Top 13 Best Comic Books Of All Time
Are you a diehard DC, Marvel, or Darkhorse Fan?
Then shh, this piece is for those trying to get the hang of the multi-multi verses, especially in the book world. Or, you can hang around and see if your favorite comic makes our top 13 list in this piece. And if you feel we missed any, let us know in the comment section.
Without further ado, welcome amateur and aspiring comic book lovers. We know that understanding the comic world can be tasking and throw you off. So, we did the work and made a list of all-time top 13 comic books.
A Little History On Comic Books
Comic books first appeared in the United States and the United Kingdom in the 1930s and have since grown into a cultural phenomenon. Comic strips, monthly comic book issues, trade paperbacks, graphic novels, manga, manhwa, and so much more are now included in the term.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe, one of the greatest cinematic powerhouses in history, arose from these amusing pages. Unsurprisingly, DC and Marvel have dominated the industry, but Dark Horse and Image have produced some gems.
13 Best Comic Books You Should Definitely Read
This list includes stories from the big two comic book companies, graphic memoirs, independent publishers, and manga. The stories and their authors are diverse and varied. They've all significantly impacted comic books as a whole, influencing books that came after them. Some choices are obvious, while others are more subtle. Each is one of the best stories you'll ever read, with or without pictures.
Graphic-novel memoirs began underground in the 1970s but have gained mainstream attention in the twenty-first century, with Craig Thompson's Blankets being one of the best examples.
Blankets is a coming-of-age story that follows Thompson's experiences growing up in a religious household while documenting his first time falling in love and how his upbringing clashes with his feelings for this woman. Despite being several hundred pages long, it's a quick read that wraps around the reader like a blanket and leaves an impression.
2. Sin City
Frank Miller's work with Batman and Daredevil is often remembered as his best comics, but he's also written some classic non-superhero stories. Sin City by Dark Horse is a critically acclaimed neo-noir story set in a desolate, authoritarian-run town in the United States. The comic was praised for its unique approach and heavy reliance on pulp and crime-noir TV, film, and magazine stories.
Similarly, it presented a fascinating change of pace by Miller writing Sin City in a comic book format, more like a serialized TV/movie crime drama. Though the second film adaptation was poorly received, the first film, released in 2005, generally received positive reviews.
3. Fullmetal Alchemist
From 2001 to 2010, Arakawa's steampunk series inspired two hit anime series, films, video games, and a merchandise empire. The steampunk story of family and loss is daring, touching, and inventive and has been imitated numerous times. Fullmetal Alchemist is still in print after more than a decade.
4. Vol.1. The Last Man
What would happen if every mammal with a Y-chromosome died at the same time around the world, with the exception of one man and his male Capuchin monkey? That's the premise of Brian K. Vaughan's Y: The Last Man comic book series and TV show.
The book follows Yorick Brown, the titular last male, as he rises from nobody to the most valuable person in the world to various groups and the journeys he must undertake as a result. The series, which was a great story in its own right, also inspired the 2013 Naughty Dog video game The Last of Us.
5. Batman: The Killing Joke
Disclaimer: Pardon us if Batman occupies more than one spot on this piece
Fans widely regard Alan Moore and Brian Bolland's The Killing Joke as the best Joker comics story and the definitive Joker origin story (even if the Joker is an untrustworthy narrator).
The story follows the Joker as he tries to mentally break Commissioner Gordon like the Joker appears to have been by "one bad day." One of the few Alan Moore stories originated with the artist rather than Moore himself.
6. Amazing Spider-Man
No, It's not Andrew Garfield's Version.
Have you figured out why an otherwise ordinary issue of Mark Waid and Barry Kitson's Amazing Spider-Man made the cut? Let me give you a hint: it came out on January 15, 2009.
But you've probably guessed by now. It was all about the presidential tie-in story and variant cover, which were released to coincide with Barack Obama's inauguration as the 44th President of the United States. The issue also included the backup story "Spidey Meets the President," in which the Chameleon attempts to impersonate then-Senator Obama and be sworn in as President.
As a Daily Bugle photographer, Peter Parker attends the inauguration and, as Spider-Man, separates the real Barack Obama from the Chameleon by asking him a question only the real Barack Obama could answer: what was his high school varsity basketball team nickname? It's no surprise that Amazing Spider-Man #853 made this list.
Here's another classic manga that ran for a long time and helped build an empire from its humble pages. It tells the story of a young woman who travels to another dimension, another time, and forms an alliance with a half-demon named Inuyasha. Through their adventures, they forge a friendship and bond, challenging preconceived notions of good and evil and everything they know along the way.
7. Action Comics
This list would be incomplete without a mention of Superman, right? The big anniversary blowout issue, as seen in Action Comics #1000, is the first example of a trend we'll see throughout the list.
DC Comics published the 80-page tome with 11 different covers, which is standard for a book of this size and era. Aside from the historical significance it represented, and the wealth of creators DC was able to attract to fill its anthology, Action Comics #1000 offered a few other benefits to entice collectors.
Superman returned to his classic costume in the issue for the first time in seven years, with his underwear on the outside. The issue also contained the first few pages of Brian Bendis' run on Superman, a significant turnaround for the legendary Marvel Comics creator.
8. V for Vendetta
For a good reason, Alan Moore has become the most acclaimed comics writer of all time, and he first established himself with this 1980s series, V for Vendetta, with artist David Lloyd. The work, set in a totalitarian future after a nuclear war has destroyed much of the world, was a satire on Margaret Thatcher's administration, which Moore strongly opposed.
It has a movie too! Worth-Watching.
9. The Detective Comics
Released in 2019, Batman received his 80th birthday present in the form of Detective Comics #1000, the first four-digit issue of the actual oldest still-running comic series.
The second verse is the same as the first: The 80-page issue was jam-packed with a who's who of Batman writers and artists. However, it lacked the clout of a long-time Marvel Comics writer's first DC Comics work in years and a costume change to sweeten the deal.
Fun fact: It outsold Superman Action Comins #1000 by 22,000 copies. How do you explain that? Most likely, Batman is simply more popular. Sorry superman diehards…
10. Secret Wars
Secret Wars (2015) was a sequel to one of the earliest and most infamous Marvel Comics crossovers of all time, Secret Wars (1984).
The Beyonder, a cosmic entity, zapped all of Marvel's most popular heroes and villains to an alien planet and forced them to fight to the death. The 2015 remake continued the "Everyone is here!" theme by annihilating the Marvel multiverse. All the Marvel parallel Earths' leftover pieces were gathered into one patchwork planet, Battleworld, and things progressed from there.
The crossover's promise to demolish the long-running Ultimate Marvel setting and bring an end to a 15-year era may have boosted sales. Or it could have been one of the more than four dozen variant covers.
As one of the "big two" publishers in the comic book industry, DC Comics is best known for its best superheroes. However, their Vertigo comics imprint produced some timeless non-superhero classics. Preacher by Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon was a cult hit, with the plot centered on a grim supernatural/religious disaster afflicting a small Texas town.
The titular preacher, Jesse Custer, is possessed by a supernatural entity made up of pure goodness and pure evil, and he may become the most powerful entity in the universe. The story begins with a small scope and gradually expands across the country, meeting an odd cast of characters.
The term "comics" derives from the fact that early newspaper comics were focused on gag humor and thus "comic." Art Spiegelman's Maus, a story about his father's experiences during the Holocaust and how that experience affected Art indirectly, is anything but amusing.
Not only was Maus a powerful story that remains the only Pulitzer Prize-winning comic book, but it also demonstrated that comic books were capable of mature artistic expression. They deserved to be treated with the same reverence as novels, films, and paintings.
Even in the 1980s, superheroes were a popular genre in comic books. Alan Moore imagined a story that critiqued the idea of superheroes and the power-worship inherent in the genre based on what he had tried to do with his work on the character Miracleman. Watchmen was the result.
Moore was originally going to use Charlton characters, including the Peacemaker, but DC asked him to create new characters instead. (The Comedian replaced the Peacemaker.) As a result, a work of staggering mythic proportions was created. Watchmen is considered the definitive take on superheroes and the best comic book of all time by Goodreads.
There you have it. Which ones are your favorites? And for the comic experts, this list did justice, right? What would you add?
If you're interested in reading comics for the first time, what better place to begin than with the greatest comics of all time? Hope this list sets your bearing!