This September marks the fifth anniversary of my shop, Asylum Comics. The milestone has left me more than a little nostalgic, and got me thinking about the thousands of comics that have passed through my doors in the last half-decade. So I've compiled some highlights, a list of the comics released during my time in business that have stuck with me and made me proudest of the art form that's become my career. What follows are each modern classics that deserve to be on every reader's bookshelf.
- Y the Last Man (DC / Vertigo. Vol. 1-10, $12.99-14.99 each.) - A plot about the only male on the planet to survive a plague allowed writer Brian K. Vaughan to explore issues of gender and society, creating a graphic novel masterpiece in the process.
- Civil War (Marvel. $24.99.) - Real world politics and hot button issues like privacy and civil liberties led to a superhero brawl like the Marvel Universe had never seen before, with hero fighting hero... and neither side wrong.
- Blackest Night (DC. $29.99.) - A horror movie set in the DC Universe, every hero or villain who ever died suddenly returned from the grave, leaving it up to Green Lantern and friends to fight former allies, solve the mystery and save the world.
- Immortal Iron Fist (Marvel. Vol. 1-3, $14.99-17.99 each.) - A product of the kung-fu crazy 1970s and a B-list character at best, the fact that Iron Fist became the most action-packed and consistently entertaining new series from Marvel this decade was an unexpected pleasure.
- Captain America No. 25 (Marvel. Collected in "The Death of Captain America Vol. 1: Death of the Dream," $14.99.) - I haven't had a day like the day when this book hit before or since. After the shock of learning that they'd really killed Steve Rogers, realization dawned that I hadn't ordered nearly enough copies and the phone just kept ringing...
- All-Star Batman No. 1-10 (DC. Collected in "All-Star Batman and Robin the Boy Wonder Vol. 1," $19.99.) - One of the first books to ever grace Asylum's shelves, legendary creators Frank Miller and Jim Lee's blockbuster-that-wasn't became the most controversial, divisive - and train-wreck fascinating - take on the Caped Crusader in years.
- The Walking Dead (Image. Vol. 1-12, $9.99-14.99 each.) - There's no such thing as a casual fan of this "zombie movie that never ends." Anyone who's ever bought the first volume comes back ravenous for more.
- Hellboy: The Island No. 1-2 (Dark Horse. Collected in "Hellboy Vol. 6: Strange Places," $17.99.) - The first Hellboy mini-series of Asylum's tenure begins with a boatload of drunken skeletons and ends with the secret history of the world. Paired with "The Third Wish" in paperback form, you have Mike Mignola's finest work of this millennium.
- Astonishing X-Men (Marvel. Vol. 1-4, $14.99-19.99 each.) - The X-Men are what got me into comics, and this timeless tale by writer Joss Whedon and artist John Cassaday does my memory proud, while retaining a modern, sophisticated edge.
- All-Star Superman (DC. Vol. 1-2, $12.99 each.) - Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely combine the trappings of silly Silver Age science-fiction with humor and heart to illustrate why Superman is still the greatest hero of them all.
Jordan Lowe is the owner of Asylum Comics on Muskingum Drive in Marietta and the writer of the web comic Short Pants Romance.