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Committed: 10 Great Science Fiction Comics

A few people have asked me to recommend great science fiction comic books. Here, in a slightly random order, is my list of great science fiction comic books.

This was actually written and ready to post a few weeks ago, but simultaneously, Sam Humphries happened to post his own list of science fiction comics on Robot 6, so I thought I’d give it a bit of breathing room. Since then I have read his comic book Our Love is Real and I can recommend it as a wonderful, classic-feeling science-fiction comic book. It has a great ’80’s science fiction movie feel, something close to Aeon Flux and Robocop.

Anyway, on with the list. It is rough and mixed, but I hope I’ve given options to cover a broad range of science-fiction / comic book tastes.

1. Top Ten
Nobody does it quite like Alan Moore and while his most zealous followers trace his every magic step, it is in the world of science fiction that he seems to play with the most light-hearted joy. Often described as a gritty cop show (in the vein of popular ’80’s tv series Hill Street Blues) with the addition of superpowers, this massively underplays the hilarity of the world of Top Ten. Everyone has superpowers and every trope of science fiction comic books is true in this reality. No one else could bring an ensemble piece like this alive, every character is rich and relatable in some way, through them we experience unique and enlightening angles on life. The humor and frivolity of this book belie an incredibly rich world which I still miss.

2. Heart of Empire
Predating steampunk fashion by decades, Bryan Talbot’s take on a technologically advanced British superpower is incredibly strange. The Adventures of Luther Arkwright set the scene, but it is in this full-color wild ride that things properly take off. It reminds me somewhat of the odd Neal Stephenson book The Diamond Age, where a different sort of technologically advanced Victorian era runs rampant. I love the combination of the utterly arrogant colonial British pomp with the brutalities of an industrial computer age. A rare instance of a science fiction comic book written and drawn by the same person, we’re very lucky to have this eccentric gem in the world, shaping dreams and altering reality.

3. Vimanarama
Uniting two of my favorite authors this is the story of the accidental release of a slew of Indian gods (good and bad) which live under a Bradford corner shop (that’s a convenience store in US speak.) Grant Morrison penned this ludicrously delightful tale while Philip Bond contributes the extremely funny art. While this could quite easily have been more in the fantasy camp, it is the nature and science of the gods which drives it firmly into the camp of science fiction. With nods towards Bollywood, the texture and joy of the action is palpable, even in the scenes of the evil gods bent on destruction as they rip limbs and tear apart London.

4. The Life and Times of Martha Washington
Martha Washington is such an incredible creation. Frank Miller and Dave Gibbons really outdid themselves when they created this bitter futuristic world, then did one better in Martha Washington. Watching the descent into grime, poverty and war through the eyes of this bright and wasted child, we then see her pull her life together to become the saviour we so desperately need. This massive tome collects all of the books about this character, beginning with the visionary Give Me Liberty, written over 20 years ago. Although a satirical vision of America’s political future, like so much of our best examples of science fiction, there are many moments of truth to be seen in our immediate ecological future. With shades of the much maligned (yet still impressive) movie Soylent Green, Martha must escape the constraints of a restrictive society to join the army to fight for the safety of the world.

5. V for Vendetta
This is the veteran of this list and the one which first which united my love of science fiction and comic books. As always, I am talking about the comic, not the movie adaptation, but since there is one of this, let me add that, for me, the movie missed some of the most pertinent points of the book. V for Vendetta is an incredibly relevant and exciting contribution to society and to the medium, but unfortunately the many small changes in the movie remove these. The constant observation of the populace, the depressingly heartless sexual mores, the politicians propagating repression and xenophobia who are firmly endorsed by the general populace… these are all forceful warnings in the comic book. Meanwhile, most importantly for the reader relating to the protagonists, we have no way of knowing if V is male or female and this is never clarified. Alan Moore and David Lloyd created this story and it still serves as both a stark warning against living in a climate of blame and hatred, and also as an example of elegantly simple clever comic book writing.

6. Heavy Liquid
Paul Pope’s drug dream of a book gradually becomes the story of our first contact with an entirely alien race on this hectic roller coaster ride through a hip future. With his fluid brush ink work Pope illustrates his own vision of a grimy future, complete with fashions, vehicles and entertainment fitting for such an environment. This is what I imagine a Philip K. Dick novel would be like if he’d also been a visual artist, one of his pre-Valis novels, more Stainless Steel Rat action and adventure with the seeds of his future psychedelic seeking. Pope is often lauded for the overtly cool attitude of his books and their sexy Jagger-esque heroes set in cities that look like Bladerunner goes to Tokyo, but for me it is his joy and delight in the very other-ness of the alien contact that makes me so happy about this book. Will worth looking past the veneer of coolness to the deep and meaty center.

7. Planetary
First of all this is a book with a really fun team of people to focus on, that makes things easier. I’m happy to read about their adventures, just as I am happy to read their back story. A combination of super fun, action-packed chapters, and one, overarching, deeply intriguing back story. Filled with a kind of monster movie mayhem, much of the story reminds me of those 1950’s films like The Incredible Shrinking Man. The thing that people forget about those old science fiction movies is that even though they had a very pulp feel, they often used the medium to get some very big concepts across. Like the movies, these comics ask some big questions, both of the protagonists and the readers, and it makes for a very satisfying read. On top of all that, you have Warren Ellis writing at his stomping best and John Cassaday drawing an increasingly elaborate, elegant world.

8. Y – The Last Man
If Planetary is ’50’s, then Y – The Last Man is more like a 1970’s horror/science fiction movie. I love things like Capricorn One and Planet of the Apes, so this sprawling story of the last man left alive on earth and the journey to create a future for the earth is wonderful. With plenty of references to space, science and role-playing, this book really utilizes every tool in both the science fiction and comic book medium. In the ’60’s, Thomas Disch wrote a book about the end of the world called The Genocides, which had a sort of depressing, “going out with a whimper” sort of feel. While Y – The Last Man could also be said to be a world ending book, it is always far from despondent, with so much action and adventure that you feel sure that we will find a way to go on. It is a very hopeful, loving book and while I didn’t always love the protagonist, I always had to ask myself how the hell I would comport myself if I were literally the last of my sex on this planet.

9. Desolation Jones
Does everyone loves seeing familiar territory used in science fiction? Maybe it is just me, but the idea of Los Angeles as a sort of prison for crazy, messed-up super beings is kind of hysterical. I know that Warren Ellis is probably one of the busiest writers and loves to plunge with the new ideas, but I’d love to see him write some more of this series. The damaged character of Jones himself is rather wonderful in that classic Ellis style (cranky old man with horrible powers that aren’t really useful), but it is his friends, enemies and counterparts which truly entertain. The defectively engineered populace of this dystopian LA aren’t all that different from the current ones, in that their surgical enhancements make them strange, it is just the extent of that strangeness which is so wonderful.

10. Doc Frankenstein
A world featuring violent airborne battles between Doc Frankenstein (as the hero of science and sanity)  and the church (vehemently fighting for the status quo.) Crazy and irreverent, this comic is filled with ridiculous humor and depravity. So far this hasn’t been published for a while, though the back issues are still available from the publisher online. I could certainly handle more of Doc Frankenstein and I hope that the Wachowski brothers and Steve Skroce find the time to make it happen one day.

A few more science-fiction comic books I love include Akira, Marshal Law, Transmetropolitan, Judge Dredd, Promethea, The Incal, Ghost in the Shell, Ronin, Technopriests, Hard Boiled, Mister X, American Flagg, Astroboy…  and I know there a ton more I am forgetting, but I’m sure you can fill in my blanks.

52 Comments

‘Fear Agent’ is a good example of a great current sci-fi comic and i’ve heard nothing but good things about ‘Infinite Vacation’ even though i haven’t picked it up yet. ‘The Red Wing’ is only one issue in but it was a strong opening.

Na these picks are all average at best.

Especially TOP TEN is really just a cop series. Instead of Humans it has talking dogs, robots and ghosts.
But I find cop dramas boring, and dropped it by issue 3 or so.

Y is just rubbish. Ludicrous plot(holes)

Sadly there hasn’t been any good sci fi since the EC classics. (I can think of, havent read Kirby’s fourth world yet)
So it’s best to stick to Weird Science.

Dragon’s Claws. buy the trade on Amazon!

it’s only 10 issues, plus their guest role in Death’s Head #1!

Earth. 8162. Not a nice place to live. Dragon’s Claws are about to change that!

TOP TEN is a cop series, it’s true. But it has shapeshifting aliens, god-murders, and drunken Godzillas. But I may be biased, because TOP TEN is one of my favorite comics ever.

It’s hard not to suspect that someone insulting TOP TEN or PLANETARY is just trolling. But I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt and just assume that you’re only wrong.

An article on great science fiction comics that doesn’t mention Weird Science and Weird Fantasy?

Ruh-ro!

I’m right there with mckraken. Personal preference, of course, but I don’t think anything compares to the short but fascinating and thought provoking stories that EC published. Having the stories rendered by artists like Wood, Williamson, and Frazetta didn’t hurt either (although I still prefer Feldstein).

Don’t like the first story in an issue? No problem, there’s three more in that issue alone.

Weird Science, Weird Fantasy (later combined into Weird Science-Fantasy, and then Incredible Science Fiction) are, of course, the titles to read, but some of the best EC science fiction stories were written and drawn for Shock SuspenStories which acted as an “EC sampler” of sorts.

Planetary and Transmetropolitan complement each other so well–one’s the optimistic sci-fi vision of the past, the other’s the pessimistic-as-balls sci-fi vision of the future. Both of them are phenomenal.

I agree that Y is really overrated. It began really well and ended really well but the pacing in the middle was butchered. It would have worked a lot better as a TV show.

Definitely at all not weighted toward “hard” sci-fi, but an interesting list. A good mix of comics I love (Planetary, Top 10, Y, V), ones I thought were fine but didn’t grab me (Vinarama, Martha Washington & Desolation Jones– I know I read the latter, but it was so like other Ellis projects that it all kinds of blends together), and a few I haven’t checked out yet (Doc Frankenstein, Heavy Liquid, Heart of Empire).

Two of my favorites are 2001 Nights by Yukinobu Hoshino and Tyrant by Steve Bissette. He never came anywhere near finishing it (4 issues out of his proposed 100 in the life of a tyrannosaurus Rex), but what he completed was amazing. Real science fiction, not just science fantasy (there’s a difference. :) )

And yeah, where’s the love for Weird Science/Weird Fantasy/Incredible Science Fiction?

Planetary:
I haven’t read a more superficial scifi comic yet.

PULP HEROES FROM ALTERNATE WORLD ENTER THE SCENE!
FIGHTING WITH ONE-LINERS!
SPLASH PAGE!
Repeat with Godzilla, Ghosts, Batmen etc…

I have to, respectfully, disagree that “it is in [Heart of Empire] that things properly take off.” I read Heart of Empire and see a rather light spin-off of “Adventures of Luther Arkwright.” It’s still a fine work, but that’s a measure of how extraordinary the original series was.

Heart of Empire features more polished illustration, and of course color, but I imagine that even Talbot regards it as something of an exercise in spectacular frivolity. Most of the story seems to be dedicated to winking at the reader in one way or another.

“Luther Arkwright,” but contrast, is a monumental accomplishment. It particularly overshadows the follow-up from the perspective of science fiction, IMO; SF plays a much larger role in the story than in Heart of Empire, where it’s mainly present only in the premise of what’s otherwise a flourishy fantasy story.

I really do appreciate this post, though. It’s a good change of pace, and lists like this, if well done, really should spark intelligent discussion and debate after all.

Hey Sonia! Great minds think alike I guess. Excellent list! Thanks for the kind words on OLIR.

Calling Planetary superficial seems a little off base to me. The theme of the book seems to be digging beneath the epidermis of pulp/sci-fi/superheroes and exposing the unpretty, stringy gristle.
And if you’re not moved by the Mystery in Space/Rendezvous story from issues 19 & 20, i feel sorry for you. “They wanted to tell us they love us. And to thank us.” It breaks my heart every time i read it.

No, I gave up around issue #6. (on Ellis as well)

Also hated the always ‘supercool and badass’ walking themes. “The drummer” runs around with drum sticks? Please…..give me a break.

I gotta disagree with Wraith and agree with Sonia about Heart of Empire being better than The Adventures of Luther Arkwright. Sure, TAoLA is more groundbreaking and has plenty of awesome and interesting things going on in it, but it’s also often too pompous and self-important. HoE, on the other hand, manages to be a light-hearted and gripping adventure while at the same having some serious things to say (for example, the titular “Heart of Empire” is brilliant metaphor for imperialism). Also, the main character of HoE is more sympathetic than Luther, who was too much of a Messiah cipher for me to relate to. And between TAoLA and HoE Talbot became a much better artist: the former already has some innovative compositions, but the character work can be kinda stiff, whereas in HoE Talbot’s line is much more fluid and his visions of alternate universe Britain are breathtaking, especially with the lovely bright colours. Also, I kinda hated that for such a visually experimental work TAoLA nevertheless narrated its climax in huge caption boxes… ToE, on the other hand, is much more confident in its visual storytelling.

I’ll take Halo Jones over Top Ten any day, although I wouldn’t have objected to a list with both.

Also,I’d want Grendel (from God and the Devil through War Child) on any list like this, too.

I just love the focus on sci-fi comics. I find the genre not too prevalent in comics, and my interest in sci-fi was the reason I enjoyed the recent Nova series from Marvel. While I recognize that this series was not great literature, I’d love to see a lot more sci-fi series done…. (Legion of Superheroes as sci-fi—-somehow that one doesn’t work for me as well…. now, Killraven did, though…)

I didn’t like Top Ten at first, but it won me over with the issue at the bar with the Nordic Gods. It was so funny.

A sci fi comic I liked a lot was Pax Romana. It reminded me of the sci fi classic “Foundation” by Asimov.

To everyone bitching about the non-mention of WEIRD SCIENCE, WEIRD FANTASY, etc. from the 1950s and 1960s:

Yes, it’s classic stuff. But why should Sonia mention a comics series that in all likelihood she’s never read?

I’m 39 and I’ve never read any of that stuff. Not because I don’t want to, but because it’s out of my price range. I don’t have $80 to $200 to blow per book on EC Archive reprint editions (which seems to be the going rate, even online for used editions). And the original issues are completely out of the question. I wouldn’t necessarily expect Sonia to have that kind of capital either, and even if she did, why would I think she’d spend it on that stuff, specifically?

Answer is, I wouldn’t. And neither should any of you. Maybe you all were lucky enough to have older siblings / parents who collected that stuff, or you’re all rich enough to blow that kind of cash on the hobby. But most people aren’t so priviledged. Classic? Sure. But shareable with today’s audiences? Not so much.

So get over it that she didn’t make mention of them. Sheesh.

************************

As for “Great Science Fiction Comics” worthy of mention:

ALIEN WORLDS (anthology series) Published by Pacific Comics and Eclipse Comics in the 1980s. For the wankers whining about “no good SF like Weird Science”, this was the series that invoked that type of content, albeit more modernized and ‘mature’. Still, you aren’t going wrong with the likes of John Bolton, Tim Truman, Dave Stevens, Al Williamson, William Stout, Ken Steacy, and various other high quality talent.

ALIEN ENCOUNTERS (anthology series) Published by Eclipse Comics in the 1980s. I’m not sure of the history of AE vs. AW, but I believe AE followed after. Sort of a continuence, but more variety of writers (AW was often Bruce Jones stories with varied artists) and addition of artists like Dave Dorman, Larry Elmore, Tim Conrad, Richard Corben, and (IIRC) Bernie Wrightson.

I look at these two series as sort of WEIRD SCIENCE / WEIRD FANTASY meets HEAVY METAL. They were at times a bit too high strung on the sexuality (though it’s not like they weren’t giving you the “adults only” tag on the cover), but overall they did invoke the EC flavor of comic.

WANDERING STAR by Teri Sue Wood (now known as Teresea “Resa” Challender). 21 issues. Originally self published in the late 1990s, picked up later by Sirius Publishing in 3 trade collections, currently available online as a webcomic reprint. ( http://www.resafantasyarts.com/wanderingstar1.html for the first 6 issues )

TEMPUS FUGITIVE by Ken Steacy (1990 by DC comics, later collected by Dark Horse) http://www.amazon.com/Tempus-Fugitive-Ken-Steacy/dp/1569712115 for details

NATHAN NEVER, an Italian SF-Noir series published by Bonelli Comics that Dark Horse has collected some of. I’ve only read the Dark Horse stuff, but I’ve often wished somebody in the States would translate the entire run. It may not be the most ‘original’ SF (there’s a lot of homaging to Blade Runner, Asimov’s fiction, and countless other sources), but it’s still got it’s own flair.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nathan_Never – for more info.

HECTIC PLANET by Evan Dorkin. (Originally titled PIRATE CORP$!) originally from Eternity, later from Slave Labor Graphics and some minor appearances via Dark Horse Presents.

http://www.houseoffun.com/hectic/ – brief info.

WAR OF THE WORLDS: HAVEN & THE HELLWEED by Randy Zimmerman & Horus Odenthal (Caliber Press, later Arrow Books collected) and WOTW: THE MEMPHIS FRONT by Randy Zimmerman, Richard Gulick & Tim Dzon (Arrow Comics). Published between 1996-1999 – Vastly underrated and not remotely supported by the market, these series were an original expansion from the H.G. Wells’ novel taking place in the late 1990s. The Memphis Front never got completed, unforutnately.

TAILGUNNER JO by Peter Gillis and Tomasina Artis (1988, DC)

http://www.ikemi.info/tailgunner_jo.html – I’ll let the guy who has the Shrine to it explain why.

CAMELOT 3000 by Mike Barr & Brian Bolland. (1982-85, DC)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Camelot_3000 for details

That’s nine. Enough for you to go hunt down and try, if you haven’t already and have any interest.

Louis: Surely you’re not suggesting that Sonia isn’t responsible for encompassing everyone else’s tastes. This is an outrage!

And yeah, I loved Hectic Planet and Camelot 3000 too. Others’ mileage may vary, and thus must be altered to conform with mine.

For Paul Pope sci-fi nothing beats THB!

I’m 39 and I’ve never read any of that stuff. Not because I don’t want to, but because it’s out of my price range. I don’t have $80 to $200 to blow per book on EC Archive reprint editions (which seems to be the going rate, even online for used editions). And the original issues are completely out of the question. I wouldn’t necessarily expect Sonia to have that kind of capital either, and even if she did, why would I think she’d spend it on that stuff, specifically?

Answer is, I wouldn’t. And neither should any of you. Maybe you all were lucky enough to have older siblings / parents who collected that stuff, or you’re all rich enough to blow that kind of cash on the hobby. But most people aren’t so priviledged. Classic? Sure. But shareable with today’s audiences? Not so much.

East Coast Comics reprinted 12 EC issues in the ’70s, Gladstone published EC Classics oversized reprints in the 80s, double sized reprints in the early 90s, and Gemstone reprinted EVERY issue of EC’s New Trend and New Direction titles in the 90s. No one has to plunk down for the Archives hardcovers. Back issues of the Gemstone reprints run anywhere from a dollar to five dollars. I am not someone with a lot of disposable income, but I managed to collect every Gemstone reprint over the course of two years.

Sorry, but the EC titles are quite accesible.

Great list. I’m still a little surprised that nobody’s mentioned ‘Global Frequency’ yet.
Glad to see ‘Heavy Liquid’ in there.

I am an SF fan from way back who got into comics in the early 90s. I’m wondering why Planetary and Top 10 are in this list. Just being in an alternate reality doesn’t count or just using SF tropes doesn’t work either. Here are my objections. I can’t speak to the others because I haven’t read ‘em.

Top 10 – The gods show up in one comic book without much of a rationale, which makes it fantastic and nudges it closer into superhero land.

Planetary – It uses a lot of great SF ideas (the Snowflake and that lonely starship) but again there’s some problems. Mainstream SF discarded the metahuman idea back in the 60s, with Zelazny’s Lord of Light perhaps being its apotheosis. Being a Marvel-style “mutant” in SF is old school unless you can justify it with some decent scientific speculation.

While we are at it, does anyone remember the Helix (DC Comics) books that were written by SF authors (not just Michael Moorcock). I’m talking Lucius Shepard’s Vermillion and Rachael Pollack’s Time Breakers? While I was searching for authors on Google, I noticed that David Brin was supposedly writing for Wildstorm at one point….

I would also make a mention of the ALIENS series from Dark Horse. While yes, it’s a take-off on a movie concept, it went far beyond in range and imagination than the original movie. Check it out in omnibus form.

Also: Moebius’ AIRTIGHT GARAGE. Moebius use of worlds-within-worlds and fantasy is always mind-blowing to me.

This is a very interesting list.

I am particularly interested in “heart of empire” – which I have never heard of.

As a modst Aussie science fiction writer: http://www.goldenvisionsmagazine.biz/AlienHunter.html
I have written also written aboot a British superpower – soon to be podcast on a US site – but I think this will be something quite different from my own writings.

Cheers

Strikeforce: Morituri & Alien Legion are both better than any of those listed.

Hey Louis, you can pick up Gemstone’s big fat Weird Science and Weird Fantasy *Annuals* for less than ten dollars. Each contains quality reprints of five or six entire comics. My local comic shop has nearly every Gemstone Annual in stock — containing nearly every single EC comic — all for less than ten bucks each.

Each volume is thrilling to behold. Chock full of awesomeness by Feldstein, Wood, and the other EC greats. It’s the best buy in comics!

I’ve been really enjoying Hisae Iwaoka’s Saturn Apartments. It’s a bit of lo-fi sci-fi, more interested in pursuing its characters and their interactions than in its unique milieu. It’s published through Viz’s IKKI imprint and you can check out chapter samples on their website: http://www.sigikki.com/series/saturnapartments/index.shtml

I’m not an ardent fan of the genre (and so, haven’t read many of those listed above besides Y, which I enjoyed), but here are another couple I enjoyed:

Akira – Sprawling, post-apocalyptic fun.

Twin Spica – Set in the near future and follows teenagers training to become astronauts in Japan’s refurbished space program. A tear jerker.

Incal – I remember liking as a kid, though that was over twenty years ago and I can’t really vouch for it so much now (not being able to remember any specifics).

Oh yeah, had forgotten about Camelot 3K. Awesome (at least, I remember it that way, though it was long ago!)

Love Heart of Empire, and got the additional CD with digital images of AoLE, HoE pencils & inks (I think) and annotations.

And I was reminded of –

Concrete, by Paul Chadwick.

Jim Cox, I was just about to list Concrete. It’s one of my favorite comics.

Heart of Empire is better-told but Luther Arkwright, while sprawling, is bolder. I can only imagine how mind-blowing it was in the late ’70s.

Speaking of mind-bowing, Casanova counts as science-fiction, right? Or at least science-fantasy? It’s my favorite comic of the last five years, dense with ideas and cool moments without sacrificing theme or character.

I just ordered Top Ten and Vimanarama based this list, so if I don’t enjoy them, it’s on your head Ms Sonia Harris.
Actually, I’ve read and enjoyed most of the rest of this minus the Frankenstein comic, so I’m fairly confident I’ll like them. Plus, I like Morrison and Moore, so there’s that insurance too.

How about Carla Speed McNeil’s ‘Finder’ series? That’s much bigger in scope and ambition than a lot of what has made the list, in my opinion.

This talk about the conspicuous-by-it’s-absence of EC comics SF titles got me
thinking about Ray Bradbury and the story between him and EC. Of course he
is better known for his SF done in prose form.

And this got me thinking about what other SF (prose) authors got to write
comics.

One I can think of is Larry Niven introducing Ganthet– along with a
Pierson’s Puppeteer wielding a ring(!) and a neat little trick about
red-shifting a beam from a green power ring.

Well, obviously Alfred Bester, Edmond Hamilton and David Vern Reed, right?

I presume you mean guys who weren’t full-time comic book writers like those three, right?

The only SF writer I know who wrote for comics before he became known for his fiction is Alfred Bester (best known for his books The Demolished Man and The Stars My Destination). He wrote for Superman and Green Lantern among others.

Many Internet sources, including the Wikipedia entry, say “it is widely attributed that” he wrote the Green Lantern Oath (or words to that effect) though Bester denied it. Now there’s a good item for Comic Legends Revealed!

Rob

Many Internet sources, including the Wikipedia entry, say “it is widely attributed that” he wrote the Green Lantern Oath (or words to that effect) though Bester denied it. Now there’s a good item for Comic Legends Revealed!

It definitely would be. If only someone could find the quote where he supposedly denied it. I’ve never seen it and I’ve definitely looked for it a lot!

Brian,

Everybody who mentions Bester’s denial cites an interview with F. Gwynplaine MacIntyre from the 1979 Worldcon but no one has the actual interview. I tried a closer search on the 1979 Worldcon and Bester but I didn’t get much. Unfortunately, MacIntyre passed on in 2010 so there may be nowhere left to search.

If anyone could shed some light on this, I’d bet on David Langford of the long-running SF fanzine Ansible.

Rob

“I presume you mean guys who weren’t full-time comic book writers like those three, right?”

Certainly Alfred Bester, and I’ll need to learn about the other two..

Certainly Alfred Bester, and I’ll need to learn about the other two..

Hamilton’s prose work was more notable than Reed’s (and his comics career was, as well), so I’d recommend you start with him, if you’re looking into them.

You could have made a respectable list just from Warren Ellis alone: Transmetropolitan, Doktor Sleepless, Global Frequency, etc.

Would Rick Veitch’s The One count as sci-fi? I loved that book.
Also his Abraxas and the Earthman was wonderfully weird.

Oh yeah, and if post-apocalypse counts as sci-fi, I’m not sure there’s much better than Miyazaki’s own comic, Nausicaä of the Valley of Wind. Just an incredible piece of comics fiction.

I’ve read enough EC Comics Science Fiction and I’d still rank Planetary and Top Ten above pretty much anything from the era.
It’s just a hodgepodge of primitive comicbook artistry and storytelling technique along with some inovating work by pioneers perfecting the artform.
A few hidden gems among mostly naive stories with some horribly outdated dialogue.
Like it or not today’s output is usually better in most areas.
This whole reverential attittude by a few really vocal nostalgic snobs who treat this stuff , not just EC Comics but usually also Golden Age/Silver Age Superheroics, as above-any-critisism high-art is starting to get annoying.

The Metabarons. Mobius and Jodorowsky. Awesome.

That’s Moebius. Sorry for the typo. I liked The Technopriests and the Incal too. Loved Warren Ellis’ Global Frequency and Shaolin Cowboy (would that be SF?)

Rip in Time by Corben and Strnad
Silent Invasion (Renegade)
Borderland (Don Simpson)
V or Vendetta (Moore & Lloyd)
Reteif
Worlds of Wonder
Slow Death
Alien Worlds
Zenosoic Tales (Dinosaurs & Cadillacs)

I tend to agree that comics like Top 10 and Green Lantern aren’t really Science Fiction comics. Science Fiction has a well established tradition of dealing with issues of the impact of technology on civilization.

Anyway, I’m going to revise and elaborate my earlier list which I think you can see is more firmly rooted in science fiction tradition:

1) Xenozoic Tales by Mark Schultz. Exquisitely and meticulously drawn in a style clearly inspired by the 1950s EC SF great Wally Wood, is about a post-apocalyptic world struggling to decide whether technology is their downfall or their survival.

2) Alien Worlds by Bruce Jones is a wonderful anthology series also clearly inspired in format and plot twists by the 1950’s EC Science Fiction anthology books like Science Fantasy. Breathtaking art by the likes of Richard Corben, Bernie Wrightson, Dave Stevens and John Bolton. Companion to the Jones’ horror anthology Twisted Tales, but focused on space travel and other science fiction themes. Succeeded by Eclipse’s Alien Encounters and Tales of Terror which were not quite as good, but had their share of high points.

3) V for Vendetta by Alan Moore and David Lloyd. While it is true this masterfully crafted series does not contain a lot of futuristic technology, it is firmly in the tradition of George Orwell’s 1984. It uses a stark futuristic setting to make political comments about modern society.

4) Rip in Time by Jan Strnad and Richard Corben. Although Corben is one of the best modern science fiction artists, he rarely has a script to work from that is so firmly planted in SF themes. This is a fun little time-travel paradox romp a long the lines of The Most Dangerous Game, where two couples accidentally stumble on a government secret time travel project and get stuck in the dinosaur age. The next best Corben SF story would be the adaptation of the movie A Boy and His Dog by Harlan Ellison.

5) Borderworlds by Donald Simpson. This is really hard-core science fiction of a kind you rarely see in comics. Even the panel layouts are unusually innovative and completely break with superhero tradition. Story involves a woman who leaves earth to join her brother to run a space trucking company at a distant solar system out of a city on a space station whose orbit is crumbling. While this is really beautiful and innovative work, unfortunately it is unfinished.

6) Silent Invasion by Michael Cherkas and Larry Hancock is a completely ignored masterpiece dripping with paranoia clearly inspired by great 1950s SF movies like Invasion of the Body Snatchers. The art also has a strong European bent very unlike most American comics. The story is a delightfully complicated conspiracy plot, but it never seems to be clear whether aliens, communists or paranoia is behind it all.

7) Keith Laumer’s Retief adapted by Dennis Fujitake and Jan Strnad is a series firmly rooted to one of the great SF writers of the Isaac Asimov/Ray Bradbury era. These are tales of a terrestrial diplomat working in an incompetent bureaucracy on distant planets with strange life forms. The stories and art are a definite fun read. A later successor series lacked the artistry of this first adaptation.

8) Death Rattle & Slow Death are two underground anthology series that mixed horror and science fiction themes, often in the same story. In particular there are some pretty awesome SF stories by Richard Corben and Rand Holmes. These are also inspired by the EC SF anthologies of the 1950s, but have the much greater creative freedom of the undergrounds.

9) The World Below by Paul Chadwick is a fun-loving romp through weird lands at the center of the earth filled with strange creatures straight out of Basil Wolverton’s science fiction stories of the 1950s. Reprints of Wolverton’s fantastical SF stories by Dark Horse and Eclipse are well worth hunting down.

10) Ocean by Warren Ellis and Chris Sprouse is a straight-forward, but nonetheless entirely satisfying SF tale about a weapons inspector traveling to a distant outpost by the moons of Jupiter to stop a terrible weapon from being release. It has a bit of a flavor of a movie like 2001.

Honorable mention should go to Doomsday +1 by John Bryne, a post-apocalyptical world survived by 3 astronauts who were in orbit when nuclear war broke out.
Another good post-apocalyptic world inspired by Barberella by Donne Avenell, and Spanish artist Enrique Romero.

I also rather liked Dark Minds, a series created by Pat Lee in the Japanese manga style about a police detective and his android partner’s investigation of a serial killer done in a style reminiscent of Blade Runner.

Lastly, Demon with a Glass Hand by Harlan Ellison and Marshall Rogers is classy graphic novel adaptation of an Outer Limits adventure.

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