O Say Can You See: The Greatest Patriotic Super Heroes of All-Time
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.
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.
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.