Must-read graphic novels are futuristic classics that shouldn't be missed. Of course, not every must-see is perfect. That's why we've rated them 1-5 on the patented "crunchy goodness" scale.
Title: Grimjack: Legend of Grimjack Vols. 1-8Date: 1983-1991
Vitals: John Gaunt, aka Grimjack, is a battle-toughened gun for hire, in the city of Cynosure, where dimensions criscross on every block. His noir adventures emcompass demons and vampires as well as Kalibos, a cyborg assassin who wears skins of his human victims as disguises. In the end, Grimjack's world is as murky and shifting as his own morality.
Famous names: John Ostrander, Timothy Truman, Tom Mandrake
Crunchy goodness: 5
Most painfully dated moments: Grimjack's sidekick Blackjacmac is a throwback to the era when when every black character had to have "black" in his/her name. And the racist jabs another supporting character aims at Blackjacmac get old really quick. (Oddly enough, Blackjacmac is the most well-rounded and sympathetic character in the whole series.) Also, the "shocking" transsexual storyline in Vol. 7 no longer looks as cutting-edge as it may once have.
Spinoffs/Sequels/Copycats: Ostrander revived Grimjack for a 2006 miniseries, Killer Instinct. And he's doing a new series of Grimjack Web comics at Comicmix.com
Stunt casting: The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles guest-star in Grimjack #26, the only issue of the series that's a collector's item.
Please steal this idea: Grimjack's giddy free-wheeling approach to genre, with space-opera rubbing elbows with noir and fantasy, has found few imitators.