Well, here we are.
My last installment of Comics That Deserve Your Time & Attention.
Over the last five installments, I've included a bunch of titles that I feel worthy of your said attention, while also kissing the asses of industry legends Warren Ellis and Frank Miller, but for this concluding installment, I'm going to be doing something a little different...
...these are titles that I myself wasn't too fond of at first, and are perhaps more outside the realm of mainstream comics than just about anything I've included here before, so strap yourselves in folks, this may be a bit of a bumpy ride...
Top Shelf Productions
Writer: Alan Moore
Artist: Melinda Gebbie
What may be considered practically pornography, Alan Moore's "Lost Girls" is something that he and artist/partner Melinda Gebbie have been laboring over since 1991. Like he did with his "League of Extraordinary Gentlemen" series, Moore takes characters from classic literature (in this case, Dorothy of "Wizard of Oz", Wendy of "Peter Pan", and Alice of "Alice in Wonderland") and inserts them into a world unlike they respectively inhabit. In this case, it's a Swiss hotel shortly before World War I where all three meet one another, and provide each other with wildly different, and sexual, takes on the stories from which they are from. Saying "Lost Girls" isn't for everybody is saying it lightly, but "Watchmen" and "V For Vendetta" scribe Moore manages to lace the story with so many themes of love, passion, and even loss, that it's just too hard (no pun intended) to not feel somewhat moved...even when it seems like everybody's shagging everybody else for two and three page spreads.
ANGRY CHRIST COMIX
Writer/Artist: Joseph Michael Linsner
A horror anthology graphic novel featuring Linsner's "Cry For Dawn" stories first printed in the early 90s, albeit these horrors aren't such things as zombies and ghouls. Here, the monsters are human, and all too real as well while being shockingly poignant. Take a look at "Burns Brightest", in which a one night stand results in a young man contracting AIDS. Seeking revenge on the female population, he moves on from one girl to the next, infecting whomever he can on the way, with a shocker of an end result to boot. Other tales, involving lost love, obsession, and even a punk rock vampire, all end up being incredibly chilling.
Y: THE LAST MAN
Writer: Brian K. Vaughan
Artist: Pia Guerra & various others
Yorick Brown is a dorky college kid who, alongside his pet monkey Ampersand, find themselves to be the only male mammals still inhabiting the planet after every other male mammal mysteriously and horrifically die. Soon after, Yorick and the mysterious female Agent 355 traverse the world as he searches for his lost girlfriend Beth and seek to learn just what happened, while dodging insane wanna-be Amazons and other obstacles along the way. A smash hit ongoing series during its entire run, "Y: The Last Man" is fairly well-known and revered, but the simple fact is that this is one comic series that should have attained an insane amount of popularity, simply due to the fact that it's just that damn good. Let's hope that movie adaptation with Shia LeBouf playing Yorick never ever materializes however...
WAR IS HELL: THE FIRST FLIGHT OF THE PHANTOM EAGLE
Writer: Garth Ennis
Artist: Howard Chaykin
Other than having a knack for telling darkly comic and horrific stories, Garth Ennis also has a knack for telling some compelling war stories. With "War is Hell", Ennis re-invents a classic and forgotten Marvel character named Karl Kaufmann, an aviator for the French-based Royal Flying Corps. He's young, naive, and full of ridiculous ideals. As he takes flight in the heat of battle, Karl soon learns the horrors of war first hand. That, along with the horrors of prostitutes not loving you if you don't have the money up front. No, seriously.
FOOLKILLER: FOOL'S PARADISE
Writer: Greg Hurwitz
Artist: Lan Medina
The Foolkiller is another forgotten Marvel character, this time revitalized by crime author Greg Hurwitz, who fashions him as being a Punisher-style vigilante. Bloody, bleak, and gritty, "Fool's Paradise" finds the Foolkiller being sought by a downtrodden gambling junkie whose family has just been butchered. Needless to say, things get pretty bloody pretty quickly. Entertaining and brutal, if you don't read this, you're a fool (sorry, I couldn't fucking help myself).
Writer: Brian Azzarello
Artist: Daniel Zezelj
Eisner-Award winning "100 Bullets" writer Brian Azzarello resurrects the western comic genre with "El Diablo", in which bounty hunter turned sheriff Moses Stone finds his relatively tranquil life interupted by the arrival of the demonic fugitive known as El Diablo comes to town and leaves a bloody path in his wake, and a message for Moses as well. Soon after, Moses and his posse track him to the town of Halo, which holds a special place in Moses' past, and when secrets get revealed, the shit really hits the fan. Azzarello pulls no punches a la "Deadwood" style, and even if western-themed things aren't really your thing, you should definitely check out "El Diablo".
Dark Horse Comics
Writer/Artist: Eric Powell
Vulgar, hilarious, cynical, and incredibly enjoyable, Eric Powell's "The Goon" can't really be classified under any specific genre. Instead, Powell's "Goon" books are just a fun ride, in which the strongman known as the Goon gets into all sorts of mishaps and adventures, kicking ass the whole damn time. Practically frequently offensive, Powell makes no apologies, and that's what helps make "The Goon" so goddamn good.
That's all folks...thank me later :)