Cerebus the Aardvark
(I recommend starting with book 2,
“High Society”)The comic book equivalent
of an epic Russian novel (think “War and
Peace”) and my absolute favorite comic
of all time, chronicling the life of it’s titular character: a hard-drinking, mean-spirited
aardvark in a world of men. Gerhard’s
background art is jaw-droppingly good.
Dave Sim’s word balloon and sound effect work
raised the bar for the medium and is still
second to no one. And it’s funny as hell.
Warren Ellis and John Cassaday’s
magnum opus, and what I consider to
be one of the greatest superhero comics
of all time. A loving homage to pulp
magazines and the golden and silver
age of comics, this is smart comics.
Unlike most other superhero comics,
the Planetary Organization is not out fighting
crime or saving the universe. Instead, they’re
super-powered archaeologists, seeking to
uncover and chart the secret history of the
20th century. Planetary searches for the
fantastic and strange to ensure that they do not pass from this world unremembered.
The apex of graphic design in
comics. JH WIlliams III created
something here that is rarely
seen in comics, by utilizing the
medium itself to create a singular
work of art that is a joy to look at.
It tells the story of Sophie Bangs,
a college student from an alternate
futuristic New York City in 1999,
who embodies the powerful entity
known as Promethea whose task it
is to bring the Apocalypse. Oh,
and FREAKING ALAN MOORE
I had to include one book written
by Matt Fraction. He is the king
of dialogue, and nowhere is this
epitomized more than in the
beautiful relationship of the
title characters. Absolutely
gorgeous art by Chip Zdarsky,
and the funniest book on the
comics rack that plays
out well as a love story, with
added bits of humor along the
way. It is about sex and criminal
activity, but also self discovery
All Star Superman
Out of the “Big 2” comic
companies, I’ve always preferred
Marvel. So it’s funny this book
would win out over a book like
Astonishing X-Men, but man.
Grant Morrison and Frank
Quitely are the absolute
perfect creative team to make
you both care about Superman’s
relevance and wax nostalgic
about his history. Morrison is
known as an incredibly cerebral
writer, but for this book he drops
most of that for flat-out
fun and spectacle.
Another Alan Moore book,
but the initial delight in this book
is the scratchy, quirky art of
Eddie Campbell. This is a
thick book and at times a tough
read, but it’s well worth it if
you’re interested in conspiracy
theories and homicidal
madmen with delusions
of grandeur. You may have
heard of Jack The RIpper and
the Whitechapel murders,
but not like this.
Crime books have been in
vogue for the last decade or
so thanks to books like Criminal,
but this is the better, older
brother. Cooler than Sin City,
this is a noir look into the
underbelly of society through
writer David Lapham’s eyes.
These characters wouldn’t
be out of place in a Tarantino film.
As the characters crisscross and weave
their stories together, each interaction
divulges deeper connections, and the
startling heights of mayhem each will go to in order to protect what they cherish.
“Anything that is not functional is
merely decorative.”There are books,
like “Understanding Comics”, that
explain and show, in theory, what
is possible in the comic book medium.
Then there are masterpieces like this
Asterios Polyp is a love letter to the
form, showing IN PRACTICE
what is possible in the medium.
And it’s a damn good yarn,
too, about a man and his
singular journey of realization.
Alison Bechdel’s ground-
breaking, bestselling graphic
memoir that charts her
fraught relationship with
her late father. Overrated?
I don’t think so. This
beautiful, tragic book takes
formula made popular by
“Blankets” and “Persepolis”
and takes it to an auteur-like
level. Everything about this
book screams genuine and
the art is expressive and fantastic.
BONE One Volume Edition by Jeff Smith
We don’t talk about this book much on the show, but it is amazing. It’s well drawn, well-written, funny and epic. And best of all, it’s all-ages and super accessible.
Like a memorable Disney film, Bone is a book you can pass down to your children and share the experience with. Older readers – don’t be deceived by its simple art style. This is a masterful, timeless work.