The TOP 13 Comics Stories of the Gods — Old and New

GOOD GODS! And DREAD GODS! Comics writer RON MARZ ranks them…

Fans are fond of saying comics are our modern mythology. I mean, what is Superman if not a god?

Then there are comics that are about the gods. As in, Thor, Hercules and the Fourth World. You get the gist.

Well, writer Ron Marz and artist Tom Raney have their own take — Dread Gods, a series created from a concept by Bart Sears about what happens when a futuristic version of the Greek deities find out they’re actually monsters:

Dread Gods was published through Sears’ Ominous Press (in partnership with IDW), and now the creators are crowdfunding through Kickstarter the Dread Gods Olympian Edition, an oversize hardcover collecting the first four issues of the series and featuring a treasure trove of extras: a new, 10-page tale by Marz and Raney; an extensive cover gallery featuring artwork by Sears, Raney, Neal Adams, Kenneth Rocafort, Cully Hamner, Kevin Maguire, Kelley Jones, and Andy Smith; and more than 50 pages of behind-the-scenes artwork.

Click here to check out the Kickstarter, which is in its stretch run.

Given the nature of the project, we asked Marz to rank the TOP 13 COMICS STORIES OF THE GODS — OLD AND NEW. He didn’t hesitate — providing a list spotlighting creative Olympians such as Kirby, Simonson, Russell — and more.

Check it out:


13. Raven Banner, by Alan Zelenetz and Charles Vess. A forgotten classic from Marvel’s line of original graphic novels, featuring stunning Vess art. Perhaps the most purely mythology-based (and less superhero-oriented) of Marvel’s Asgardian tales. Also worth seeking out: the issues of Marvel Fanfare featuring the Zelenetz-Vess Asgardian stories.

12. Hercules: Prince of Power, by Bob Layton. Back when the concept of a mini-series was pretty novel in comics, the gem came out, complete with Galactus goodness. Hercules can come off like Thor-lite, but this mini highlights Herc as very his own demi-god, with charm and swagger and a great dose of humor.

11. Loki, by Robert Rodi and Esad Ribic. I’m forever saying the best relationship in comics is that of Thor and his brother, Loki. Come for the gorgeous Ribic art, but stay for a story that truly makes you empathize with the god of mischief.

10. Thor, the Mighty Avenger, by Roger Langridge and Chris Samnee. Criminally overlooked because it was seen as a “comic for kids” (as if that’s a bad thing), it’s everything you love about Thor and company by a terrific creative team. This series was Samnee’s star-making turn.

9. Mister Miracle, by Tom King and Mitch Gerads. It feels miles away from what Kirby would have done stylistically, but ultimately it’s exactly what Jack did: experiment, push boundaries, break new ground. The gods at their most human.

8. Promethea, by Alan Moore and J.H. Williams. So expansive in both its reach and its grasp, I hardly know how to describe it, except as simply divine. One of the most visually experimental and stunning series ever attempted.

7. Preacher, by Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon. Hey, this counts! I mean, they spend the whole series looking for God, right? Spoiler: Jesse Custer and friends find Him. Truly sacred and profane.

6. The Ring of the Nibelung. I love both the P. Craig Russell adaptation as well as the one by Roy Thomas and Gil Kane, so I’m cheating and including both as one entry. If you need evidence that opera and comics are kissing cousins, here it is.

5. Ragnarok, by Walter Simonson. Reveals what happens after the Twilight of the Gods. Sheer brilliance by a creator at the height of his storytelling powers.

4. New Gods, by Jack Kirby. Kirby unleashed! Grand world-building — or worlds-building, if you count both Apokolips and New Genesis — introducing a sprawling cast of gods that forever changed the DC Universe for the better. Operatic. Bombastic. Fantastic.

3. Thor, by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. The foundation upon which so much of this is built. Stan and Jack’s Thor always felt like a Stan book on Earth, and a Jack book in Asgard and the cosmos. It’s like all the Stan and Jack partnerships, with Jack bringing the epic imagination to dazzle you, and Stan bringing the humanity to make you care. Without Thor, there’s probably no New Gods.

2. Orion by Walter Simonson. Would it be heresy if I said I thought Walt’s New Gods is even better than Kirby’s? A brilliant, vastly underrated run (you need to go find a copy of the omnibus right now) that ended too soon, and for me feels like the proper continuation of what Kirby started. Confession: Walt told me over dinner where the series was headed had it continued, and what would have happened in an epic Issue #50. We’re all poorer that it never happened.

1. Thor, by Walter Simonson. Bar none, my favorite run of any comic series. If there’s any true successor to Jack Kirby, Uncle Walt is that guy. Just “He stood alone at Gjallerbru…” would be enough to put it on the list, but add in the creation of Beta Ray Bill, the Surtur saga, the machinations of Loki, and all the rest, and it’s the pinnacle for me.

For more info on the Dread Gods Olympian Edition Kickstarter, click here.


— My 13 Favorite Covers, by BART SEARS. Click here.

– RON MARZ Wrote the Best SUPERMAN Story in Years. Click here.

Author: Dan Greenfield

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  1. Wait. What? Ya gotta tell us about Orion #50!!

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  2. Dan, what about the DC Hercules? Great Wally Wood and Walt Simonson art!

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