Whether you’re a die hard fan or totally new to the world of comic books, this selection of “the best of the best” will give you a great starting point for exploring or a chance to expand your reading. We’ll start with a few of the obvious “must haves” for the new geeks trying to catch up, then we’ll start posting other cool stuff that some veteran nerds might be interested in.
Oh, by the way… you can order any of these from us. Just sayin’. Here we go:
Batman: The Dark Knight Returns
No Batman story in the world is probably more important than Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns. Released in 1986, it was responsible for the rejuvenation of Batman as the dark, brooding character we know today – and for the comics industry as a whole. Batman represented all that was wrong in comics and Miller set himself the task taking on the camp crusader and turning this laughable, innocuous children’s cartoon character into a hero for our times.
Watchmen redefined what superhero comics could be and re-introduced the medium to an adult audience with a gripping, labyrinthine script and ultra-detailed artwork. Set in the 1980s, the novel follows a motley crew of costumed superheroes in an alternate universe where the United States is nearing nuclear war with the Soviet Union. Rorschach, a half-psychotic vigilante must convince his ex team-mates, now middle-aged and retired, that he has uncovered a plot to murder the remaining superheroes – along with millions of innocent civilians.
V For Vendetta
Alan Moore and David Lloyd’s powerful epic about loss of freedom and individuality. Taking place in a totalitarian England following a devastating war that changed the face of the planet this amazing graphic novel spotlights a mysterious man in a white porcelain mask and his young protégé as they fight political oppressors through terrorism and seemingly absurd acts. It’s a gripping tale of the blurred lines between ideological good or evil and details a world where political, personal freedoms are non-existent. V For Vendetta is often held to be one of the modern graphic novels which re-invented the medium for a mature, adult audience.
Daredevil: Man Without Fear
Witness the tour-de-force origin of the Man Without Fear by industry legends Frank Miller and John Romita Jr! If you’ve never entered into the world of Hell’s Kitchen before here’s the place to start! Matt Murdock’s life was irrevocably altered after he was blinded by radioactive materials while saving the life of an old man. The payoff? An unbreakable will and a keen intelligence, helping focus the super-senses he was blessed with during the accident. His story is one of love, pain, disappointment, and strength.
An incredible graphic novel set in the future of the DC Universe, Kingdom Come is a modern milestone in super-hero comics. This grim tale of youth versus experience and tradition versus change asks what defines a hero in a world spinning inexorably out of control. Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman and their peers find themselves up against a new uncompromising generation, and their final conflict will determine nothing less than the future of the planet.
All Star Superman: Volume 1
The amazing creative team of writer Grant Morrison and artist Frank Quitely join forces to take Superman back to basics and create a new vision of the World’s First Super-Hero! Following a desperate mission to rescue a team of astronauts from the Sun, Superman’s whole body is super-charged with solar power – to the point where it will kill him! Now, the world’s greatest superhero must set his affairs in order, beginning by telling Lois Lane the truth about Clark Kent’s secret identity.
The Walking Dead: Volume 1: Days Gone Bye
An epidemic of apocalyptic proportions has swept the globe, causing the dead to rise and feed on the living. In a matter of months society has crumbled: There is no government, no grocery stores, no mail delivery, no cable TV. Created by writer Robert Kirkman The Walking Dead chronicles the travels of a group of people trying to survive in a world stricken by a zombie apocalypse. Fighting growing despair – and sometimes each other – the group searches for a secure location which they can finally call home.
Batman: The Killing Joke
A classic Batman tale from two of comics’ great legends, Alan Moore and Brian Bolland! The Joker escapes from Arkham once more – and breaks into Gordon’s home shooting his daughter Barbara – the former Batgirl – crippling her for life before kidnapping a distraught Gordon and attempting to drive him as insane as the Joker himself.
Ultimates: Volume 1: Super-Human
Created by writer Mark Millar and artist Bryan Hitch Ultimates is a modern reimagining of the Marvel superhero team, The Avengers. It’s a hard nosed and gritty exploration of what happens when a bunch of ordinary people are turned into super-soldiers and groomed to fight the real-life war on terror. Darkly written Ultimates breaks away from the standard notion of the ‘superhero’ with a big dose of cynicism and characters stripped of their ‘super-heroic’ status.
Sandman: Volume 1: Preludes And Nocturnes
Neil Gaiman’s Sandman weaves the story of a man interested in capturing the physical manifestation of Death but who instead captures the King of Dreams. The chapter ’24 Hours’ is worth the price of the book alone; it stands as one of the most chilling examples of horror in comics and let’s not underestimate Gaiman’s achievement of personifying Death as an overly cheery, cute goth girl!