Hello and welcome to our blog. We will be bringing you fun lists and articles monthly to pique all your comic needs. For this first post (split into two installments) we will outline our top 10 comics for someone who has never read a comic before. Use this as a refence list for all the non-comic readers in your life and get them hooked!
Writer: Alan Moore Artist: Dave Gibbons
Need I say more? Actually…since you are here I probably should.
Watchmen is a seminal classic; one of the cornerstone graphic novels ever to be created and still has relevance today. Set in an alternate 80’s in the United States it lives in a world fraught with war and civil unrest. Following a group of retired superheroes trying to find life after the cowl – some are more successful than others. Moore beautifully breaks down the establishment, the ideals of what being a hero is and weaves an intricate mystery that will keep you riveted till the end. Gibbons artfully paints the world in classic 9 panel comic structure, not shying from real horrors in the world, with fantastic character design and a great colour palette. This is an annual read for me.
Writer Brian K. Vaughn Artist: Fiona Staples
Romeo and Juliet in Space – Two aliens on either side of an intergalactic race war fall in a love, have a kid, and must deal with the consequences.
Saga truly is a saga, sitting at 50 issues with another 50 to come. Starting with a narrow focus on Marko and Alana the story expands beautifully to encompass an entire universe of characters with many interweaving story lines creating a compelling narrative. Fiona Staples has outdone herself with character design; each character is unique and memorable, making it difficult not to call each one your favourite. I guarantee that if you read the first story arc, you will read them all.
Writer: Jonathan Hickman Artist: Nick Dragotta
East of West
Three of the four horsemen show up for the second apocalypse, but Death is missing. He is on a mission of revenge against the other three for betraying him at the first apocalypse.
East of West is a classic spaghetti western set in a scarred America sometime in the future. Hickman is a masterful storyteller (his many other titles are testament to this) and uses the plodding narrative building to cathartic release of violence and surprise. Dragotta blends the old and the new wonderfully, creating a believable world for the story to grow in. Recommended for lovers of Sergio Leone or Elmore Leonard
Writer/Artist: Darwyn Cooke
DC’s New Frontier
The formation of the Justice League of America set during the red scare of the 50’s
Darwyn Cooke did something amazing – he found a way to reinvent the formation of the JLA for the modern reader while still rooting it in nostalgia. Starting with a focus on Hal Jordan this fantastic tome stretches out to include Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Martian Manhunter and more. Sadly with Darwyn’s passing in 2016 we won’t be seeing more from this talented writer and artist but there is a wonderful library of works for you to dive into.
Writer: Jeff Lemire Artist Dean Ormston
Wiped out of their superhero universe by a multiversal crisis, the forgotten heroes of Spiral City now live as a dysfunctional family on a mysterious farm in a small town from which they have no escape.
Jeff Lemire is a tour-de-force writer in the current comic book world, putting out hit after hit over the last decade. Black Hammer is the perfect touchstone for his writing style and preferred content – heart wrenching family drama and intrigue. A fantastic cast of characters drive the story forward, making a monotonous country life mysterious and interesting. Ormston supports this well by making fantastical characters believable and grounded in the world. Perfect for a reader unsure of hero hype.
For any of these titles and many more please come on in to West End Comics in Parkdale. Kirk or Chris will be happy to fulfill all your comic book needs.
Chris Barber has been the general manager at West End Comics in Toronto, Ontario for the last 5 years. He has been reading comics since he was 5 years old and stole his dad’s old Conan the Barbarian magazines. His annual reads include Watchmen, Batman Year 100 and Planetary. He lives in Toronto with his partner and two lovely bunnies.