The Top 10 Fantasy Comics to read before you die

The Comic is a medium closely related to Cinema. Look at the Storyboards created for any Motion Picture and you’ll easily recognize the similarities. As kids and teenagers, we read Comics a lot, and we still love this art form. Here’s our Top 10 List of the best Fantasy Comics to read before you die! Of course, they all made a huge impact on us and our TV series Black Forest Witch.

Fantasy Comics are one of the great innovation drivers of the Fantasy Genre itself. In this list are stand-alone Comics as well as whole story arcs spread over many issues. It wasn’t easy to compare them with each other, especially the Belgian with the American ones – the styles are just so different. Therefore, they don’t come in any particular order.

Superhero Fantasy Comics

Superheroes are the biggest archetypes of Fantasy Comics. This is due to the fact that the less power people have in any given society, the larger than life their idols become. These characters are a direct reflection of our hopes and dreams . . .

1. Superman: Whatever happened to the Man of Tomorrow?

Superman vanished ten years ago and the world has learned to live without him. Now, a news reporter tries to find out what really happened to the Man of Tomorrow. This Fantasy Story delves deep into the mythology of the legendary figure and actually finishes his character arc. Unexpectedly? You bet!

Superman is my favorite superhero of all time. This is the final Superman story ever told – published in 1986, the year I was born. You probably know that many more stories including movies and TV shows came after it. However, this was actually the end of the so called Silver Age of DC Comics. A regular Superman Comic is a Power Fantasy, but that’s why here we get one of powerlessness. It’s the Paradise Lost moment for the DC Universe.

Superman: The ultimate Power Fantasy Character.
Superman – The ultimate Superhero Comic.
Written by Alan Moore, Art by Curt Swan. Published in 1986 by DC Comics.

2. The Lobo Paramilitary Christmas Special

It’s Lobo vs. Santa! The Easter Bunny puts a bounty on Kris Kringle’s head, and Lobo is the one to collect. For those of you who don’t know the immortal bounty hunter: He’s the ultimate parody of anti-heroes with superpowers. That made him one of the most popular comic book characters in the 1990s. Lobo drives a demonic motorcycle through space, is a sexist and usues all kinds of dirty languge while killing his opponents.

In this Christmas Special, there are so many pop culture references and callbacks to other comics, that it’s just a pure delight. This is for everyone who can appreciate dark humor.

Lobo: The Dark Fantasy Comic
Lobo – The Dark Fantasy Parody.
Written by Keith Giffen & Alan Grant, Art by Simon Bisley.
Published in 1991 by DC Comics.

3. Witchblade: Witch Hunt, Part 1

If you’ve never opened a Witchblade Comic, #80 is a good issue to start with: New York City Police Detective Sara Pezzini is fighting for her life. Not even her ancient bewitched glove called the Witchblade is able to keep her from harm. Erotic Pulp Detective meets Fantasy – a thrilling combination. Of course, we were smitten by Pezzini’s beautiful appearance, but what kept us hooked were the amazing plot twists and the supernatural aspects of the story.

Witchblade: The Erotic Detective Fantasy Comic
Witchblade – The Witch and the Blade.
Written by Ron Marz, Art by Mike Choi.
Published in 2004 by Image Comics.

4. Spawn: Armageddon

When the assassin Albert Francis Simmons dies during a mission, he’s sent to hell. There he bargains with the devil to see his wife one last time. Simmons agrees to fight as a Hellspawn in the devil’s army in return, once the end of days have arrived. Back on Earth however, he has lost most of his memories, his body is disfigured from decay and he’s struggling not to use up his powers, because that would send him back to hell again.

In this legendary issue #161, titled Armageddon, the war he’s supposed to fight in has finally arrived. Spawn is a very troubled character and this story in particular is a vision straight from a nightmare. If you are into Horror and Dark Fantasy, check it out.

Spawn: Visions from a Nightmare
Spawn – Characters from a Nightmare.
Written by David Hine, Art by Philip Tan.
Published in 2006 by Image Comics.

5. Prince Valiant and the Three Challenges

Prince Valiant – or Prinz Eisenherz in German – is an Epic Fantasy Adventure set during the times of King Arthur. You can call it Historical Fantasy as it’s inspired by real events, mythology and folklore. The inital Fantasy elements like monsters and witches were later downplayed in favor of a more realistic approach.

In this beautiful issue, the brave Prince has to face three challenges: trouble-maker King Tourien in Cornwall, saving the people of Wales from dark sorcery and fighting off the savage invasion of Camelot.

Prince Valiant: Historical Fantasy Comics.
Written & illustrated by Hal Foster. Published by Hastings House in 1960.

Science Fantasy Comics

Science Fantasy is an interesting subgenre in an of itself, because the worlds are the hugest in all of storytelling. In addition, those stories often are the longest running titles of all time. Attention to detail is important here, and the details are found in ancient alien civilizations and technology.

6. Valérian and Laureline: The Empire of a Thousand Planets

Spatio-temporal agent Valérian and his partner Laureline – a former peasant girl from 11th century France – investigate the Empire of a Thousand Planets. They want to find out if it’s a threat to Galaxity, the capital of Earth in the 28th century.

Valerian & Laureline is the Science Fantasy Adventure that visually inspired Star Wars, and it totally shows. The fantasy artwork by Mézières is simply stunning and the plot of this issue will have you hold your breath.

Valerian et Laureline: The #1 Science Fantasy Comic
Valérian and Laureline: Time-travelling Fantasy Adventures.
Written by Pierre Christin, Art by Jean-Claude Mézières. Published in 1971 by Dargaud.

7. Yoko Tsuno: On the Edge of Life

Yoko Tsuno is a kick-ass female hero from Japan. She’s first and foremost an electrical engineer, and a great one at that. The stories are always very realistic and personal, but the technology and the worldbuilding are so rich in detail, that it nearly jumps at you from the page.

In this first issue of the series, Yoko visits the bedside of a friend struck down by a strange disease. Yoko soon realizes that she’s being followed by a vampire . . .

Yoko Tsuno: Science Fantasy with attention to detail
Yoko Tsuno – The most realistic Science Fantasy.
Created by Roger Leloup. Published by Cinebook Ltd. in 2007

Fantasy Comics with Fantastic Creatures

Another popular character type of Fantasy Comics is the Fantastic Creature. It’s neither an animal nor a human being, it’s something in-between.

8. The Adventures of Spirou & Fantasio: The Secret of Marsupilamis

Marsupilami is one of the weirder Fantasy Creatures. Above all because of its super long tail that it can use in a lot of different ways – often as a weapon to fight off attackers. This issue introduces the Marsupilami in all its glory, from its eating, sleeping and family founding habits.

Marsupilami: One of the weirdest Fantasy characters
Marsupilamis – Strange Animals in Fantasy Comics.
Written & Illustrated by Franquin. Published in 1960 by Dupuis.

9. History of the Smurfs: The Black Smurfs

Everybody knows this strange people living in the woods. Along with Dwarfs, Trolls and Hobbits, the Smurfs belong to the tiny Fantasy Creatures. This is their first introduction and it reads like an end of times story. The Smurfs are bitten, their skin turns black and they become insane. Lovely stuff!

The Smurfs: Loveable Fantasy Characters
The Smurfs – Famous Fantasy people.
Written & illustrated by Peyo. Published in 1963 by Dupuis.

10. Donald Duck: The Duck that never was

A depressed Donald Duck stumbles upon a genie in a bottle and wishes he was never born. Suddenly, he finds himself in a world full of misery: Uncle Scrooge lost his fortune and lives as a beggar, his nephews are fat and watch TV all day and inventor Gyro is all out of ideas. As it turns out, Donald had been like a magnet of bad luck in this universe, so that all others were able to thrive. With new found confidence in his life’s purpose, he returns home and is able to find happiness.

Like all the other characters in Duckberg, Donald is an antropomorphic animal. This Social Fantasy was inspired by the movie IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE for the 60th birthday celebreation of the famous Disney character.

Donald Duck's greatest standalone Fantasy Comic Adventure
The Duck who never was – A standalone Fantasy Comic.
Written & illustrated by Don Rosa. Published in 1994 by Anders And & Co.

Bonus: My own Fantasy Comic

About ten years ago, I created my own Fantasy Comic Book called MYSTERYLAND: A teacher by day super-powered crime-fighter by night is suddenly confronted with an ancient God who wants to rule the world. She only has 15 minutes during the big school break to defeat him until her secret identity will be discovered.

Mysteryland – A Superhero Comedy.
Written & illustrated by Sven Eric Maier. Published by ergocomics in 2009.

What do you think about our list of Fantasy Comics? Are any of your favorites missing? Share this article and your opinion on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter! If you like Fantasy, watch our TV series teaser trailer!

Sven Eric Maier
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