Top Ten Comics

#1
Watchmen cover art Watchmen
Writer: Alan Moore
Art: Dave Gibbons

First true post-modern comic book. Alan Moore crafts an intricate tale that explodes the superhero comic and remakes it as a respectable vehicle for constructing culturally, socially, and literary relevant fiction.


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#2
From Hell cover art From Hell
Writer: Alan Moore
Art: Eddie Campbell


Alan Moore again. This time he descends into the twisted history of the London Whitechapel murders of the late 1800s. Not only does Moore create a beautifully twisted and engrossing retelling / interpretation of the Jack the Ripper tale with haunting art by Eddie Campbell; he provides extensive annotations to his story. Sometimes the annotations are detailed panel by panel. Seeing the research and how it impacted and guided the story is absolutely mind-blowing.


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#3
BatmanDKR cover art Batman: The Dark Knight Returns
Writer: Frank Miller
Art: Frank Miller & Klaus Janson


Not only was this the comic that brought me back to the hobby; it, along with Watchmen, revived the comic book industry and lifted the comic book into higher literary circles. Frank Miller uses a retired Batman to explore and comment upon the political landscape of the late 1980's.


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#4
Blankets cover art Blankets
Writer: Craig Thompson
Art: Craig Thompson


Blankets is one of the finest comic books I've read. Thompson's mastery of his craft is apparent. His storytelling skills are excellent and his artwork is superb. His smooth flowing lines capture all the nuances of body and unspoken language, allowing the reader to transcend the written word and connect with the characters emotionally and spiritually. Thompson helps you feel what the character feels. A masterpiece of fiction.


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#5
Planetary cover art Planetary: Books 1 & 2
Writer: Warren Ellis
Art: John Cassady


These two books make up the first 12 issues in what is supposed to be a 24 issue finite comic book series. Planetary is an organization dedicated to uncovering the secret history of the 20th century. What they find is that a mysterious group known as The Four who have effectively hoarded and/or destroyed all of the great developments of the century. Warren Ellis writing is exciting and infectiously readable.


Buy Planetary: All Over the World and Other... from Amazon.com
Buy Planetary: The Fourth Man from Amazon.com
#6
The Crow cover art The Crow
Writer: J. O'Barr
Art: J. O'Barr


Brutally personal storytelling. O'Barr created this comic in to help himself deal with similar tragedies in his own life. The Crow is essentially a love story - but with re-incarnated hero and a lot of gory violence. The movie did an excellent job of capturing the themes of love, loss, and revenge - but the original book is soaked in them. Love and revenge permeate every page. One of the most emotionally moving comics I have ever read.

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#7
Creature Tech cover art Creature Tech
Writer: Doug TenNapel
Art: Doug TenNapel


Giant space eels, mad scientist ghosts, and Jesus Christ. Creature Tech is an interesting read. On one level it is a straight up sci-fi action thriller that delivers with complex characters and gripping art. But with a little digging the sub-text of the book is quite clear - the role of science and religion in our society. How can they co-exist. The author handles this sub-text with great skill, never coming off as preachy, but still delivering his point.


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#8
Kingdom Come cover art Kingdom Come
Writer: Mark Waid
Art: Alex Ross


It's the ultimate DC Comics superhero team up book. Set in the near future, creators Mark Waid and Alex Ross pit the superhero old-guard (Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, etc.) against a new breed of vigilante/heroes that have grown up without the benefit of Superman's guidance by example. The artwork is absolutely stunning.


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#9
Sin City art Sin City
Writer: Frank Miller
Art: Frank Miller


The first book in the series of Sin City books the Frank Miller has created is by far my favorite - even though I read it after reading all of the other books in the series. SC: A Dame To Kill For and SC: Family Values are close, but the original eeks out the title due to its overall execution. The story is perfectly paced, the characters are full realized, and the artwork knocks your socks off. Its film-noire in comic book form and it is glorious.


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#10
Killing Joke cover art Batman: The Killing Joke
Writer: Alan Moore
Art: Brian Bolland


This makes three times for Alan Moore on my list. The Killing Joke is the ultimate Batman / Joker tale. It defines them individually as characters, defines their relationship, and shows how the characters are forever linked. Batman, the symbol of order, and the Joker, the symbol of chaos, are the yin and the yang of the comic book universe. They can, and will, battle everlastingly.


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Honorable Mention
Because it's difficult to just pick ten books, here are some of the comics that just miss making my top ten.


Queen and Country: Operation Broken Ground
The Copybook Tale
Fables: Legends in Exile
Fables: Storybook Love
Sleeper
The Coffin
Powers: Who Killed Retro Girl
Powers: Roleplay
Whiteout
Promethea: Book 1