The 8 Best Comic Books Ever, Ranked

Categories: Comic
The 8 Best Comic Books Ever, Ranked

SUMMARY

“Frank Miller’s Sin City is a standout neo-noir comic that extends beyond superhero narratives to blend pulp and crime-noir elements in a serialized format reminiscent of TV or film dramas. Preacher, penned by Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon, captivates with its mix of supernatural and religious motifs set against the backdrop of a small Texas community, enriched by an eclectic array of characters. Meanwhile, Batman: The Long Halloween by Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale is recognized for its deep detective-thriller storyline that highlights Batman’s prowess in a more realistic, street-level context, effectively capturing the dark, noir essence of Gotham City.”

Selecting the finest comic books ever crafted presents a formidable challenge, as every era brings forth groundbreaking works from giants like Marvel, DC Comics, Image, and Dark Horse, among others. Yet, certain comic books and graphic novels distinguish themselves as truly exceptional.

The comic book medium has seen a significant expansion since its inception in the 20th century. The evolution of popular culture and artistic methods has reshaped the portrayal of comics and their characters over the decades, with each era contributing a wealth of notable stories. While DC and Marvel are known for some of the most celebrated comics, publishers such as Dark Horse and Image have also produced notable works. Our list reveals which publisher’s offerings have been deemed the most iconic, critically acclaimed, or significant.

Comic Sin City

Sin City (1991-2000) – Frank Miller (Dark Horse)

While Frank Miller is renowned for his contributions to Batman and Daredevil, his non-superhero narratives, like Sin City from Dark Horse, are equally noteworthy. This black-and-white comic, a stellar example of the neo-noir genre, unfolds in a grim city governed by authoritarian rule in the U.S., drawing heavy inspiration from pulp fiction and crime-noir from film and television.

Miller’s narrative approach in Sin City mirrors that of a serialized crime drama on TV or film, set within the comic book medium. Despite a less favorable reception to its second film adaptation, the initial 2005 movie adaptation was well-received.

Comic Preacher

Preacher (1995-2000) – Garth Ennis & Steve Dillon (Vertigo)

DC Comics, one of the industry’s leading publishers, is typically associated with superheroes, but their Vertigo line has spawned several timeless non-superhero classics. Preacher, by Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon, became a cult favorite with its dark, supernatural/religious narrative set in a small Texas town.

The story focuses on Jesse Custer, a preacher who becomes imbued with a celestial entity that blends absolute good and evil, potentially making him the most powerful being in existence. The narrative expands from a local to a national scale, introducing an array of eccentric characters along the way.

Comic Batman: The Long Halloween

Batman: The Long Halloween (1996-1997) – Jeph Loeb, Richard Starkings & Tim Sale (DC Comics)

Among the vast collection of Batman comics, The Long Halloween by Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale is often cited as one of the most significant and influential. It plays a key role in shaping the Dark Knight Trilogy and showcases Batman’s detective skills, a frequently overlooked aspect of his persona in film adaptations.

This detective-thriller explores Batman’s iconic noir elements and his formidable presence, crafting a captivating crime saga that underscores the potential for grounded, street-level storytelling.

Comic Kingdom Come

Kingdom Come (1996) – Mark Waid & Alex Ross (DC Comics)

Kingdom Come, an alternative narrative within the DC universe, offers a reflective deconstruction of the superhero genre. Written by Mark Waid with art by Alex Ross, this miniseries examines the decline of traditional superheroes and the emergence of reckless new vigilantes.

This shift reflects the challenges traditional heroes face in adapting to new threats, with Batman attempting to thwart Lex Luthor amid escalating tensions. It stands out as one of the most profound stories within DC’s Elseworlds series.

Comic V For Vendetta

V For Vendetta (1982-1985) – Alan Moore, David Lloyd & Tony Weare (Vertigo)

Alan Moore’s V for Vendetta, another significant Vertigo title, ventures into a dark political dystopia where a totalitarian party has transformed the UK into a fascist state. The protagonist, V, wearing the iconic Guy Fawkes mask, ignites an anarchistic uprising against the oppressive government. The comic delves into intense political themes, weaving a complex narrative filled with moral ambiguity.

Comic Batman The Killing Joke

Batman: The Killing Joke (1988) – Alan Moore, John Higgins & Brian Bolland (DC Comics)

Alan Moore and Brian Bolland’s The Killing Joke is another seminal Batman comic, notable for its profound impact on the character of the Joker as portrayed in The Dark Knight Trilogy. This one-shot comic offers a dense and impactful narrative, emphasizing the Joker’s philosophical musings on madness, which Batman uniquely challenges.

Comic Batman: Year One

Batman: Year One (1987) – Frank Miller & David Mazzucchelli (DC Comics)

Batman: Year One by Frank Miller and David Mazzucchelli is recognized as one of the definitive origin stories within comic book lore. Following the noir-inspired overhaul initiated by Dennis O’Neil, Year One provides a gritty crime drama that tracks Bruce Wayne’s rise as Gotham’s guardian alongside the parallel rise of Commissioner Gordon.

The Sandman (1989-1996) – Neil Gaiman, Sam Keith, Dave McKean, Mike Dringenberg (Vertigo)

The Sandman, a flagship series from DC’s Vertigo imprint, is celebrated as Neil Gaiman’s masterpiece. It features the character Dream, one of the seven Endless, as he confronts the need for change even among beings more powerful than traditional gods. The series is lauded for its imaginative and ethereal depiction of metaphysical concepts, personified by the Endless.