*This content provided by a guest author reflects their own opinion.
Just like in music, in movies, or in video games, the taste in comics is subjective; everyone has their own tastes, so it is hard to define which comic is the best comic book ever. Comics have been with us for a long time. Since its beginning, comic books have been one of the driving forces in the entertainment industry. Nowadays, the comic fan base is getting older, and it’s hard to find new young comic fans; some people went in other directions and others continued to read comics. That would be borderline impossible to find a single person who has read all the comics in existence, but the world is such a big place, so, in this case, let’s say that is just near impossible.
The world of comic books is unique in some cases, if you enter that world, you will never come back, but not because it is an addiction; but because it is so freaking good. I know, people say comic books are not for everyone, just like Japanese manga. The thing is that once you read your first comic book, there are low possibilities that you will stop reading them. As an avid manga reader myself, I can confirm that, because the moment I did read my first manga, I knew there was no way out.
There are comic books for everyone. If you like superheroes, there are a bunch of comics about them, if you like neo-noir detective stories, there are a lot of them too. The same is true when we talk about all other book genres, be it horror, romance, or comedy. There are comics for everyone, so stop thinking you will not find something for you, because you will find it. I assure you of that.
Today, we will cover the top 10 best comic books of all time; obviously, in my opinion. On this list you will see a specific issue or an entire run; it does not matter, this is my opinion. That was the disclaimer right there, so let’s begin:
We can count this one as a comic, ok? Ok! Persepolis is an autobiographical series written by Marjane Satrapi, an Iranian-born French graphic novelist. The book depicts her childhood up to her adult years in both Austria and Iran during and after the infamous Islamic Revolution, while the title of the comic, Persepolis, references the ancient capital of the Persian Empire.
I am not a big fan of autobiographical stories but I have to say that this book changed my perspective of them because Persepolis is extremely easy to read; a story about a girl in her childhood living in during a revolution, and being easy to read is not something you come across every day.
Despite only reading the first part of Persepolis, I can tell you that it is something you must read; this book was so unique at that time. Persepolis has a movie adaptation, but is not the same, you know it.
If you like both Game of Thrones or Star Wars, you will enjoy Saga because I like to say that Saga is the son of GoT and Star Wars.
Written by Brian K. Vaughan and illustrated by Fiona Staples, Saga is an epic fantasy/space opera based on ideas that Vaughan conceived throughout his life; it tells the story of a couple, Marko and Alana, both extraterrestrial fleeing from authorities from both sides of a galactic war while they are struggling to care and raise their child who is born in the beginning of the story, Hazel, who sometimes narrates the series.
This comic book series is not so old; the first issue was published on March 14, 2012, and has been met with critical acclaim and is actually one of the most celebrated comics in the United States. The series went on hiatus in July 2018, but Vaughan returned to the series in January 2022.
I know what you are thinking, I know, I know; this is not a comic book; this is a Japanese manga. Yeah, but we can consider this masterpiece a comic book.
Written by Naoki Urasawa back in 1999 and finished in 2006, 20th Century Boys is widely considered one of the best manga ever written because of the main plot, the characters, the pop culture references, and the well-designed plot twists present in the story. The story goes like this: Kenji Endo is a guy in his mid-30s who, as a child, had a group of friends who wanted to be super heroes, and in the present day he notices a cult whose cult-leader known as “Friend” plans to destroy the world using references that Kenji and his friends used back in the day when they were kids.
Just like Persepolis, 20th Century Boys was adapted into three films not as good as the manga. Trust me, read this manga, it is a masterpiece.
Let’s be honest, every Marvel fan is waiting for the confirmation of a Secret Wars film series because Secret Wars deserves a film adaptation. Everybody wants to see The Beyonder in action, and I will be the first in the line.
Written by Jim Shooter in 1984, Secret Wars marks the debut of Beyonder, my favorite Marvel villain, who was so fascinated by the superheroes on Earth that he teleports a group of both heroes and villains to a place called “Battleworld” against their will to fight each other to death. He teleported some heroes like Cpt America, Iron Man, Hawkeye, Human Torch, Spider-Man, the X-Men and some villains like Molecule Man, Klaw, Doctor Octopus, Dr Doom, and Enchantress.
Secret Wars was a best-seller back in 1984; it sold more copies than any other comic in 25 years, but it was not well received by critics. But it sold well, so that is the important part.
I really like Vertigo comics because they are not afraid of taking the risk on projects that other imprints would pass on; they also allow their writers to go into a full creative mode, and because of this, they are able to create some of the most critically acclaimed comics to hit the market. This time I am talking about the infamous Preacher.
Written by Garth Ennis from 1995 to 2000, Preacher tells us the story about Jesse Custer, a preacher from Annville, Texas, who is possessed by a creature named Genesis, the infant of a coupling between a demon and an angel. This Genesis creature has enough power to rival God, so it makes Custer the most powerful being in the universe, so Custer, joined by his girlfriend Tulip O’Hare and the Irish vampire Cassidy, begins a journey across the USA to find God.
Do you want to know how good Preacher is? Well, Stephen King said that his comic “The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger Born” was influenced by Preacher, amazing.
Imagine a world where every super hero is corrupted by their celebrity status and the world’s biggest hero, Homelander, is like a Superman but evil and the only hope for mankind is a small squad led by The Punisher-like CIA Agent. Well, that is The Boys for you.
Also written by Garth Ennis, The Boys is set between 2006 and 2008 in a world where most of the superheroes are corrupted by their celebrity status and a small CIA group called “The Boys” led by Billy Butcher is in charge with monitoring the superhero community with them engaging some confrontation with the superheroes and leading to dire results. The other subplot is about a young superhero who joins the Seven, the most powerful -and corrupted- superhero team in the world, led by the psychopath and narcissistic Homelander.
While The Boys has been really controversial, it has received critical acclaim for its unconventional image of the superheroes. The live-action series is extremely good, by the way.
The reason why this comic is in this position is because this comic was one of the main reasons why the franchise had a rise in popularity back in 1981… And also, because I consider the X-Men 2014 film of the same name the best superhero movie ever made.
Ok, so the story goes like this: the story alternates between the present in 1980 and the future year of 2013 where the Sentinels, created by Bolivar Trask, rule a dystopian United States, and the mutants from around the world are hunted and placed in camps so they X-Men decides to send Kitty Pride’s mind to the past to prevent this dystopian future stopping the assassination of senator Robert Kelly with a younger Xavier and Moira MacTaggert.
Days of Future Past is considered one of the best X-Men storylines ever created, and is, by far, my favorite one.
“Ideas are bulletproof”; nothing truer was ever said. This is the story that brought the real ideas of how to start a revolution, and how the anarchy not only can save a country, but also can save the entire world. Alan Moore is a beast.
Written by Mr. Moore and illustrated by David Lloyd between 1982 and 1989, the story follows our favorite anarchist named V, a masked vigilante who elaborates and executes a revolutionist campaign to bring the fascism, kill his former captors, and to bring the anarchy to the United Kingdom in the 90s.
This comic and its movie adaptation were responsible for the growing popularity of the Guy Fawkes mask, which was used by V to cover his face. Since then, this mask has been a symbol of anarchism and freedom; the popular and powerful group Anonymous, a group of hackers who fight for the truth, use this mask as their symbol. “Expect us”.
The peak of the Batman storylines and the definitive Joker story. Many fans consider The Killing Joke the best Batman comic book alongside The Dark Knight Returns, but I can lie to myself, The Killing Joke has something that TDKR does not have, and it is that thrilling and psychological atmosphere that I love.
Written by Moore in 1988, The Killing Joke is the origin story for the Joker; how Jack Napier, a failed comedian and family man, turns insane after “one bad day”, attempts to drive Jim Gordon insane by kidnapping him and paralyzing his daughter Barbara while a desperate Batman tries to stop him and rescue Jim.
It is curious because Moore has been very critical with this work, while almost everybody has said that The Killing Joke is a masterpiece including myself. Yeah, it has its flaws, but this is an absolute classic.
Alan Moore is a god; we cannot disagree on that. This list is almost an Alan Moore’s list, but it is not my fault that his storylines are so freaking good. His magnum opus came out in 1986 by the name of The Watchmen, and in my opinion, it is the greatest comic book ever made.
Just like The Boys, The Watchmen is a satirical view of the superhero concept. The Watchmen’s storyline is about an alternate history in which the USA won the Vietnam War thanks to superheroes and the Watergate scandal was never exposed to the public. In 1985, while the country is edging towards World War 3 and some old heroes are working for the government; our protagonists face complex moral struggles while they come out of retirement after the murder of another superhero.
The Watchmen has been critically acclaimed since its publication by both comic critics and fans. The movie adaptation is also extremely good and, from my perspective, better than the Snyder Cut.
Like I said before, this is my opinion. You may dislike it; you may like it. But you have to be honest with one thing: Alan Moore is a god.