From: All-Star Superman #1 by Grant Morrison (script), Frank Quitely (pencils) and Jamie Grant (inks and colors) Since his debut more than 75 years ago, Supermans origin has been told countless times to the point of tedium, but the creative team behind All-Star Superman found a way to beautifully capture the essence of the story in the most basic way possible. On the very first page of the series, Grant Morison, Frank Quitely and Jamie Grant retell the Man of Steels origin with the use of four images and eight words: Doomed Planet. Desperate Scientists. Last Hope. Kindly Couple. The page marks an economy and efficiency of storytelling that is unparalleled in the comic book medium. It also perfectly demonstrates just how powerful and subversive Supermans origin is. This story can be told in four images and eight words because anyone who has even a modicum of interest in comic books knows this tale by heart. Supermans origin is pop culture canon, and All-Star Supermans confidence in that fact makes the page all the more audacious and wonderful.
19. The Beginning Of Watchmen
From: Watchmen #1 by Alan Moore (script) and Dave Gibbons (art) Arguably the most critically acclaimed comic book story of all time, the opening seven panel page of Watchmen manages to pack in an enormous amount of information to the reader both visually and textually. Theres the very first ironic image of a smiley face pin lying in a pool of blood, which instantly transports the reader to the dystopian nightmare that is Alan Moores alternative version of the 1980s (where a clock counts down to the nuclear holocaust and Richard Nixon is still U.S. president). Making the image even more unnerving is the single dash of blood streaming over the faces right eye like a teardrop. The pages text maintains the dark tone of this sequence. The reader is exposed to this twisted world through a journal entry from a person named Rorschach. In one of the Watchmens most famous quotes, Rorschach talks about how the depraved and corrupt will look to him for salvation and his response is: Ill look down and whisper no. Setting the mood is pivotal for comic books opening page and the first spread in Watchmen is unquestionably impactful and befitting of one of the mediums greatest storylines of all time.
Mark is a professional writer living in Brooklyn and is the founder of the Chasing Amazing Blog, which documents his quest to collect every issue of Amazing Spider-Man, and the Superior Spider-Talk podcast. He also pens the "Gimmick or Good?" column at Comics Should Be Good blog.