Nothing But Comics has hit our two year mark and in observance of the sites anniversary, every Tuesday one of our staff members made a list of their favorite series, runs or issues of all time. This week we’ve aggregated all the list together
I’m sure many of you are familiar at least with this story, even if you’ve yet to read it. A very popular comic for all the right reasons, this is Ennis at his best. I won’t drone on about the whys and wherefores, because you’ve probably all heard/read it. I love this book, because it forced every possible emotional reaction out of me over the course of nine trades. That’s something special, and that’s why it’s on this list. Oh, and all the other things you’ve heard people rave about are true as well-Tyler
It’s the end of the spiritual world as we know it, and none of us feel fine. The Swamp Thing, Constantine, Etrigan, and the illustrious sorcerers team up to fight for both Heaven and Hell when a cult of evil warlocks take advantage of the Crisis on Infinite Earths and plot to destroy everything by awakening the chaos that existed before the light of creation. Moore perfectly capture the horrors of the end of the multiverse, as ordinary people face down cavemen, dinosaurs, and spiritual pressure cooker caused by the multiverse in flux with his vivid descriptions of what is happening off panel. What we do get to see will always stick with you. From the larger than our mortal minds can fathom First Evil to the grotesque Invunche, each image is somehow both beautiful and horrifying. Come for the epic battle of light and darkness, stay for the greatest handshake in all of creation-Katharine
It wasn’t until picking up Y: The Last Man when I realized that comics could be so much more than just superheros. If I was to write a comic, this is the comic I would write. Easy to say that about a hugely successful comic book series, but what I mean is the style in which Brian K Vaughan does so. Vaughan lets his characters drive his books. He of course centers his stories around interesting ideas, like every male dying in the world except for one man and his monkey. However, it is not the stories which drive the book. He even spells this out multiple times in Y: The Last Man. It doesn’t matter why every man on the earth died, the answer to the “big” question in these types of stories doesn’t matter, all that matters is the journey. Yorick is one of my favorite characters of all time. He is witty and charming in a nerdy and unassuming kind of way. He is not the typical hero, he is the everyday guy who has been thrust up into the spotlight and plagued with responsibility. He did not ask for it, he is not ready for it. I have read this whole series two times now and I am looking forward to the third. This book is the real deal-Dean
7. Captain America 1-25, 600-19 by Ed Brubaker, Mark Waid, Sean McKeever, Steve Epting, Michael Lark, Lee Weeks, Mike Perkins, Butch Guice, Luke Ross, Dave Eaglesham, Gene Colan, David Baldeaon, Mitch Breitweiser, Felipe Andrade, Daniel Acuna, Stefano Gaudiano, Chris Samnee & Mike Deodato.
Ed Brubaker & Steve Epting’s time spent on the relaunched Captain America is the most post 9/11 superhero comic of it’s time. While cornballs like Chuck Dixon were appealing to the prevailing culture of the time by making him a dumbed down patriot devoid of any nuance, Brubaker & Epting took the charachter back to his essence mixing noir & classic spy fiction for one of the centuries great political allegories. I’ve written in greater depth about Brubaker & Epting’s time on the series here, but in short, Captain America is a heartfelt and ultra modern American tragedy wrapped in a blend of the cultures classic genre fiction that was a near perfect exploration of it’s time and the troubling past that led us there. In the waning age of the iconic Marvel Knights era and revival of the publisher, Brubaker & Eptings time on the series remains a high point for that era of the publisher-Patrick
What happens when a god finds out that he’s dying? Basically, what he’s always done, except even bigger. All-Star Superman is, to me, one of the quintessential Superman stories. Reading this was a profound and moving experience. Morrison distills all of Superman’s greatest qualities into twelve issues. It also contains my favorite Superman moment and one of the most powerful scenes I have ever read. I’ve talked about it a bit before, but it should be talked about more. Everything you need to know about Superman’s character is shown in these five panels. He is a god-like being, but still cares about everyone, no matter how seemingly insignificant. He is a reminder of what we could be and that we are stronger than we think we are. I have this page bookmarked and sometimes I just open my All-Star Superman trade just to look at it. It’s odd that in a book full of gods and monsters, the moment that I remember most is this five panel page. The artwork by Frank Quitely is beautiful. It’s emotive and perfectly captures both bombastic battle scenes and quiet character moments. All around, this book is a classic-Katharine
What can I say that has not been said about Saga? This book has been in my top five ever since the first issue. The imagination and wonder of the world that Brian and Fiona have created is beautiful. I am never disappointed when I step into this galaxy. There is something new to discover with every passing issue. But it is not the cool space gadgets or even the wacky world building that makes this book what it is. The shining star of the book is it’s heart. This book is about relationships and family. It is about real emotions, the good and the bad. It is about the happiness of having loved ones close to you, but it is also about the heartache that can bring. This book is jammed packed with characters that you know and characters that you love. This is the best book on the stands and will continue to be so until it’s conclusion-Dean
Frank Miller brought the crime ridden streets of New York City to the Marvel Universe in his iconic run on Daredevil. Starting off as an illustrator for writer Roger McKenzie, the creators signature run on the book really doesn’t commence until he began writing & drawing the series in 1981. Miller’s era on Daredevil is the New York City of it’s time, it’s kung fu films at dingy Time Square theatre’s, crime families ruilling over the working class like fuedal lords, gangs, graffiti, crack and unmitigated urban decay. There is a sense of urgency to the entire run that makes Miller’s entire work on the series engrossingly addictive; once you start reading you’ll never want to stop. For his part, reading the entirety of Miller’s time spent plotting the book, you can see the creator grow and mature in real time. There’s a huge difference between the artist that was drawing McKenzie scripts & the guy who did The Dark Knight Returns and the evolution is in his initial time spent on the series between issues 168 to 191. And while Miller’s art on Daredevil is some of the best work he’s ever done, there was also a murderers row of all time great talents working with him later on like David Mazzuchelli, Bill Sienkiewicz, John Buscema & perhaps best of all, Klaus Jansan, whose illustration and ink work complimented Miller’s visual story telling to make for one of the greatest collaborations in the history of the medium. More then just a fantastic superhero run and defining take on the charachter, Miller’s run on the title remains a living document on the dark side of Regan’s America, blending the popular genre fiction of it’s time and place with the feeling of dread as the inner city looked as if it was burning into a wasteland of drugs, crime and poverty-Patrick
3. Hell Boy by Mike Mignola, John Arcudi, and Scott Allie. With artists Guy Davis, Richard Corben, Peter Snejbjerg, Paul Azaceta, Tyler Crook, Duncan Fegredo, Ben Stenbeck, Cameron Stewart, Gabriel Ba, Fabio Moon, James Harren, Jason Latour, Tonci Zonjic, Max and Sebastian Fiumara, Ryan Sook, Michael Avon Oeming, Jason Shawn Alexander, P. Craig Russell, John Severin, Karl Moline, Kevin Nowlan, Jason Armstrong, and Laurence Campbell.
Mike Mignola’s long-running epic about a blue-collar guy who is also the beast of the Apocalypse. It’s ever expanding, but Hellboy to me will always be the glue that holds it together. Part Jack Kirby-action, part gothic horror and part Sunday morning humor, Hellboy has many things going for it and I love all of them-Josh
Over the years, The Killing Joke has accumulated a bit of baggage. Some of it, as Moore himself has admitted, is deserved; some it is the fault of its many imitators. However, as I have discussed previously, The Killing Joke will always be important for me. It was the first “mature readers” comic I ever bought, which pointed out for me what else comics could be. Its central message that we are defined not by the events of our lives, but how we react to them resonates with me to this day. It is one of those morals that can be applied to any life, not just those of a spandex clad adventurer. And then there is a Brian Bolland’s stunning art, which is some of the greatest ever to grace a Batman story. Honestly, I could have easily made half this list Alan Moore entries (Watchmen, From Hell & Miracleman all came under consideration), In the end there is no objective best anything, and so I selected the personal favorite-Cosmo
1. Sandman #1-75 & Special by Neil Gaiman, Sam Kieth, Mike Dringenberg, Chris Bachalo, Michael Zulli, Kelley Jones, Charles Vess, Colleen Doran, Matt Wagner, Stan Woch, Bryan Talbot, Shawn McManus, Duncan Eagleson, John Watkiss, Jill Thompson, Craig P. Russell, Alex Preston Stevens, Mike Allred, Shea Anton Pensa, Gary Amaro, Marc Hempel, Glyn Dillon, Dean Ormston, Teddy H. Kristiansen, Richard Case, Jon Jay Muth & Dave McKean
Sandman is probably one of the most accidental masterpieces in the history of comics. Gaiman first imagined Morpheus, Lord of Dreams as a character for the Wild Cards prose anthology series (editor George R.R. Martin rejected it). Later when Karen Berger was courting Gaiman to DC, Gaiman pitched the idea of reviving Jack Kirby’s Silver Age Sandman in the tradition of Moore’s Swamp Thing, Morrison’s Animal Man and so on. Berger said “that’s nice, but we’ve got a lot of that going on right now. How about something original, Neil?” And so, Gaiman revived his tale of the Dreaming and the results were the greatest comic book series ever. Over the course of 76 issues, Gaiman chronicled the gradual emotional growth of Dream. The tale was concentrated in the present day, though by its end it would span the centuries, reaching back into the ancient world. It was populated by a large supporting cast, many of whom were as indelibly rendered as the Dream Lord himself. Indeed, you could argue that Dream’s sister Death is actually the fans’ favorite Gaiman creation. It tackled serious philosophical matters and then-edgy cultural issues. Many of the most memorable panels in my comics reading come from Sandman. Comics are a visual medium and Gaiman’s run of artists for Sandman is one of, if not, the most consistent rotation of illustrators for any title in the medium. Each new artist would bring their own aesthetic to the Realm of Dreams, yet none of it ever felt out of place. The Dreaming, after all, could easily contain multitudes. This standard of excellence extended to Dave McKean’s covers, which defined the look of the series as much any of the interior art. It is impossible to imagine one without the other.
Sandman is a title that stands the test of time, and, like the other selections on this list, shall continue to do so for many years to come-Cosmo