Free comics day

A friend of mine on FB posted his 10 recommendations for someone wanting to go comics shopping and tagged me. So I figured I’d post my recommendations here, too.
Of course, the problem with any 10 Best (at least for me and reading material) is that it’s arbitrary by definition: I could easily think of a dozen more. But for what it’s worth …
Green Lantern Chronicles. Or the Showcase Presents edition, which provides more stories, but in B&W. Flash is still my favorite Silver Age hero, but the mix of SF and super-heroism in the old GLs has never been topped. And more than any other book, it feels as if they had a plan from the start (whether or not they did).
Plastic Man Archives. Comic-books’ first stretching hero, still insanely funny.
Kingdom Come. It’s 20 years down the road, the giants of the DC universe have retired, the new generation is screwing up … and then one day, a super-heroic battle blows up Kansas. Mark Waid and Alex Ross’s take on comics of the 1990s vs. the Silver Age still packs a punch, and it’s remarkable how many characters (Red Arrow, the current Blue Beetle) would later seem influenced by the series).
Marvel Masterworks: Dr. Strange. Steve Ditko’s amazing art makes this series; this hardback collection follows Dr. Strange through his defeat of the Dread Dormammu.
Hellboy: Seed of Destruction. I love Hellboy, the BPRD and their spinoffs, but it helps to start from the first.
Age of Bronze. The Trojan War retold in graphic-novel form.
Girl Genius. A super-genius female in a steampunk world. Very funny, very imaginative, amazingly fast-paced.
•Walt Simonson’s Thor run. A textbook demonstration of how to re-energize a book just by good stories, rather than revamping every last bit of continuity. Too bad the idea didn’t catch on.
Captain America and Falcon: Secret Empire and Nomad. In the first book, a corrupt cabal frames Captain America for murder; in the follow-up, a disillusioned Steve Rogers adopts a new secret identity. The media manipulation and PR themes still work, and much as I like Brubaker’s work on the current Cap series, this is still what I’d pick as the shield-slinger’s high point.
Marvels and Marvels: Eye of the Camera. What’s the Marvel Universe look like from the eye of the everyday guy? Here’s where you find out. Author Kurt Busiek would go on to tackle variations on the same theme in his Astro City book.

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