60 comics by John Byrne that you should read
Today is the 60th birthday of John Byrne, writer/artist of many of my favorite comics throughout the years.
In the late 1980s, Byrne was my absolute favorite artist and one of my favorite writers. There was a time that, if you read comics, you had read Chris Claremont and John Byrne’s X-Men. Byrne’s “Fantastic Four” is often considered one of the top runs on those storied characters, as well. What I’ve listed below are 60 comics from Byrne that I think are a great cross-section of some of his best work, and worth taking a look at, especially for superhero fans. Even with this list, there’s a ton of John Byrne work that won’t be mentioned – Alpha Flight, Hulk, Babe, Danger Unlimited, Batman, Namor… the man is very prolific. What are your favorite Byrne issues? Feel free to share in the comments.
Uncanny X-Men #141-142
“Days of Future Past” has been referenced and homaged a number of times, as the X-Men try to stop a dystopic future from coming to pass. In the future, following the assassination of Senator Robert Kelly, mutants live in concentration camps, and the United States is under the heel of robotic, mutant-hunting Sentinels. Kate Pryde travels back in time, taking over the mind of her younger self to warn the X-Men of the danger.
Fantastic Four #242-244
I’d recommend eventually reading the entirety of John Byrne’s Fantastic Four, but that would be 62 issues all by itself, and wouldn’t make for a very varied list. In issues 242-244, the FF face Galactus, and Reed Richards makes a momentous choice.
Uncanny X-Men #129-138
The Dark Phoenix saga features X-Man Jean Grey’s corruption by the powers of the Phoenix. The X-Men are forced to make a choice between a founding member and the fate of the universe.
Man of Steel #1-6
Byrne updated Superman for the 1980s in this six-part miniseries. This brought a lot of attention to Superman, and a lot of Marvel readers over for the ride.
Fantastic Four #236
“Terror in a Tiny Town” is the 20th anniversary issue of the FF, which homages their origins while telling an original compelling story.
Fantastic Four 258-262
The FF face off against Doctor Doom, and Reed’s decision about Galactus puts him in dire straits.
Captain America #247-255
With Roger Stern, this short but influential run featured Captain America considering running for President; a faceoff with Baron Blood; and a streamlining of Cap’s origin.
John Byrne’s Next Men # 0-12
This series ran 30 issues, which are all worth seeking out in my opinion. During the first 13 issues, five teenagers discover they’ve been living in a Matrix-like world. These superpowered teens had powers triggered by the government. Once taken from the sheltered world of the Greenery, they must deal with a real world that’s harsher than anything they had imagined.
Fantastic Four #285
After a fan of the Human Torch dies by setting himself on fire, Johnny Storm considers never becoming the Human Torch again.
John Byrne’s 2112
The graphic novel set in the future of the “Next Men” world features the evil Sathanas vs. Safeguard, Inc.
Batman and Robin and Captain America and Bucky face off against the Joker and the Red Skull in the waning days of World War II. Written in a Golden Age style, this one-shot is a lot of fun.
Superman (Vol. 2) #9
Superman faces off against the Joker, who has kidnapped Lois Lane, Jimmy Olsen and Perry White. In a back-up story, “Metropolis – 900 Miles,” Byrne takes a look at what makes Lex Luthor tick.
Fantastic Four #257
Galactus destroys the Skrull homeworld.
A flash back to Superman’s college days, and his love with Lori Lemaris.
Marvel Team-Up #50
The Thing vs. the Thing in the past.
Fantastic Four #252
A sideways issue in which the FF journey into the Negative Zone.
Sensational She-Hulk #1
After introducing the She-Hulk to the Fantastic Four, John Byrne writes and draws her own fourth-wall-breaking comic book series, which was something like an action-packed sitcom.
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