The comic book medium has grown exponentially since its beginnings in the 20th century. The gradual evolution of mainstream culture and artistic approaches has changed the way comics and their characters are written, with each passing decade more and more great stories published.
Unsurprisingly, DC and Marvel have dominated the industry, but Dark Horse and Image have spawned a few gems. Ranker’s voting community has rounded up what they think is the media’s best work, with DC dominating the list. Several of these comics feature the usual acclaimed characters like Batman, but also underrated side worlds.
ten the city of sin
His work with Batman and Daredevil usually comes to mind as writer and artist Frank Miller’s best comic book, but he’s also written classic stories without superheroes. Dark horses the city of sin is an acclaimed neo-noir story set in a dark, bossy city in the United States. The comic was revered for its approach and strong inspiration from black pulp and crime television, film and magazine stories.
Likewise, it showcased a captivating change of pace through Miller’s writing. the city of sin more like a crime drama / serial TV movie in a comic book format. Although the second film adaptation was poorly received, the 2005 debut film received generally positive reviews.
As one of the “big two” publishers in the comic book industry, DC Comics is best known for its best superheroes. However, their Vertigo comic book imprint spawned some timeless non-superhero classics. Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon Preacher was one of those cult hits, with the story centering around a sinister supernatural / religious disaster plaguing a small town in Texas.
Jesse Custer, the titular preacher, becomes possessed by a supernatural entity made up of sheer goodness and sheer evil, becoming perhaps the most powerful entity in the universe. The story takes its small stature and eventually spreads across the country, encountering a strange cast of characters.
8 Batman: Along Halloween
The Dark Knight has amassed an impressive catalog of some of the best comics in the media, and those of Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale. Along Halloween often ranks among the best for fans. This is one of the best Batman comics to influence Nolan The Dark Knight Trilogy, proving to be one of the best examples of the superhero’s best traits.
The story arc is rooted in a crime thriller premise, highlighting an element of Batman that is often criminally forgotten in the live-action. He does this while embracing the dark, mythical atmosphere of the black hero and his towering physical prowess. Along Halloween is a gripping crime saga that reminds fans how masterfully grounded street-level stories can be made.
seven kingdom come
Extending to the greater Justice League, kingdom come is a landmark comic in DC’s pantheon of stories. This alternative canon comic was sort of a meta-deconstruction of “superheroes” as a concept. Veteran writer Mark Waid and iconic artist Alex Ross have put together a miniseries that details the fall in importance of outdated “traditional” heroes and the rise of dangerous imitators.
Traditional superheroes are out of touch with changing times and new threats, with Batman’s team trying to stop Lex Luthor and the impending conflict. It is a fascinating alternate tale that presents itself as one of the famous other worlds best footprint comics.
6 V for Vendetta
Alan Moore is also known for his essential works with some of DC’s superheroes, but V for Vendetta was another DC Vertigo comic that went in a different exciting direction. It’s a dark story of a political dystopia, where a fictitious political party has succeeded in converting the UK into a horrific neo-fascist police state.
The main character is the titular V, sporting the classic Guy Fawkes mask, with him leading an anarchist revolution against the ruling oppressors. Given the intense premise, V for Vendetta tackles a variety of heavy political themes in a dense and elaborate story full of moral grays and extremes.
5 Batman: the murderous joke
When it comes to Batman, Moore and artist Brian Bolland have created another of the best and most influential Caped Crusader comics. Although The murderous joke was a 46-page one-shot rather than an extensive series, the story told is impressively dense. Like with Along Halloween, The murderous joke has played a decisive role as reference material for The Dark Knight Trilogy, including inspiring Heath Ledger’s immortalized vision of The Joker.
This is one of the best comics the villain has been in, and it shows how the Clown Prince of Crime’s excuse to embrace insanity is nothing more than barely veiling his cowardice than alone. Batman called. Whenever a major live-action adaptation aims to bring the Joker, The murderous joke is the best source material to understand why he’s such a compelling supervillain.
4 Batman: Year One
Origin stories can seem like a dime at times and have naturally drained fans’ patience over the years. However, Miller and David Mazzucchelli First year is among the most definitive comic book origins. The late Dennis O’Neil began the Outstanding Reinvention of Batman Noir, and First year was one of the comics that took this development to a crescendo.
Right down to the pulp-inspired artwork, this is a rich, atmospheric crime drama that shows fans how Bruce Wayne became the vigilant protector of Gotham City. Likewise, it served as a great parallel origin story for future Commissioner Gordon alongside Batman, portraying the two as flawed characters who ultimately try to do their best to do justice to Gotham’s systematic corruption.
3 The sand man
The most emblematic fear of heights the series that DC released was its flagship The sand man, written by the great Neil Gaiman and illustrated by many artists. The story revolves around Dream, one of the Endless Seven, finding himself captured by cultists and forced to recognize that even entities even stronger than DC’s gods like themselves must come to terms with inevitable change.
The sand man is celebrated as Gaiman’s magnum opus and lauded for his ethereal and surreal personifications of metaphysical concepts. The infinites are such personifications, as they embody some of the most powerful forces that make up the universe.
2 Batman: Return of the Dark Knight
Without doubt the most popular other worlds Batman’s story is Miller’s The return of the dark knight. While this is an undisputed classic for the most part, some of its themes have unfortunately been misinterpreted and subsequently glorified nowadays. Despite that, it remains a gripping action and politically dystopian Batman arc depicting a more cynical and jaded version of the hero after most of his heroes fall.
Bruce Wayne, over 50, is forced to put the cloak and hood back on after Gotham regresses in a senseless crime and the US government continually neglects the dying city. Meanwhile, the same governing body has effectively transformed the former great Superman into a political weapon and a pocket dog.
Perhaps Moore’s most iconic comic book work has come in his Watchmen series. With artists Dave Gibbons and John Higgins, the series has functioned as a dark satire of the superhero genre, portraying a group of morally ambiguous “heroes” who are clearly – and dangerously – unstable in their respective ways.
The comic also incorporated (for the time) more contemporary elements like the Vietnam War and the Cold War. Doctor Manhattan, for example, can easily be seen as the physical manifestation of paranoia over the outbreak of nuclear war. With people like The sand man and The return of the dark knight, Watchmen was one of the first comics of the era to make the New York Times bestseller list.
NEXT: 10 Best Marvel Comics Heroes Of All Time, According To Ranker
10 weakest Marvel beings (and 10 who are way too overpowered)
About the Author