DC Comics titles considered the best or most underrated

This is a list of comic book runs, mini-series, and graphic novels published by DC Comics. I compiled it from over a hundred recommendation threads and other lists on the web.

Normally, I avoid presenting the lists I publish here as “top X” or “the best of” lists. Instead, I refer to them as lists of the most popular or frequently recommended items within a particular category or theme. However, this time I allowed myself to use the prase “the best” in the title, because the theme is the best items out of a very large collection. Still, in the interest of objectivity and avoiding clickbaity sensationalism, I would like to emphasize that these are not my personal recommendations, but rather the comics that are often described as the very cream of the crop of DC publications.

The present list is actually an outgrowth of my research into DC Comics’ magical and occult stories, as well as cosmic or sci-fi stories. While admittedly my own interests are limited to a very small region of the DC Universe, I compiled this ranking to keep the big picture in mind.

However, I didn’t want this to end up as yet another boring “starter pack” of so-called essential titles. The problem with the many alleged canonical lists of works that get reposted ad nauseam with little variation is that they focus on works that are supposed to be “important” (usually for historical reasons), but are not really anyone’s favorites. That’s why I was picky with my sources, preferring lists made by people who seemed both knowledgeable and enthusiastic about their DC favorites over cookie-cutter “ideal collections”.

To go a little off the beaten path, I included in my sources not only “best of” lists, but also lists of comics that are recognized as lesser known and underappreciated, despite having cult followings. I also did my best to avoid the prevalent presentist bias by consulting multiple sources focused on earlier eras of DC (though I took the pre-Crisis Bronze Age as a rough starting point). As a result, my final list is a mix of crowd-pleasing blockbusters and more niche, slightly forgotten titles.

I decided to allow Vertigo titles that have at least a tangential connection to the mainline DC Universe (or were later glued to it, as in the baffling case of Watchmen). Comics from various DC imprints that are entirely their own thing were not included. I did publish, however, a separate list of Vertigo comics.

The list