Top 10 Comics of All-Time
I’ve been reading comic books for a long time, just over 30 years now, starting when I was a wee pup waist high to my father. Ok, not that young, but I was around 9 years old when I started reading, and actually collecting comic books. I’m glad to say that over the years I’ve influenced a few people and have brought them into the fold. Some of the people have continued to read comics to this day, and others went in other directions. I get it, comic books aren’t for everyone. All too often there’s a negative connotation that comes with a comic book. People often think you’re reading something like Archie or one of those sill super-hero books, but they couldn’t be more wrong.
The world of comics books is large and unique. There’s literally something for everyone. Want a super-hero book? You’re in luck, there are a lot of that. Looking for a crime noir book, got you covered. Hell, you want to see tentacle porn from Asia? Yep, there’s something for that too. Comic books are filled with wonder, excitement, horror and sadness. There’s no other medium that can generate as much excitement for me as comic books, from anxiously awaiting the next issue of a series to the realization that one of your favorite series has told its final story. All good things must come to an end, and in the world of comics books sometimes that ending gives you a gut punch so hard that you don’t want to return… but you do. You do because you want to experience it all over again.
That’s what’s kept me engaged all these years. Comic books have offered an escape like no other. Where else can you fly to faraway lands or immerse yourself in war stories from generations past? The world of comics books offers an experience like no other, not only are you reading a story, but you’re immersed in a visual tale as well. You’re getting the best of both worlds, your mind is experiencing a mental workout and your eyes are being treated to a feast.
So when I ask why I read comic books I simply answer why not? I get to experience worlds I know I’ll never get to in real life. I get to read great stories and look at some beautiful art. And best of all, I get to share it with other people. And that’s just what I’m going to do right now. Share with you my top 10 comics of all-time.
The comics you see are either entire runs, or a specific issue. These are the stories that have made the most impact on me, and hopefully can on you too. If you’ve never read any of these series, I urge you to track them down and give them a read. You won’t regret it, I promise you that. So without further ado, I present to you my top 10…
Writer: Grant Morrison
Artist: Frank Quitely
Lettering: Phil Balsman, Travis Lanham
Inker: Jamie Grant
Colors: Jamie Grant
Publisher: DC Comics
Publication Date: January 2006 – October 2008
All-Star Superman is a twelve-issue maxi-series written by Grant Morrison and drawn by Frank Quitely. The series was the second to be launched in 2005 under DC’s All-Star imprint, the first being All Star Batman & Robin, the Boy Wonder. The series was developed to allow major comics creators a chance to tell stories showcasing characters without being restricted by DC Universe continuity. All-Star Superman is widely regarded as being one of the best Superman stories every told, and for good reason.
The plot follows a dying Superman who’s trying to get the most out of his final year on Earth. During the 12-issue run, Superman performs amazing feats of strength, he reveals his love and identity to Lois Lane, uses his intelligence to cures disease, create things to help mankind, battles his most famous villains, and saves the planet countless times. He also manages to finally get through to his greatest arch villain, Lex Luthor in an ending that will literally be the last thing they do. All-Star Superman is the defining moment of the Superman legacy.
Morrison does all of this with the benefit of Frank Quitely’s outstanding artwork. Quitely balances iconic superhero visuals and sweeping romanticism on every page, bringing a vulnerability to the character’s square-jawed mystique. His art has forever changed how we view Superman and his world.
Morrison has managed to encapsulated all of his greatness into one story. Superman knows that he needs to do as much as he can before he dies, he needs to leave a legacy that everyone will remember and he manages to show how much of a toll it takes on him. He makes him human, and that’s what makes the story so great.
So how good was All-Star Superman? Well, it won the Eisner Award for “Best New Series” in 2006, as well as “Best Continuing Series” in 2007 and 2009. It also won the Harvey Awards for “Best Artist” and “Best Single Issue” in 2008. In 2006 it won the Eagle Award for “Favourite New Comic book” and “Favourite Comics Cover” (for the first issue), as well as the 2007 “Favourite Colour Comicbook – American” Eagle. The popularity was so high for All-Star Superman that it also went on to become an animated move from Warner Bros. If you don’t want to track down the 12 issues, your best best for reading the series is through three collected volumes, in hardcover and softcover format. They are as follows:
|1||Absolute Hardcover Edition||1-4012-2917-4||October, 2010||#1-12|
|1||Volume One||1-84576-326-2||January, 2007||#1–6|
|2||Volume Two||1-4012-1837-7||February, 2009||#7-12|
|1||Volume One||1-4012-0914-9||April, 2007||#1–6|
|2||Volume Two||1-4012-1860-1||September, 2009||#7-12|
Akira is a Japanese manga series, written and illustrated by Katsuhiro Otomo. Set in a post-apocalyptic Neo-Tokyo, the work uses conventions of the cyberpunk genre to detail a saga of turmoil. Initially serialized in the pages of Young Magazine from 1982 until 1990, the work was collected into six volumes by its publisher Kodansha. The work was first published in an English-language version by the Marvel Comics imprint Epic Comics, one of the first manga works to be translated in its entirety. Otomo’s art on the series is considered outstanding, and a breakthrough for both Otomo and the manga form. Through the breadth of the work, Otomo explicates themes of social isolation, corruption and power.
Set in a dystopian future, Akira revolves around the basic idea of individuals with superhuman powers, especially psychokinetic abilities. However, these are not central to the story, which instead concerns itself with character, societal pressures and political machination. Motifs common in the manga include youth alienation, government corruption and inefficiency, and a military grounded in old-fashioned Japanese honor, displeased with the compromises of modern society.
What made Akira so enchanting was the world that Otomo created, a massive sprawling city that was modern and shiny, yet if you dig deep enough you get to the dirty underbelly. The motorcycle gangs, with their slick looking bikes, the druggies, the neon lights. It was all encapsulating, and when it moved over to the big screen it drew you in even more. The impact that Akira has had on the US comic book landscape cannot be underlined enough. It ushered in a new wave of manga that got into the hands of new readers, many of whom wanted more, both in book format an on tv.
Otomo, went on to write and direct an anime version of Akira, which was released in 1988 and is considered a landmark film in the genre. To this day people still try to emulate the series, both in manga and anime format. The impact it’s made on entertainment has been immeasurable. This is definitely one of those series you need to track down.
Writer: Katsuhiro Otomo
Artist: Katsuhiro Otomo
Lettering: Michael Higgins, Laura Brady
Inker: Katsuhiro Otomo
Colors: Steve Oliff
Publisher: Epic Comics, Dark Horse Comics (in United States), Kodansha (in Japan)
Publication Date: August 1988 – February 1996 (US release), December 6, 1982 – June 11, 1990 (Japanese release)
|No.||Title||ISBN||North American release|
|1||Tetsuo||978-1-56971-498-0 (Dark Horse)
|December 13, 2000 (Dark Horse)
October 13, 2009 (Kodansha)
|2||Akira||978-1-56971-499-7 (Dark Horse)
|March 28, 2001 (Dark Horse)
June 22, 2010 (Kodansha)
|3||Akira II||978-1-56971-525-3 (Dark Horse)
|June 27, 2001 (Dark Horse)
July 13, 2010 (Kodansha)
|4||Kei||978-1-56971-526-0 (Dark Horse)
|September 19, 2001 (Dark Horse)
November 30, 2010 (Kodansha)
|5||Kei II||978-1-56971-527-7 (Dark Horse)
|December 19, 2001 (Dark Horse)
March 01, 2011 (Kodansha)
|6||Kaneda||978-1-56971-528-4 (Dark Horse)
|March 27, 2002 (Dark Horse)
April 12, 2011 (Kodansha)
Writers: Chris Claremont, John Byrne
Artist: John Byrne
Inker: Terry Austin
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Publication Date: January – February 1981
Perhaps one of the most influential, and beloved, story lines of all-time. “Days of Future Past” takes place in Marvel Comics’ series The Uncanny X-Men, during issues #141-142, published in 1981. It deals with a dystopian future in which mutants are incarcerated in internment camps. An adult Kate Pryde transfers her mind into her younger self who brings the X-Men to prevent a fatal moment in history that triggers anti-mutant hysteria. The story line was produced during the franchise’s rise to popularity under the writer/artist team of Chris Claremont, John Byrne and Terry Austin.
“Days of Future Past” alternates between the present year of 1980 and the future year of 2013. In the future, Sentinels rule a dystopian United States, and mutants are hunted and placed in internment camps. Having conquered North America, the Sentinels are turning their attention to mutants and other superhumans worldwide. On the eve of a feared nuclear holocaust, the few remaining X-Men send Kitty Pryde’s mind backward through time, to possess the body of her younger self and to prevent a pivotal event in mutant–human history: the assassination of Senator Robert Kelly by Mystique’s newly reassembled Brotherhood of Evil Mutants.
Working with the present-day X-Men, Kitty Pryde’s future self succeeds in her mission and is pulled back to her own time, while her present-day self is returned with no memory of any interim. The world of 2013 is not shown again in this story arc; the present-day X-Men are left to ponder whether their future dystopia has been averted or simply delayed.
The great thing about “Days of Future Past” is the lasting impact it’s had on the X-Franchise as a whole. It’s created a sense of doubt in the mutants minds that what they’re fighting for while ultimately bring about their death. It’s always in the back of their minds that it might be their future, because they have no real closure as to what happened int he future. This has a lasting mental impact on the mutants.
The dark future seen in the story has been revisited numerous times, and was adapted into the 2014 feature film X-Men: Days of Future Past.
|1||Days of Future Past||0-7851-1560-9||December, 2011||#138–143|
|1||Days of Future Past||0-87135-582-5||March, 2014||#141–142|
7 - DMZ
DMZ is the story of an America caught in the midst of so many overseas military operations that the nation itself crumbles and is gripped in a civil war between the federal government of the United States and the “Free States” armies, who are more of an idea than an actual geographical entity. Set in New York City, sometime in the near future and five years after the outbreak of the civil war, the island of Manhattan has been turned into a demilitarized zone. Young, bright eyed and bushy tailed Matty Roth, the story’s protagonist, is a helper with a news crew for Liberty News, the hyper-patriotic, semi-state-owned propaganda news service. As he arrives in New York, his helicopter is shot down, and he finds himself catapulted into a new role as a boy reporter. From those beginnings, the story unrolls, as Roth discovers the truth of war, becomes the story he is reporting on, and finally falls too deep.
Manhattan is mainly empty, with only 400,000 people still on the island , populated only by the poor who were not evacuated, military snipers and holdouts. Creator Brian Wood described the DMZ as: “Think equal parts Escape from New York, Fallujah, and New Orleans right after Katrina”.
The series focused on Matty Roth discovering new areas of Manhattan and profiling the people that lived there. He was the eyes and ears to the outside world, he brought people into the middle of the fight and showed them the destruction the war had brought to America’s largest city. As it progressed, DMZ began taking the focus off of the island of Manhattan and placing it on Matty Roth. He became the story, and far too many times for all the wrong reason. Matty fell into the life of the islanders, he became part of the problem when he thought he was helping. It was a fascinating look at how a persons involvement will become personal for them and bring them in directions they never thought possible.
Wood and Burchielli did an outstanding job bringing the gritty, dirty and deceitful world to reality. DMZ was an outstanding series that touched on many of today’s political hot topics. It earned numerous awards and gained praise from all over, enough to generate enough enough for Syfy to order a pilot for a DMZ tv show.
Writer: Brian Wood
Artist: Riccardo Burchielli
Lettering: Jared K. Fletcher
Colors: Jeromy Cox
Publication Date: November 2005 – February 2012
Deluxe Hardcover Editions
|1||DMZ Deluxe Edition Book One||1401243002||January, 2014||#1–12|
|2||DMZ Deluxe Edition Book Two||1401247652||June, 2014||#13-28|
|3||DMZ Deluxe Edition Book Three||1401250009||December, 2014||#29-44|
|1||DMZ Vol. 1: On The Ground||1-4012-10627||June 7, 2006||#1–5|
|2||DMZ Vol. 2: Body of a Journalist||1-4012-12476||February 7, 2007||#6–12|
|3||DMZ Vol. 3: Public Works||1-4012-14762||September 5, 2007||#13–17|
|4||DMZ Vol. 4: Friendly Fire||1-4012-16625||March 12, 2008||#18–22|
|5||DMZ Vol. 5: The Hidden War||1-4012-18334||July 2, 2008||#23–28|
|6||DMZ Vol. 6: Blood in the Game||1-4012-21300||February 11, 2009||#29–34|
|7||DMZ Vol. 7: War Powers||1-4012-2430X||September 8, 2009||#35–41|
|8||DMZ Vol. 8: Hearts and Minds||1-4012-27260||June 2, 2010||#42–49|
|9||DMZ Vol. 9: M.I.A.||1-4012-29964||February 16, 2011||#50–54|
|10||DMZ Vol. 10: Collective Punishment||1-4012-31500||May 4, 2011||#55–59|
|11||DMZ Vol. 11: Free States Rising||1-4012-33899||April 3, 2012||#60–66|
|12||DMZ Vol. 12: The Five Nations Of New York||1-4012-34798||June 5, 2012||#67–72|
6 - The Dark Knight Returns
Writer: Frank Miller
Artist: Frank Miller
Inker: Klaus Janson
Lettering: John Costanza
Colors: Lynn Varley
Publisher: DC Comics
Publication Date: February – June 1986
The book that gave “Batman his balls back,” as writer/artist Frank Miller so eloquently put it. The Dark Knight Returns, released in 1986 is widely considered to be one of the best Batman stories ever told. Despite the fact that the comic previously returned to its darker roots in the early ‘70s, The Dark Knight Returns took it to another level.
Bruce Wayne, now in his 50’s, retired from being the Batman years prior after superheroes were outlawed. After witnessing his city being torn apart by a new gang known as The Mutants, he dons the cape and cowl for one last crusade. He’s less of a noble hero and more of a jaded old man with a death wish and a hard-on for crime. Miller’s hard-boiled script and noir art highlights the darkness and disparity in Batman’s world. Even the fights against foes like The Joker and an out-of-control, jingoistic version of Superman have a brutal finality about them.
There are three titles that people equate with a shift in comics in the 1980’s, along with Watchmen and arguably Sandman, The Dark Knight Returns was the catalyst in the shift away from campy superheros to stories that were more gritty and noir. It helped reinvigorate the superhero genre and changed the focus of the business to older readers.
The cultural, as well as industrial, impact that The Dark Knight Returns has had can still be felt to this day. So many creators still try to write their own version of Miller’s classic tale, the same type of anti-hero, the same grim dystopian future. We’ve even had movies based off the series as well. The impact will be felt for years to come.
|1||Batman: The Dark Knight Returns||978-1563893421||May, 1997||#1–4|
|1||Absolute Dark Knight||978-1401210793||August, 2006||#1–4|
5 - Preacher
Vertigo titles occupy half of my top ten list, and for good reason. They put out some amazing series over the years. They’re not afraid of taking risks on projects that most others would pass on. They allow creators to get creative, and in turn they create some of the most daring comics to ever hit the market. None of them, however, come close to being as blasphemous and controversial as Garth Ennis’ Preacher.
Ennis’ landmark title focused on a small-town preacher, named Jesse Custer, from the Texas town of Annville. In the opening story, Custer is possessed by a creature known as Genesis, the offspring of a demon and an angel, who in the process kills everyone in his congregation and bestows unnatural powers upon him. Custer sets off in search of the absentee Almighty to take issue with His management of the world.
Along the way he ‘s joined by his ex-girlfriend, and professional assassin, Tulip O’Hare, and a drunken Irish vampire named Cassidy. Together they bring a sacrilegious glee to the entire series. Over its 66-issue run, Ennis also introduced a bizarre array of supporting characters like Arseface, Jesus DeSade, and Custer’s own psychotic grandmother, Marie L’Angelle.
Preacher is, without a doubt, a brutal comic that mixes sex, violence, and social commentary into a package that’s wholly original and subversive. The fact that Ennis was able to get away with what he did speaks volumes about Vertigo’s commitment to its series and creators.
To add to that, Preacher has been given a pilot order at AMC, they expect to film it in early 2015.
Writer: Garth Ennis
Artist: Steve Dillon
Colors: Matt Hollingsworth, Pamela Rambo
Publication Date: February 1995 – June 2000
|#||Title||ISBN||Release date||Collected material|
|1||Preacher: Gone to Texas||978-1-56389-261-5||March 1, 1996||Preacher #1–7|
|2||Preacher: Until the End of the World||978-1-56389-312-4||January 1, 1997||Preacher #8–17|
|3||Preacher: Proud Americans||978-1-56389-327-8||October 1, 1997||Preacher #18-26|
|4||Preacher: Ancient History||978-1-56389-405-3||March 1, 1998||Preacher Special: Saint of Killers #1-4, Preacher Special: The Story of You-Know-Who, and Preacher Special: The Good Old Boys|
|5||Preacher: Dixie Fried||978-1-56389-428-2||September 1, 1998||Preacher #27-33 and Preacher Special: Cassidy – Blood and Whiskey|
|6||Preacher: War in the Sun||978-1-56389-490-9||March 1, 1999||Preacher #34-40 and Preacher Special: One Man’s War|
|7||Preacher: Salvation||978-1-56389-519-7||September 1, 1999||Preacher #41-50|
|8||Preacher: All Hell’s A-Coming||978-1-56389-617-0||June 1, 2000||Preacher #51-58 and Preacher Special: Tall in the Saddle|
|9||Preacher: Alamo||978-1-56389-715-3||May 1, 2001||Preacher #59-66|
|#||Title||ISBN||Release date||Collected material|
|1||Preacher: Book One||978-1-4012-2279-6||July 21, 2009||Preacher #1–12|
|2||Preacher: Book Two||978-1-4012-4255-8||February 16, 2010||Preacher #13–26|
|3||Preacher: Book Three||978-1-4012-3016-6||December 21, 2010||Preacher #27–33, Preacher Special: Saint of Killers #1–4, and Preacher Special: Cassidy – Blood and Whiskey|
|4||Preacher: Book Four||978-1-4012-3093-7||June 14, 2011||Preacher #34–40, Preacher Special: The Story of You-Know-Who, Preacher Special: The Good Old Boys and Preacher Special: One Man’s War|
|5||Preacher: Book Five||978-1-4012-3250-4||November 29, 2011||Preacher #41–54|
|6||Preacher: Book Six||978-1-4012-3415-7||January 17, 2012||Preacher #55–66 and Preacher Special: Tall in the Saddle|
Writer: Alan Moore
Artist: Brian Bolland
Letters: Richard Starkings
Colors: John Higgins
Publisher: DC Comics
Publication Date: March 1988
Back in the 1980s Alan Moore was making a name for himself on original work like V for Vendetta, Marvelman and Watchmen, he also did work for DC’s established superheroes, like Superman, the Green Arrow, and Batman. It was his work on The Killing Joke that really took it to the next level.
In the 64 page one shot, Moore explores the relationship between Batman and his most famous foe, The Joker, in a way that has influenced nearly every interpretation of the two since then. The plot itself is fairly straightforward: The Joker has escaped from Arkham Asylum and kidnapped Commissioner Gordon in order to lead Batman into a trap at an abandoned amusement park. In the process, the Joker commits perhaps the most senseless act of violence we’ve ever seen in a comic at that point: He shoots Barbara Gordon, a.k.a. Batgirl, in the stomach, paralyzing her from the waist down. The repercussions are still felt to this day, even in the events of the New 52 Batgirl.
As the story unfolds, Moore give glimpsed into The Joker’s origin, giving readers a look as to how a seemingly-normal man can turn into a psychotic serial killer with no remorse. It’s important to stress that this is the Joker that we’ve all grown to love. The Joker is not some character that bounces around acting like an idiot, he’s a cold-hearted sonovabitch that has no problems killing someone in his way. He’s a psychopath of the highest order. He’s evil incarnate, and it began here.
In counter to The Joker’s anarchic mania, Moore portrays Batman with a cold, logical approach to law and order. But as The Joker’s crimes begin to mount, poking and prodding at Batman’s core, even the Dark Knight is tempted to give into his rage. The end illustrates the stark contrast between the Caped Crusader and his arch-villain. The story might be 26 years old, but its effects are still felt to this day. This is one of the most timeless Batman stories every told.
|1||Batman: The Killing Joke||0-930289-45-5||March, 1998|
|1||Batman: The Killing Joke 20th Anniversary Deluxe Edition||9781401216672||March, 2008|
3 - 100 Bullets
I’m sure that you’ve noticed a pattern by now, a lot of noir and pulp genres populate this list. 100 Bullets is no different, and I could argue is the ultimate noir and pulp story in this list. From writer Brian Azzarello and artist Eduardo Risso, 100 Bullets is consistent with noir convention,where most of the characters are deeply flawed and as is also common in pulp and noir genres, 100 Bullets frequently portrays stylized and graphic violence.
Initially presented as a series of self-contained episodic stories, 100 Bullets developed into a sprawling crime saga in which all the characters and events were connected. So just what is 100 Bullets? Well it takes a hypothetical question, and makes it a reality. What if someone gave you a gun with 100 bullets, the information that everything bad in your life could be laid at a particular person’s feet and the promise that law enforcement would stay out of your business and let you get the job done. It’s a dilemma that’s played out again and again, with varying results.
100 Bullets is notable for Azzarello’s realistic use of regional and local accents, as well as the frequent use of slang and oblique, metaphorical language in his characters’ dialogue. The stories, no matter how unbelievable they may be, feel real, and personal.
Writer: Brian Azzarello
Artist: Eduardo Risso
Colorist: Grant Goleash, Patricia Mulvihill
Publication Date: June 1999 – April 2009
|#||Title||ISBN||Release date||Collected issues|
|1||First Shot, Last Call||1563896451||#1-5 and Vertigo Winter’s Edge #3|
|2||Split Second Chance||1563897113||#6-14|
|3||Hang up on the Hang Low||1563898551||#15-19|
|4||A Foregone Tomorrow||563898276||#20-30|
|5||The Counterfifth Detective||1563899485||#31-36|
|6||Six Feet Under The Gun||1563899965||#37-42|
|8||The Hard Way||1401204902||#50-58|
|11||Once Upon a Crime||1401213154||#76-83|
|#||Title||ISBN||Release date||Collected issues|
|1||100 Bullets – Volume 1||1-4012-3201-9||October 11, 2011||#1–19 and Vertigo Winter’s Edge #3|
|2||100 Bullets – Volume 2||1-4012-3372-4||April 17, 2012||#20-36|
|3||100 Bullets – Volume 3||1-4012-3729-0||September 25, 2012||#37-58|
|4||100 Bullets – Volume 4||1-4012-3807-6||April 23, 2013||#59-80|
|5||100 Bullets – Volume 5||1-4012-4271-5||December 3, 2013||#81-100|
2 - Scalped
Writer: Jason Aaron
Artist: R.M. Guera
Letterers: Phil Balsman, Steve Wands
Colorist: Lee Loughridge, Giulia Brusco
Publication Date: March 2007 – August 2012
There’s been a common theme to a lot of the series that have made my top 10 list here and it’s that they take place in a dark and dirty corner of the world that a lot of people don’t want to look at, but just can’t help themselves once they get a smattering of. Scalped is no different, this noir-ish detective story is set on a Native American reservation, one of the most depressing places to be in America. It’s the desperation and despair that is portrayed throughout the series that makes you feel bad for the characters, whether they’re good or not. It’s the grim reality that’s portrayed that gives Scalped an emotional impact.
The story follows Dashiell Bad Horse, an Oglala Lakota, who returns home to the fictional Prairie Rose Indian Reservation in modern-day South Dakota after 15 years outside. Dash has the biggest chip on his shoulder, and lets everyone know about it, but he’s hiding something big. Unbeknownst to his old friends and contacts, he’s actually undercover for the FBI, investigating the murder of two agents on tribal land years before. His return home isn’t without its own set of tragedy, an even which forces Dash to re-evaluate his priorities and just how much he’s willing to share with Uncle Sam.
Scalped takes a hard look at how the resident of Prairie Rose grapple with organized crime, rampant poverty, drug addiction and alcoholism, local politics and the preservation of their cultural identity. It features great characters, a bit of social commentary on the living conditions on the reservations and a whole heap of criminal shenanigans make this one stand out from the herd.
|#||Title||ISBN||Release date||Collected issues|
|1||Indian Country||1-4012-1317-0||August, 2007||#1–5|
|2||Casino Boogie||1-4012-1654-4||February, 2008||#6–11|
|3||Dead Mothers||1-4012-1919-5||October, 2008||#12–18|
|4||The Gravel in Your Gut||1-4012-2179-3||April, 2009||#19–24|
|5||High Lonesome||1-4012-2487-3||October, 2009||#25–29|
|6||The Gnawing||1-4012-2717-1||May, 2010||#30–34|
|7||Rez Blues||1-4012-3019-9||March, 2011||#35–42|
|8||You Gotta Sin to Be Saved||1-4012-3288-4||November, 2011||#43–49|
|9||Knuckle Up||1-4012-3505-0||July, 2012||#50–55|
|10||Trail’s End||1-7811-6489-4||November, 2012||#56–60|
1 - Y: The Last Man
For me, this is the best comic book series ever published. Y: The Last Man had a massive impact on me that can barely be described. So few books have drawn me in with the same interest and fervor. I read the entire series in just 3 days, each issue more gripping than the last. To this day, the series finale still holds a place in my heart. I can still remember the feeling when I closed the book, thinking, that’s it, there’s nothing more to read. Now what?
Y: The Last Man is about Yorick Brown, who is the last surviving man after a mysterious plague wipes out the world’s male human and animal population. Along with his pet monkey, Ampersand, who is also a male, Yorick embarks upon a journey to find out the origins of the plague and why he’s been spared. How will they survive in a world where half the population’s gone and half the remaining half have gone a little nuts?
The story that results is massive in scope but also intensely personal, taking in gender politics and geophysical realities but, in the end, coming down to a small group gathered around a boy and a monkey, with one of the most moving finales I’ve ever read. Vaughan’s hook isn’t just the sprawling and unpredictable plot, but, rather, the character of Yorick himself. We don’t often get to see characters grow and mature, but since the story was set with an end date when it began we got to see Yorick’s journey mature him as it progressed, something that was completely satisfying and engaging.
Writer: Brian K. Vaughan
Artist: Pia Guerra
Inker: Jose Marzan Jr.
Publication Date: September 2002 – March 2008
|1||Unmanned||1-56389-980-9||January 2, 2003||#1–5|
|2||Cycles||1-4012-0076-1||September 1, 2003||#6–10|
|3||One Small Step||1-4012-0201-2||April 1, 2004||#11–17|
|4||Safeword||1-4012-0232-2||December 1, 2004||#18–23|
|5||Ring of Truth||1-4012-0487-2||July 13, 2005||#24–31|
|6||Girl on Girl||1-4012-0501-1||November 23, 2005||#32–36|
|7||Paper Dolls||1-4012-1009-0||May 1, 2006||#37–42|
|8||Kimono Dragons||1-4012-1010-4||November 22, 2006||#43–48|
|9||Motherland||1-4012-1351-0||May 9, 2007||#49–54|
|10||Whys and Wherefores||1-4012-1813-X||July 1, 2008||#55–60|
|1||Deluxe Book One||1-4012-1921-7||October 28, 2008||#1–10|
|2||Deluxe Book Two||1-4012-2235-8||May 6, 2009||#11–23|
|3||Deluxe Book Three||1-4012-2578-0||April 13, 2010||#24–36|
|4||Deluxe Book Four||1-4012-2888-7||October 12, 2010||#37–48|
|5||Deluxe Book Five||1-4012-3051-2||May 3, 2011||#49–60|
I would’ve put Watchmen over the the Killing Joke if you’re going to go with an Alan Moore book. I have read, and re-read it and to this day other than a few moments it’s not something that stands out to me as great. I get why it is a classic, as it did change the Batman universe and status quo leading to the creation of Oracle, and it had some great moments, but none of the other stuff in the book seemed to matter. A good book for sure, but Watchmen’s complete deconstruction of the superhero genre, and it being one of the first to really do so makes it a better book. But hey this is a personal list, and still a good one.
Thanks for the comment, and it’s always good to see people respond. To be honest, there were a number of things about the Watchment that I wasn’t a big fan of. Especially the ending, that just killed it for me. It was a good story, for about 85% of the book, but it won’t crack my Top 10.
It’s funny you say that because everyone was up in arms when they changed the ending in the film, and I felt it was an improvement. The squid thing always seemed silly to me, and completely took me out of the story.