My lovely and wonderful wife got a gift certificate to MyComicsShop.com for Christmas, and I have a bit of a problem -- I'm not sure what to spend it on. Two thirds of it I am generously donating to you, good blog reader. Sort of. I'm getting the complete run of the 1985 "Who's Who in the DC Universe" and subsequent updates so I can hunt down more ridiculous and mock-worthy characters for your belittlement and enjoyment.
But that leaves me with about thirty bucks to spend, and I can't figure out what I ought to do with it. I don't want to just get the current issues I get from my regular store, but I already have most of the "big" sets I'd want.
So I thought I'd ask you all -- if you were recommending a "must have" graphic novel or trade paperback to someone who loves comics, what would you recommend? Here are a few sets I have and love, if that helps:
- Kingdom Come
- The Complete Frank Miller Batman
- Daredevil: Born Again
- The Complete Bone Adventures
(Edited to add: Those are ones I already own, not ones I am thinking of buying. Just to give you an idea of the kind of thing I like.)
Lay it on me, intelligentsia! Tell me what I need to buy with my remaining monies. Otherwise I might just say "Screw the blog readers and their 'Who's Who', I'm dumping all that and instead getting the 'Complete Calvin and Hobbes'"!
I recommend the 3 book novel series of “Justice” from DC. I think that book raises some great moral and political questions about what superheroes really do to make the world a better place or just keep the status quo. At least the first book is totally excellent. After that it just becomes an earthwide super brawl (with the metal men becoming armor for some of the heroes).
Dude, it’s not even a contest. Calvin and Hobbes, all the way.
(Can I borrow it when you’re done?)
Well, you can’t go wrong with Calvin and Hobbes…
And, you can’t possibly go right with “Justice”, which had a great first issue, and plunged steadily downhill from there!
On the other hand, if you can go way, way back (to the 80’s) and get yourself a copy of “The Hero Alliance”, I’d certainly recommend that one!
Calvin & Hobbes FTW!!
But in all seriousness, Watchmen most definitely. That is the best graphic novel ever written.
You could pick up the first couple trades of ‘Preacher’… or ‘The Boys’… can’t go wrong with Garth Ennis.
The Dark Tower series from marvel they’re amazing.
Transmetropolitan. Super-violent post-cyberpunk greatness.
Thanks for the feedback everyone. It turns out they didn’t have the Calvin and Hobbes slipcase, so you’re all still in for a whole lotta Who’s Who goodness.
In addition to that, I picked up the trade paperback of “The Perhapanauts” thanks to a review from Johanna Draper Carlson at “Comics Worth Reading”. I think I picked up a single issue earlier and enjoyed it, so it’ll be good to read the whole thing, I hope. Plus it’s not something I’ve completely read before, which is what I was looking for.
I’d recommend Powers. Fantastic view of the superhero world froma cop’s point of view.
It’s funny you would say that Dave, I haven’t ever read it and wanted to, and I found it on their list but they were out of stock on the first TPB. They had the second volume but I didn’t want to jump in mid-stream. I might pick it up at my local comics shop, though, especially if you recommend it.
On a related note, did you ever read “Top Ten”, which was about cops in an entirely super-powered world (i.e. everyone has powers)?
Hmm– Going to have to break with the pack, Jeff, on these two suggestions: 1). Batman: The Killing Joke, and 2). Astro City: Confessions (…which maybe the one of the greatest stories based on the Batman and Robin archetype. At least skim through it– promise me that much.). I recommend these stories not so much on their acclaim, but on the experience I’ve had with them. I know I’ve returned to them, with their well-worn covers and creased spines, and regardless of mood, it captures me. I’m back in that rain-drenched night at Arkham- the kind that pelts you, leaving you miserable and sweaty- and you can almost smell the cheap cologne of the gathered cops and their lit cigarettes, wafting around your nostrils like essence of noir. See what I mean? Think it over 🙂
I actually have Killing Joke from back when it was first published (yes, I’m that old) and really enjoy it. I love Astro City as well, and already have Confessions — a great story arc, absolutely. The whole series is just great, their pacing and characterization are perfect, a wonderful anodyne to the usual smash-em-up super-hero story.
Good recommendations, Joshua, if I didn’t already own ’em I’d pick ’em up!
Astro City: The Tarnished Angel is pretty good. Loved Transmetropolitan. The original Top Ten stories were really good, but I’ve heard really bad things about what happened with new writers. Bad enough I haven’t worked up the nerve to try it. And for something completely different, I recommend Morrison’s “Kill Your Boyfriend.” Good demented fun, that.
Preacher and Boys in the same sentence, Imp? Shame on you.
Well, I’m a comics newbie, so I hesitate to offer my opinion. I haven’t read many of the choices listed. Of the ones I have read, however, I’d recommend Bone. Great story, great artwork. What Lord of the Rings is to fiction, or Star Wars (the original trilogy, not the sucky prequels) is to movies, so Bone is to comics.
I edited the post to reflect that the list is of items I *already own*, not ones I am thinking of getting. I was trying to a) give an idea of what I like and b) avoid duplication of suggestions for stuff I’ve already got. Sorry for the confusion.
Frankie: whatchoo talkin’ bout, Willis?
One does not preclude the other. 😀
Never read Top Ten, but I’ll head over to Bedrock City today to pick it up!
Powers is definitely worth a read. Also, if you never considered the new Dark Horse Conan graphic novels, give them a thought. Busiek did the story for the forst 3 or 4, and he is adapting Howard’s tales. Amazing work by him, Cary Nord and (I think) Dave Stevens (RIP 🙁 ).
PS: My gaming group started a new campaign last week, and everyone showed up with Heromachine versions of their characters to pass around!
That’s cool, Dave, thanks! Hope you guys had fun. I am insanely jealous, since I haven’t had a gaming group since college. Sigh.
I’d suggest picking up a volume “American Splendor.” Just try one – you’ll either love it or hate it. It’s daily life redone in comic book form.
And stay away from Spider-Man:Reign. That was pure crap.
I really liked this TP I checked out from my local library: “Hench” by Adam Beechen & Manny Bello (AIT/Planet Lar). This story is coming from a career henchman’s point of view, and that’s exactly what I like about it. Everyone should read it just to fill in the blank of “Where the heck do these people come from?”. I mean, how the hell do they apply for work as a flunkie for a super-villain anyway? And why? (Just a thought.)
I also liked Marvel’s “Damage Control” series. It’s about an organization that cleans up after super-powered battles. I read it after watching yet another Superman toon in which he destroys private property as a means of stopping a villain from destroying private property. (Ha-ha) Don’t the supers get billed for all that damage?
Spaceman Spiff, GO!
Astro City, definitely. Tarnished Angel (referenced above) is a great one, but so are all the others, methinks.
The Golden Age (written by James Robinson)
Batman: The Long Halloween
The Starman Omnibus
Villains United (and/or Secret Six)
I really like the Blue Beetle graphic novels from John Rogers. You want to start at the beginning, but they keep improving.
Robocop vs. Terminator (seriously)
Thor (Walt Simonson)