No literary media engages more with its audience than comic books. Its unique visual format encourages young learners to improve their reading abilities and lengthen their attention span. Research published by Professor Dale Jacobs of the University of Windsor observed that comics in the classrooms could help students develop as critical and engaged readers of multimodal texts. Also, Gregory Bens and Kristina Blaine saw through neuroscientific research that reading stories have an observable effect on brain function.
The increase in the number of movie adaptations of comics and the widespread acceptance of the movies have increased the importance and rate by which people pay attention to comics.
Here is our list of the top ten greatest comic book series of all time!
10. The Walking Dead
In 2003, Image Comics published The Walking Dead comic and made history. The comic depicts the adventures of Rick Grimes, a sheriff’s deputy from Kentucky, who is shot in the line of duty and is comatose. He emerges from the coma to find the world overrun by the undead. Then, he searches for signs of survivors until he finds a little survivors’ camp. Interestingly, he found his wife Lori, his son Carl, and his police partner Shane among them. The Walking Dead received Eisner Award (in 2007 and 2010) for Best Continuing Series at San Diego Comic-Con International.
9. Star Wars
Marvel published the Star Wars comic in the year 1977. The Star Wars comic depicts the adventure of many characters, humans, aliens, robots, and droids. It also shows space travel between planets and ranges from small starfighters to huge spaceships. A legendary power known as the Force (which Jedi describe as an energy field created by all living things) binds the galaxy together. Through training and meditation, some characters can perform various superpowers.
Two major orders that are always in conflict with each other, the Jedi and the Sith, wield the force. The Jedi are peacekeepers of the Galactic Republic who act on the light side of the Force through non-attachment and arbitration. Meanwhile, the Sith use the dark side by manipulating fear and aggression. While Jedi Knights can be many, the Dark Lords of the Sith have often limited their numbers to two: a master and their apprentice.
The Jedi and Sith use a weapon called a “lightsaber,” a blade of energy that can cut through any surface and produces energy bolts. Others, including the renegades and soldiers, use laser-powered firearms. Both gangsters and governments often employ bounty hunters. Illicit activities, such as smuggling and slavery, are the core business.
The Superman comic began in June 1938, although publication did not start the summer of the following year. Superman, an alien, came from the planet Krypton and had the original name of Kal-El. His parents had sent him to Earth, as a baby, in a spaceship just before Krypton’s destruction. His ship landed in Smallville, where farmers Jonathan and Martha Kent found and adopted him. Then, they named him Clark Kent. After the Kents witnessed some of his abilities as a young boy, they recommended that he use these abilities to benefit humanity. Thus, he decided to fight crime as a vigilante.
He later moved to Metropolis, where he works as a journalist for the Daily Planet. To protect his identity, he changes into his famous red and blue cape when he is fighting a crime or saving someone but wears a pair of glasses like Clark Kent.
Superman’s main foe is Lex Luthor, who is either a mad scientist or a ruthless businessman. Although any material on earth cannot hurt him, he is vulnerable to a green stone found in his home planet called Kryptonite.
Superman was the best-selling superhero character in American comic books up until the 1980s. Unfortunately, in recent years, his selling power has waned since audiences have issues relating with him.
In April of 1964, Marvel first published Daredevil. Like Batman, Daredevil is his city’s superhero, usually called the Devil of Hell’s Kitchen. Daredevil’s super abilities originate from a childhood accident. While growing up in Hell’s Kitchen in New York City, Matt Murdock becomes blinded through a radioactive element that falls from a truck after trying to save a man from an accident. While he could no longer see, his exposure to the radioactive material heightens his remaining senses beyond normal human ability. After his father’s death, Jack, who lost his life because he refused to throw a boxing match, Matt began training to master his physical abilities and superhuman senses under the tutelage of a blind man named Stick. After graduating from Columbia Law as a lawyer, Matt seeks out the criminal element in Hell’s Kitchen and starts his crime-fighting activities. He fights crime as a lawyer during the day and as a vigilante at night.
This remarkable comic first appeared in September 1963 to widespread acceptance. Most of the X-Men are mutants. These are humans born with the “X-Gene” that gifts them with superhuman abilities. The X-Men fight for peace and equality between normal humans and mutants. Their leader Charles Xavier, also known as Professor X, is a mutant with telepathic abilities. He can read and control minds. Their main antagonist is Magneto, who can manipulate and control magnetic fields. Professor X established Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters, which recruits mutants worldwide to teach them how to use their powers and coexist with humans. The X-Men’s founding five members who appear in The X-Men #1 (September 1963) are Angel-Archangel, Beast, Cyclops, Iceman, and Jean Grey (as Marvel Girl); Professor X and Magneto also made their first appearances in The X-Men #1. Eventually, the X-Men grew bigger and started to include a wide variety of members from many origins, including Wolverine, Storm, Rogue, Gambit, Jubilee, Nightcrawler, Colossus, Kitty Pryde/Shadowcat, Psylocke, Forge, Longshot, and Bishop.
5. Kingdom Come
In this comic, the traditional superheroes were getting impatient with the new set of vigilantes since the piety rules associated with the traditional superheroes did not govern their conduct. In preventing a looming disaster, Batman assembled a team to curb these new vigilantes’ influence and prevent a superhuman war. Published in 1996, Alex Rose wrote this comic. Then, audiences quickly appraised this comic. The comic combined elements of superhero comics like Batman and Superman united them with well-carved content.
4. The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
In 1999, Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neil combined their talents to create The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen . It was an attempt to bring together characters from other fictional works into a gang. The comic kicked off by the recruitment of Allan Quatermain and Mina Murray by Campion Bond on behalf of the British Intelligence. Thus, British Intelligence charged them to look for superheroes like themselves and form a gang of extraordinary humans. The protagonists were Wilhelmina “Mina” Harker (Vampire), Allan Quatermain (Hunter), Captain Nemo (Captain), Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (Human and Monster), Griffin (The Invisible Man), A. J. Raffles (Thief).
3. The Sandman
The Sandman started early in the year 1989. The main character is Dream, also known as Morpheus, Oneiros, the Shaper, the Shaper of Form, Lord of the Dreaming, the Dream King, Dream-Sneak, the Cat of Dreams, Murphy, Kai’ckul, and Lord L’Zoril. Dream is also one of seven siblings. Together, they are called The Endless. The comic starts with the capture and imprisonment of Dream for 70years. He escaped. And after exerting his revenge on his captors, he began to rebuild his fallen kingdom, which has been torn down due to his absence. The story took place in the dreaming and waking world, but there were occasional visits to other realms like Asgard, Hell, and Faerie.
The most interesting thing about Watchmen is how it explores the world of “what ifs,” taking a deviation from how the world works and trying to show the readers an alternate universe, something purely imaginary. The Watchmen comics ran from September 1986 to October 1987. Watchmen portrays an alternate universe in which superheroes came forth in the 1940s, and their presence changed history. The story depicts the personal development and moral struggles of these superheroes. Adrian Veidt (Ozymandias), Daniel Dreiberg (Nite Owl II), Edward Blake (The Comedian), Dr. Jon Osterman (Doctor Manhattan), Laurie Juspeczyk (Silk Spectre II), Walter Joseph Kovacs (Rorschach) were all superhero characters featured in the comics with their flaws, from Ozymandias’ looking down on the rest of humanity as stupid to Rorschach’s inability to compromise. All the protagonists were superheroes, but they have flaws, just like every one of us.
Originally, another comic series, “Detective Comics”, first mentioned The Batman well before DC created it as a comic book in 1940. The Batman started as the story of a young boy who, after witnessing his parents’ gruesome murder, had to stand up for himself and his city, seeking revenge for his parent’s murder. Although a billionaire, he developed himself into a superhero, watching over the people of Gotham. The Batman fought crime alongside many characters like his sidekick Robin, allies Alfred Pennyworth and James Gordon, against foes such as Catwoman, the Scarecrow, the Penguin, and his archenemy, the Joker. He is Wayne (a wealthy American playboy, philanthropist, and Wayne Enterprises owner based in Gotham City) during the day. But at night, he is Batman, the Savior of Gotham City.
There have been over hundreds of thousands of comics published by brilliant minds. These ten are extraordinary works, and they deserve to be on this list. There are other interesting comics out there, but there’s only space for ten, and these are the greatest comics of all time.
Author: Chris Ingledue
Bio: I am the founder and owner of Wheeljack’s Lab pop Culture and Toy Shop. My vision has always been to reunite customers with their favorite childhood toys and pop culture, triggering fond memories, and reigniting their imaginations. Every day, I work in the “lab” where it’s Christmas 365 days a year. I scour the internet, like when we had the Sears Catalog of yesteryear, for the next great treasure. Then, I await the arrival of the postman as if he were Santa Claus himself and helping collectors worldwide with their own versions of Christmas. Every day as a vintage toy buyer is an absolute joy!