In a time before graphic novels, comic books had real value and comic book stores were found in every mall--it was the early nineties, and it was glorious. The bottom fell out of the market, and today, almost all comics from that time are worthless. No matter, those were fun days. Here were my top 5 favorite comic book titles.
5: The Punisher (Marvel Comics) - One of my favorite super heroes because he was not "super"--he had no powers. He was just a guy who lost his family and started crime fighting (but he went really dark with it--think Batman without the costume and substituting guns for gadgets). There's a reason they've tried to make this character into a movie on three separate occasions--he was a badass.
4: Groo The Wanderer (Marvel Comics) - Sometimes I needed to read something goofy and maybe a little funny. Although Groo promised both and often fell short on the latter, it was still a fun comic which followed the adventures of a caricature of Conan, complete with stupidity and unintentional heroism.
3: Sleepwalker (Marvel Comics) - Everyone had one particular comic they collected. When I started collecting, Sleepwalker #1 just came out and I saw an opportunity to get in on the ground floor. The comic was about a creature who fought crime after arising from inside some kid when the kid went to sleep. It wasn't bad, but it was never, ever popular. I haven't checked, but I'd be shocked if this was still being published on a monthly basis.
2: Archer & Armstrong (Valiant Comics) - Valiant was far and away the best comic label of the time. It had a great universe, terrific writers, and excellent artists. It printed on high quality paper. Unfortunately, it had very little staying power. This was my favorite of their offerings, following a couple of immortals who work together for the greater good--one is a fat, but super strong drunkard; the other is a master martial artist. It's been called one of the best buddy comedy comics ever, and that may be an understatement.
1: Death: The High Cost of Living (Vertigo Comics) - A limited edition comic by Neil Gaiman about Death who appears as a young goth chick. She was an amazingly vibrant character, and is one of the greatest comic book characters of all time. Despite being in a limited number of comics, she easily wins the number 1 spot.
There was another short series called The Infinity Gauntlet that I liked as a kid but which has grown to epic proportions in my memory. There's a fair chance that if I were to re-read it, it would edge out The Punisher--but based simply on memory, it can't make the cut. I recently dug up all my old comics and gave them to my nephews. I was excited and thought they would be too. They really didn't care. RIP, comic book industry. No Infinity Gauntlet in the lot...
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