By Adam Cox.
I am a proud nerd. I tick all the nerd boxes (films, comic books, sci-fi), except I am not huge (unlike my waist) on technology, even though I work in data management…Woah, don’t go to sleep on me yet! I was born for nerd-dom, being a four-eyed kid with little interest in being a Jock.
Therefore, I grew up on classic comic books and have only recently re-discovered this passion as I tried to get my sons (without success) into the whole art form. I always loved the way the comic books looked and had favorite artists and writers who could craft tales out of thin air. I spent hours drawing my own superhero books and writing scripts and inking over artwork from them. I always aspired to being a comic book creator, but it never worked out. By the time I realized I wasn’t really dedicated enough, the real world came calling and I had to work for a living.
Now I have the chance to write about my passion, I thought I’d write about some of the greatest comic books ever and we can argue about them online!
#3. THE UNCANNY X-MEN – “The Dark Phoenix Saga” (#129 – 138) (Marvel)
This was the start of the stellar Chris Claremont/John Byrne run, which introduced The Hellfire Club and the death and re-birth of Jean Grey.
It is an amazing arc of a story, with artwork so classy it almost apologises for being too good.
Chris Claremont gives the characters real depth and the moral questions are never far from the surface as we see all the characters question their beliefs and struggle with knowing which side is the side of right.
The plot development, the feeling and the exploration of adult concepts are all dealt with in a refreshing and multi-layered approach.
Personally, this is one of the comic book series that started me down the rabbit hole of the genre. As a child, I remember reading one of these comic books on a beach with my family and it started me drawing my own books…HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
#2. DAREDEVIL – Frank Miller Series (#158 –172)
A huge buzz was created when Netflix screened Charlie Cox as Daredevil, but the series was nowhere near as good as the comic books produced by Marvel in 1979 – 1982.
Daredevil #158 (May 1979), Frank Miller‘s debut on that title, was the finale of an ongoing story written by Roger McKenzie and inked by Klaus Janson. After this issue, Miller became one of Marvel’s rising stars.
After Roger McKenzie moved on, Miller became the writer and took the character and poured him into some of the most uncompromising and gritty storylines ever to be told (at that time) for a superhero comic book.
The artwork was striking, different and angular. Daredevil had heart and emotion and was not just another man in a suit. Miller was fantastic at chopping up standard comic book layouts and drawing all over the pages….PHENOMENAL.
#1. V FOR VENDETTA (DC)
V for Vendetta was a British graphic novel written by Alan Moore and illustrated by David Lloyd (with additional art by Tony Weare). Forget about the movie, this is the real deal.
Initially published in black and white as an ongoing serial in the short-lived UK anthology Warrior, it became a ten-issue limited series published by DC Comics.
The story focuses on a post-apocalyptic near-future history version of the United Kingdom in the 1990s, preceded by a nuclear war in the 1980s which had devastated most of the rest of the world. The fascist Norsefire party had exterminated its opponents in concentration camps and ruled the country as a police state.
V is an anarchist, dressed as Guy Fawkes, who inspires rebellion and takes his revenge on those who kept him in a concentration camp, while also inspiring a young woman, Evey Hammond, to be his protégé.
The story is super dark, but is a modern folk tale for those who fear the over-reaching arm of government. The writing is eloquent, mysterious and makes no moral judgement on the actions of V, who is not afraid to use all the weapons at his disposal. Alan Moore is a literary genius and his work on Vendetta has never been bettered (not by the Watchmen or any other comic book he has written). David Lloyd should have been a far bigger star in the comic book universe, as his moody abstracts really do bring the words to life…OUTSTANDING!