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rllmuk's favourite comics


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Spinning off from the Watchtower comics threads, here's a new thread to discuss personal favourites that can be recommended to new and old readers of comics.

General criteria:

  • Run should have actually finished. If you think something is great but got cancelled before it was actually finished, then okay, but Saga is still technically in progress and hasn't been cancelled so doesn't count. Immortal Hulk on the other hand gets a pass because it's only got 5 issues to go and eh, I'm a Hulk fan so sue me.
  • Five submissions per person to keep things manageable
  • Writing about why you've made a submission is not mandatory, but can help people decide whether they want to pick up a particular run or whatever, so maybe just something brief if you can manage it.
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All of these can be read for free to ANYONE with AMAZON PRIME.

 

There is so much on there to go through including some great Manga titles.

 

These should give you some to read and then Amazon should then recommend some more.

 

Not all volumes are on there but that’s how they get your to drop your dime or wait it out like me :)

 

 

Edited to tidy up the list and embed links. Hope you don't mind @Arn X Treme. :)

 

 

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All Star Superman

Nextwave

Komi Can't Communicate (No it's not finished. Don't care though. BEST COMIC)

The Invisibles

Irredeemable (The only good take on "Bad Superman")

 

I'd also like to give an shout out to 2000AD. It doesn't fit the criteria (Being an ongoing weekly anthology series) but it's one comic I feel should be read by as many people as possible.

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A few years ago Transmetropolitan would have been on my list but fuck me if current politics haven't made that comic look as tame as fuck. Can you believe they take down the president by showing evidence he used a prostitute?

 

How quaint.

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1 hour ago, Talvalin said:

Heh. Fuck it. Just submit it, because you're going to put it on your list anyway right? :)

Thank you! I take it you'd appreciate a bit of text alongside the entries and not just a literal list?

 

And yes, I have plenty in mind that aren't Hulk related :D

 

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Mine are all Star Wars, because apart from Immortal Hulk and 2000AD they're the only comics I read. And I read ALL OF THEM so you don't have to. So here are my top 5 completed modern Star Wars comics series. These are in publication order rather than order of preference.

 

1. Star Wars (2015-2019, 75 issues) - Marvel's main Star Wars comic, which starts immediately after the events of the original film (which I still think of just as Star Wars but which the kids these days insist on calling A New Hope) and ends immediately before The Empire Strikes Back. It's quite a convoluted journey in between, but what it does consistently well is explore Luke's feelings and his thirst for knowledge about the Force, the Jedi, and his father, based on the limited understanding he gained in the brief time he spent with Ben Kenobi.

 

2. Darth Vader (2015-2016, 25 issues) - This runs in parallel with the Star Wars series above, and although the two stories intersect at times (and have a "crossover event" halfway through called Vader Down), you don't need to read Star Wars to follow this, and this is the better series for two main reasons: (1) Vader's tortured internal monologue, and his relationships with both the people around him and those he's lost, are more interesting than Luke's, and (2) it introduces and co-stars Doctor Aphra, who is a fantastic character who more people should know and love. Speaking of which...

 

3. Doctor Aphra (2016-2019, 40 issues) - Continues Aphra's story after the end of the Darth Vader series, still in parallel with the main Star Wars comic (and with another crossover, The Screaming Citadel, but again you can read this series on its own) but diverging from it over time and becoming its own thing, which is a brilliant tale of a "rogue archaeologist" (i.e. a morally flexible, female space Indiana Jones) and her ongoing attempts to get rich quick while avoiding the wrath of those she's double crossed on the way, of whom Mr Vader is only one of very many. Because this series is based on an original character, it lets the writers and artists play around in the Star Wars universe in ways that they can't in comics based on people from the films, and so it's often funny and occasionally silly but always great fun.

 

4. Poe Dameron (2016-2018, 31 issues) - This series is mainly set before the events of The Force Awakens, and concludes after the end of The Last Jedi. If you don't like the new films then this series probably won't change your mind, but if you do, this is a great story that ties in perfectly with them. I was pleasantly surprised by how consistently good this was given that it's based on a character who didn't even survive to the end of Act 1 in the original TFA script, but it really is very good indeed. It probably goes without saying, if you like comics with lots of splashy double-page spreads of spaceships pew-pewing at each other, this is for you.

 

5. Darth Vader: Dark Lord of the Sith (2017-2018, 25 issues) - This is the second Darth Vader series and if anything it's even better than the first. It's completely separate, being set immediately after Revenge of the Sith and focusing on Vader dealing with who he has become, and what that transformation cost him. This series is one of the best examples of Star Wars comics achieving the seemingly impossible, re-framing scenes and images from the prequels to generate emotional heft where those films failed. (Within the first three pages of issue 1 it provides a much more powerful version of the infamously laughable "Noooo..." scene.) Even better, this series includes as a repeating motif an utterly brilliant visual representation of Vader's "inner life," through which he perceives his place in the universe and the events that have shaped him. It's not just internal torment though, there's plenty of the external variety too as he's fresh off the Jedi leash and able to let rip into everyone who crosses him with a bit of the old Dark Side of the Force. All of these series are good but I think this is probably the best of the lot.

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In no particular order, and may push the boundaries of what we’re considering to be modern.
 

Fantastic Four: 570-611 & FF: 1-23

Jonathan Hickman’s run on Fantastic Four is one of the most epic comic runs I’ve ever read. Sets up all kinds of plots for the future regarding Secret Wars too.

 

Alan Moore’s entire run on Swamp Thing.

Pre-Watchmen Moore at his peak. Seminal horror that puts pretty much every other comics attempt at the genre to shame.
 

Kieron Gillen to Charles Soule’s Darth Vader run, two volumes, 25 issues each.

Essential for any Star Wars fan. Adds to the wider lore substantially. Also crosses over with other great Star Wars comics, most notably Gillen’s spin-off, Dr Aphra.

 

Love and Rockets 1-50

Not sure if you can get hold of these as individual comics anymore, but the collected volumes of individual story arcs are wonderful. If you only ever read two, then Jamie’s The Death of Speedy and Gilbert’s Heartbreak Soup are about as good as the comic medium has ever been. I read these when I was 12 and they taught me petty much everything I ever needed to know about love, death and sex.

 

Block Mania/Apocalypse War

Probably the greatest Dredd epic of all time, certainly the most ambitious at the time. 

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The entire Batman run by Grant Morrison

 

One of the most epic runs in comics there has ever been, the story is told in 3 distinct acts which are all absolutely awesome, at times a little bit confusing but the more I read it - and I try to read it once a year, the better it gets and for me, no other super-hero comic comes close.

 

Gotham Central - By Ed Brubaker and Greg Rucka.

 

Possibly my favourite comic of all-time, the premise seems a little mundane, but when its being written by two the greatest comic book writers around, every issue is just so readable and I have often read the entire run of 40 odd issues in a single sitting.  Also I have to add DC are fucking stupid not to have made this in to a TV show yet, as if done correctly, would make a perfect show for HBO.

 

Monster by Naomi Urasawa

 

Easily my favourite manga, and for a series that is pretty long, just never gets dull and never fails to shock and surprise you along the way.

 

Essex County by Jeff Lemire.

 

I could quite easily recommend all of Lemire’s non Marvel and DC work as they are quite brilliant, but Essex County is the one that hits me in the feels the hardest and that is something Jeff Lemire seems to be a master of.

 

Planetary by Warren Ellis 

 

Ellis is the master in this book of somehow giving the reader a complete story in single issue without using very little text and yet at the same time, also linking that single issue into a far larger overarching story that keeps the reader on his toes and never failing to astonish and surprise you.

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Fantastic Four by Walt Simonson

 

My personal favourite run in the entire FF series. Yes, the brilliance of the Lee & Kirby run is the stuff of legend. And Byrne's impact is undeniable. But the most enjoyable read for me is the incredible Simonson run. Specifically issues 337 - 350 and 352 - 354 (the issues beforehand were a relatively weak crossover wrap up and 351 is a filler by someone else)

 

This is Simonson at the top of his game with both his writing and art. Epic cosmic shenanigans guest-starring, amongst others, Thor and Death's Head, yes? In-between you also get the famous New FF story with Art Adams doing the art. Highlight is a battle in time between Reed and Doom in 352. While the rest of the team's misadventures are told chronologically, the battle in time is all over the place with each page timestamped so you can either follow Reed or the rest. It's sublime comic book storytelling, making perfect visual use of the medium.

 

Available as Fantastic Four Visionaries: Walt Simonson

 

Punisher MAX by Garth Ennis

 

At a time when Punisher had become a creative dead end, a cartoon caricature of cliched action movie vigilantes rather than his own character, in swooped Ennis. After a successful run in the regular series where he had to tone it down heavily, Marvel gave him carte blanche in the MAX comic book line - set outside the Marvel universe, and without any limits on the violence and gore. And the violence is glorious - crucially, it's also always so absurd and knowingly over the top, that it remains terrifically entertaining instead of becoming boring.

 

On top of that Ennis also tells the definitive tale of Frank Castle, molds it into a fantastic tale of crime drama that's gripping all the way through. Even if you usually don't like Punisher, check this out.

 

Available as Punisher Max by Garth Ennis Omnibuses

 

The Maxx by Sam Kieth

 

To me, Kieth is one of the all-time greats. His art is not just a joy to look at, it's also unlike anything else. It's almost psychedelic in the way it fluidly combines vastly different styles, from extreme realism to almost Disney level cartoony, into one coherent and impressive whole.

 

Speaking of psychedelic, The Maxx series is probably the closest you can get to experiencing shrooms without actually ever eating shrooms. Kieth made use of the absurd hype surrounding Image in the nineties to debut his own series. Written and drawn by Keith, The Maxx tells the tale of a homeless person who believes he's actually a superhero living in a fantasy version of the Australian outback, only it seems like the outback is actually real and interacting with modern day New York. An emotional tale about insecurities, abuse, abandonment, and finding your own place and meaning in a cruel world.

 

My description doesn't do it justice. It's hard to say what it's actually about, but it's without a doubt endlessly fascinating and enthralling.

 

Grendel by Matt Wagner

 

This is the big one. Wagner's lifetime magnum opus about the evil in all of us, the devil inside. Rather than an antihero, Grendel is the actual villain of the piece. But instead of remaining confined to an actual person, Grendel evolved into a concept as the series continued throughout the decades. 

 

The tale starts with 80s New York being terrorized by a genius and ruthless masked villain. After his death the mask is passed on to others. Further on, as we get into sci-fi territory, Grendel becomes much more than just the mask. Maybe it's the actual devil, maybe it's an invisible force that rises to rule the entire planet by manipulating people into doing the evil that comes naturally.

 

With each new chapter Wagner tries to do something completely different. He experiments with various storytelling techniques, perspectives, and with page and panel layouts. The story and characterization is brilliant but it's those experimentations that cement Grendel as one of my all-time favourites that I keep returning to.

 

Available as Grendel Omnibus 1 through 4

 

Immortal Hulk by Al Ewing

 

This is the series I recommend to anyone who will listen. Even if you don't like the Huk, or even superheroes in general, or even comic books. I honestly believe Immortal Hulk is so good, that it transcends all such personal preferences.

 

Writer Al Ewing took every piece of Hulk lore established since the early 60s and effortlessly weaved it all into a tale of straight up horror in his own version of Alan Moore's Anatomy Lesson in Swamp Thing. You don't need to have ever read a single Hulk comic before as it's completely standalone. The basic idea is that when Bruce Banner dies, Immortal Hulk rises - and whatever happened to Banner, Hulk takes personal. As the story expands from body horror into cosmic horror, with philosophical and psychological elements tying everything together, the biggest standout is how it all feels as part of a cohesive whole. Each issue works by itself, each issue leaves you gagging for more, and yet it tells a coherent story that plays out on an epic scale.

 

By far the best thing Marvel and DC are putting out right now. If you love comics, hell, if you're at the very least curious enough to have clicked on this topic, you owe it to yourself to read Immortal Hulk.

 

Available in various soft and hardcover trade paperback formats

 

 

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On 12/04/2021 at 19:45, Darren said:

5. Darth Vader: Dark Lord of the Sith (2017-2018, 25 issues) - This is the second Darth Vader series and if anything it's even better than the first. It's completely separate, being set immediately after Revenge of the Sith and focusing on Vader dealing with who he has become, and what that transformation cost him. This series is one of the best examples of Star Wars comics achieving the seemingly impossible, re-framing scenes and images from the prequels to generate emotional heft where those films failed. (Within the first three pages of issue 1 it provides a much more powerful version of the infamously laughable "Noooo..." scene.) Even better, this series includes as a repeating motif an utterly brilliant visual representation of Vader's "inner life," through which he perceives his place in the universe and the events that have shaped him. It's not just internal torment though, there's plenty of the external variety too as he's fresh off the Jedi leash and able to let rip into everyone who crosses him with a bit of the old Dark Side of the Force. All of these series are good but I think this is probably the best of the lot.


This sounds great, and I’d be interested in reading this. However, as someone not really into comics I find trying to buy the right thing really confusing. 
 

If I search for “Star Wars: Darth Vader: Dark Lord of the Sith” on Amazon I get two things called Vol 2 which seem to be different, and lots of other volumes. 
 

Which one should I go for?

 

I expect this is pretty straightforward and obvious to regular comic readers, but for those unfamiliar with ‘runs’ and ‘collections’ it feels pretty confusing. 
 

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@Bushtopher You want to start with Darth Vader, Volumes 1 to 4 by Kieron Gillen and then Darth Vader: Dark Lord of the Sith by Charles Soule, Volumes 1 to 4. 

 

That’s about £120 worth of graphic novels, if you get the paperbacks. The cheapest way by far to read these would be to subscribe to Marvel Unlimited for a month or two and burn through the lot.

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Yeah, Marvel are nothing if not confusing with their numbering. They love restarting series with the same name from #1 (at least with the second Vader series they gave it a subtitle, the third one that’s running now is back to plain old Darth Vader again) and then they bring out paperback collections (so called Trade Paperbacks) which include 5 or 6 issues each, and then hardback collections with about a dozen issues in each, but all just called Volume 1, Volume 2, etc. They normally distinguish different series with the same name by the year they started, so in this case all these books say on the back (and in the description on Amazon etc) something like: “collects Darth Vader (2017) #1-6”

 

I buy the paperbacks as they come out, but now the hardbacks are the more cost effective option if you want a physical copy, although if you don’t then Marvel Unlimited is a good option (and you can read everything else too). If you’re going down the physical route you either need hardback volumes 1-2 or paperback volumes 1-4.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 13/04/2021 at 15:46, Mr. Gerbik said:

Grendel by Matt Wagner

 

This is the big one. Wagner's lifetime magnum opus about the evil in all of us, the devil inside. Rather than an antihero, Grendel is the actual villain of the piece. But instead of remaining confined to an actual person, Grendel evolved into a concept as the series continued throughout the decades. 

 

The tale starts with 80s New York being terrorized by a genius and ruthless masked villain. After his death the mask is passed on to others. Further on, as we get into sci-fi territory, Grendel becomes much more than just the mask. Maybe it's the actual devil, maybe it's an invisible force that rises to rule the entire planet by manipulating people into doing the evil that comes naturally.

 

With each new chapter Wagner tries to do something completely different. He experiments with various storytelling techniques, perspectives, and with page and panel layouts. The story and characterization is brilliant but it's those experimentations that cement Grendel as one of my all-time favourites that I keep returning to.

 

Available as Grendel Omnibus 1 through 4

 

 


Great choice - after Love & Rockets, Grendel is my favourite series of all time.

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The Sandman

 

Aside from giving my teenage self an internet identity still going 25 years later (it was supposed to be dreamalittledream but turns out that was taken at hotmail.com), still one of the most imaginative and striking pieces of illustrated literature going. Deeply rooted in both mythology and DCs past there is still nothing quite like it. Season of Mists, Brief Lives and The Kindly Ones are the key story cycles but all 10 volumes (12 I guess if you include Endless Nights and Overture) are essential reading.

 

The Unwritten

 

What if Harry Potter was based on a real person and then turned out to actually have magic from the stories (or because of the books).

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The Books Of Magic (DC Comics) (Various Series) (1st Mini 1990)

 

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Books-Magic-TP-Neil-Gaiman/dp/1401246869

 

"Timothy Hunter could be the most powerful magician in the world, but does he really want to be? Guided through the magical world starting at the beginning of time by a group of DC Universe magicians, often referred to as the Trenchcoat Brigade (John Constantine, Phantom Stranger, Mister E, and Doctor Occult), they attempt to aid Timothy in his decision whether to embrace his gift. However, by the time Timothy makes a choice, it may have already been made for him."

 

Boy Magician & his pet Owl do decent magic and get involved into hi-jinks before that other boy magician and his pet Owl did lame magic and got into childish hi-jinks.

 

I've recently re-read the mini and the consequent mini-series and if you like the way they show magic in the Vertigo DC stuff then you will love this, so many characters from different material show up from John Constantine to The Dead Boy Detectives. 

 

Love DC Magic titles then this is for you!

 

 

 

 

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