Tuesday, 30 November 2010

The 50 Greatest Graphic Novels of All Time: Part 4

Absolute Edtion
20. The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Volume One: The Absolute Edition
By Alan Moore and Kevin O'Neill
Forget for a moment that this wonderful piece of work was brutally gang-raped by Hollywood and turned into one of the worst films ever made; this is the original story, as it should have been. The tale of various fictional characters coming together to fight evil is a uniquely fascinating one, and as ever Alan Moore pens it with absolute bravado. Kevin O'Neill's artwork throughout is immaculately detailed and perfectly captures Moore's intricate script. Every twist and turn is glorious.
Available in: Absolute Edition and Trade Paperback

Trade Paperback Edition
19. Sin City: Book One: The Hard Goodbye
By Frank Miller
As an rule, Frank Miller books are usually visually stunning; "300," for example is an epic experiment in fight sequencing. This book is arguably his independent masterpiece; the one book that will define him for years to come. It's a violent piece, a revenge story. It's full of nasty people doing nasty things to nastier people for nasty reasons. It's a modern day noir; an example of how black-and-white artwork can be visually stunning and carry an enormous sense of scale. The ending is poetic and unjust, but it's perfect for the story; everything that happens in this book carries a price with it, but the tale is worth that price.
Available in: Trade Paperback

Library Edition
"Seed of Destruction" Trade
18. Hellboy: Library Edition: Volume One
By Mike Mignola and John Byrne
The legacy of Hellboy is far reaching within the world of comic books; the first great independent comic book success story. The tale of a demon fighting to defend humanity from the forces of darkness is a genius one; and Mike Mignola's art is wonderfully gothic in it's presentation of this world. Both stories in this collection deals with the similar events to the film adaptation: the battle between Hellboy and a group of Nazis trying to raise a force of evil. It's a great concept on paper, and in motion, too. The contents of this volume have also been released in trade paperback as "Seed of Destruction" and "Wake the Devil."
Available in: Library Edition

Trade Paperback
17. Transmetropolitan: Volume One: Back on the Street
By Warren Ellis and Darick Robertson
Warren Ellis is a psychotic genius when it comes to constructing new and exciting premises for comic books and, indeed, fiction in general. This, his take on journalism in a futuristic wasteland is an absolute treat; making the press the heroes of the piece in a world where their actions force the government's hand in violent, unyielding ways. It helps that Darick Robertson's art in this book is the best of his entire career. That, and that it features the character, Spider Jerusalem - one of, if not the, greatest protagonists of all time; he's a world-hating, sadistic genius, forced to interact with the one thing he hates more than anything else in the world: People.
Available in: Trade Paperback

Deluxe Edition
Prestige Edition
16. Batman: The Killing Joke: 20TH Anniversary Deluxe Edition
By Alan Moore and Brian Bolland
The Joker is easily the most fascinating character in comic books; he's a lunatic with a mean streak, but everything he does, he does to quell boredom and his own sadistic brand of humour. This book is the perfect example of just how psychotic the character is; it's also one of the biggest advances in Batman continuity. It features the brutal crippling of Barbara Gordon, Batgirl. It's a shocking, violent and engaging glimpse into the mind of a monster; and, you might just come out of it feeling sorry for him. Even after all the horrible things he does within.
Available in: Deluxe Editionand Prestige Edition

Trade Paperback
"And Here My Troubles Began" Trade
15. The Complete Maus: A Survivor's Tale
By Art Spiegelman
It's strange to consider that the most brutally honest and powerful tale of life in Auschwitz Concentration Camp during World War Two comes from a graphic novel featuring mice in place of Jews. But, this legendary retelling of the horrors of Nazi Death Camps is one of the most beloved graphic novels of all time, and for good reason. Art Spiegelman's cartoonized retelling of his father's time in the camp is one of the most harrowing, mind blowing stories ever told. It will bring tears to your eyes; and that's just the first read-through.  The contents of this volume have also been released as "My Father Bleeds History" and "And Here My Troubles Began."
Available in: Trade Paperback

Premiere Hardcover
Trade Paperback
14. Daredevil: Born Again
By Frank Miller and David Mazzuchelli
If you've ever read the colossal tale that is "Batman: Year One," you owe it to yourself to pick up this volume of the Daredevil collections. By the same creative team as the Batman origin, this story arc stripped down Daredevil as a character and then rebuilt him into the character from more recent years; it was a controversial and wonderfully meticulous piece of character study. The superhero himself doesn't actually appear until the latter end of the book, which is by far the weakest section, where the book transcends beyond it's own grounded sense of reality. But this is the ultimate Daredevil story, regardless; a perfect mix of realistic crime drama and intense action violence.
Available in: Premiere Hardcover and Trade Paperback

UK Edition
US Edition
13. From Hell
By Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell
The tale of Jack the Ripper is not just restricted to the United Kingdom; it's a sinister, dark blotch on British history that generates interest around the globe. The most compelling part? Nobody knows who the killer really was, which means that writers are given the chance to interpret the evidence as they so wish. Alan Moore penned this gargantuan yarn about the Ripper, beautifully rendered by Eddie Campbell. It's a tale of murder, mystery and betrayal; the ultimate cover-up. And every moment is absolutely fascinating to pore over; but, beware, it is genuinely frightening.
Available in: UK Edition and US Edition

Trade Paperback
12. Kurk Busiek's Astro City: Life in the Big City
By Kurt Busiek and Brent Anderson
"Astro City" stands alone as the single greatest series of the last twenty years. Every issue was the sparkling gem the month it was published, and the first mini-series, collected here, was easily the best way to introduce the world to the concept of a world of superhero where the only rule is that writer Kurk Busiek makes the rules. The first issue is easily the best single issue ever written, focusing on a Superman like hero; then you sttle into the tales about a faux-Fantastic Four, a vigilante dressed as a Jack-in-the-Box, and an awkward date between two heroes. It's absolute genius, and simply good comics.
Available in: Trade Paperback

Absolute Edition
11. Absolute Kingdom Come
Trade Paperback
By Mark Waid and Alex Ross
The future of the DC Universe was set in stone over a decade ago, and this wonderful graphic novel is the tale of the legacy of the DC superheroes. Superman is an outcast, living on the moon; Batman is disabled; Wonder Woman is bitter; the Flash can't slow down; and a new breed of superhero has taken control - a more violent, efficient one. This is the tale of the redemption of the DC Universe, but also of the redemption of Superman as a character, and nothing has come close to capturing the magical combination of Mark Waid's writing and Alex Ross' beautifully rendered paintings. Nothing.
Available in: Absolute Edition and Trade Paperback

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