6. Midnight Nation
"When this first came out, I picked it up because I had heard of J. Michael Straczynski, and I found out this guy that writes Babylon 5 is writing a comic book, so I'll give it a shot. To me it's one of the best standalone stories, non-superhero, non-super-heroic, in comic books, and when I tell people, when I talk to my friends, and they're like 'You're a comic book guy, aren't comic books for kids?', that sort of thing, I've picked this up, I've given this to a couple of different people, and I've said "Give this a shot!" This, to me, was adult graphic novel fiction at its finest. It's one of the reasons why if he's writing something, I'll pick it up and give it a shot. And Gary Frank is one of my favorite artists, and whenever he's drawing something, I'll usually pick that up and it's something that's worked for me."
7. New Teen Titans
"Most of the series - and this is coming out at the same time as the X-Men, the Claremont and Byrne stuff - to me it sort of has that same feel, of these young super heroes dealing with their powers, dealing with becoming a team and having these interpersonal relationships. Deathstroke was one of my favorite DC characters at the time - I liked how this guy was such a planner, and the fact that he would get this girl to infiltrate the Teen Titans - that whole storyline for me was great, and how it affected Beast Boy and the ramifications of that, and then having the character die at the end - it just adds a lot of gravity to the characters of the Teens."
8. Camelot 3000
"It was one of the first miniseries that wasn't straight-up super heroes. I picked it up in the middle of its run, and I was lucky enough to go back to the comic shop and find issues and read it from the beginning, and it was one of those standalone stories that stood out for me, where I could see what comics could be. I wasn't even grown up at the time, I was still a teenager, but reading this story, I thought this was a higher art. It wasn't just cartoony, bang-pow stuff. It played off of history, and had all these genre crossing things, like sword and sorcery, and aliens, and that sort of thing, and it was the first time that I'd ever seen Brian Bolland's work, who's an outstanding artist, and doesn't do enough stuff. I get a chance to reread it every once in a while, and I still enjoy it - it stands up."
9. Penance Relentless
"I sort of correlate the Civil War and how it started with 9/11, and basically what happened was, Speedball and the New Warriors were trying to capture these Civil War villains, and they were doing it while they were filming a reality TV show, and because they went in unprepared, Nitro, the main villain, blew up and killed a grade school, and killed 600 grade-school kids, and so that's how the whole Civil War story line started.
Speedball was the character that was blamed for the entire thing, and Penance was the character that he became, because of all this and because of all the guilt that he felt from all these kids dying, because of his irresponsibility and actions, he became this kind of self-loathing character. The mini-series is sort of how he went from sort of blaming himself and how he got through that dark period and went back to his old ways. It was written by Paul Jenkins and drawn by Paul Gulacy.
What I thought was really cool was that this character was not a Spider-Man wannabe, but sort of that happy-go-lucky, the guy that would quip as he was fighting, and you take this instance in his life where he has to grow up, because it's not games anymore, it's not fun and games. There's actual consequences and repercussions to the mistakes that you've made, and that to me was one of the best things out of the Civil War, was taking this character that was fun and games, and making him realize that this could be life or death, and this particular mini-series that they did, it talked about how went through a period of time where he was hating himself and blaming himself, and then how he went and found Nitro and made him pay for his part in this whole thing, and at the end of it he sort of comes out of it, and after this mini-series happened, went back to the Speedball persona, and went into more of a team situation at the academy.
I didn't pick it up as the issues were put out; I picked it up as a trade paperback. It was one of those things where I wasn't expecting anything from it, I just happened to pick it up at a sale, I got it cheaper than cover price, and I thought 'This will be good to read.' I was lucky that it was one of the things that I enjoyed so much that I picked it as one of my favorites. I thought it was great. This guy, Paul Gulacy, has been drawing since I was a teenager, and now this was maybe 3 or 4 years ago - still great art, iconic art, and it was a great character."
"When I heard the concept of this, I had to give it a shot. Someone had told me about it; what happens is that if Superman sort of went crazy, that's the concept. It was one of those where I picked up the trade paperback, and was astounded. In this day and age, fans want to see a much more realistic take on their comic books, and their comic book characters, and this to me was a very realistic take. Sort of like a crazy 'What If/Elseworlds' style, and what would happen if someone with all that power went nuts and off the rails. It was a great evolution from the beginning, where he's already gone crazy, and the story is telling it in flashbacks of what happened, why it happened, the ramifications with these supporting characters, and these villains that were villains until he went crazy are the heroes that end up having to save the day, or to save the world from this Superman-style hero's chaos. That was a great concept and it kept me engaged from the beginning until the end."