Derek Barton’s top 10 go-to comic book and graphic novel list

True North Country Comics presents Derek Barton’s top 10 go-to comic books and graphic novels.

Derek resides in Oshawa, Ontario, and he’s been sketching and drawing pretty much his whole life and has been influenced by comics and animation. According to Derek: “I am just starting to build the nerve to put myself out there.” 

1) Savage Dragon by Erik Larsen (Image) 
“The only Image founder book that I still read consistently. What I love about this book is that it takes place in real time which has allowed the story to move beyond the initial conflict and moved in so many different directions that still manage to surprise me.”

2) The Spectacular Spider-Man by J. M. DeMatteis and Sal Buscema (Marvel)
“Spidey was one of my earliest memories of comics in general through Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends and I have always stopped in to see what’s been going on in the book. For me, the most underrated is the run by J.M DeMatteis and Sal Buscema in the early 90’s. This was the first instance where I had seen a writer and artist work so well that a lot of the storytelling was done with the art and not as much exposition like a lot of comics had in that era.”

3) Transformers G1 by Simon Furman, José Delbo, Dave Hunt and Nel Yomtov (Marvel/Hasbro)
Transformers had blown my mind when I was 6 years old, I was into the toys, the cartoon, whatever. At this point, I was noticing that while the artwork was nicer in the cartoon, the comics had some more freedom with the storytelling. Especially when Simon Furman took over writing the American comic and was showcasing his favourite characters, which weren’t always featured toys that year.”

4) Dynamo 5 by Jay Faerber and Mahmud A. Asrar (Image)
Dynamo 5 has this idea where a middle aged Superman archetype is a very unfaithful husband to his wife is found dead in a hotel. It picks up with his widow, Maddie Warner tracking down five of his illegitimate kids and form Dynamo 5 all over the world to protect Tower City from Captain Dynamo’s enemies, even a sixth child with all of their powers and a lifetime of training.”

5) Watchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons (DC)
“This one is so good it’s almost a cliche to put in a comic top 10 list, but every time I pick it up to read, I fall in love with it all over again. I was re reading it when I finally got around to watching th Watchmen HBO series to connect the dots. Everything from the world created to the bonus material at the end of each chapter just makes the book feel like a satisfying read every time.”

6) X-Men Days of Future Past by Chris Claremont, John Byrne and Terry Austin (Marvel) 
“While there are many arcs in the X-Men’s long history that are worth reading, Days of Future Past for me is one of the better ones. It manages to get a grand epic story in two issues without a lot of extra back story weighing it down. It sums up the X-Men greatly and anyone can pick just those two issues up and enjoy it.”

7) Moneyshot by Tim Seeley, Sarah Beattie, Rebekah Isaacs, Kurt Michael Russell and Crank! (Vault Publishing)
“In the not too distant future, MAGA was allowed to continue into 2032, rendering science & space exploration ‘too expensive with no short term gain’. Dr. Christine Ocampo and her fellow scientists decide to start a subscription service to explore new life, and do unspeakable things with it.”

8) Art of Ditko by Steve Ditko, Craig You and Stan Lee (IDW/Yeo Books)
“I was collecting comics seriously at 14 years old and started getting interested in some of the artists and started paying attention to their influences, and Steve Ditko usually ends up on many lists. I have to admit, it took me a bit to warm up to Ditko’s style, but when I did I went all in on his work from the ’50’s, with the mood and worlds he can convey.

9) Ghost Rider/Wolverine/Punisher: Hearts of Darkness One Shot by Howard Mackie, John Romita Jr. and Ron Garney (Marvel)
“I have to admit, the story here is nothing special and probably could have been a two part story in any of the starring characters regular books, but for me the big draw here was John Romita JR.This was the book that actively got me looking for other books that JRJR has done over the years.”

10) Shadowhawk by Jim Valentino (Image)
“When this came out, I was in all Image mode due to Larsen, McFarlane & Lee. I did check out all the books when they came out and I did warm up to them all, but this one is one of the ones I have a greater appreciation for now. I love the set up of a vigilante who doesn’t kill criminals, but he would break their backs so they would never commit crimes again. This series spanned about 19 issues over the course of four mini-series, which was not a conventional format back in the 90’s.”

You can discover more about Derek on Twitter @DerekBartonArt and online at

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