10 Best Cosmic Tales From The Marvel Graphic Novel Lineup

Marvel graphic novel was a line of graphic novels published by Marvel Comics in the eighties. These tales were printed in the style of French comic books, meaning they were larger in size and used higher quality paper. With that in mind, Marvel courted a high pedigree of creative talent and gave them a rare degree of freedom, which led to some of the most ambitious productions of the period.



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The Marvel graphic novel the line used a refreshing mix of company-owned and creator-owned characters with an emphasis on sci-fi stories. After star wars, it’s no surprise that many of these comics ended up having a cosmic bent with impressive results.

ten Dreadstar presented a cosmic maestro at the top of his game

Writer-artist Jim Starlin used the Marvel graphic novel line to introduce its space fantasy hero, Vanth Dreadstar, to the Marvel Universe. The comic ended up being a pilot for a course Dreadstar series, published under Marvel’s Epic Imprint, which concluded its run and the politically charged Metamorphosis Odyssey story.

The Dreadstar graphic novel tells a self-contained story. Its protagonist attempts to settle on an agricultural planet inhabited by humanoid cats. However, things quickly go awry, and Starlin’s brooding chalky art, full of black spaces, fits the dark narrative perfectly.

9 Star Slammers was a spectacular subversion of the Honorable Warrior Trope

The Walt Simonson Race The Mighty Thor remains one of Marvel’s most iconic cosmic sagas. However, the writer-artist was finally allowed to indulge the genre with its creator. Star Slammers stories, which began with the sixth Marvel graphic novel.

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The Star Slammers are a group of interstellar mercenaries with a harsh lore and a belief system reminiscent of the Vikings. When its trio of protagonists are exiled from the Slammers, the story becomes a space-opera-like critique of military-based societies. Simonson’s art also benefits from breaking away from the routine of a monthly schedule, which has led to some of his best work.

8 Silver Surfer: Judgment Day Pits Marvel’s Cosmic Messiah Against His Devil

Given that Jack Kirby designed the Silver Surfer and Galactus as cosmic versions of Christ and God, it was inevitable that Marvel’s Silver Messiah would end up facing his own Satan: the devil Mephisto. And with Silver Surfer: Judgment Day, That’s exactly what Sal Buscema and co-writer Stan Lee did.

As Mephisto attempts to corrupt the Surfer, Norrin Radd is forced to heed his innermost fears and desires, leading to a surprisingly nuanced exploration of good versus evil. Buscema’s artistry, operating at a career high, is comprised entirely of full-page splatters. The result is action and environments with lots of real estate, which subtly evoke Christian murals.

seven Captain Marvel’s death remains a landmark

The original Captain Marvel (not the DC character currently known as Shazam – the other original Captain Marvel) has been dead since 1982. This is no spoiler, since the very first Marvel. graphic novel was literally called The Death of Captain Marvel.

Writer-artist Jim Starlin gives Captain Mar-Vell, the renegade Kree warrior and short-lived Earth superhero a poignant farewell, which chronicles his life after being diagnosed with terminal cancer. The comic fully exploits the iconography of superheroes and space opera to explore the most primitive human anguish: the knowledge of one’s own mortality.

6 Sword of the Swashbucklers was an epic space pirate opera

Writer Bill Mantlo and artist Jackson Guice’s Swashbuckler’s Sword is an interstellar pirate adventure that preceded a prestige-format limited series of the same name. The graphic novel is full of affection for the swashbuckling genre with some notable subversions.

First, the hacking takes place in space, which is a genre mix that beats Disney’s treasure planetby more than a decade. Second, its female pirate captains aren’t just cosmic tricksters, they’re dealing blows to a terrible galactic empire, formalizing the rebellious spirit at the heart of the swashbuckling subgenre.

5 Silver Surfer: The Enslavers was an ambitious sci-fi tale

As its title may suggest, Silver Surfer: The Slavers addresses colonialism and its legacy. The graphic novel uses parallel narratives; for example, in one, the Surfer inspects the ruins of his plundered homeworld, and in another, the Interstellar Imperials responsible for said plunder make an opening to Earth.

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The Slavers was produced by writer-artist Keith Pollard and co-writer Stan Lee, who navigate the heady subject matter with admirable skill. Pollard’s art makes the most of the line’s enhanced paper, blending his thick inks with a brilliant color palette, resulting in a psychedelic look. Meanwhile, its design makes interesting use of Afro-futurist influence.

4 Heartburst was a cosmic look at the commercial exploitation of love

The tenth part of Marvel graphic novel was written and illustrated by Jonn Constantine’s co-creator, Rick Veitch. falling for something was a throwback to the kind of space operas that appeared regularly in the sci-fi pulp anthologies of yesteryear.

Veitch’s realistic and detailed illustrations lovingly lifted the visual style of the painted images that adorned the covers of magazines like amazing stories. The plot was a mostly conventional interstellar romance; however, it was interwoven with an intriguing and biting commentary on commercialism with a cosmic twist.

3 The Extraterrestrial Legion has established a utopian ideal for Western foreign policy

The Alien Legion saga began with Marvel’s 25th graphic novel – from writers Carl Potts and Alan Zelenetz, and artist Frank Cirocco – before morphing into its own monthly series. The concept took Star Trek’s utopian vision of an interspecies melting pot working toward a common goal and applied it to interstellar peacekeeping.

alien legion presents a fascinating, if somewhat reductive, view of NATO’s military intervention and surveillance ideal. In the same way, it also offers plenty of action shows and heartwarming depictions of teamwork and bravery.

2 Who the Gods Would Destroy is one of Thor’s most iconic stories

The Mighty Thor: Me, whom the gods would destroy by writers Jim Shooter, Jim Owsley and cartoonist Paul Ryan, is not so much a cosmic comic as a comic about rejecting the cosmic. The graphic novel is set during a time when Marvel’s Thor had a separate identity as the mortal doctor, Donald Blake.

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The comic makes refreshing use of the Blake/Thor dichotomy to explore the value of human limitation. It also features one of the most endearing portrayals of Lady Sif in Marvel Comics canon.

1 Silver Surfer: Homecoming Does What It Says On The Tin, And More

Silver Surfer’s separation from his homeworld of Zenn-La has often been a source of pathos for this chronically tragic cosmic hero. In Silver Surfer: Homecomingby writer Jim Starlin and cartoonist Bill Reinhold, Norrin Radd finally comes home.

In the long run, this graphic novel progressed the Surfer’s narrative in an interesting way, especially since his relationship with Zenn-La was starting to feel contrived at this point. Likewise, he brought some much-needed depth to the romance between Norrin and Shalla-Bal. In its own words, the comic can be credited with a nuanced reckoning with the adage “you can’t go home anymore.”

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