Comics everyone should read
Over the past few years, the comics industry has become so popular that today dozens of new comics are released a week, and more than a thousand a year. In this regard, it becomes almost impossible for beginners to understand where to start reading. In this article, we have compiled a list of absolute masterpieces from the entire history of the industry, covering all genres. This is not a list of the “Best comics of all time”, but rather where to start your journey. Today, comics as popular entertainment as, for example, Vave.
JOHN CONSTANTINE: MESSENGER OF HELL
After several successful scenes with John Constantine in Alan Moore’s Swamp Thing in the 80s, DC finally gave John Constantine his own comic in 1988, called Hell’s Messenger. This is, by the way, the only comic on this list where the artists and writers were constantly changing. But whoever worked on it, Messenger of Hell remains one of the most famous examples of dark, mature work in the Vertigo universe.
The peak of creative activity fell on such writers as Garth Ennis, Jamie Delano and Peter Milligan. Each of them masterfully combined the macabre narrative with the revelation of Constantine’s personality. “Messenger of Hell” touches with an unusual story about a seemingly ordinary person living in a world dominated by supernatural forces, constantly fighting with which he gradually finds himself. The main idea of this work is that everyone can become a hero, even if he has a whole bunch of flaws.
The series ended on the 300th issue, becoming the longest in the history of the Vertigo universe. If you don’t want to read so much, then in order to catch the essence, it will be enough to read such issues as: “Original Sin”, “Family Man”, “Dangerous Habits” (which was made into a film in 2005) and “Haunted”.
The world of underground comics is so vast that we could make another list just about them. Anyone who wants to get a glimpse into this little nook of a huge industry should definitely start with Harvey Picard’s American Splendor. This comic is a snapshot of Picard’s life as a hospital clerk and focuses on his personality and professional relationships, as well as phobias and neuroses.
This comic book series shows the world from a rather cynical point of view. There is no romanticism that they usually try to shove down our throats, much more often we see Pekar’s attempts to cope with the usual daily routine. Small events such as shopping, taking a bus become incredibly exciting stories about the real world and how one single person is trying to find his place in this huge system. And you will definitely find something close to you in Pekar and his anxieties.
“Ghost World” came out at the best time for him. In 1993, American popular culture was flooded with tired teenagers listening to punk and, oddly enough, popular music. The comic shows this era beautifully.
In the center of the story are 2 girls: Rebecca and Enid, who spend most of their time roaming around and mocking society. Their indifference to everyone is associated with concern for their future and the fear of being hurt for the living by the cynical youth of that time. The problem raised by Close is so fundamental that even we, happily past the end of generation X, can even today draw a lot for ourselves in his story.
Close challenges commercialism and culture through Enid seeking to find purpose and hidden meaning behind everything in this life. As we will learn over time, the answers to such questions usually do not bring the expected result, but fortunately Close presents this story with a fair amount of humor and warmth, which is its main advantage.
V FOR VENDETTA
Since its publication in 1983, V for Vendetta has hit the big screen (in 2005) and has become a symbol of the Occupy Wall Street protest movement. When the comic first came out, he could not even dream of such fame. Reminiscent of a combination of Batman and 1984, V for Vendetta has turned its merciless eye on the all-powerful government and the lone hero who is trying to end his hegemony. At the center of everything is a faceless V, wearing the Guy Fawkes mask that has become popular in our time.
V is an intellectual reading with deep allusions and social criticism. Alan Moore leaves scathing comments on the despotic government depicted in his story, and it can be hard to resist drawing parallels to the work of Orwell or Huxley. And while the protagonist, V, commits crimes, there is a certain superhero spirit to the novel. However, Moore never turned the story into a set of action scenes in pictures. It’s a story about a story and a character, and it unfolds more like a novel than a movie.
Warren Ellis’s Transmetropolitan debuted under the Helix brand with the sardonic mixture of political satire and science fiction that all regular readers of such works cherish. Following the adventures of a drug-addicted gonzo misanthropic journalist named Spider Jerusalem, the most cynical comic book fans have made this book the manifesto of their lives. At that time, it was rare to find discussion of atheism or sex in the pages of publications published by publishers such as DC. “Transmetropolitan”, however, turned around in full.
Over 60 issues, Jerusalem and his “dirty assistants” unleash a massive campaign to end political corruption, social injustice and other issues they believe deserve to be rooted out. The story took its course and Jerusalem began to perform various “sexual exploits” and other social lewdness that will make even experienced readers blush with shame. Also Ellis’ innovation was a twisted future earth model mired in pornography, overblown consumerism, and poisoned by ubiquitous intelligent AI technology (Household Utensils High on Drugs).
The joking, maniacal demagoguery alone makes this worth reading. Nevertheless, Ellis has risen above the dirty jokes to make a worthy satire, which is now more in demand, as our world turns into a cornucopia from which corruption and collective insanity pour. Transmetropolitan is like the pop culture child of Hunter S. Thompson, Phillip K. Dick, and Kurt Vonnegut.