The market is full of comic books of all kinds, with a good majority of them selling for close to $3, and some even more. If you’re someone who has been reading comic books for a long time, or are just getting initiated into the comic book world, there are some popular comic books which you just can’t avoid! Let’s take you through some of these top comic books that are an experiencing themselves!
Maus – by Pantheon Books, Raw (Artist/Writer: Art Spiegelman)
There is no comic book lover out there who doesn’t know about Art Speigelman’s Maus. It’s a Holocaust comic that is a must read for anyone who wishes to experience some amazing work of art in his/her lifetime. The story of Maus is based on Speigelman’s father who was a Polish jew and a concentration camp survivor. What makes Maus so amazing and notorious is the fact that its characters are depicted as animals. The Jews get portrayed as mice, the British as dolphins, Americans as dogs, non-Jewish Polish people as pigs and Germans as cats. The introduction of animals into the Maus’ story isn’t merely a gimmick. Every character is considered and thought-about pretty carefully and provides a lot of depth to the different segments.
Although the animals have a cartoonlike appearance, their use is mainly to counterbalance the tales of survival and tragedy during the World War II era. At core, it is a very human story of Vladek (Spiegelman’s father) and his wife Anja. There hasn’t been a more raw depiction of the Holocaust ever since the ‘Night and Fog’ time. Maus has actually gotten rid of its comic book label over the years and now serves as a part of the course curriculum in several colleges and has made it to the various ‘20th-century Best Literature’ lists. Anyone having even a slight bit interest in the world history and comic medium must read Maus.
The Dark Knight Returns – by DC Entertainment (Artist/Writer: Frank Miller)
Before The Dark Knight Returns was released back in 1986, majority of cartoon and comic book lovers associated Batman with the 1960s TV show. Although the comic book returned to its dark side during the early 70s era, people couldn’t shake off its earlier lighter image. All that changed when ‘The Dark Knight Returns’ was unleashed! It actually gave Batman his balls back! Bruce Wayne is retired from his Batman years and is well in his 50s. The super heroes have been outlawed. However, he can’t see his city getting torn apart by the mutants and dons his Batman cape and cowl to complete that one last mission. Even though there’s nothing comforting or friendly about this comic book, it has served as the blueprint for all the latest Batman stories that you read these days.
Hellblazer – by DC/Vertigo (Artist: Various, Writer: Various including the likes of Peter Milligan, Garth Ennis and Jamie Delano)
After giving successful appearances during the 1980s run of Alan Moore’s ‘Swamp Thing’, DC finally decided to give John Constantine his own unique comic book, the ‘Hellblazer’, in the year 1988. The unique feature of this comic book is that it features a rotating roster of various writers and artists. However, regardless of the person behind any given issue, this comic book continues to be one of the most prominent examples of Vertigo’s mature and dark flavor.
The title achieved its creative peak when experts like Peter Milligan, Jamie Delano, Garth Ennis and Warren Ellis, each one being an expert at the right balancing of horror plots, use their own creativity for bringing out Constantine’s personality. The USP of Hellblazer is the common man persona of Constantine mixed with the dark supernatural world he constantly fights against.
Apart from these three, there are many other popular comic books that are a must read for every comic book lover. Some of them are: The X-Men series, Justice League of America, The Incredible Hulk, Amazing Spiderman, Wolverine, New Avengers, Teen Titans, Action Comics, Sin City (Dark Horse Comics), Daytripper, The Killing Joke, Fables, Daredevil: Born Again, The Invisibles, Watchmen, Sandman, Preacher, Transmetropolitan, V for Vendetta and many more.
How to create comic books?
Step 1 – Find a good idea
The first step in creation of a comic book is finding a good idea. Although any idea can be termed as a nice one, it should essentially last and be good enough to stand the test of time. Then, it must also be funny. People love reading comic books that are funny and the ones that make them smile or laugh. You must also ponder whether the story will be inspiring enough to continue writing it for a long time. Lastly, the story must ideally have a foreseeable ending.
Step 2 – Character casting
There is no good story out there which doesn’t have characters that you can relate to. Hence, anyone keen on telling a good story must cast his/her characters carefully. There should be a good variety of protagonists, antagonists and everything else in between.
Step 3 – The script writing process
You should be well aware of the accomplishments that your characters must have in the smaller stories for you to be able to use them effectively in creation of a larger goal for the comic book. You must know which character says what, and the reasons behind it.
Ensure that there is a proper beginning, a middle section and then an end in order to avoid a situation where the reader feels confused or clueless. The best way of ending an issue is by incorporating a jaw-dropping cliffhanger! It’s by far the best way of getting the people to purchase the next issue of your comic book.
Step 4 – Laying it all out
This is the step where the story takes the shape of comic book. You should write your script out into the boxes. Although you get the freedom of keeping things as crazy as you need, don’t go overboard, as it may make it difficult for people to read. No one will buy your comic book if its layout makes them dizzy.
Step 5 – The drawing process
There are many comic book creators out there who just write and then hand their scripts to other creative guys who then draw the pictures and put all the words into boxes. However, it’d best if you are good at all the aspects of the comic book creation, and do it all on your own. You can even have very simple pictures. Just enough lines to be able to communicate with the readers.
Step 6 – Repeat the steps 1 to 5
Repeat this process over and over again, until you feel that your story has been told properly. Stick to this process and you’ll see yourself improving drastically over a period of time.