The Young Avengers is one of the best comics I have read ever, especially the 2013 run. Thank you for Hulkling, Miss America, Loki, the amazing storylines, the rest of the characters, the creative setting(s), the EVERYTHING.
Seriously, you people need to go out and read this.
A recent Vertigo series (As of June 2012) is The New Deadwardians, a great take on class warfare during the early 1900s in England while making a VERY stale concept (vampires and zombies) feel fresh again.
Superman is one of the greatest characters of all time. Okay, he may look really quaint and twee, considering all the Darker and Edgier that comic books have gone through, but there's a reason why we're still reading and watching Superman stories seventy-odd years after he first appeared whilst most of the original characters created during the Dark Age are forgotten and obscure. It's because, for all the godlike powers and invulnerability, he might just be the most human superhero of them all.
Except the fact that he's not human. I kid, Superman is so unfairly maligned among the uninitiated. True, he has the most generic powers ever, and he's a walking Deus ex Machina, but he's arguably the most important character in 20th century fiction.
The apparent generic-ness of his powers is testament to how important he is to comics. Who else would have heat vision if Superman hadn't done it first?
And you know what? Anyone who says it doesn't have a good Rogues Gallery just doesn't know what they're talking about, especially the DCAU incarnations.
Superman is my favorite hero. Some people complain that "Oh, he's too good! He's not dark at ALL!" But to me, that's WHY he's so amazing. There are so many people who, if given Clark's powers, would go crazy with them and use those powers for greed and to torment anyone who stands in the way of that greed. Clark is special precisely because he doesn't do that. Whereas a character like Darkseid believes in using his power for his own personal whims and for conquest, Clark believes in using his powers to help the little guy. For that alone, he's the greatest superhero, at least in my mind.
MOTION SECONDED and CARRIED
The beauty of Superman is that, in a genre not exactly lacking in grandiose backstories and over-the-top motivations, for all the 'Last Son of Krypton' stuff his motivations are simple; he's a nice, decent guy who has decided to help others because he was raised well by his parents.
I don't care if you think it's stupid, Blackgas is made of win. And gore.
The Batgirl 2000'' series - specifically Cassandra Cain's - and especially the first thirty-odd issues by Kelley Puckett and Damion Scott, was pure win. It should not have worked. A Darker and Edgier tale centered on putting a mute teenage martial arts goddess with a nightmarish backstory in a bondagesque version of a Distaff Counterpart's outfit is the sort of thing that would fall flat. Instead we get a unique reversal of the usual ordinary-kid-with-moral-center-gaining-the-skills-to-become-a-hero by way of taking one with a moral center strong enough to reject her upbringing as a killing machine... and her growing grasp of humanity.
The Cassandra Cain and Stephanie Brown Batgirl series each had enough win and heartwarming to make Gotham seem like a nice place. The epicness of the Cain series was described well enough above, so the Stephanie Brown, Lighter and Softer series will be gushed about here. With a barely used protagonist best known for her humiliatingly bad death story, and a virtually unknown writer and wildly changing art team, it became the happiest, funniest and most beautiful Batbook. Special mention must go to the guest star issues, which showed the contrast between characters while giving them realistic and hilarious relationship dynamics, expanding on the core of each character. Oh, and she slapped the Goddamn Batman
Squirrel Girl! The greatest modern Marvel character! Who doesn't like a perky teenage girl who has single handedly defeated both Thanos and Dr Doom with nothing but squirrels?
Runaways, back when Brian K. Vaughn was doing it, was made of Epic Win.
It was easily one of the best teenage superhero stories since the Stan Lee Spider-Man days, with one of the most likeable group of kids ever seen. The humor was great and BKV's concepts were great. Honestly the only thing wrong with it was that BKV left. I still eagerly await the day when BKV decides to come back for one last hurrah and tie up his loose ends.
Chris Claremont's first run on X-Men, especially when paired with Alan Davis, John Byrne, or Dave Cockrum. The imagination and resonance in those stories still persists to this day.
Watchmen. Just.... Wow. One of the deepest, cleverest and most brilliant comics ever written. Between the amazing characters and their stories, the breaking of clichés or the amazing integration of politics into the storyline and solid backstory it has deserved its legendary status. Can't wait for the movie!
One of the deepest, cleverest and most brilliant comics ever written? You insult it! It is one of the deepest, cleverest and most brilliant things ever, period!.
Truly a lot of Alan Moore's work is just so wonderfully done that it's deserving of infinite praise. Make note of Moore's lesser known work Skizz, which is essentially his take on ET The Extra Terrestrial that can undoubtedly rival its source material in terms of overall enjoyment and heartwarming as well as lead to one hell of a serious case of Awesomeness Withdrawal.
Alan Moore: I believe Moore's writing is on par with the greatest literature authors working currently; only he works in comic books. Watchmen. V for Vendetta. League of Extraordinary Gentleman. Swamp Thing. Top Ten. Tom Strong. The list of great works goes on. And on top of everything else he's actually a really nice guy if you get to know him, giving tons of helpful advice to aspiring writers. Great, great man!
"A Letter From Home", the Don Rosa story where the ducks search for the treasures of the Temple of Salomon from under Castle McDuck, has the most touching ending ever in fiction.
They both have. Due to Status Quo being God, Disney Comics aren't usually allowed to have much development. Life and Times and A Letter From Home are exceptions, making them much more satisfying. Also, Life and Times is a Tear Jerker.
Life and Times... is honestly one of the greatest heroic epics I have ever read, maybe even the greatest modern heroic epic.
Scrooge's and Goldie's romance (particularly in The Prisoner of White Agony Creek) is the greatest, saddest, best written, most disturbing romance in all literature.
Scrooge stars in some of the best Disney comics ever, yet I always thought of his nephew, Donald Duck, as leading some of the best Disney stories in all of its history. Carl Barks' works with the character are a must, sure, but what about the thousands of stories starring Donny all over the world, since the 30's? Don't get me started.
Mein Gott! I never thought I'd meet another Scrooge McDuck fan! The part where the Rough Riders charge Scrooge's mansion fits Teddy Roosevelt to a T. And "Letter Home" definitely had me bawlin'
Deadpool is an awesome character. And Cable and Deadpool is awesome, light-hearted fun. And contains some of the most hilarious Ho Yay ever.
Exiles - X-Men meets Sliders for all kinds of awesome. The fact that most of the action takes place in alternate universes without heavy continuity means that the writers could have some Crazy Awesome ideas for stories. Like what if Tony Stark, Bolivar Trask, Hank Pym and Curt Conners decided to fight Kaiju with Transforming Mecha? Or if a bunch of C-list alternate universe heroes decided to fight an evil Superman expy for the fate of the universe? That and it didn't cheapen the deaths of well-developed characters by bringing them back. And Blink is just awesome.
I started reading Empowered for the stripperifficadorably insecure heroine, but I stayed for one of the most true-to-life romances in comics; Emp and Thugboy feel like a real couple. Add in unique art (don't like it myself, but the manga-influenced pencils are distinctive), the downsides of being a C-list hero, lots of not-so-clean sexy fun (best sex scenes since XXXenophile), an examination of just how fucked up you need to be to wear a cape, Ninjette, the Goddamn Maidman... and you have one of the best comics.
Seconded. JtHM has a wonderfully personal look into Nny's mind, and for the surprising poignance of the whole thing. It really is one of the greatest things I've ever read.
I love the Marvel Universe in general. Warts and all. The Distinguished Competition has never managed to grab me the way the MU does, even though it probably has, objectively speaking, just as good stuff. The MU feels like home.
The Amazing Spider-Man. The Incredible Hulk. The Fantastic Four. The Invincible Iron Man. The Astonishing X-Men. The Mighty Thor. Daredevil. Captain Fucking' America. And a bevy of second and third tier characters who are plenty likeable too. DC is a great universe too but with Marvel... something about it just shines. Shines bright.
The Sandman has a wonderfully rich plot with cleverly-placed foreshadowing and philosophical ideas that feel natural to the story instead of intrusive. The only complaint I have is that the art is inconsistent, but story > art, always.
For me, the spinoff Lucifer may be even better - taking everything great about Sandman - the worldbuilding, the often tangential side arcs that beautifully add detail, the wonderful interpretation of the Morningstar - and expanding that world even more, adding more detail to the Judao-Christian side of things, convincingly adding drama and tension to the story of the second-most powerful being in the universe, and finally making it so we can understand a word of what Mazikeen is saying.
Kingdom Come is simply beautiful. Outstandingly well written and very deep in places. I've not read a better comic, and I'd put it high up on my list of best literature full stop. But I've not read Watchmen yet...
An intensely beautiful and touching story about where Superman stands in the current world and what the cost is to keep peace. The ENTIRE DC universe is involved, but it's still Superman's story at the end of the day. As it should be. At a time when comics were just in the dumps, this book was a shining beacon of hope for the future. Bless you Alex Ross and Mark Waid.
Astro City is awesome and, though I hate to be indirectly negative, I have to say I think it's especially reflective of the talent and consistency that Kurt and Alex were able to do the Super Registration Act concept better in the six-issue Confessor Arc than Marvel did with a good thousand more pages in Civil War.
Busiek showed that it was possible to create a completely new super hero universe if you could make it as fully formed and well developed as he did. It harkens back to the purity and fun of the Silver Age but keeping modern sensibilities and it's very intriguing to see the affect of super-heroes on the people of Astro City in different time periods. So, so refreshing to actually see what it's like for normal citizens to live in a world of heroes.
Marvel Zombies 3 (#1) has Merc With Half a Mouth Zombie!Deadpool and Aaron Stack being their comical selves in an otherwise serious series. You can't top the awesomness radiating from the issue.
Aaron Stack: What's a Deadpool?
ElfQuest is a masterpiece. The art is incredible, the story arcs are riviting, and EVERY SINGLE CHARACTER, even the ones that don't appear more than once or twice, has a unique and believable personality. Character death is treated as just another part of living. Sad, but not good or bad. There is wonderful character development for nearly all characters. The whole series lives and breathes awesome.
Seconded so hard. Elfquest is love to the nth power.
Thirded. Cutter and Skywise have one of my favourite relationships in fiction.
Even with the kinda-anticlimax, I love Marvel 1602. It's the only comic I've read so far, but it's awesome. From the epic one-page spreads to the writing, I enjoyed myself 100%. Hell it introduced me to both Western comics and Neil Gaiman. Two for the price of one.
Astérix. It's the way that the lead characters are such incredible jerks but you somehow can't help but sympathize/feel for/like them. It's the way that the underdog has the power and makes sure to bite back. But most of all, it's the way that you can witness the English translation, realize it was French originally, realizing all those great puns were Woolseyism, and then realize this had to work in a hundred more languages. So many people, so many versions, but the heart of the joke in all those translators, doing their best to carry over a proper meaning.
Blue Beetle. While all three incarnations are great in their own way, the first series featuring Jaime Reyes has to be one of the greatest superhero comics ever written. With a great supporting cast plus Crowning Moments of Funny and Crowning Moments of Awesome a plenty, this was truly a series that was too good to last.
Seconded to the end of the Earth. That series was so real. Not gritty, Nolan-style real, but emotionally real and incredibly insightful and just oh so wonderful.
Tintin: It's probably my second favourite comic series after Astérix, and Captain Haddock is a prime contender for my favourite comic book character.
Describing Tintin (my first favourite comic series) can be a challenge, because there's no trick to it. The comics don't need sex, brutality, superpowers, antiheroes, or any other gimmick to sell them, because the writing is like the art: clear, well-constructed, and thoroughly engaging!
Fables for combining so many childhood memories. And making them awesome all over again. With swords. And Monsters. And Sex and Violence. I love you, Bill Willingham.
Many have said that the concept sounded like crack; I loved the concept and once I saw how great the execution was I fell in love. There're many great characters such as Bigby Wolf, Prince Charming, Boy Blue, Frau Totenkinder, Pinocchio, Snow White, Flycatcher etc. Willingham is a wonderful story teller and many of his anthology tales are worthwile. This series is just brimming with cleverness and is honestly one of the most mature and intelligent comics of the 2000's. We owe much to Willingham.
Can we talk about Wonder Woman for a minute? A feminist icon created before 1970, who has become one of the most reconizeable superheroes in our culture for a reason, not to mention being in a few pretty darn good comics. There's a reason she's one of the top five superheroes.
Young Justice. I LOVE this comic and the fact that it is not collected leaves me mystified. It was funny, smart and made real character developments. Young Justice for me is one of the best comics I have ever read and It will always hold a special place in my heart.
The only graphic novel I have ever read was Bone. I'm thrilled about the upcoming movie adaptation, but for now I can gush about the main comic. Bone is pure, distilled awesome. The storytelling is done masterfully, even in ways that can go unnoticed but that nonetheless benefit the reader. The artwork is notable for having characters that, in a way that is impossible to demonstrate through words, have many different styles that, while noticeably different from each other, all fit perfectly together and even look like the same style. As I said, I can't describe it, but you will see it for yourself if you check it out. But moving on, it is also very lengthy, and I usually hate things that are lengthy... but Bone actually reserves the right to fill over a thousand pages because of its sheer amount of foreshadowing and numerous Chekhov's guns, and having interesting characters that you care about and scenes that are just plain entertaining, hilarious, heartwarming, and heartrending. READ IT. NOW. Although I insist, if you don't wanna read it (Don't worry, I understand), WATCH THE MOVIE WHEN IT COMES OUT.
The Ren and Stimpy Comics by Marvel. Whenever Dan Slott did the writing, these easily beat the tar out of the show in terms of humor. If you want to ever check these vintage babies out, I recommend the third special (a Choose Your Own Adventure comic with one path that is 20 pages longer than the comic itself) or Issue 19 (the Minimalist issue).
Thank you Boom! Kids for bringing back two of the best animated shows ever to grace the The Disney Afternoon, Darkwing Duck and Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers. Despite having spent ten years collecting dust in the Disney vault, Darkwing, Chip, Dale, and all their friends (and enemies) are just as vibrant on the page as they were on screen, in no small part thanks to comics' writing staff, who have taken special care to stay true to the source.
Kid Devil is my favorite character. Ever. Out of every other character in all other media. It would dwarf the rest of this page if I typed everything I had to gush about here, so instead I'll redirect you to this 15 page essay I wrote about him.
Y: The Last Man. Vertigo comics has created many excellent series over the course of its existence; but Y: The Last Man may just stand atop the mount. Amazing writing. Amazing characters. Amazing drama. This series is never boring for Vaughan is constantly taking the party on new adventures and is always willing to take risks. Poor Yorick never catches a break, but he perseveres in spite of it all. Some of the best writing for female characters ever seen as well, which is key, given that more than 90% of the cast is female. All in all one of my favorite comics ever and highly recommended to everyone.
El Eternauta is a wonderfully dark masterpiece that portrays both one of the most horrifying alien invasions ever and protagonists that can be awesomely heroic in the face of that terrible adversity while also being normal people like you and me.
Paperinik New Adventures: yeah,yeah,you might find the idea of Donald Duck as a superhero silly...and you would be so,so very wrong:as a guy who read tons and tons of comic books,i can honestly say this is one of the best series i have ever seen,with well developed characters,an original universe and the regular and intelligent use of twists.I actually feel kind of sorry for those out of Italy who can't read it.
Seconded. seriously, Xadhoom is the kind of overpowered Badass that completely avoids being a sue. powerwise we're talking Alucard levels of Power and Badassery here. imagine Superman with vast control over Matter and Energy and, give her Vegeta's temper and abrasiveness, Reed Richards's intellect and that just about sums up Xadhoom. this may seem Long-winded, but hey, This is Gush
The new Captain Marvel series by Kelly Sue DeConnick. Never has a comic inspired me to be the best of myself like this has. The comic manages to perfectly capture what makes Carol Danvers a great character and a great hero.
Thorgal is one one my favorite Belgian comic series: It has great storylines, charismatic characters (Kriss of Valnor is awesome). The series combines very well Fantasy and science fiction. Rosinski's art is just gorgeous. Too bad it stopped after book n 29. The author Jean Van Hamme has also wrote two other great series: XIII and Largo Winch.
Superior Spider-Man. It has all the interesting plot points of a "What If?" story, but it's IN CANON! Also, it (so far) has lasted for about 20 issues, AND we get to see him interacting with so many unique facets of the Marvel Universe!
And on that note, I CANNOT believe that nobody has mentioned The Amazing Spider-Man himself yet. It was the first comic I ever read, and I haven't stopped. It was one of the first relatable comics, as the hero lives a normal life and has to deal with a lot of real world problems. The Rogues Gallery is amazing (special mention must go to Venom and Green Goblin) it is hilarious, a very good supporting cast (Aunt May and Mary Jane are the core examples) has a truly likeable protagonist, and, for the most part, was just plain fun.