Major Spoilers Staff Picks: THE APOCALYPSE EDITION

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With the end of the world upon us, those that have prepared for the apocalypse will surely be in need of something to read going into (and through) the end of the world.  The Major Spoilers crew sat down and came up with their favorite trades they would want to read after the fall occurs.

Tom Angelo

01scroogeThe Life And Times Of Scrooge McDuck

Story and Art: Don Rosa
Publisher: Gemstone Publishing
The adventures of Scrooge McDuck encapsulate so much more than most people became familiar with on “DuckTales.”  In this volume, Rosa successfully weaves historical events into the biography of the world’s richest duck.  This volume spans both decades and the globe, with Scrooge’s adventures taking him to Australia, Scotland, South Africa, and more before venturing into America where he finds his success and fortune.  Annotated by Rosa, this book will provide countless hours of adventure and excitement, which I’ll need while I’m locked inside my apocalypse bunker.

02goonThe Goon, Fancy Pants Edition

Story and Art: Eric Powell
Publisher: Dark Horse
The Goon remains one of the comic book world’s best-kept secrets.  This hardcover contains stories personally selected by creator Eric Powell to give a complete history of the Goon, and contains a ton of bonus materials including a sketchbook, a story exclusive to this book, and an autograph from Powell.  Full of heartache, humor, and horror, this book is the best and most complete way to understand the Goon in one sitting.  However, its become incredibly scarce and thus costs a pretty penny.  Make sure you have a box of bullets or snack cakes to trade, and you’ll have no problem scoring this book when the world is in ashes.

George Chimples

03filthThe Filth

Writer: Grant Morrison
Penciller: Chris Weston
Inker: Gary Erskine
Publisher: Vertigo
The Filth is, in my mind, Grant Morrison’s greatest work, putting it squarely in the upper echelon of the comic canon. It is also fairly overlooked, although I can understand why. With subject matter that is incredibly disturbing and at times pornographic, it provides an unflinching (albeit almost entirely hallucinatory) look at man’s heart of darkness. It is reflexive in that very Morrisonian of ways, threading a needle through the nature of storytelling and identity. It also has a pot-smoking chimpanzee cosmonaut assassin, ill-tempered Nazi dolphins, and the Nixonsphere. It is unquestionably the trade I have reread the most. It also comes with some of the best trade packaging I’ve ever seen – the warning labels alone are more entertaining than most comics.  The Filth is not for everyone, but it will entertain the willing, reward the daring, and provide much needed truth during confusing times.

04kingdomcomeAbsolute Kingdom Come

Writers: Mark Waid, Alex Ross
Artist: Alex Ross
Letterer: Todd Klein
Publisher: DC Comics
I’m a Marvel guy by choice, but for self-contained, epic stories, DC seems to win me over time after time. I had a hard time choosing between this or The New Frontier. Both are fantastic reimaginings of iconic heroes that manage to encapsulate everything that is great and important about superhero comics. But Kingdom Come gets the edge – Mark Waid and Alex Ross have never been better. Ross’s paintings in particular are achingly gorgeous and I don’t know if there is a more heart-stopping moment in comicdom than the reveal of Captain Marvel. . It also single-handedly refutes any argument that Superman is a crap hero – when he’s written right, there is simply no substitute for the Man of Steel. Kingdom Come is an apocalyptic story that at its core is about the importance of human decency and goodness, things all too often taken for granted

Brandon Dingess

05camelotCamelot 3000, Deluxe Edition

Writer: Mike W. Barr
Pencils: Brian Bolland
Colors: Tatjana Wood
Publisher: DC Comics
In the year 3000 aliens have overrun the earth killing and/or enslaving its human population. It is now, when England needs him most, that Arthur, son of Uther Pendragon, returns resurrected with his reincarnated Knights of the Round to battle this extraterrestrial threat. “Camelot 3000” isn’t the best-written book, but it’s an entertaining tapestry that weaves together science and sorcery in a post-apocalyptic milieu. It began in 1982 as DC’s first maxi-series, so you have to take it as a product of its time because, well, some parts of it don’t hold up as well as others.

06transmetTransmetropolitan, Vol. 1: Back on the Street
Writer: Warren Ellis
Artist: Darick Robertson
Publisher: Vertigo
I was introduced to this book while I was in college studying journalism and it resonated despite me not being a paranoid, drug-addled sociopath. Back in highschool I was a huge fan of Hunter S. Thompson and this book is essentially his adventures in decadent, degraded future, so that was one more reason to read it. Don’t expect to learn anything about real reporting or anything, but Spider Jerusalem is an entertaining hyperbole of a caricature of a cynical, working journalist.

Jimmy Dunn

04kingdomcomeAbsolute Kingdom Come
Writer: Mark Waid
Artist: Alex Ross
Publisher: DC Comics
Not only is this one of the best written superhero deconstructions of all time, it ties into the apocalypse theme! While I can understand Matthew’s problem with Alex Ross’s stunt-casting on art, I am too young (and too bad at recognizing faces) to catch who each character is supposed to be–and as a result I’m free to just absorb the incredible painted beauty of the Alex Ross art. This is one of my favorite graphic novels of all time, and one that was very influential in my early comic book days.

08invincibleInvincible: Compendium 1
Writer: Robert Kirkman
Artists: Cory Walker and Ryan Ottley
Publisher: Image Comics
This tome has the first 50 or so issues of Invincible, the best superhero comic in the universe. If you’ve never read Invincible you’ve been missing out, and if you need something to read in the apocalypse this will at least keep you busy for a while. Plus, due to its girth, it could easily be used as a weapon if the apocalypse takes on a zombie theme or as a stepping stool to help loot the higher shelves at the grocery store!

Rodrigo Lopez

09tribalAge of Reptiles: Tribal Warfare

Writer: Ricardo Delgado
Artist: Ricardo Delgado
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
After society collapses this book will be incredibly useful for two reasons. One, it has no words, so even irradiated mutants should be able to read it and enjoy it. Two it will give me a leg up on all the sauropod-like monstrosities that rise from the sea.

10daredevilDaredevil by Frank Miller & Klaus Janson Omnibus

Writer: Frank Miller, Klaus Janson
Artist: Frank Miller
Publisher: Marvel Comics
After society collapses this book will be incredibly useful for two reasons. One, it contains several interlocking, complete story lines providing hours of entertainment. Two, it’s incredibly heavy so in a pinch I can always use it as a way to knock out post-apocalyptic squid zombies.

Danielle Lualulu

11sandmanSandman Vol. 9: The Kindly Ones (New Edition) (Sandman New Editions)

Writer: Neil Gaiman
Artist: Marc Hempel, et al.
Publisher: Vertigo
Out of all the story-arcs in the entire Sandman epic, the Kindly Ones really conveys the kind of master storyteller Neil Gaiman really is. The Kindly Ones do what they do best and kindly lay waste to anything that stands between them and Morpheus, King of Dreams. Reassembling his cast of thousands for this epic event, something new can be found each and every time this volume is read. Plus, there’s that whole ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ aspect to it… might be nice to have during the Apocalypse…

12CRISIS-ON-INFINITE-EARTHS-TPCrisis on Infinite Earths (Absolute Edition)
Writer: Marv Wolfman
Penciller: George Pérez
Publisher: DC Comics
What better book to take to the end of the world than THE book about the end of the world? Not just ‘the world’ but ALL worlds?! One of the most defining story arcs for the DC Universe, it pulled no punches and spared no one, may Flash and Supergirl RIP. Every DC fan, and indeed every comic book fan, should read this book at some point. What better point would that be than during the end of the world?

Kevin Mak

12planetaryAbsolute Planetary Book One

Writer:Warren Ellis
Artist:John Cassaday
Publisher: Wildstorm/DC Comics
At first, I was going to pick Kingdom Come or Watchmen but after going through an apocalypse, I don’t think I would want to read a book about one. Planetary is a homage comic to every pop culture reference in the last century. The main character, Elijah Snow, is one of the most entertaining anti-heroes ever written. Warren Ellis writes a great interweaving story, while John Cassaday art is amazingly epic. I would bring this book with me because every reread I find a new reference.

14amerianbornchineseAmerican Born Chinese

Writer:Gene Luen Yang
Artist:Gene Luen Yang
Publisher: First Second Publishing
Rarely are there books about Asian Americans, much less comics. American Born Chinese combines Chinese mythology with a coming-of-age story. I love the characters, the social commentary and the struggles of the protagonist. It’s a read I must have after the apocalypse to remind me of who I am and where I come from.

 

Matthew Peterson

TOZV1Essential Tales of The Zombie

Writer: Roy Thomas, John Buscema, Steve Gerber, Doug Moench, Tony Isabella, Chris Claremont
Artists:John Buscema, Tom Palmer, Pablo Marcos
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Even though I didn’t start reading comics until the very end of the decade, the 1970s tend to be my favorite time for comics.  Experimental storytelling, amazing expansions of the art, and just plain old weird divergences are the norm, especially at Marvel Comics.  This series focuses ostensibly on Simon Garth, a man raised as a zombie out of spite, but is really about the people around him and the things that they project onto him.  Throughout the book you get amazing black-and-white art, drama, tons of interesting characters, and even a little bit of faux-nudity.  (Marvel edited most of  the actual naughty bits out of this one, unfortunately.)  With work by the writers who made 70s Marvel really sing, this one is a must-have, and doesn’t feature a single cape or tights, just a man slowly coming to terms with what a terrible person he has become and trying to redeem his sad and mendacious life.

LSHV2Showcase Presents: The Legion of Super-Heroes Vol. 2

Writer: Otto Binder, Edmond Hamilton, Jerry Siegel, Jim Shooter
Artist: John Forte, Curt Swan, Jim Mooney, et al.
Publisher: DC Comics
Yes, it’s the Legion, and if you know me, you probably knew it was coming.  But this is the Legion of Super-Heroes at its absurd Silver Age best, fighting with Computo, coming to terms with Starfinger, The Khunds, and debuting the writing of a young Philadelphia lad named Jim Shooter of whom you might have heard.  It’s silly, it’s beautiful, and some of these stories are nearly perfect, but it’s diverse enough and has a huge enough cast that I don’t think I can ever get bored with these stories, and the art is crisp, clean and classic throughout.  Plus: MATTER-EATER LAD!

Rob Rasmussen

15walkingdeadThe Walking Dead: Compendium One

Writer: Robert Kirkman
Artists: Charlie Adlard, Cliff Rathburn, Tony Moore
Publisher: Image Comics
Part of this is just the sheer irony of having a book about post-apocalyptic survival while surviving in a post-apocalyptic world. Another part is the sheer size of the thing, it’s big enough to be a friggin’ weapon. But for what really matters here, I enjoy the series and could handle reading it a few dozen more times. It is a good serious tone that is potentially relevant in the world I will be in.

16bone_jeff_smithBone: The Complete Cartoon Epic in One Volume

Creator: Jeff Smith
Publisher: Cartoon Books
For those that don’t know, I absolutely love this series. I finished the full 1332 pages in just under a week the first time I went through and tend to read any given chapter in one sitting with no problems. A fantastic story, great characters, and just a fun book to read is more than I could want out of any entertainment I could get at anytime, let alone when it’s no longer prevalent. In fact, even if the world doesn’t end I think I’ll pick this up again after Christmas.

Stephen Schleicher

17darkknightBatman: The Dark Knight Returns

Writer: Frank Miller
Inker: Klaus Janson
Publisher: DC Comics
I would argue that this is Frank Miller’s best work, and it totally changed the nature of telling the superhero tale.  Fall. Rise. Redemption.  It’s all there in four chapters.  And let’s face it, the final chapter of The Dark Knight Returns is all about society falling into chaos, and how Batman and his henchmen take care of business. Plus, it’s Batman, and I’m going to bet the End of the World is a lot better with Batman.

18GoldenagecoverJSA: The Golden Age (Elseworlds)

Writer: James Robinson
Artist: Paul Smith
Publisher: DC Comics
One of my favorite Elseworlds titles of all time, The Golden Age gives us a very different take on the superheroes following World War II. It’s gritty and dirty, and though it requires a bit of knowledge of the time period and the characters of the time, this is still a fantastic read, and one that I could see reading, and re-reading for years to come.

Elijah Williams

19marvelsMarvels

Writer: Kurt Busiek
Artist: Alex Ross
Publisher: Marvel Comics
This trade was really my first introduction to superhero comics. I remember my dad handing this to me one day as a wee tike and my mind was blown. The beautiful Alex Ross art, the strong sense of shared universe between heroes, and the entire POV being from an average reporter instead of one of the heroes was completely revolutionary to me. I still think think this is one of the greatest things Marvel has ever published, and will always be one of my favorites.

20 52 omnibus52 Omnibus

Writers: Geoff Johns, Grant Morrison, Greg Rucka, Mark Waid, Keith Giffen
Artists: Joe Bennett, Chris Batista, Keith Giffen, Ruy Jose, Jack Jadson, Darick Robertson, Justiniano, Mike McKone, J. G. Jones, Alex Sinclair
Publisher: DC Comics
This may be cheating since its an omnibus, but really it should just be one trade because it is one continues story. This is the pinnacle of event comics as far as I am concerned. It doesn’t deal with the trinity, or really any of the DC heavy hitters, and instead focuses on the B and C list heroes DC so often neglects. Most importantly, the stories are personal and important to the characters, and as a result carry some emotional weight to them. Plus its giant roster of characters would give me and Matthew a whole slew of talking points in the post apocalyptic world.

Chris Wilson

21 vendettaAbsolute V for Vendetta

Writer: Alan Moore
Artist: David Lloyd
Publisher: DC Comics
Many people would probably say that Watchmen is Moore’s best work and rightfully so.  I prefer V for Vendetta though and feel that it’s the stronger of the two.  Anarchy vs. Fascism and identity being an idea or philosophy all stick strongly with me.  Some of the issues presented are even more relevant today than they were back then.  Maybe anarchy will bring about the apocalypse.  Or could it be the solution to all our problems?

22 scudScud: The Whole Shebang

Writer/Artist: Rob Schrab
Publisher: Image Comics
Rob Schrab’s Scud the Disposable Assassin is insane.  But beneath all the chaos is actually an emotional and personal love story.  It’ll make you laugh one minute, make you cry the next and give you a warm fuzzy feeling in the end.  The art has a vibrant energy about it that is hard to match.  I don’t know that I’ve ever read anything like it and don’t know that I ever will.  This is unique storytelling and something I can read again and again.  And to think, Mr. Schrab almost didn’t finish it.

Zach Woolf

25 locke and keyLocke & Key, Vol. 1: Welcome to Lovecraft

Writer: Joe Hill
Artist: Gabriel Rodriguez
Publisher: IDW
When the Apocalypse happens in the coming days there needs to be one person that sets off on a quest across the country with a book in hopes that the reproductions will enlighten humanity to what they had before the fall. I am now placing my bid to be that person with Locke & Key vol. 1. This was one of the first comics I read and it opened up my eyes to what could be told with words and pictures. Locke & Key is a perfect work for new comic readers, so what better book to restart comics post-apocalypse is there?

26 chewChew Volume 1: Tasters Choice

Writer: John Layman
Artist: Rob Guillory
Publisher: Image Comics
Chew is essentially a post-apocalyptic tale. I mean can we really claim a world where chicken is banned isn’t falling apart at the seams? John Layman and Rob Guillory present a story in this first volume that combines elements of humor, hyper-violence, food puns, and weird super powers, or as I like to call it: everything I need to survive as Cthulhu begins to devour the planet while Earth is being into a black hole.

 ROBOT OVERLORD: There you have it, Spoilerites! Twenty-six books to haul around with you after the zombie/nuclear/vampire/Armageddon/this is our planet/crazies event befalls us all.

If the apocalypse were to happen, and you didn’t break your glasses, like our good friend Burgess Meredith, what books would you want to read?