Some early front runners in my search to identify my ten favorite comic book stories ever jump immediately to mind.
Twenty seven issues long, and every single one of them is as interesting and compelling as the others. The mantra of the Planetary organization is: "It's a strange world...let's keep it that way." This book was pitched to me as an adventure book in the vein of the original Fantastic Four, with X-Files type elements that would slowly peel back layer after layer of the secret history of the world. I was intrigued, and the book rapidly rose to become one of my very favorites. Definitely in consideration for a spot in the top ten.
Mark Waid writes and Alex Ross handles the art in what was one of the most eye opening limited series I have ever read. What became of the world that in the future the Justice League is no more, and mankind doesn't look up to superhumans, but rather resents and fears them? What of the elderly pastor who sees the approaching of Armageddon? What role will Superman play, and can his reemergence into the world stem the tide of doom? There are too many underlying messages in this to simply sum it up to any simple theme, but it is hard not to be impressed by Mark's synergy with Alex, and the gripping tale that they unfold for you. I'll be shocked if this doesn't make the top five.
I've told everyone who would listen, over and over again, that this is simply the smartest and most inspired super-hero series ever written, and to this day I stand by that. To write to the quality that Robinson did, for the amount of time that he did, and keep everything as fresh and interesting from start to finish was an amazing accomplishment. What's more, I love that he was able to make this series transcend the titular hero as an identity and become the tale of a legacy that spans thousands of years. I like his revival of The Shade as well. This will get a lot of consideration because of the scope of the work!
Soon to be a major motion picture, this book from Marvel was published outside its regular continuity and features a young high school outcast who decides to make himself a super-hero for real. This is probably every puritan parent's worst nightmare come to life, that their children will read tales of fantasy like a comic book and then try and act them out. I remember the terror of Dungeons and Dragons in the eighties when certain religious groups were certain that their children would go insane playing such a game, and become devil worshipers, and this premise loosely reflects that thought. Things go about how you would expect for our hero, and it gets really messed up before its all over. A quality read that gets a lot of points for the originality of the storyline.
speaking of originality...
Like Starman and Planetary before it, Preacher is a work that cannot be taken in segments in my opinion. True, you could engage in reading just a piece of the story and find it very enjoyable, but I don't think its the kind of thing that you put down once you're engaged in it. One of the few stories to span that kind of time and remain offensive and fun throughout, Preacher was truly an 'on the edge' book when it was launched and I think it probably finds its way (as a whole) into the top ten before all is said and done.
Now, before I take off for the night, here are some other series I'll be thinking about before tomorrow's blog:
The Authority (volume one, issues #1 - 12)
Batman: The Dark Knight Returns (issues #1 - 4)
Sandman (issues #21 - 28)
Watchmen (issues #1 - 12)
V For Vendetta (issues #1 - 10)
Griffin (issues #1 - 6)