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Definitive graphic novels....


dizogg
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Depends what you want. Do you want short standalone ones (like DKR and Watchman) or prolonged series. The usual ones recommended are Preacher (9 trade paper backs), League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen (2 trades), Origin (the origin of wolverine) that kind of thing. Those aren't really traditional super hero things though. I tend to go for stuff that isn't to be honest like The Goon (up to 9 trades now) Punisher Max (think that's up to 8 or so) and The Maxx. If you want standalones for the time being I'd recommend Old Man Logan and League Of Extraordinary Gentleman and see how you go.

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I guess I'm into superheroes, so ones involving Batman etc very welcome... I've got Watchmen...

V for Vendetta, Top 10 and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen are all excellent superhero/vigilante themed comics by Alan Moore, so you probably can't go wrong with those. His Swamp Thing books are really good too. Oh and he wrote a Batman story called The Killing Joke.

If you're after something a bit different then I'd say Maus by Art Spiegelman, Ghost World by Daniel Clowes and Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth by Chris Ware are all required reading. Here's a good thread for indie/alternative comics recommendations: http://www.rllmukforum.com/index.php?showtopic=217836

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I guess I'm into superheroes, so ones involving Batman etc very welcome

Batman: Year One

Frank Miller helps define the modern Batman by writing a great 'first year on the job' tale. This is as much a story about Commisioner Gordon too and how they find each other. Great art by David Mazzucchelli also and used as inspiration for alot of Batman Begins.

Batman: The Long Halloween

Origin of Two-Face and a continuation of the story from 'Year One'. Geoff Loeb and Tim Sale are a great writer/artist team and this Mob story/whodunnit/superhero story also influenced The Dark Knight aswell as Batman Begins.

Batman: Hush

Geoff Loeb teams with superstar artist Jim Lee for a big blockbuster tour of Batman's rouges gallery and history. The art is awesome and it's a fun ride with lots of characters.

Batman: The Killing Joke

As Michael J Glocks says above, the great Alan Moore writes an awesome (if not the definitive) Batman vs Joker story which also tells the Joker's origin. Brian Bolland's art is also fantastic :)

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Not read any for a long time but when I did I loved these:

Maus

V For Vendetta

From Hell

Elektra: Assassin

Batman Year One

If I had to chose one it’d be Elektra: Assassin

Miller’s an okay writer but he’s great for telling an awesome story with a beginning. middle and end. Moore’s the antithesis IMHO. Amazingly crafted individual pieces that are less the sum of their individual parts.

Apart from V For Vendetta :D

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If you're prepared to venture outside of the superhero realm, I simply can't recommend Transmetropolitan enough. I read it in its entirety last year, and it just knocked my fucking socks off. A stunning piece of work.

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Preacher amused, enthused and excited in equal measure when I first read that.

Am currently making my way through 100 Bullets - the gritty real life environ's and revenge crime stories make a nice change to superheroes. Book 6 so far, thoroughly enjoying it.

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For Batman comic recommendations, we had this thread fairly recently. See also this list.

The big one I'd recommend is Neil Gaiman's Sandman. :wub: The only problem is the first volume, "Preludes and Nocturnes", is easily the weakest, as it has the worst artwork and is the most reliant on knowledge of DC Comics continuity. (Though not that reliant; you can get away with just skimming Wikipedia's page on John Constantine.) But please persevere with it...

We3. A fantastic stand-alone action-packed comic that works as a great introduction to the wacky world or Grant Morrison.

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Tom Strong. One of the comics Alan Moore wrote for his America's Best Comics line (along with Top 10, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, and Promethea). It's definitely the least ambitious of them, but it's also probably the most fun.

Hellboy. You've seen the films, right? The comics are more of the same, except they're even more fun and they look even better!

Daredevil. Frank Miller's pre-Dark Knight Returns work. Start with Daredevil Visionaries: Frank Miller - Volume 2 (contains the Elektra/Bullseye story adapted for the movie), then Volume 3, then his Born Again (the best one :wub:). Then skip forward fifteen years to Kevin Smith and Brian Bendis's runs...

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See I didn't get on with Sandman at all - I read the lot but it felt like a slog and by the end reading it was a chore not a pleasure. I found him to be far to verbose and didn't get on with how the story flitted around.

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Based on Dizogg's post history, I'd say he'd love Preacher, The Boys and Transmetropolitan.

As far as proper superheroes go, I'd also recommend some Secret Six stuff, as it's a nice twist on the typical team-up book.

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I'd definitely suggest Batman Black and White, Arkham Asylum and also Voodoo Child by Sienkiewicz.

Cerebus by Dave Sim and Gerhard is, as has been said about Sandman, very divisive but by a very long way my favourite graphic novel. Again not superhero styled but Palestine, Blankets and Footnotes from Gaza are beautiful pieces of comic work.

Also another very big vote for the Maxx, V for Vendetta + I also love Marvels, Earth X and the comic which has brought me back to comics: Invincible.

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  • 2 weeks later...
The big one I'd recommend is Neil Gaiman's Sandman. :wub: The only problem is the first volume, "Preludes and Nocturnes", is easily the weakest, as it has the worst artwork and is the most reliant on knowledge of DC Comics continuity. (Though not that reliant; you can get away with just skimming Wikipedia's page on John Constantine.) But please persevere with it...

I went the opposite way with Sandman... I originally bought it because it was billed as a horror comic- most of the DC stuff passed me by, although I did read Hellblazer so knew about John Constantine- and I thought the first eight or nine issues were the best. Doll's House was okay- still some good horror stuff- but I went off the issue more and more as it became a fantasy titles- fairy queens and magical cats and that sort of thing. Gave up with issue fifty when I realised I hadn't actually enjoyed reading it for a few years. I'd love to see Gaiman do more comics though- Violent Cases and Black Orchid were great. Never read 1602 though- any good, or does it require a big knowledge of the Marvel universe.

Anyway, to add to the recommendations- Ballad of Halo Jones by Alan Moore and Ian Gibson. Just a stone cold classic.

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I went the opposite way with Sandman... I originally bought it because it was billed as a horror comic- most of the DC stuff passed me by, although I did read Hellblazer so knew about John Constantine- and I thought the first eight or nine issues were the best. Doll's House was okay- still some good horror stuff- but I went off the issue more and more as it became a fantasy titles- fairy queens and magical cats and that sort of thing. Gave up with issue fifty when I realised I hadn't actually enjoyed reading it for a few years. I'd love to see Gaiman do more comics though- Violent Cases and Black Orchid were great. Never read 1602 though- any good, or does it require a big knowledge of the Marvel universe.

Anyway, to add to the recommendations- Ballad of Halo Jones by Alan Moore and Ian Gibson. Just a stone cold classic.

1602 and Eternals are both great recent-ish Gaiman superhero-based comics. Neither require hardcore Marvel knowledge although 1602 definitely benefits if you know that Peter Parker is Spider-man, Steve Rogers is Captain America etc.

I've got a huge backlog of collected editions that I'm going to try to chip away at over the next couple of weeks so I'll hopefully have some recommendations. Stuff that I've read recently that's probably already been mentioned:

- I re-read all of Planetary. It's great, just like everyone says.

- West Coast Blues by Jacques Tardi & Jean-Patrick Manchette. Very good.

- Nemesis. Very slick but a bit empty, kind of a post-Dark Knight 18-rated anti-superhero movie...pretty good overall, I guess.

- The Sixth Gun volume 1. Not a classic but a lot of fun.

- Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne. I really enjoyed this but, as always with Morrison's DC stuff, I think there are references that I'm missing out on. I'm now keen to re-read the Morrison Batman run from the beginning.

- Strange Tales II. I think I preferred Strange Tales I (Jim Rugg, Kupperman etc) but I laughed out loud several times and some of the art is great.

The first two items in the list above are definite recommendations.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Don't know if it's been collected yet, but I'm following Invincible and Irredeemable at the moment and both are top notch. I'm actually not too sure if I like Irredeemable - it's dwells on some unpleasant stuff and there are two actions in the comic that have stayed with me since, months (and a year in one case) afterwards.... But it's a hell of a concept and very well written. Personally I think the arts not that great but Waid more than makes up for it with the scenario.

Invincible just rules all, art and script.

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Some useful links:

FreakyTrigger - Comics: A Beginner's Guide

A good guide to link to when people ask for recommendations, organised by genres and creators. The link is to the entry on Jaime and Gilbert Hernandez; all the others are listed in the sidebar.

Reading order guides:

DC Comics TPB reading order - covers pretty much every TPB since 1986 - now this one's scarily detailed!

DC timeline - covers pre-1986 comics

Marvel TPB reading order (by character/team)

Marvel TPB timeline (by publication date)

Marvel timeline (by in-universe chronology)

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  • 3 weeks later...

Superman: Red Son, i'm not a Superman fan at all, but i really liked this, Mark Millar is awesome, so maybe try Kick Ass or Wolverine Agent of Shield.

Phonogram by Kieran Gillen is pretty cool, music as magic sort of if you want non-superhero stuff.

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