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The 30 Comic Books You Should Have Read
The essential graphic novels and superhero stories...

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Between the Iron Men and X-Men and Thors and Supermen, comic book movies continue to dominate our schedules. But if you don’t know an Asterix from a Tintin or a Green Lantern from a Green Hornet, where do you start with superheroes or graphic novels? We’ve compiled a list, in no particular order, of the most essential for the comic newbie, from superhero epics to perfectly-crafted indies, from political allegories to knockabout comedies. For your convenience, we’ve also tried to choose books that are actually available, usually in trade paperback form. Some of these are extremely well-known, some have been made into films, some are still under the radar – but they’re all worth seeking out...

WORDS HELEN O'HARA
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The 30 Comic Books You Should Have Read | Sandman
Sandman

By: Neil Gaiman, Dave McKean etc.

Don’t worry: this is nothing to do with Spider-Man 3 or Thomas Haden-Church. This Sandman is the reason that Neil Gaiman became a geek god, with a hugely ambitious and ground-breaking graphic story that's worth getting lost in. To get the lot, you’ll have to pick up nine trade paperbacks or four massive Absolute collections, but there you get the complete story of Dream of the Endless, aka the Sandman, Morpheus, Oneiros, Lord of the Dreaming and any number of other monikers. The series starts with Dream being captured and held by a human magician for 70 years, escaping in the modern day and beginning the long process of reclaiming his kingdom and regaining his powers – only to start to question his eternal place as the personification of Dream as he does so. Sprawling and epic, taking in myths and legends from all over the world, this is intelligent, endlessly twisting and complex, and satisfyingly multi-layered.
 

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Your Comments

1 Great list!
That is a great list, I didn't know some of the comics listed here. I think however you missed important underground comic artists like Robert Crumb and Harvey Pekar... More

Posted by guzforster on Tuesday November 5, 2013, 20:20

2 Neal Adams
Watchmen glaring omission I meant. Also, Neal Adams' run of Green Lantern/Green Arrow or Avenger's should be there, the GL/GA for its importance at the very least. Or something pre 1980s More

Posted by Moonleight on Friday October 19, 2012, 00:21

3 Swamp Thing Miracleman & Daredevil
No Swamp Thing (Moore or Veitch) is just a glaring admission. Miracleman and probably V for Vendetta as well. Frank Miller's Daredevil should be there instead of Batman: year One. Same for the Authority instead of Planetary and Kingdom Come instead of Superman: Red Son. Watchmen, Fables and Powers should be higher. D.R. and Quinch would be nice for funiest comic ever. Rising Stars should not even sniff this list let alone be #3. More

Posted by Moonleight on Thursday October 18, 2012, 19:14

4 no concrete
You didnt include Concrete or American Flagg.. Sorry its not a complete list without them More

Posted by vmordoh on Monday May 7, 2012, 02:53

5 Hellblazer?
No Hellblazer? You must be freakin' kidding! Also surprised with the omission of V for Vendetta or The Swamp Thing! Still a good list nonethless. I've read 2/3 of the materials cited, but will definetely check out Planetary, Palestine and Powers (a lot of P's!). More

Posted by Nexus Wookie on Monday April 23, 2012, 19:43

6 More comics yo MUST read!
Matk Millar's Wanted and James' O'Barrs The Crow. And Millar and Steve McNievens Civil War. More

Posted by CambiMan on Monday December 26, 2011, 23:30

7 i hate it here
this list lacks transmetropolitan, planet hulk, the civil war, green lantern: rebirth, dredd, the boys, spawn and a bunch of other stuff that deserves it far mare than a lot of what turned up More

Posted by figgamusprime on Tuesday November 29, 2011, 21:15

8 RE: Drokk!
OK, I found it. thanks Bing More

Posted by Cinetalk on Wednesday January 12, 2011, 11:00

9 RE: Drokk!
What happened to this Article? The link doesnt work More

Posted by Cinetalk on Wednesday January 12, 2011, 10:58

10 RE: Drokk!
Except maybe... Block Wars America Judgement Day Necropolis Mechanismo Should also be noted that he's one of the very few characters who actually ages, with a consistent method. More

Posted by Invader_Ace on Sunday January 2, 2011, 20:03

11 RE: Drokk!
L: MattJW The absence of any 2000 AD stuff - in particular Judge Dredd - is an unforgivable oversight. Britain's greatest comic and most iconic character.... ignored! Unbelievable. Ten years in the iso-cubes for Empire! would you suggest? I have read some Dredd in the past (mainly the Batman crossovers) but I can't reason to include him on this list. He may be a good character but there have been no epic storylines that stand out. More

Posted by DJ Satan on Sunday January 2, 2011, 16:48

12 Drokk!
The absence of any 2000 AD stuff - in particular Judge Dredd - is an unforgivable oversight. Britain's greatest comic and most iconic character.... ignored! Unbelievable. Ten years in the iso-cubes for Empire! More

Posted by MattJW on Sunday January 2, 2011, 15:14

13 Wake
I recently started reading this space opera and since no one has mentioned it here I feel I should recommend this French comic book. A friend of mine described it as that which Avatar should have been and although there doesn't seem to be any intentional connection between the two it is kind of interesting that the main character is called Nävis. More

Posted by Metalion on Monday December 13, 2010, 13:29

14 RE: RE:
Suprised no Crisis On Infinate Earths or BatMans The Killing Joke. Also would've liked to see Mark Millars Ultimates or his Wolverine run Old Man Logan or Morrisons Animal Man to name but a few. More

Posted by Wild about Wilder on Tuesday December 7, 2010, 14:26

15 RE:
and Steve Dillon was not involved Punisher Max. Fix it. and if you want to start deleting comments how about deleting the blatant SPAM from meedhi83! More

Posted by P3McQuack on Tuesday November 30, 2010, 16:40

16 RE: Ooooft.
Alias needs to be in there definitely. I'd also stick Bendis's Daredevil run in too. Great to see Scalped getting a shout though, along with Fables it's my favourite ongoing right now. More

Posted by P3McQuack on Monday November 29, 2010, 20:23

17 RE: The 30 Comic Books You Should Have Read
L: Empire Admin Post your comments on ticleote] Page not found error in link More

Posted by kristy01 on Monday November 29, 2010, 11:54

18 RE: No Charleys War
A good idea for a list instantly nullified by the ridiculous non-inclusion of either Transmetropolitan or The Invisibles. Hunter S Thompson in the future? How can you get more original than that. And I'm not even going to mention The Invisibles/Matrix - influence/blatant rip-off ("I know my own shit when I smell it" - Grant Morrison)....Oh I just did. Also can you actually dip into the Tintin canon at random? If thats the case then how do you explain the absence of Captain Haddock in the episodes prior to The Crab with the Golden Claws? Not to mention all the other recurring characters that are introduced specifically in different issues and then recur throughout. Rastapopulous for one who proves to be Tintins own Dr Moriarty (although he appears more often in the Tintin universe than Moriarty did in the Holmes canon), starting off as a supposed good guy and then proving himself to be evil. You can read the first 8 Tintin books at random (except for Cigars of the Pharoah/More

Posted by Evil_Bob on Monday November 29, 2010, 07:44

19 RE: No Charleys War
Pretty good list but yeah the lack of Grant Morrison on it is pretty disappointing for me. Not even We3? More

Posted by scary_ice on Saturday November 27, 2010, 18:43

20 RE: No Charleys War
Where's ] by Jeff Smith?  More

Posted by jonathan74 on Saturday November 27, 2010, 17:09

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