnam War…the Punisher is born. The year is 1971. With mounting casualties and a rising anti-war sentiment, America’s time in Vietnam is coming to a close. Yet in the isolated Valley Forge Firebase on the Cambodian border, Captain Frank Castle is one of the few soldiers still committed to the fi ght against the enemy. With dwindling reserves, Castle must stand against an impending Viet Cong attack that threatens to wipe out the entire American platoon. To survive the battle, what grim decision must he make that will forever alter the course of his life? In this acclaimed tale, superstar Garth Ennis reveals the never-before-told story of the horrors Castle was forced to face to come home from Vietnam alive – ending in a shocking twist that will forever change how readers see Marvel Comics’ most famous urban vigilante.
#10 – The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
In this amazingly imaginative tale, literary figures from throughout time and various bodies of work are brought together to face any and all threats to Britain. Allan Quatermain, Mina Murray, Captain Nemo, Dr. Henry Jekyll and Edward Hyde and Hawley Griffin, the Invisible Man, form a remarkable legion of intellectual aptitude and physical prowess: The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.
#11 – Sin City: The Hard Goodbye
The first volume of the crime-comic megahit that introduced the now-infamous Marv and spawned a blockbuster film returns in a newly redesigned edition, with a brand-new cover by Frank Miller-some of his first comics art in years!
It’s a lousy room in a lousy part of a lousy town. But Marv doesn’t care. There’s an angel in the room. She says her name is Goldie. A few hours later, Goldie’s dead without a mark on her perfect body, and the cops are coming before anyone but Marv could know she’s been killed. Somebody paid good money for this frame . . .
#12 – V for Vendetta
A powerful story about loss of freedom and individuality, V FOR VENDETTA takes place in a totalitarian England following a devastating war that changed the face of the planet.
In a world without political freedom or personal freedom, and precious little faith in anything, comes a mysterious man in a white porcelain mask who fights political oppressors through terrorism and seemingly absurd acts. It’s a gripping tale of the blurred lines between ideological good and evil.