Robot 6

Six by 6 | Six great science fiction comics

Our Love Is Real

As we noted a week ago, Sam Humphries and Steven Sanders self-published a science fiction comic called Our Love Is Real, which subsequently sold out in print in nine hours. A second print is on the way (that’s the cover you see to the right) and it’s still available digitally through their website or comiXology.

Humphries, a former Robot 6 guest contributor and my fellow panel member in San Diego next week, agreed to share a list of what he considers to be some of the great science fiction comics. Note that he chose not to use the words “best” or “favorite” to describe the list. “‘Favorite’ or ‘best’ implies more commitment than I’m ready to give,” he said.

So without further ado …

Six great science fiction comics, by Sam Humphries

1. AKIRA by Katsuhiro Otomo
A giant of science fiction, often imitated, never surpassed. At its heart is a tale of a bromance gone wrong, two best friends who carve their years of brotherhood and resentment across Tokyo, Japan, and the Moon. The anime adaptation is superlative, but the manga, sprawled across six thick volumes of meticulously drawn, hi-octane pages, is a true monumental achievement. I’ll be gunning for this No. 1 spot ’til I die. G.O.A.T.

The Filth, by Grant Morrison and Chris Weston

2. The Filth by Grant Morrison and Chris Weston
If you’re not sure you’re ready for The Filth, then you aren’t. It’s dirty, it’s beautiful, and once I pick it up I can’t look away. Weston’s artwork is spectacular. Protagonist Greg Feely travels through the trash and filth of human existence with a depraved organization called the Hand, and eventually finds redemption. All for the love of a cat. This is a grim tale, Morrison’s most twisted, most rewarding, and frankly, most hilarious.

3. Freakangels by Warren Ellis and Paul Duffield
Twelve Freakangels, embodied with supernormal abilities, struggle to protect a small neighborhood in post-apocalyptic London. Unfortunately, they can’t even decide what to do with themselves. The futurevision is compelling, but it’s the characters that keep me coming back…smart, benevolent, cranky, sexy, crazy, gloomy and murderous. Some prefer Transmetropolitan, but to me, this is the best of Ellis’ sci-fi jams.

4. Give Me Liberty by Frank Miller and Dave Gibbons
This book is criminally under-appreciated. Martha Washington is a hero of the powerless in a country where power is just another devalued currency. Miller’s dark humor and wild ideas are perfectly paired with Gibbon’s sleek imagination and razor-sharp storytelling. It is a gold mine of world-building; nothing escapes their satirical scorn. As I’ve said elsewhere, I steal from Give Me Liberty relentlessly.

from "The Long Tomorrow" by Dan O'Bannon and Moebius

5. The Long Tomorrow by Dan O’Bannon and Moebius
The short story that started it all. The undisputed master Moebius illustrates the hell out of this tale, a mash-up of American noir and French science fiction, cramming in a futureshock metropolis, rocket ships, robocops, kidnapped brains and weird sex into a handful of pages. This is the one that influenced everything from Blade Runner to George Lucas…to Our Love Is Real.

6. Pluto: Urasawa x Tezuka by Naoki Urasawa
This is Urasawa’s reinterpretation of a classic Astro Boy tale by Osama “Godfather of Manga” Tezuka. It should have been a disaster, but it’s brilliant. Pluto is a gripping thriller and an atmospheric mystery, where the rain falls on human and robot alike. But it’s also a warm, emotional sci-fi story, where the elements of the future are pushed to the side, and the human drama of being alive takes center stage.



not gonna argue with the man, but gimme “planetary” as ellis’ best sci-fi work. half tribute to all things genre, half tribute to all things comics, and all wrapped in crazy (and in the end, “hard”) sci-fi ideas.

The Filth is an unqualified masterpiece. Why don’t more people talk about this book???

Ministry of Space?

In the classic sense, perfect science fiction.

Ed (A Different One)

July 12, 2011 at 10:42 am

I had not even heard of The Filth until reading this – never even seen it referred to anywhere.

I know my local libraries don’t have it. Off to the LCS I guess . . .

A sci-fi list without Judge Dredd is a very uninformed list.

And callin Planetary “hard” science fiction is one the most laughable things I have ever read.

dan + Danbell, there’s certainly a lot of material in Ellis’ back catalogue to make another list. If he’s not the reigning king of comic book sci-fi, he’s in the running.

Ed, as RJ and I can assure you, the Filth is well worth your time. You might need a shower afterwards, but it’s well worth your time.

Mr. Pants! I only had six entries… :)

There’s so much great 2000ad stuff that should be on this list it’s hard to pick any out, but if I had to choose just one I’d say Halo Jones (Moore, Gibson).

Simon DelMonte

July 12, 2011 at 12:00 pm

Have just started reading Transmet, and to my delight and surprise, I am loving it. I rarely go for anything that foul-mouthed and cynical, but it’s one of the smartest and best looking comics I’ve ever seen. And now I need to start reading more of Ellis’ stuff. Including, eventually, FreakAngels.

You omitted Brandon Graham’s King City…

I’ll ad that the later issues of Grendel are definitely pretty awesome SF, and I really liked Teri S. Wood’s Wandering Star.

1. Akira (agreed)
2. Alien Legion
3. We3
4. Y-The Last Man

I don’t read a lot of sci-fi that isn’t mixed somehow with super-heroes so I have a shorter list. I’d say Planetary is definitely embedded in the super-hero world (which in itself can be considered sci-fi) but then the category becomes too broad.

One missing: Planetary.

ultimately, AKIRA’s story is quite weak and bloated beyond belief.
sure the drawings are great, but that didn’t hold me over for 1500 something pages. (though ive finished it)

the FILTH is great, check it out people.

When you mentioned Pluto, I am certain you meant Osamu (Tezuka), not Osama, right?

Agreed on the first four but I have yet to read the last two. I agree Transmetropolitan belongs on this list, but I also think when it comes to good sci-fi, Ghost in the Shell (both big volumes) is on par with Akira.

Good list overall, and I know you limited it to just 6, but any mention of sci-fi comics without listing the Metabarons ( is just borderline criminal.

The Filth is great, but FreakAngels? Is the series even done yet? If you’re talking greatness, you have to go with Transmetropolitan or Planetary. If you’re talking about being more “science fiction”y, then, you still have to go with Transmetropolitan or Planetary. And I really like FreakAngels, btw.

Some really good french comic books missed: Valerian series, Yans series – for a start. Even Poles like me have their flagship product Funky Koval – truly hard SF with cyberpunk twist.

Pretty much the only french comics known in the US are the SF comics and yet the only one to make the list is the one written by an american?!?

No Incal, no Metabarons, no Valerian, no Universal War One…

Now I see why the Eisner Award for foreign comics is called Best ***US*** Edition (of Dirty Foreign Stuff Here to Corrupt Our Youth, I suppose).

In France, comic awards usually aren’t segregated by origin.

There are some really good choices in this list, most notably the FNTASTIC but somehow forgotten (who knows why) “Filth” and the All-Tim-Classic “Long Tomorrow” that – like the author points out – “started it all”.

“Give me Liberty” I have not read and it is difficult to find (but not impossible, like “the Filth”).

“Freakangels” by Ellis is, in my opinion, average, and so is “Akira”. There is nothing special about them, except that Ellis is very famous and “Akira” has a cult following and lots of promotion.

When it comes to sci-fi (and Cyberpunk) I will agree with most commentators that far superior works not been included in this list:
– Metabarons
– Judge Dredd

Let me add two personal favourites, which I consider superior to the “Akira bubble”:
– the first & second volumes of the “Druuna” limited series by Serpieri (although the series gradually turned into pulp porn, the first issues were mind-blasting and included some of the best sci-fi twists ever) and
– “Ranxerox” by Tamburini & Liberatore (talk about politically-incorrect storytelling)

Leave a Comment


Browse the Robot 6 Archives