Recommend graphic novels

Many a moon ago I was a comic fan. Now I enjoy a good graphic novel. Better plots and writing with more adult concepts.

The Return of the Dark Knight, was one I liked.
The Crow, another.

From SDMB somebody mentioned the Watchmen and I got hold of a copy and enjoyed that.

I have heard of one that featured our classic heros as middle aged, Perhaps it was a MArvel DC cross over, I’m not sure.
Anywho, recommend some others. One volume or a limited series is fine.
A brief discription and comments on why you liked it might be helpful.

Here’s an older thread full of excellent recommendations:

Some that I either didn’t see mentioned in the earlier thread, or I’m seconding the recommendation:

Batman: Year One
My favorite “graphic novel,” because it’s so straightforward and solid. Tells the story of the origin of the Batman as a real story with real people involved. Not as some self-consciously gritty crime noir, or a fantastic super-hero story, or a heavy-handed psychological metaphor, or a hyper-violent action story. And I’m not even a fan of Frank Miller.

Any of them. Seed of Destruction and Wake the Devil are the “big” story, and The Chained Coffin and Others is my favorite of the trade paperbacks. Hellboy is my favorite series because the author just “gets” it; it’s just the right combination of horror, action, comedy, mystery, and mythology, all told with beautiful art and minimal dialogue.

Mage: The Hero Discovered
I loved this one in college, but re-read it recently and didn’t like it nearly as much. Still, it’s got a big fan following. It re-tells the story of King Arthur in a contemporary (at the time – late 80’s to early 90’s) setting. It’s clever, imaginative, and suitably epic, but now it can feel kind of talky, obscure, and self-important. Your mileage may vary.

Sandman is the ne plus ultra of the “graphic novel.” (I despise that term, by the way, but that’s neither here nor there.) Author Neil Gaiman consistently showed what you could accomplish in this medium, and that it could be as valuable as what you can accomplish in straight prose. Sandman was originally a 75 issue series which has been collected into 10 volumes: Preludes & Nocturnes, The Doll’s House, Dream Country, Season of Mists, Fables & Reflections, A Game of You, Brief Lives, Worlds’ End, The Kindly Ones, and The Wake. (There’s a bit of confusion there because ideally half the stories of F&R come before A Game of You, and the other half come after, but the order doesn’t really matter much at that point.)

There are also many Sandman spin-offs, some good ones by Gaiman (specifically Endless Nights, the sublime Dream Hunters, the two Death miniseries), some good ones by other folks, and many not-so-good ones. But you don’t need to bother with any of that until after you’ve finished Sandman 1-10.


Sounds like Kingdom Come, an Alex Ross illustrated DC miniseries now collected in TPB form.

Let me also recommend anything written by Alan Moore, including V for Vendetta (about an anarchist movement in a totalitarian UK), From Hell (a compelling and intricately plotted story about Jack the Ripper), and League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (19th-century literary characters as quasi-superheroes).

There’s a sequel (and a third coming at some point) that isn’t as good as the first. I love the art though.

The first few CEREBUS volumes are well worth reading, IMO.

Any ASTRO CITY volume is worth getting.

If you’re in the mood for lighter fare, PS 238 is wonderful, as is Boneyard which is probably my favorite comic on the market at the moment.

Also, I really liked MARVELS.


Sin City by Frank Miller… they all rock, but I recommend The Big Fat Kill and A Dame To Kill For as good starting points.

Several of my favorites have already been mentioned, if you can find them I suggest you pick up the Poison Elves compilations - not graphic novels but a bunch of the comics printed in one big collection. The art is a little on the repetitive side but the story is fun and hilarious.

**Top Ten ** is also a great read… there’s a scene in there that reminded me strongly of a scene in one of the **Sin City ** graphic novels.

Thanks to those who have contributed some suggestions. I checked Ebay. Little did I know what a huge list graphic novel would be. Here’s a few I found. Any reviews or comments appreciated.
The Son of Superman** from 1999
Green Lantern Fear Itself from 1999
Animal Man by Grant Morrison
**Superman Metropolis **with Savage Dragon
**The Kingdom JLA **
Green Lantern; Emerald Dawn
Superman; Peace on Earth
**Will Eisner’s A Contract With God Graphic Novel **
Superman: Red Son
Justice League: Foreign Bodies
X-Men God Loves, Man Kills
JLA -New World Order
Batman-In Darkest Knight -As Green Lantern

The only of those I’ve read are Animal Man and Knigdom. Animal Man is probably the first of three volumes reprinting the Animal Man issues by one of my very favorite writers, Grant Morrison. I think it’s quite good, although it comes together more in the other two volumes. It’s also really hard to avoid the big major spoiler about this story if you do any Internet search on it, which lessens the effect of volume 3 considerably.

I thought Kingdom wasn’t bad. It’s sorta a sequel to Kingdom Come, although very very different, so it might not make sense if you’ve not already read KC.

cosmodan, comics are a medium, not a genre, so you should understand that your OP is essentially: “I used to read books and I want to again, so please name some books that are good” or “I used to watch TV and I want to again, so please name some TV shows that are good.” I don’t mean that as a put down, but there are literally thousands of “graphic novels” out there, so none of us are going to have read every one that’s currently sitting on eBay.


All, IMO, obviously!
The Son of Superman from 1999–Mediocre and bloated.
Green Lantern Fear Itself from 1999–I didn’t care for this one, but some might. It’s challenging.
Animal Man by Grant Morrison–Can you get past the annoying preachy eco-propaganda? If so, it’s excellent.
**Superman Metropolis **with Savage Dragon–It’s a comic book, IIRC. It’s…ok.
**The Kingdom JLA **–Won’t make sense without having read KINGDOME COME first…and maybe not even then.
Green Lantern; Emerald Dawn < flame-redardant clothes ON > I hated this…it was a "Let’s deconstruct an old, beloved character and make him a drunk driver/loser. < /clothes off >
Superman; Peace on Earth–VERY pretty art, not much story.
**Will Eisner’s A Contract With God Graphic Novel **–A classic but it’s not super-hero stuff. IIRC, it’s life in the 1920s in a Jewish Getto in NY.
Superman: Red Son–IMO, terrible. “Hey, Soviet-style commies ain’t that bad, really.”
Justice League: Foreign Bodies–I think this one is terrible but I’m not sure which one it is, so don’t trust me on this. If it’s not Mark Waid or Grant Morrison writing, avoid.
X-Men God Loves, Man Kills–Bad dialogue at points, but fantastic, powerful stuff. And pretty art.
JLA -New World Order–Excellent
Batman-In Darkest Knight -As Green Lantern-Another comic book (not really a GN). It’s not bad, not stunning.

Comments only on what I’ve read or what I’m familiar with:

Animal Man by Grant Morrison - supposed to be a neat metafictional revamp of a nearly-forgotten character.
**Superman Metropolis ** - actually, this is loosely based on the 1920s German expressionist science fiction film (the one with Maria the robot). Still, I didn’t like it. Savage Dragon does not appear.
**The Kingdom JLA ** - all the Kingdom one-shots (like this one) are supposed to be BAD, but Kingdom Come is practically required reading.
Green Lantern; Emerald Dawn - I have it. Updating the origin of Green Lantern Hal Jordan; worth a single read but still skippable.
**Will Eisner’s A Contract With God Graphic Novel ** - not superheroes, but it’s hard to go wrong with Eisner.
Superman: Red Son - Dave Johnson’s art and costume designs are very pretty, but it’s by Mark Millar, a writer known for employing shock value over genuine storytelling.
X-Men God Loves, Man Kills - a large part of the X-Men 2 movie came from this short graphic novel, but the movie is much better. And I’m not a big fan of Brent Anderson’s art.
JLA -New World Order - very good, but short. The first adventure of the new League by Grant Morrison, and it goes along way in establishing the “Batman always wins if he’s prepared” mantra.
Batman-In Darkest Knight -As Green Lantern

  • a neat idea, but not terribly well done.

I cannot recommend strongly enough Maus and Maus II by Art Spiegelman. There are no superheroes involved, and it is based on Spiegelman’s father’s experiences in the Holocaust. It is absolutely amazing - it won a Pulitzer Prize. One of the most moving and intense books I’ve ever read in any format.

Elektra: Assassin by Frank Miller & Bill Sienkiewicz

Strangers in Paradise. I don’t even read comics but my husband got me hooked on this series a couple of months ago. I have devoured every graphic novel in the collection since then. No superheroes, no monsters or heavy symbolism–just the not-so-simple story of two women and their incredibly complicated friendship. Plenty of violence and bloodshed though, just in case you were wondering.

I do understand that after doing the search. Thats why I made a short specific list :slight_smile: Thanks for the input.
btw, it’s cosmos…with an s…happens all the time here on SDMB

  • a neat idea, but not terribly well done.

Wow!! and again WOW!! thanks so much.

Marvel 1602 - A superb “alternate reality”, of sorts, stand alone novel. It’s Marvel characters in 1602…obviously. It’s good, because it doesn’t just plop the characters 400 years in the past and leave it at that, it gives a reason.

To toss in a non-superheroey one…

Aliens, Book 1: Graphic Novel (Aliens)
by Mark Verheiden

Fantastic art, great plotting, and gripping suspense. It was the Aliens movie sequel that you’ll wish had been made. The following Aliens collections degrade quickly however.

Caveman’s probably right that this would be Kingdom Come, which is very good. (The Kingdom, which was sort of a follow-up to it, wasn’t as good, IMHO). That description could also apply to The Golden Age by James Robinson and Paul Smith, which is out-of-this-world awesome. The Golden Age pretty much ignited the spark that led to the also awesome Starman series (collected as about 11 or so Trade Paperback volumes) and the JSA series (still currently running, with the first 60 or so issues collected as TPBs).