So, I recently posted an article detailing my five favourite currently running comic book series, and now I thought I would turn my attention to my all time favourites, the only rules being that these series cannot be the same as those in my last list and also that they must have concluded. So Saga, Mind Mgmt, Astro City, Transformers More than Meets the Eye and The Fade Out aren’t here. Instead we have Locke and Key, Starman, The Unwritten, Transformers: Last Stand of the Wreckers and Gotham Central. These are the series that I consider to be the best I have ever read and my absolute favourites. Right, let’s get on with it…
First up we have Locke and Key and if there ever was an argument that a series should not use fill-in artists then this is it. Written by Joe Hill, son of Stephen King, and drawn by Gabrielle Rodriguez, this incredible series follows the Locke family as they move into a new house following a bereavement and find all manner of interesting keys scattered around. And these keys can do amazing things like allow your spirit to leave your body or open up your head so you can either put in or take out information. Locke and Key is a horror comic that is unafraid to take us to scary places and both the writing and illustration work wonderfully well to create an incredible series. Now that the run has ended you can buy it in beautiful hardcovers and race through the series without the delays that the individual issues suffered from. In my opinion this is probably the finest comic book series that I have ever read, I love it!
Next up is Starman. Published between 1994 and 2001 by DC comics Starman, was written by James Robinson with art by Tony Harris and then Peter Snejberg. The series follows the adventures of Jack Knight after he inherits the mantle of Starman following the death of his brother. This is very much a series that deals with family and legacy and the overarching story is very impressive. If you like stories, as I do, with a definite start, middle and end, then this is one for you and, like Astro City, this is super-hero comics done right with gravitas and heart and character deaths that hit hard. It’s brilliant stuff! There was also a 12-issue follow up starring the anti-hero, Shade, which is also excellent.
Third we have the Unwritten. Now I find this kind of a hard comic to describe. This creator owned series was published by Vertigo and written by Mike Carey with art from Peter Gross. We follow Tommy Taylor, a clear analog of Harry Potter, as he battles to discover who and what he is and how to win the war that he was created by his father to fight. He is joined in this battle by two friends and a plethora of other characters, including a particularly foul mouthed rabbit who used to be a man, as they battle Count Ambrosio, a clear analog of Lord Voldemort. This series is literary comics at its finest, brought to you by the writer of the wonderful Lucifer series, and I can’t recommend it highly enough. Read it people!
As with the previous ‘best of list’ comics I published, there is one Transformers series on here. The Last Stand of the Wreckers was published by IDW Publishing, the current holders of the license, and was co-written by the current writer of Transformers: More than Meets the Eye, James Roberts, and Nick Roche, who also shares art duties on the series with Guido Guidi. Last Stand is brilliantly bonkers and brutal story telling that is filled with insanity, excellent character work (and deaths), with artwork in the distinctive Nick Roche style. This series also brought us the talents of James Roberts and a sequel is now in the pipeline with the first issue due in November. I look forward to it!
Finally, we have Gotham Central. This was a police procedural comic that focused on the lives of the officers of the GCPD and how they cope working in a city as demented as Gotham. Now Batman certainly does feature, but the series is not about him, it is about the police officers and their support staff. As a result the storytelling is very grounded, in the way that the main Batman series often is not, and it is more interested in the lives of its subjects than in Batman’s opponents. Written by Ed Brubaker and Greg Rucka with art from Michael Lark, Brian Hurtt and Kano, Gotham Central is a wonderful example of something unexpected that unfortunately didn’t find the support it needed at the time. It is now highly respected and thought of very fondly and the entire run is about to be released in a beautiful hardcover. I can’t wait to pick it up!
Now, there are obviously a few series missing from this list that others might take issue with. These include classics of the genre like Watchmen, Sandman, Dark Knight Returns and so on. I’ve read all of these and I agree that they are excellent but this is my list and they are not my favourite comics. Series that could also have been on this list include the brilliant Planetary, Transmetropolitan, Sleeper (or nearly anything from Brubaker and Phillips), Lucifer, and many more. As I’ve said before, I love comics and this won’t be the last time that one of my blog posts talks about my favourite series and the comics that I would encourage you to read. In fact, the next time I talk about comics it will be to tell you which are my favourite Marvel series currently being published. Until then, go out and read the ones above, You won’t regret it!
Check out my other “Rambling” blogs posts for articles on comics, politics, self-publishing and my novel, ‘Only an atheist can help God save the world’ which is out now at all electronic retailers! Also follow me on Twitter @onlyanatheist1. Cheers!