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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

21 RE: James Herberts The City
L: lukeyboy Love the fact you've got Superman: Red Son and Preacher in there, but I have to agree with the previous posters about the omission of The Boys, Transmetropolitan and Hellblazer. Perhaps the former is a more aquired taste but Transmetropolitan and Hellblazer are genre defining comics and deserve to be on the list. As do (IMO) 'The Books of Magic' and timates'. ]   agree on b] took a age old concept and brought it kicking amd screaming into relevancy and ramped up the characterisation from the original Marvel vision of each of them. More

Posted by JIm R on Friday November 26, 2010, 16:45

22 RE: James Herberts The City
Love the fact you've got Superman: Red Son and Preacher in there, but I have to agree with the previous posters about the omission of The Boys, Transmetropolitan and Hellblazer. Perhaps the former is a more aquired taste but Transmetropolitan and Hellblazer are genre defining comics and deserve to be on the list. As do (IMO) 'The Books of Magic' and 'The Ultimates'. More

Posted by lukeyboy on Friday November 26, 2010, 16:05

23 RE: James Herberts The City
Props for putting invincible in there, but Walking Dead is not that good.   Also, no 2000ad/Judge Dredd?  What about America? It's abit strange that you picked Red Son as the one Superman story. More

Posted by Invader_Ace on Friday November 26, 2010, 16:04

24 RE: The 30 Comic Books You Should Have Read
I know that people are always going to bitch and lists cannot be to everyones approval or tastes, but anybody with a half a serious interest in comics would have put 'The Invisibles' in that list. More

Posted by leecoop on Friday November 26, 2010, 15:12

25 RE: The 30 Comic Books You Should Have Read
How about Cerebus? Yummy Fur? Alan Moore's Miracleman? The Grandaddy of comics Will Eisner? Love & Rockets? Jimmy Corrigan? Hellblazer?  Hate? Flaming Carrot? Stray Toasters? Frank Millar's Daredevil or Elecktra? Jam? Concrete? Too many teenagers in tights on this list for my liking. More

Posted by Great Ape on Friday November 26, 2010, 13:43

26 RE: The 30 Comic Books You Should Have Read
No Invisibles?  Animal Man?  Doom Patrol?  All Star Superman?  Looks like you guys aren't Grant Morrison fans... tut tut!  More

Posted by DEADPOOLcc on Friday November 26, 2010, 13:11

27 RE:
A good list, though I do hope had it been 32 you would have put Transmetropolitan and The Boys in there. C'mon, one has Spider Jerusalem literally shove a Blair/Bush hybrid  up his arse and the other has Simon Freakin' Pegg beating up superheroes! WHY ARE THEY NOT HERE! More

Posted by seedykay on Friday November 26, 2010, 11:41

28 RE: How about...
The fact that no one has mentioned "Lucifer" yet is simply a tragedy. It is without a doubt one of the most beautiful and moving comics I have ever read. Beats the hell out of "Sandman" if you ask me... Other than that, I cannot help but agree with the other comments about glaring omissions. Only two Alan Moor books? You must be joking. More

Posted by xzynomorpher on Friday November 26, 2010, 00:14

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