Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Top 5 Comic Books I Followed as a Kid

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...

Anyone out there ever get into comics?  Share comments/stories below.  And don't forget to share via FB/G+/Twitter, or do the Digg/Reddit/StumbleUpon thing.


  1. A). I wouldn't say they had "real" value so much as they had "hyped up" value.
    B). I have most of the Infinity Gauntlet series. You are certainly welcome to borrow them and reread it if you want.
    C). If you want to get back into comics, I can certainly discuss in length why they are important and deserve as much credit as some well known novels. Hey, if nothing else it will give you a "Top 5 reasons why I believe my friend Corvo has lost his mind."

  2. Agree with Corvo's comment about hype. It's just like baseball cards from the 90's. Not worth much from a monetary value. The value is in the work.

    I actually read Sleepwalker. Hilarious that anyone else remembers that one. No it didn't last long. I still have Infinity Gauntlet somewhere. You can read it but I think you'd probably disapointed.

    The whole "graphic novel concept" is a little over-rated. They just a bunch of single issues strung together. Or in some cases instead of publishing a 4-5 issue mini-series the writer waits until he's finished and publishes the story as a GN. In my opnion, the graphic novel concept is something that's been pushed by certain writers who are too embarassed to admit that they "write comic books" and think "graphic novels" make them seem more like serious writers.

    Dave, if you want to read something crazy read Preacher. It's taken The Watchmen's place as the "un-filmable" comic that everyone keeps talking about making a move out of. In particular, I think you'd dig the anti-religion elements of it.

  3. I was big into comics as a kid, and even went to comic conventions.  I collected Spider-Man, X-Men and The Incredible Hulk.  I also favored Marvel superheroes vs. DC Comics characters.

  4. Death is awesome, and a good choice.  Check the library for (or go out and get) the Sandman collections - not sure how I never read them before late college, but excellent.  I also have the whole Infinity Gauntlet saga somewhere.  A pretty good story, but I get the impression that you tend to really like your first the-multiverse-is-in-desperate-peril-oh-no storyline, and ones after that get old.

  5. My boyfriend recommends Y the last man (DC) and invincible (image comics)

  6. Yes, yes, yes to your last point.

  7. I have to disagree with you on the graphic novel point. Some of the greatest writers in the business have produced some of the greatest continuing storylines as well as some of the greatest graphic novels. (Think Grant Morrison's recent run on Batman as well as "Arkham Asylum). I am not too familiar with all of Neil Gaiman's work, but I am sure he did the same as well.
    Personally, I prefer the format. It allows me to read an entire story without having to wait another month. Plus I don't particularly care about the "collectibility" of comics anymore, so allowing my daughter to tear all my GN off the shelf doesn't bother me.