DC is having their “Essential Graphic Novels” sale and it’s always interesting to see what’s considered essential. There will always be a little disagreement on that (for instance, I’ll take Jeff Smith’s Shazam over Geoff Johns every day of the week and twice on Sunday), but let’s go through and look at what’s good and maybe one or two things that are unexpected.
Let us not forget DC still has the rights to The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and the first volume is on sale.
Superman: Red Son by Mark Millar, Dave Johnson and Killian Plunkett absolutely is an entertaining read and nice to see DC and Millar on good enough terms to see it highlighted again. It wasn’t for awhile.
I’m not sure I’d call Batman: Black Mirror *essential*, but it’s a solid book by Scott Snyder, Jock and Francesco Francavilla from that period where Dick Grayson was filling in as Batman.
Have you read Tom King’s Omega Men yet? It’s the real deal. Very dark and something you wanted to read as a tpb, not a monthly serial.
I will admit, I was surprised to see MAD About Trump: A Brilliant Look at Our Brainless President on the Essential list. I was also surprised Jake Tapper did the intro. Mad Magazine still revels in agitation.
Batwoman by Greg Rucka and J.H. Williams is another title I wasn’t expecting to see on the Essential list, but it really deserves to be.
I really can’t say enough about the Russell/Pugh re-imagining of The Flintstones as a pitch black social satire. Wonderful, wonderful work.
Superman: Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow is really “Superman by Alan Moore.” Ignore the solicitation copy. This has very little in common with The Killing Joke. You’ve got the homage/wrap up to the Silver Age Superman as the things wrapped up prior to John Byrne’s reboot. That title story is drawn by Curt Swan. You’ve got the more famous “For the Man Who Has Everything” story drawn by Dave Gibbons. And finally a DC Comics Presents team-up with Swamp Thing drawn by Rick Veitch. Nice little package if you haven’t read these selections.
And there are 90+ more books that are probably a little more what you were expecting from an “Essential” sale, so go ahead and browse on your own.
Todd Allen wears a lot of hats. At various times he’s been (alphabetically), a bouncer, college professor, humor columnist, Internet producer and an NBA/WNBA Beat Writer, among other things. He’s the author of Economics of Digital Comics. You should probably read it.