Have finally been ripping through my backlog of awesome comics and also revisiting some old gems and so here are my pick of the litter.
Oh yes, and feel free to add your own suggestions! I'd personally love to find some gem that I haven't as of yet read to fill some time.
- No Manga. Okay, except for one (explanation follows)
- The series must have either completed or broken 100+ issues. Nobody likes to get into something and then have it not go anywhere.
- These are mostly for mature audiences only. And trust me, at least half of these *will* scar you if you are not ready for them.
So, in ascending order of awesomeness.
10) Green Lantern (DC).
Rebirth through Blackest Night.
Yes, this overlaps a little with another comic I've mentioned here, but in my opinion it deserves to be on this list.
The Green Lantern was never one of my favourite heroes until I got into the continuity a few years ago. Despite the crappy movie, it's easily DCs strongest overall recent single comic aside from Batman which is likely why nearly all their big crossover events for a long time were Lantern Based.
Not going to go into too much detail here since there is a *lot* of ground to cover, but everything from the return of Hal Jordan in Rebirth, through the Sinestro Corps, War of Light and Blackest Night was solid damn gold and absolutely needs to be read.
9) Civil War (Marvel).
Have never been a Marvel fan but this got me into them at last. A brilliantly told crossover involving essentially the entire Marvel universe regarding legislation that forces all superpowered individuals to make their identities known to and be employed by the government. It was really good, really topical reading even now and for fans of the Marvel movies who never really got into the books, it's easily the best place to start.
8) Hitman (Garth Ennis)
No, it has no connection to the bald headed videogame character.
Probably the least known major Ellis series, which is a pity. While not quite as brilliant as his other stuff (which is like saying 'this prime steak is not quite as delicious as a prime steak with cheese served by a supermodel') it's still a fantastic read. Loosely connected to the DC Universe, it's essentially a story about a mildly superpowered good-at-heart Hitman and his eventual evolution into a semi hero.
It's both extremely funny, very touching and pitch black at times and has easily the single funniest supporting character ever to grace a comic book.
7) Punisher MAX (Various).
Oh yes. If you saw and enjoyed Punisher: War Zone...this is the series it is very loosely based on. Not all that much to say since the Punisher is a fairly well known character, but this vision of him is the darkest and absolute best yet. The series ran for about 80 issues and ended really well. At least two of the arcs could well be the most movie ready Marvel material yet unseen.
6) Hellblazer (Various).
Forget the horrible, horrible Constantine movie. This fantastic saga has some of the best writers and artists in the business, and follows the life, ascension, decline, redemption and struggles of John Constantine, a scam artist and general rogue who, due to his natural skill with demonology and the occult, constantly finds himself drawn into dangerous situations, often with horrible consequences for himself and his friends.
It's pretty grim stuff, but well worth reading and is probably the best long-running semi independent book on here.
5) The Walking Dead.
Yes, the TV show is okay. But the book that inspired it is far, far, far better. This is the best Zombie Apocalypse story ever told and is still ongoing. If you are a fan of the series or of Dawn of the Dead style zombie movies, read this. Again absolutely not for the squeamish.
4) Transmetropolitan (Warren Ellis).
A brilliant story about a counterculture Journalist working in a cyberpunk future, mostly revolving around his quest to bring down first one, then another president. It's part Fight Club, part Blade Runner and part insanely original freaking awesomeness.
Very hard series to summarize, but easily one of the best comics ever written.
Where to get? The sixty odd issues can be found fairly easily in 10 Volumes.
3) Berserk (Kentaro Miura).
Okay, yes. It's a manga. Yes, it's actually pretty hard to find the full series outside of Japan and even harder to find a legal English translation anywhere.
But for anyone who likes Diablo, this may be one of the best things you've ever read. Forget the movies and the terrible series - this is *the* gothic fantasy story. Still ongoing.
Where to get? Good luck on this one. You can read it online, but I'm never sure exactly how legal that is. Still - if you can, highly recommended.
2) Preacher (Garth Ennis).
Yeah. No real explanation needed. If you haven't read this gem, remedy this as soon as possible.
Where to get? Like a lot of the comics on this list, you can get the Collected Editions from various online stores.
Be warned - I've never met someone who hasn't been at least changed somewhat by reading this. Or at least scarred.
1) The Boys (Garth Ennis).
Wait...something on the list above Preacher? Sacriledge!
Only...not really. This recently finished and the 80 odd issue run of this absolutely insane, incredibly disturbing and genuinely touching story may be the single best thing I've read in the graphic novel medium.
It essentially revolves Hughie, a 30-something Scotsman who's fiance is horribly killed by a superhero. He is recruited by the Boys, a small group of vigilantes who work in the shadows to keep superheroes inline and eventually to prevent their takeover of Earth.
The entire thing takes place in a pretty brilliant parody/merger of Marvel/DC universes and serves amazingly well as a gigantic deconstruction of the entire genre.
On top of this it's main characters and the conflicts that develop between them are easily on par with Preacher, alongside easily the best written and most believable romance I think I've read in any format, ever.
Again, like all of Ennis's stuff - this is absolutely going to scar you. Very, very, very dark stuff ahead.
Where to get? Easy to find Collected Editions.
So...thoughts? Anything I left off the list?