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The Very Best Comics and One-Shot Graphic Novels of the 1970s

The 1970s decade was a good one for comics and graphic novels. This is the time of Corto Maltese, Judge Dredd, Green Lantern and Obelix, among many others who would make history. In this article, we’ve collected the top-rated comics and single-shot issues created in the 70s. We hope you enjoy our curated set of ideas!

Top-Rated 1970s Comics

The following single-issue comics are generally considered classics. You shouldn’t miss these highly-recommended volumes.

Author and Illustrator: Will Eisner 

A Contract with God was created by Will Eisner and tells the mesmerizing chronicle of a universal American experience through four interwoven stories. This legendary volume launched a new art form and reaffirmed its author as one of the greatest pioneers of US graphic novels.

The stories cover life in the exuberant, joyful, tragic mythical Dropsie Avenue in the Bronx. Eisner was ahead of his time — some say the present times are actually still catching up to him. This harrowingly magnificent piece of art by New York City-born Eisner constitutes the genesis of “an exercise in personal agony” narrative.

  • From Will Eisner, after whom the Eisner Awards are named.
  • Paperback: 208 pages.
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company.

Author: Jacques Lob – Illustrator: Phillippe Druillet 

Lone Sloane: Delirius follows Lone Sloane in one of the strangest places in the galaxy: The planet named Delirius. The lonely traveler has been struck by an erasure arrow shot by the fanatical monks of the Red Redemption and must travel to the destitute underground world of Delirius. He is accompanied by Mali, his friend’s daughter, who is determined to find her lover. Will they be able to save the inhabitants of Delirius from the spreading madness?

Lone Sloane was written by Jacques Lob and Phillippe Druillet, acclaimed comic authors. Druillet’s innovative approach to visual design has made him a popular artist, later known also for his work in Elric and Heavy Metal.

  • Hardcover: 80 pages.
  • Incredible and complex illustrations.
  • Worth a read for the historical context.

Authors: Steve Gerber, Mary Skrenes, Scott Elderman, Roger Stern, Steve Grant. Illustrators: Jim Mooney, Lee Elias, Herb Trimpe.

Omega The Unknown is a short-lived Marvel superstar that had escaped to Earth from a war-torn planet to fight infamous and obscure enemies. It took his death to unveil the story of his life, the demons, depowerment, and drama when the Defenders discover Omega’s mysterious charge.

In the 1970s, a number of writers shook up superhero comics by using them to voice real-world concerns. One of them was Gerber, creator of Howard the Duck. Although Omega the Unknown was less successful and the series was canceled after ten issues, Omega is fondly remembered by many.

  • An unfinished masterpiece, this is open of the most offbeat tales of an offbeat decade for comics.
  • Paperback: 224 pages.
  • Publisher: Marvel Comics (December 28, 2005).

Author and Illustrator: Osamu Tezuka

Kirihito is a young doctor who’s researching the Monmow disease, which transforms humans into dog-like beasts killing them within a month of the metamorphosis. Unbeknown to him, Kirihito himself becomes a guinea pig for his hospital’s research and is sent to a remote village in the mountains. As the disease spreads, it transforms Kirihito’s body physically and impacts his character.

Ode to Kirihito is moving, tender and engrossing. Also very, very odd.” –Neil Gaiman

Tezuka’s comic is a masterful examination of moral decay and a perfect addition for fans of Japanese horror.

  • A brutal, depraved and savage horror story.
  • Paperback: 480 pages.
  • Publisher: Vertical.

Author: Pat Mills – Illustrator: Joe Colquhoun

Charley’s War is written by renowned UK comics writer Pat Mills and illustrated by legendary artist Joe Colquhoun. This is a classic piece of British comics history, both humorous and horrifying. It’s been considered by many the greatest British comic strip ever made.

The comic tells the gripping story of  an underage British soldier, Charley Bourne, fighting during World War I. This definitive edition covers Charley’s first arrival in the trenches, the battle of the Somme and a zeppelin raid over London.

  • An ideal starting place for new readers.
  • Hardcover: 288 pages.
  • Publisher: Titan Books; Illustrated Edition. 

by DC Comics

Author & Illustrator: Steve Englehart

This comic is one of the most memorable Dark Knight’s adventures, and it’s now available in a single volume. Batman: Strange Apparitions features an introduction by Englehart and a new cover illustrated by Marshall Rogers and Terry Austin. The volume includes the reprint of Detective Comics numbers 469-476, 478 and 479.

The stories included chroniclize Batman’s struggles with a corrup city government headed by “Boss” Rupert Thorne. Batman battles classic villains such as Hugo Strange, the Penguin, Deadshot, Clayface, Dr Phosphorus, and the Joker. 

  • This was the blueprint for the first Tim Burton Batman movie and Batman: The Animated Series.
  • Paperback: 176 pages.
  • Publisher: DC Comics.