This word is used to describe the genre of Cyberpunk. It’s a kind of retrofitting, where science and technology are welded to the ruins of society. It’s called Cyber Punk. There are often a lot of genres mixed together in Cyberpunk. This could be Sci-Fi with Noir, Transhumanism with Robots, or John Woo with Robots. It’s easy to tell Cyberpunk when you see it, and these 15 comics are some of the best, most pure, most cyborgy, and most bizarrely-sexy Cyberpunk works ever made in comics.
Please note that magna will not appear on this comic list, so we won’t include works like “The Ghost in the Shell” and “Akira.” Also, the Cyberpunk works in question had to start out as comics, so “Neuromancer: The Graphic Novel,” and the “Blade Runner” comics don’t count.
1. The True Lives Of The Fabulous Killjoys
It’s hard to not notice a Cyberpunk work when it comes with an electro-punk album by My Chemical Romance. “The True Lives of the Famous Killjoys” is a comic book written by Gerard Way and Shaun Simon with art by Becky Cloonan. It’s about a group of four rogues who try to free Battery City from the bland oppressive grip of Better Living Industries. You can choose to die or wear a rubber mask that makes you see spiders that look like nightmares. Keep in mind the BLI sex-robotes that just want to love other sex-robotes when they’re not getting ready for the arrival of the machine messiah, Destroya.
“Killjoys” is all over the place with a lot of ideas that don’t work together. To help you deal with all this information, each issue ends with pages from BLI instruction manuals that explain what you just read. The music video for “Na Na Na (Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na)” by MCR/The Killjoys has Gerard Way to thank, even if you’re not a fan of MCR. In the video, Grant Morrison is the main bad guy.
2. Singularity 7
A post-apocalyptic Cyberpunk horror story called “Singularity 7” was written by Ben Templesmith. It’s about a group of nano machines that destroy the world. Bobby Hennigan is infected by alien nanites. He makes the world a better place with his nano-bots, then destroys it with them, until the world is gone. Bobby calls himself “The Singularity,” which means that he wants to make everyone hide. There are now only two types of humanoids that can be found on the surface: “Gosiodo,” hybrids of humans and machines who have bonded with the Singularity hive mind but can’t just be called “Singularities” for conceptual clarity; and “Specials,” who have special interactions with the nanites and bond with them to gain powers.
“Singularity 7” falls into a common mistake when writing a story about nano machines: comparing nanites to machine magic that can solve all problems while also following a set of rules that are hard to understand. Nano machines are being talked about in this way. Sure, there is a lot of potential in them, which is shown when they fix or destroy civilization in one issue. Nano machines can also make copies of humans, but when they interact with humans, they become Gosiodo if the human isn’t a Special, who takes control of the nano machines for some reason. This all makes sense because nano machines are the reason for it.
3. Heavy Liquid
In 1999, Paul Pope wrote “Heavy Liquid.” Even though it isn’t the most Cyberpunky entry on this list, it has enough Cyberpunky elements to be on this list. “Heavy Liquid” is about “S,” which stands for Stooge, and how he interacts with Heavy Liquid, a metal that looks like cake batter. It has unique chemical properties. There are assassins disguised as Cubist masks and “S” has to evade them and The Fork Tungs, the “meanest, roughest, toughest girl gang in all of New York City.” Can only be told through Pope’s ink-heavy, minimalist style. This beautiful lunatic-noir adventure can only be told through Pope’s style.
It turns into a black milk when it’s properly refined. When injected into the body, it gives the user a unique ultrasensory and hyperdimensional awareness for about five minutes before giving the user an overall trip that sharpens the mind, like space drugs. Heavy Liquid is sought after by art moguls, but “S” always makes sure to have enough of the mysterious substance stashed away to keep his trip going.
When a demon called Agat put a magic blood-drinking katana in Ronin’s hands, he made him stay there for a long time. Ronin is a masterless samurai. When the sword is broken, Ronin is reborn in the Cyberpunk New York City of the 21st century. He has the body of a cybernetic-using telekinetic autistic quadruple amputee named Billy, who is also autistic. It sounds complicated, but it’s basically “Samurai Jack,” but with subway hobos that are inbred cannibal subway hobos. “Blacks” is the least offensive term used to describe the group. There are also obligatory Nazis and The Leathers, who should be self-explanatory except that they have a leather-clad Black Nazi as their leader.
In spite of being the first comic book about Cyberpunk, Ronin doesn’t seem to have aged very well. Miller’s character art is good, but the action scenes can be hard to follow, and the landscape shots are so vague that you can’t even tell where they are. Is the future of Manhattan covered in green smog? Or is it covered in leaves? The green blobs are homes, right? There are a lot of other comics that use their backgrounds as a way to build the world. If you read “Ronin,” on the other hand, two chapters of the book happen in complete darkness.
5. The Surrogates
When Robert Venditti and Brett Weidele wrote “The Surrogates” in 2005, people could use robots called “surrogates” to live their lives and interact with other people. With surrogates, you can be as attractive, fit, or male/female/Sith as you want to be, as long as you use them. Surrogacy is good for people who are paralyzed or have other disabilities, but it can be bad for addicts like Lt. Harvey Greer’s wife, Margaret, who uses surrogates to look hot. However, if everyone used an attractive surrogate, wouldn’t “hot” become normal? As we learn from the first person we meet, the fat guy whose surrogate was killed by the dope dead eyed robot Steeplejack, widespread robo-surrogacy could lead to a hyper obese “WALL-E” future.
“The Surrogates” has a minimalist style that goes well with the robo-noir story’s theme of alienation and disconnect. This leads to more conversation about the film’s subject matter. To make things worse, the bad Bruce Willis movie “The Surrogates” is what people will think of when they think of “The Surrogates.”
6. 2020 Visions
Jamie Delano, Frank Quitely, Warren Pleacem James Romburger, and Steve Pugh. Vertigo, 1997–1998
Delano, a British author, tells four stories that aren’t connected but are set in a hypothetical America in 2020. They all deal with rampant consumerism and inequality. There are four stories (all drawn by a different artist) in which Delano and his crew make fun of society’s depravity. The stories borrow from genres like crime, horror, western, and romance.
Masamune Shirow. Kodansha, 1985–1989
Before Ghost in the Shell, Shirow wrote and drew Appleseed, a mecha manga that also talked about politics and technology, but it was not as well-known as his other work. The comic takes place in a world that has been devastated by World War III, where non-nation-affiliated groups keep law and order. The comic is about Deunan, a former LAPD officer who now works for ESWAT, a law enforcement group for the mostly computerized city of Olympus. A miniseries was made in 1988, as well as three CG movies in 2004, 2007, and 2014, and a CG anime show.