They love and remember the 1990s. As long as you were born in the ’90s, you had the best cartoons and music, as well as the best TV shows and sitcoms. Life was pretty good for a kid in the 90s. That is, unless you were into comic books. By and large, between the golden era of ’80 comics and the breath of new life that came back into them in the 2000s, there were a lot of comics that didn’t make any sense. There were overly muscly men with impossible proportions and gritty personalities, scantily clad women with impossible proportions and no personalities, and a lot of pouches with nothing inside.
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There were some great stories that came out during this decade, though. If you were willing to keep buying comics, you could find them if you knew where to look. As you read through some of the stories, there were even little bits and pieces from some of the biggest superheroes that made you squirm. If you’re someone who doesn’t read comic books made between 1990 and 1999, there are a few that you need to go find right now because they might become your new favorite.
1. Batman: Knightfall
Batman: Knightfall is one of the most well-known and important Batman stories of all time, and many people think it’s the best one. The movie also introduced Batman’s biggest enemy, Bane. Bane broke Batman’s back in the movie, which was Batman’s first real defeat, so it was a big deal. It also led to Batman’s golden age blue cape and cowl being changed to the black cape with the yellow oval-encased bat symbol.
Knightfall was a series of books written by great writers like Chuck Dixon and Alan Grant. Dough Moench and Jim Aparo wrote the main Batman book, which was drawn by Jim Aparo. A version of the story was made for Batman: The Animated Series and even made it to the big screen in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises in a very loose way. Even if you’re not a huge Batman fan, Knightfall is a must-read for any comic book fan.
2. Daredevil: The Man Without Fear
Frank Miller and John Romita Jr. took what Miller had done with Batman: Year One and used it with Daredevil. We get a look at Matt Murdock’s childhood, the accident that made him powerful, and of course, the death of his father. Even though we’ve seen Daredevil’s simple black outfit before, this is the first time we’ve seen it. It was later used in Netflix’s Daredevil Season One.
It’s a comic book written by Frank Miller, so you can be sure the story is realistic, emotional, and action-packed. When it came out 20 years ago, it was a huge hit for Daredevil and was one of the best-reviewed stories in comic book history. The ending is one of the best in comic book history, too.
Neil Gaiman’s Sandman first came out in 1989. Most of its run was in the ’90s, though. Some people know who Neil Gaiman is these days. When Sandman came out, he didn’t have many short stories that had been made into movies or TV shows. Sandman fans already knew that he was going to be a great writer, because he mixed horror and mature dark fantasy together.
The series had a few different artists at the start, but it still had one of the most unique art styles at the time. Dream, the main character in the book, is a living personification of dreams. His capture and escape from the ritual led him to set out to rebuild his kingdom in the dream world, while he had to deal with modern life.
For a good reason, Preacher is on every list of comics you should read. It’s written and drawn by Garth Ennis and is one of the best comics ever. I think it was clear from the very first issue that it was mature and weird and violent. Every single issue kept the punches and surprises coming. The main characters are Jesse Custer, a former preacher who can make people do what he wants, his ex-girlfriend Tulip, and his best friend Cassady, who is also a vampire and a horrible person.
Despite the title, this book is not for people who are religious. Most of the book follows Jesse as he tries to find God and get him to explain why he left Heaven. A lot of things happen in the story that I can’t tell you about here. If you haven’t read it, you might want to clear your schedule because it’s still one of the best graphic stories out there.
In the past, Deadpool was mostly known as an X-Force villain who only cared about himself and money. Now, he’s a household name. Starting the Merc with a Mouth was Joe Kelly’s first step on the way to becoming a better person again. In the first issue, he does his first truly selfless act. He realizes that he can change his ways and become a hero, or at least become a better person.
If you want to read about superheroes, Joe Kelly’s Deadpool is a standout. Even though Wade Wilson wants to be a hero, he has doubts about himself and self-loathing, guilt, setbacks, and emotional scars. Later writers often made Deadpool into a silly, looney tunes-type character. Even though Kelly’s run was often funny, his sense of humor was usually a way to keep people away and hide his pain.
6. Kingdom Come
It was a four-issue miniseries called Kingdom Come, written by Mark Waid and drawn by the legendary Alex Ross. It was about the growing conflict between out-of-touch superheroes and a growing number of new violent and amoral vigilantes. Then, Batman has put together a team to try to calm the situation down, stop Lex Luther from using the situation to his advantage, and stop the inevitable superhuman civil war that could destroy the world.
The story starts when a number of well-known heroes in the Justice League, including Superman, give up their roles as heroes after a new vigilante killed the Joker. To fight these new vigilantes, he finally forms a new Justice League to fight them. All hell breaks loose.
7. The Tale Of One Bad Rat
Some people think Bryan Talbot is one of the most interesting artists to come out of the British comic book scene in the 1980s. His 1994 graphic novel, The Tale of One Bad Rat, is more grounded than most of his early work. She was a teenager who ran away and lived on the streets of London to get away from her father. She gets on the road and heads north, with a huge imaginary rat by her side. If you like Netflix shows like The End of the F***ing World, this movie would be right up your alley. It’s a well-written and heartfelt story that deals with difficult issues with skill.
8. Baker Street
Because Baker Street is such a great, long-forgotten comic book series, I’m going to break the rules a little. The first issue of Gary Reed and Guy Davis’s Baker Street came out in 1989. It’s set in a world where World War II never happened and England’s Victorian era lasted until the present day. It stars a gender-swapped punk Sherlock Holmes and her crew as they try to find a serial killer. An amazing setting and great atmosphere could make this one stand out even if the plot isn’t very new.