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  • People, can I just take a moment to gush about the originators of the superhero game, DC Comics. All you have to do is look at an Alex Ross painting and you’re filled with this sense of hope and legacy; that’s what the whole DC universe is all about. Their characters are more than people in costumes, they are ideals personified. There is just something that pops about the DCU that is so unique and timeless.
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  • The Fantastic Four, people. Hickman himself sums them up nicely: "A perfect family in an imperfect world". It's just really refreshing and comforting to see this group of people go through life together. And yeah there are bad days and good days, and really great days and really crappy ones, but they're still a family. That's a really heady, grown-up message in a medium that historically isn't equipped to do grown-up heady messages—however much it tries (and it gets close). Separately and together, the FF are the Marvel Universe's old buddies. They play cards with the Avengers, they're all friends with everyone, and even Reed and Doom have become civil in the past few years. And if you haven't read Hickman's run, buy it. Buy it now.
  • 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?
    • Exactly. First of all, he's not a Deus ex Machina. There are plenty of villains in the DCU that can go toe-to-toe with Clark and give him trouble. Second, the only reason his powers may seem "generic" and basic to some is because this was the character that originated the modern idea of a hero having a set of superpowers.
    • 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.
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    • 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.
  • 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.
  • Achille Talon: Sadly sometimes lost in translation, but in the original French at least, some of the funniest lines of dialogue ever written. The colorful cast is also very original, and it also has Awesome Art with many background details that are often jokes in and on themselves, and hilarious, Chuck Jones-esque expressions on the characters' faces.
  • 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.
    • Fully agreed. This series is a must-read, at least the first eighteen issues. It had an incredibly diverse cast (seriously, how many superhero teams have four girls and just two guys, of which those two only one is white and is not the lead character), and amazing and intrigung plot (until Brian left), awesome fights, witty's really sad that it had to end on such a bad note.
  • 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.
  • Scud the Disposable Assassin is the most clever, weirdest, wackiest, and greatest comic i've ever read in my life. All 24 issues are great. The art is so complex and extremly pleasing to look at, the story, while weird, is brilliantly told. It's also extremly funny and the cast of characters are all great. And the ending, oh my god the ending, it's so heartwarming and wraps everything up so nicely. Absolutly give this series a try, it's worth it.
  • 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 E.T. 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!
  • Tom Strong deserves a mention of its own. The sheer number of styles the book covered over its run was staggering, and each one was both well done and recognizably comic-booky, for want of a better term. If a person didn't know better, it could be mistaken for a selected sampling of a book that started in the 30s, and just kept going, unimpeded by dork ages or retcons, updating with the times while maintaining a consistent vision, for over 70 years. Err... yeah, I made that mistake.
  • Some people think that Disney comics are silly, childish and generally not very good. Some people have never read The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck.
    • "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 stripperiffic adorably 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.
  • Johnny the Homicidal Maniac. Where to even begin? I was expecting a Black Comedy but instead got an inner look at society and people in general. The satire is wonderfully biting. Your Head Asplode in Heaven was great too.
    • 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.
  • Everything Gail Simone has written, but a few examples of her accomplishments: a legitimately heartwarming series about insane murderers (Secret Six), a serious look at the nature of legacy that still had time for chronologically displaced heads, B-movie cancer-god worshiping puritans, and kaiju-breeding (The All-New Atom), a "Parents as People" deconstruction of superheroes (Welcome to Tranquility), and however it is that you describe Birds of Prey.
  • Asterix. 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.
    • Jaime Reyes' story was human, just a bit strange, and very, very tropey, in the best ways possible.
  • Tintin: It's probably my second favourite comic series after Asterix, 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.
  • Wonder Woman, Thank you for paving the way.
    • 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 & 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 And 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.
  • Spongebob Squarepants: Spongebob comics is a great, funny comic. More Spongebob fans who dislike or hate the later seasons should read it. It feels a lot more like the older seasons and can vary in length more than the show can.
  • 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.
  • Hitman is a criminally underrated comic. It has everything you could ever want. Character Development? Oh yeah, plenty of that. Over the top action? In spades. Witty dialogue? It's a Garth Ennis creation, so definitely. Just be aware that the comedy is on the cynical end of the Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism. Social commentary? Yes, both on real life issues and issues pertaining to the DC Universe. And it features one of the most moving portraits of Superman ever.
  • 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.
  • The Badass Normal, Batman.
    • I just got around to reading The Black Mirror and OH MY GOSH. What a book. What a damned fine book. I'm a Dick Grayson fanboy and a big lover of the Gordons, but even without that this one blew me away. Creepy, cool, creative and engrossing, with a villain that's so human it's terrifying but so fresh for the Bat-mythos it's exciting. Legitimately one of the best comics ever written, in my opinion.
  • Paperinik New Adventures: Yeah, yeah, you might find the idea of Donald Duck as a superhero silly...and you would be so very, very wrong. As a guy who reads 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. Power-wise, 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.
  • No mention of Scott Pilgrim?
  • 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.
  • Hack/Slash: A Bloodier and Gorier, Hotter and Sexier version of Buffy, with all the humor, action, and emotion that that conveys.
  • 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.
  • Spider-Man
    • 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.
    • Nick Spencer's run. The first issue did a lot to garner a lot of positive attention towards the title and Spencer's run. The reunion of Peter and MJ, a fan favorite pair that had been separated for the better part of a decade, set a lot of minds at ease regarding the run. Further developments, such as losing the controversial doctorate and the unpopular position of science editor at the Bugle, and sending Peter back to college where he could earn his degree honestly, feel more true and keeping in line with what Spider-Man is supposed to be. Further developments in the title have only pleased the fanbase even further.
  • The God Butcher, a Thor story, is very awesome. The eponymous villain has become one of my favorite comic book villains almost overnight, despite having very few appearances so far.
  • Greg Rucka's run on The Punisher. It was a short run, but has a compelling plot & very strong characterization of Castle & several side characters. The best thing about it is how it shows that even amidst mutants, wizards & aliens, the most intresting stories can only be found in the life of normal humans of Marvel universe.
  • I love Spy vs. Spy. It's always fun to read up on the antics of those two hopelessly hilarious agents and their often violent Looney Tunes style antics. The art style and humour are always top notch with twists and turns adding to the laughs.
  • Warren Ellis' Magnum Opus is either Planetary or Transmetropolitan. Maybe both. For all their crapsack, corrupt and/or horribly dangerous settings, their flawed and anti-hero protagonists, and their absurd humour (especially Transmet) both these series are deeply idealistic, with a strong sense of justice. People—whether superpowered or not—can make the world a better place, if they believe strongly enough and fight hard enough, though it may take all they have. Action, drama, suspense, wonder, humour, good(ish) guys against very bad guys, and consistently excellent artwork. What's not to love?
  • Warren Ellis's 6 issues of Moon Knight are also amazing. Just the synopsis of issue 3 is enough- "In this issue: Moon Knight punches ghosts."
  • Everything Al Ewing has done at Marvel. The dude is a living Marvel Database (I had never even heard of Outlaw before reading one of his books), understands true heroism, and is above all else fun while injecting serious pathos. Just see The Ultimates.
  • The Justice League Adventures comics. Ranging from sitcom-style character antics to clever plots that could have been ripped straight from a "best-of" of the silver age (not the superdickery), to light philosophy, the Adventures comics were definitely aimed at kids, but respected their intelligence. That, and the ambiguously happy ending of "Alien Like Me" still haunts this troper to this day.
    • Also the Batman Adventures. And the Superman Adventures. Clever plots, a solid handle on the characters involved, and occasionally some light philosophy.
  • De cape et de crocs is my favourite recent French-Belgian series by a long stretch. Given its relative obscurity, I doubt it will ever be translated, but the task would require incredible amounts Woolseyism anyway. A swashbuckling story with Funny Animals and humans as heroes, chock-full of references ranging from 17th century French literature to 21st century music (some visual), with endearing characters of all sexes and species, and an enthralling plot. Just to give an example, this is the series where you can have an fox engaging in a rap battle (with rather good rhymes) against a pirate, on the Moon. And it's awesome.


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