A Slice of Fried Gold

Favorite Comics

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Finding a good comic store is a very hard thing to do. You wouldn't think so in most cities because most of the time there are bunches of them to choose from (not so in Alaska) but even then I think it's probably difficult. You need a place that takes care of their comics, somewhere that remembers customers, somewhere that has knowledgeable and friendly staff, and staff that doesn't fall into the "oh my god, look how socially awkward we are!" stereotype comic guys normally fall into.

For me, that's the Boscos's on Spenard in Anchorage. Now I used to work there when I was 16 so that's kind of cheating, but I don't care. The store is very well kept, the people are fantastic (I regularly play in fantasy sports leagues with the guy who runs the sporting cards department), and they make buying comics an absolute joy on a week to week basis. Sometimes I think I like reading comics just so I can discuss them with the employees there.

By far my favorite people on the comics side are Will and Jared. I personally blame Will for making my weekly reading list nearly double in the last year, but Jared...well, he may have had a far worse crime. I stopped reading for around 3 years, but because of Jared's suggestion (pre-regular status) of a comic I became addicted again and now I'm at an all-time high for monthly titles I pick up. It's terrible, and he's entirely to blame. Or thank. Depending on who you ask I suppose.

However, the point of this story is that Jared is moving to Portland this week and it makes me sad. It's definitely going to bring down my weeks a bit because I don't have my weekly discussions with him (obviously this guy is going to be a fan, the last four digits of his phone number spell out XMEN - yes, it was intentional) and Bosco's as a whole is going to miss the charm and knowledge Jared brought to the store. I wish him luck, and in honor of him I'm going to finally post this - my 25 favorite comic/comic series of all time. Enjoy!

1. Preacher by Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon

Tidbit: No comic has ever so thoroughly engrossed me. I've read the whole series no less than five times, and is the one series I've managed to successfully share with nearly all of my friends. They love it as well.

2. Y the Last Man by Brian K. Vaughan and Pia Guerra

Tidbit: For a short period I thought of it as my favorite, but once the honeymoon settled down this series slotted in at my number 2 slot. BKV is arguably my favorite writer, and this is his best work.

3. Fables by Bill Willingham and Mark Buckingham (ongoing)

Tidbit: Fairy tale characters running around in the real world with elements of war, spying, love, and magic running through it? Sign me up!

4. Bone by Jeff Smith

Tidbit: I can't believe this is fourth, but it is. Absolutely incredible series that is like a mix of Peanuts and Lord of the Rings. But more awesome.

5. Scott Pilgrim by Bryan Lee O'Malley (ongoing)

Tidbit: This series defies my general distaste for anime by filling it with everything else I love - indie rock, video games, being young and ridiculous, and the pursuit of love.

6. Planetary by Warren Ellis and John Cassaday

Tidbit: Maybe the single coolest series ever made, this is Ellis going through his cookbook and throwing down everything he's got into a bizarre and engrossing mystery. Bonus points for featuring the pencils of the single greatest artist in comics - John Cassaday.

7. Hitman by Garth Ennis and John McCrea

Tidbit: Impossible to find in collected form (got every issue suckers!), this series came from one of the all time worst crossovers in comic history and managed to be hilarious, touching, and badass. Sometimes simultaneously. Did I mention I like Garth Ennis?

8. The Walking Dead by Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard (ongoing)

Tidbit: Maybe the single greatest zombie story ever. Seriously. Bonus points for being this awesome with truly mediocre art. If it had great art it'd be a top five contender.

9. Astonishing X-Men by Joss Whedon and John Cassaday

Tidbit: Best X-Men story arc ever in my opinion. This arc really is all about Kitty Pryde, but its success is based around Whedon's incredible grip on the characters, his witty dialogue, and Cassaday doing what he does better than anyone else.

10. Blankets by Craig Thompson

Tidbit: The only "classy" graphic novel on this list, this is one of the most touching stories I've ever read and depicts what it's like to be a young person as well as anything out there.

11. Impulse by Brian Augustyn and Humberto Ramos

Tidbit: This is my favorite superhero comic of my youth, and it's just as good now as it was then. Humberto Ramos will never do better art than he did on this book in my opinion, and forever influenced how I draw with this series.

12. Batman: The Long Halloween by Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale

Tidbit: My favorite Batman story ever (and quite likely Christopher Nolan's) is by the team supreme of Loeb and Sale. Gripping story told from the beginning of Batman's career.

13. Batman: Year One by Frank Miller and David Mazzuchelli

Tidbit: Clear influence on Nolan's Batman Begins with entire scenes being lifted from it. This series depicts the beginning of Batman and James Gordon's careers, and is Miller's all time best work in my opinion.

14. Kingdom Come by Mark Waid and Alex Ross

Tidbit: The best DC Universe story ever told. Also features the greatest comic art ever seen, as produced by Alex Ross.

15. The Authority by Warren Ellis and Bryan Hitch

Tidbit: Somewhat like Watchmen did 15 years earlier, this series deconstructs the superhero genre while reimagining it for the world today. Also features Hitch's magnificently detailed pencils, which are intense and need to be seen to be believed.

16. Watchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons

Tidbit: Quite possibly the most critically acclaimed comic ever (possible exception of Maus) deserves most all of its praise. I just finished it for the third time, and that was by far its best reading ever. Alan Moore's magnum opus.

17. Ex-Machina by Brian K. Vaughan and Tony Harris (ongoing)

Tidbit: Shocker - I'm such a sucker for BKV. One of the most original series ever, and certainly one of the most on the market now.

18. The Goon by Eric Powell (ongoing)

Tidbit: Ridiculously bizarre but incredibly hilarious. Like a B movie from the 40's or 50's as directed by Tim Burton. In short, it rules.

19. Top 10 by Alan Moore and Gene Ha

Tidbit: Up until about a week ago, I would argue 'til I turned blue that this was Alan Moore's best work. It's close, and features what Wizard Magazine named the best single issue of the past 25 years.

20. JLA: Tower of Babel by Mark Waid and Howard Porter

Tidbit: Hooked on Batman after seeing the Dark Knight? Look no further for the single most awesome Batman story ever, as you find out why no one in comics could take him down if the chips were on the line.

21. Captain America by Ed Brubaker and Steve Epting (ongoing)

Tidbit: Ed Brubaker has rapidly went from being someone I didn't know to one of my favorite writers thanks to books like this. Managed to kill the title character of the book and somehow make it better. Epting can't be ignored, as he is doing career defining work here.

22. The Punisher by Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon
Tidbit: Same team as Preacher, they combined to remind the world that no character is more badass than Frank Castle. I mean he punches a polar bear in the face in this series. What is more awesome than that?

23. Runaways by Brian K. Vaughan and Adrian Alphona

Tidbit: Joss Whedon took this book over after BKV left and was massively overshadowed. One of the only books on the market that could happen to, and that's because this is one of the best duos in comic history.

24. Nextwave by Warren Ellis and Stuart Immonen

Tidbit: A giant dragon takes a woman and puts her in his underwear. Much hilarity ensues. Maybe the single funniest scene in comic history. I laugh just thinking about it. This is the funniest series I've ever read.

25. Transmetropolitan by Warren Ellis and Darick Robertson

Tidbit: Amazingly forward thinking, wonderfully bizarre, and incredibly awesome look into what the future could be if we continue the way we are going now - except it was started a decade ago.

So that's that. Those are my 25 favorite comics ever, and I just wanted to note that I apparently am a sucker for anything written by Garth Ennis (3 titles), Brian K. Vaughan (3 titles), or Warren Ellis (4 titles). Also wanted to note that there are two series that I either need to get reading more of or get started on: Hellboy (I currently love it, but need to read the beginning) and Sandman. Some day I will get on that, but for now these are my 25.


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