[This post is purely personal, and stems from a Twitter conversation I was having with @ARDELLd, @mattrathburn, @1000wattmarc, and some others. It was also a test of Posterous. 🙂 ]
So taking the Twitter conversation about top three graphic novels to the next level… here’s my personal list of the Desert Island Top Ten Graphic Novels. I had to leave out so many great works, because some are actually long series, as opposed to a graphic novel. In other cases, it’s just so hard to pick one graphic novel from an amazing series. Anyhow, here’s my list:
1. The Watchmen — No doubt about it. The grand-daddy of the postmodern comics movement, maybe. The finest comics/graphic novel… ever? I won’t watch the movie simply because I don’t want to ruin my own perception of the Watchmen.
2. Kingdom Come — The cover art by Alex Ross is insane. The story is fantastic. The art is amazing. What’s not to love? The fight between Superman and Captain Marvel is one of the best ever depicted in comics history, IMHO.
3. Batman: The Dark Knight Returns –Frank Miller’s re-imagining of Batman pretty much created the modern superhero genre. This ain’t the Batman of the “Kapow” and “Wham” of the 50’s and 60’s. This is a brooding, tortured man — probably a psychotic in some ways. And he’s old, and cantankerous, and somehow still a hero. Just a great, great graphic novel.
4. Ronin — Frank Miller’s seminal work. I think he took a lot of the stylistic flourishes he developed in Ronin, and the dark, dystopic yet heroic vision, into Dark Knight Returns.
5. Preacher, Until the End of the World — I’m a big fan of the Preacher series, the only trouble being which book to pick for a top ten list. I settled on this one, but frankly, the entire series is amazing.
6. Sin City, The Hard Goodbye — The first, and best, tale from the Sin City franchise. Marv is a compelling “hero”; and the villains are really unique. The setting of Sin City is a classic. And the artwork in this is the culmination of Frank Miller’s evolution from Ronin, thru Batman, into Sin City: stark, black-and-white, yet powerful. A classic.
7. The Sandman, Preludes and Nocturnes — This one was tough too, because Season of Mists is an amazing book. But ultimately, the first is the finest — the “Collector’s Convention” is something I’ll never forget. And Constantine, the “villain”, is just an insanely cool envisioning.
8. Astro City, Life in the Big City — I love the whole Astro City series and setting, and Confessions is a close second, but this one has to be it for introducing the environment, the characters, and the unique setting.
9. Hellblazer, Dangerous Habits — I guess I have a thing for religiously inspired supernatural/horror comics… but this series was just great. I love the character of John Constantine, loved the problems he ran into in this series, and how he got out of it.
10. X-Men, The Dark Phoenix Saga — This goes back a ways, I suppose, into my childhood when I remember reading the original Phoenix storyline, and then the Dark Phoenix storyline. But it remains one of the most powerful stories I can recall.
So… left out of this list, but still worthy of note (I’m not finding all the links; you can Google these yourself, heh):
- Batman: The Long Halloween (a CLASSIC)
- Top 10
- 100 Bullets
- League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
- The Darkness
- Planetary/The Authority
- The Invisibles
- Cerebus the Aardvark
- Groo the Wanderer
- Green Arrow: Quiver (Kevin Smith rocked this one hard)
Eh, we can keep going, but let’s hear from others.