Have you ever wished to explore far-off worlds, participate in incredible adventures, and see the balance between good and evil restored? Comic books have the power to take you anywhere you want without budgetary or physical restraints. The creators just dream up a fictitious world, and all you have to do is embark on the journey using your own imagination.
- Comic books cater to countless tastes and interests.
- Children are no longer the sole target audience.
- The five most outstanding comic books publishers in the US
- All-Star Superman
- Batman: The Killing Joke
- Amazing Spiderman: Kraven’s Last Hunt
- Marvel’s Civil War
- V for Vendetta
- See your childhood heroes in flesh and blood!
Comic books cater to countless tastes and interests.
Comics have been cheering our lives up since as early as 1897. The first “official” funny paper was published in 1897 back then, entitled The Yellow Kid in McFadden’s Flats. Moreover, the term “comic book “was coined on its back cover.
Reading graphic novels means different things for every reader. However, there is one common aspect: fans undoubtedly consider them the ultimate wish fulfillment and the ideal source of modern visual escapism from reality.
Children are no longer the sole target audience.
Comic books address various demands and niches. Some bookworms prefer more gritty noir stories depicted in Detective Comics, mainly in Batman. Others choose a more lighthearted approach as featured, for instance, in the early Marvel’s Spiderman or Garfield stories. Consequently, you can read mangas (Japanese graphic novels, such as Naruto or Fullmetal Alchemist) designed for an adult audience containing explicit language, drawings, and themes. Obviously, the American equivalents for manga exist catering to adults, for example, The Boys or Sandman.
The five most outstanding comic books publishers in the US
Before diving into the best comic books ever created, let’s look at the top-tier publishers in the US. The top spot certainly belongs to Marvel Comics with such classics as X-Men, the Avengers, Spiderman, Daredevil, Jessica Jones, etc. Then comes Detective Comics (or DC) with long-established heroes and superheroes such as Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, and Green Lantern ( forming the Justice League).
Dark Horse Comics takes the third spot with illustrious representatives and mega franchises such as Star Wars, Aliens, Predator, Hellboy, Sin City, and The Umbrella Academy. Image Comics comes in fourth with Spawn, Youngblood, and Savage Dragon. And last but not least, IDW Publishing concludes our top five with such evergreen novels as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Star Trek.
All-Star Superman is a timeless masterpiece created by Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely and published between 2005-2008. It deepens the DC’s beacon of light’s psychology to discover the central protagonist’s essence. In a twelve-issue series, the creators reveal the end of Superman’s days on Earth after Lex Luther unleashes solar radiation, infecting the Man of Steel with a seemingly invincible sickness.
Besides classic action tropes, Superman proves what made him such a standout and universally beloved role model. Thus, he takes numerous terminally ill children on a flying adventure around the globe and saves a teenager from committing suicide. With only one year left to live, Superman must come to terms with his heritage on our planet and face brand new enemies.
His god-like stature becomes even more apparent as he takes on cancer and manages to come up with a cure. In addition, he makes sure his legacy won’t be discontinued on earth as he develops a formula for creating a brand new Superman once he’s gone. In short, All-Star Superman encompasses action, adventure, excitement, and a story pulling your heartstrings wrapped in one fantastic storyline for all ages!
Although you can watch the animated version of this comic book on your large-screen smart TV, we still advise you to give the original a chance!
Batman: The Killing Joke
No best-of-list would be complete without Superman’s lifelong friend and Justice League partner, Batman, aka the Dark Knight. Suppose the Man of Steel embodies hope and light. In that case, Batman represents the dark side of the modern urban lifestyle and environment.
Our emblematic hero, without superpowers, bears the scars of childhood trauma yet won’t let his guard down when protecting the innocent. Gotham, the Dark Knight’s guardianship, is a standalone character creating the impression of being one of the oldest American cities.
The Killing Joke, written by the phenomenal Alan Moore, features our brave and bold hero’s archnemesis, the Joker, freshly escaped from the Gotham Arkham Asylum. The lethal clown, always wearing a sinister smile on his face, kidnaps Batman’s friend, Commissioner Gordon, and takes him to a twisted arcade. As we discover later in the story, Joker’s plan is to snare Batman in his den filled with entrapments and push him on the brink of insanity.
The story is recommended primarily to adults as the various tortures the Joker submits his victims to are not for the children or the faint of heart. In addition, The Killing Joke is a creative journey of what pushes a man into madness. Finally, it deals with the bewilderingly thin lines separating the hero from his enemy.
As in the previous entry, filmmakers adapted The Killing Joke to the screen. Still, we commend the far superior original than watching it in your ultimate home theater room.
Amazing Spiderman: Kraven’s Last Hunt
Written by J. M. DeMatteis in 1987, the story revolves more around Spidey’s villain, Kraven, than our protagonist, surprisingly. According to the general opinion, heroes genuinely shine when they face an actual threat and masterfully crafted villain. This formula definitely applies in this case. Kraven knows no boundaries regarding the successful execution of his plans, killing and burying The Big Apple’s favorite web-slinging superhero.
Kraven’s Last Hunt is Spiderman’s most mind-bending story, and it reads more like a Dark Knight saga. The novel takes its readers into the darkest corners of its fascinating antagonist’s psyche. Besides, you can hold your breath for Spiderman as he digs himself out of his own grave!
Marvel’s Civil War
Creative graphic novel writers love to explore complex themes, such as what it means to be a superhero and what responsibilities they should assume. In one of the quintessential comic book series ever created, Civil War (produced by Mark Millar in 2006-2007) revolves around the so-called Superhero Registration Act.
The piece of legislature stipulates that any masked or unmasked superhero should act under an official decree. Thus the central conflict ensues between the act’s supporters, led by Iron Man, and those against, marching under Captain America’s leadership. Soon, the dispute inflames and inevitably leads to clashes between the two camps. The stakes are high, and heroes face each other in a final showdown. Their battle concludes with Captain America’s capitulation, realizing the damage and futile sacrifices they’ve made.
However, the story keeps its real shocker till the very end. As the jury prepares for the hero’s trial, a henchman working for Red Skull, a supervillain, assassinates our beloved Cap.
Readers were fascinated by the story’s moral complexity that authentically presents the intricate web of event causality. Often, fans criticized Marvel for not being brave enough to kill their protagonists. Civil War was the publisher’s excellent response to this criticism. (Spoiler alert: the First Avenger won’t stay dead for too long.)
V for Vendetta
Alan Moore created this must-read comic book as well. V for Vendetta features a totalitarian regime in the UK, much like Orwell’s 1984, cutting people’s personal freedoms and individuality. The novel conceals a thought-provoking social commentary with countless metaphors and intriguing symbolism.
Oppression soon gives birth to a mysterious hero, V, wearing a Guy Fawkes mask (the symbol of resistance.) The anarchist revolutionary stages several attacks against his former detainers and tormentors. However, his central scheme is to convince the people to overthrow the fascist British government. Along his journey, he befriends Evey Hammond, a young and daring woman who becomes his protege and, ultimately, his successor.
V for Vendetta strikes genuine emotional chords and treats its subject matter maturely. It questions autocratic systems and inspires us to raise our voices against injustice.
See your childhood heroes in flesh and blood!
Most of these IPs have successfully been adapted to the big screen and turned into genre-bending instant classics. Since Marvel now belongs to Disney, you can see your favorite heroes up close and personal by visiting Disney World! Moreover, you can even turn your backyard into an amusement park featuring your beloved world heroes if you wish to surprise your children.
By the 21st century, comic books have become an integral part of our mainstream culture and inseparable from everyday life. You can see your trending heroes everywhere you go on posters, ads, or even on your Disney World tour. Suppose you wish to gain a more profound knowledge of this “mass hysteria.” In that case, we recommend you start with the legendary issues presented in this article! Obviously, the list can’t contain all the comics you should read before you die. Typically, Watchmen and Sandman are two of the greatest ones that will figure on any comic-book fan list.
By all means, graphic novels will expand your horizon and make your fantasy fly. Simultaneously, the heroes presented therein serve as fantastic means to inspire us to become better people even without superpowers!