500 Reasons Why I Love Comics

List items

  • The X-men broke ground when they first hit the scene way back when. It's my opinion that they of all Jack Kirby and/or Smilin' Stan's "creations" best embody his philosophy of stories centering around flawed people, the superpowered everyman if you will.

  • Spider-man is kind of like the cinema verite of comics. When Spider-man first appeared, he breathed new life into an industry populated by adults followed around by pubescent apprentices. Read a Superman comic circa the 60's and he's pretty much untouchable (not talking smack about Supes, just a fact), read a Spidey comic from the same time and he grapples with such mundane problems as the flu and rent. Earth shattering!

  • DC's Dark Knight is their greatest creation bar none. Batman's popularity rarely wanes, and rightly so. Bob Kane created the comic industry's Hamlet, and gave him an arsenal of gadgets and a physique second to none. The fact that in comics where so often are quantum mechanics and mere mortals chucked out the window, that this superpower-less billionaire thrives is a testament. Batman is simply one of the best, and is as much a character of literature.

  • This is where you're probably scratching your head. Three heavy hitting entries and now an obscure one. Well, Black Alice is one of my favorite characters. Think of a goth girl version of the X-men's Rogue, and you've somewhat scratched the surface. Black Alice is a sorceress/witch/whatever and she's several times cooler than you'll ever be.

  • Tank Girl...sigh. Where can I begin? I love Tank Girl with an unmitigated and frankly scary passion. Her fans seem to be few, but I don't care. I just wish that her creative team would have given us an endless succession of Tank Girl comics instead of masterminding the band, Gorillaz.

  • Fables has almost become like required reading in the comic world. People endlessly praise it and put it on their lists. My fear is that this comic will take on an academic air, instead of being the good fun that it always has been. Willingham is an absolute master storyteller, and he blends irreverence with reverence perfectly if that makes the slightest sense.

  • Has any character been so much in the public eye, yet simultaneously so misunderstood? Endlessly lampooned, and definitely a divisive guy for comics fans. Superman often gets the short end of the stick because he so well embodies that guy we all wish we could be, but simply fall short of. Superman's greatest appeal is his humanity that transcends many of the boundaries in the world today.

  • The fact that The Invisibles series is not heralded as one of the greatest things committed to paper, baffles me utterly. This is such a completely mind numbing experience. Grant Morrison does what he does best, by which I mean taking logic and flipping it on its ass.

  • The shortly lived first Silver Surfer series, is very poetic. The first couple of issues introduces the character's origin and back story, and boy it is knee deep in pathos. This comic is like a Greek tragedy set in space, and is incredibly beautiful.

  • Gaiman's Sandman is proof that there is extraterrestrial life. No human could compose this engrossing world. It just can't be done. I feel like you could devote an entire college course to the Endless and maybe reach the tip of the iceberg.

  • First there was the Old Testament. Then the New Testament. Then Watchmen. It gets bandied about a lot as the greatest thing since sliced bread. It's just a comic book. But a damn fine one that takes a long hard postmodern look in the mirror.

  • The stern leader of the X-men is stoic and has a pole wedged firmly where the sun refuses to shine, but there's something oddly endearing about this square jawed mutant. I think it's because he makes such a bad Steve Rogers. Work that one out.

  • Oh Wonder Woman, how crucial you are in a male dominated society. Yours is a crusade long overdue. Like Superman, you represent the best in us, and remind us of the ideal we should aspire to.

  • Boston Brand is one of THE coolest names for an alter ego ever conceived. First time I saw it, I thought it was a typo. Personally, I liked Deadman as a DC b-lister more than I do as the center of attention in recent arc-dom, but you can't have your cake and eat it too.

  • Silver Surfer...again. There's something so elegant, yet quirky about a guy who hurtles through the vacuum of space with unfathomable power and just seems to want to contemplate the universe around him. He also does the best soliloquies.

  • Batman Black and White was such an amazing idea. The stories in this series covered the full spectrum of emotion and human experience, while the art seemed to be either gorgeous or gorgeous without middle ground.

  • Prince Morpheus. Want proof as to why he is so downright cool? In one of the first couple of issues of Sandman, he goes to hell because a demon has stolen one of his possessions. Love that scene.

  • Why is he here? BATMAN BLACK AND WHITE #4. To quote the Beasties, Ch-Ch-Ch-Check It Out.

  • Who doesn't love dinosaurs? I mean, come on, some of the coolest things to stalk fiction or reality! And to top it off, they're big!

  • The Fantastic Four was the Big Bang for Marvel Comics as we know it. That's a fitting metaphor because this super family spends most of its time hurtling through time and space battling enemies and threats that makes Shatner era Star Trek look like a walk down Sesame Street. They are a highly flawed bunch, and have many of the problems most other families do, making them all the more compelling.

  • War Machine is the perfect juxtaposition to Iron Man. Whereas Tony is somewhat of a cavalier rich guy, Rhodey is a disciplined fighting machine (no pun intended) and brilliant character. Occasionally, Marvel has not used this character wisely, but despite that WM is one bad mother, shut your mouth!

  • The X-saga is incredibly complicated. By the time of the 1990's, the main team, the X-men, had become a vast collection of mutants, and many of the first to join the team were hardened veterans accustomed to combat and strife. Generation X, is the perfect way to revert the focus to mutant youth. It's dated, I'll grant you that, but much of it is good fun.

  • Reading Elektra: Assassin by Frank Miller and Bill Sienkiewicz was one my best comics experiences. My jaw literally dropped several times, and subsequently, this character quickly became a favorite. She's a hardened killing machine and a thinker rolled into one. She just kind of wanders, the way Samuel L. Jackson says he will at the end of Pulp Fiction.

  • From chief rival to DC's Superman, to being purchased and placed on DC's eternal backburner. I'd love for someone with Geoff Johns caliber of talent to do something with this guy and bring him to the forefront of comics where he belongs.

  • Sienkiewicz is a comic book artist, the way Shakespeare is just a guy who wrote plays.

  • Because I dig troubled goth girls about as much as I love strongly independent fierce women. X-23 isn't just a Wolverine knock off, she's one of the most significant characters to be introduced in the last decade.

  • I have a soft spot for both epic anime/manga as well as biker gangs of the future.

  • Because he's the muddafuggin master of magnetism. That's why.

  • This criminally underrated mini series made a big impression on me back in high school. The mixture of teen STD fears, mutations, and 70's slasher movie vibe was superb.

  • Daniel Clowes has a style akin to an avant garde arthouse movie coated in a thick layer of sweat.

  • Ghost in the Shell is such a cerebral anime/manga that I have to be mentally rested to handle some of the implications it makes.

  • Poor poor Aquaman. As a lover of oceans and marine life this guy has powers that I would love.

  • Ah, I adore the Golden Age with almost blind devotion, the JSA is one of the pillars of said Golden Age.

  • More literary than Marvel's What If? Elseworlds has a style that seems to blend the Vertigo tone with DC characters.

  • Matt Fraction made me love this flawed man of iron. A playboy in a suit of armor who blasts his enemies in the name of justice.

  • The United States has loads of problems in real life. Steve isn't so much an escape from or justification of certain negative aspects of America, he is merely the good side of a nation that often loses sight of its capacity for benevolence.

  • I watched the CV video about this dude, and I still don't fully understand his story, but an image of him rampaging in a late 50's/early 60's Marvel comic caught my eye. The rest is history.

  • Good God! There is not enough to be said about Alan Moore. He is one of the few if not the only writer of comic books that has truly explored the deep and rich potential the medium has.

  • I first encountered the Hellfire Club, via the animated series. I loved that they were this intensely malevolent and ruthless society with an aesthetic almost like a Victorian Era version of the Nazis. Throw in the fact, that the X-men had a real tough time battling these guys and you have a legendary group of enemies.

  • Daredevil, despite a motion picture and numerous A-list talents at the helm of his title(s), is underrated. The pre-Miller days are great, and some of the best written superhero stories of the Silver & Bronze Age. Check out DD #7, when he first acquires his red suit and battles Namor for proof. Bring in Frank Miller and the rest is history.

  • Vertigo is the last bastion for sanity in the comic book world. While the big 2 tend to monopolize what's on the spinner rack with repetitive storylines, sensationalist deaths, and shameless pandering, Vertigo has had an impressive tradition of putting the stories and art first.

  • When I think of Ra's al Ghul, I think of those great Neal Adams stories when the character was first introduced. Batman always seemed inches away from death (when he could spare time away from bare chested sword fighting) when dealing with this dude. The whole immortality thing is a trip too. Yet despite the occult background and seemingly endless resources this man has, in the hands of a good writer he's always a plausible threat.

  • No other character has metamorphosed as interestingly as Batman has over the years. Here we have the solo volume that launched in 1940 and whose stories did much to promote that legacy. How can you go wrong with an inaugural issue that debuted both the Joker and Catwoman?

  • The sorcerer supreme! Dr. Strange always seemed to be to be slightly cooler than Tony Stark. Hear me out! He's got the facial hair and a debilitating accident that made him switch from a lucrative career to superheroics just like Iron Man, BUT... Stephen is just more powerful and has responsibilities that transcend planes of existence. He's often called to put a proverbial ontological bandage on the pains of other Marvelers.

  • Let's start with the obvious, Poison Ivy is dead sexy. And she has no set agenda. She rails against chauvinism and Batman and sanity and is a staunch defender of her botanical realm. What I like about her is that in many ways she's a clever dig leveled at the oversexed men's fantasy aspect of the industry by attacking on the hormonal level.

  • Dr. Fate is one of the coolest golden age heroes of all time! The helmet is pure badassery and while I often bitch about him and other great characters being underused by their respective publishers, perhaps their relative obscurity adds to their mystique and cool.

  • Kingpin is always ominous. I've never really read an appearance of his that has not shown him to be incredibly formidable. The mere fact that he's essentially a superpower-less fat guy in a suit who runs everything around himself with precision and brilliance in addition to posing a threat to Spidey is pretty mind-boggling.

  • Let's forget his cantankerous fascist sensibilities for a minute, let's pardon his ability to produce mediocrity when he goes of the deep end. The fact of the matter is, if Frank Miller were to create nothing but utter shit until the day he dies, his legacy as one of the greatest figures in comicdom is already cemented. His run on Daredevil, his use of Elektra, the Dark Knight Returns, Sin City, 300, etc. His body of work is not just remembered because it's good, it is respected because it was innovative.

  • The original Marvel Star Wars series from the 70's and 80's managed to be fun and bold without being overly campy. What sets it apart from all later Star Wars related publications is that the SW universe was so new and uncharted that the creators here had unprecedented freedom to imagine a galaxy far far away, however they saw fit.

  • The most powerful dude there is. The Hulk has many facets. Excellent sci-fi, Kafkaesque horrors? Or action-packed destruction-rama. Anyway you slice it, Hulk kicks ass.