What is Cyberpunk? It's a proverbial retrofitting, an advancement of science and technology spot welded to the shambles of society -- literally, Cyber Punk. Cyberpunk is oftentimes a melding of genres, be they Sci-Fi with Noir, Transhumanism with Robots, or John Woo with Robots. You know Cyberpunk when you see it, and these 15 comics are some of the purest, cyborgiest, bizarrely-sexiest Cyberpunk works to originate in comics, just screaming to be injected right into your canthus.
To clarify, we will not be counting magna in this comic list, leaving out works like "Ghost in The Shell" and "Akira." Likewise, Cyberpunk works in question had to originate as comics, meaning that shoe-in adaptations like "Neuromancer: The Graphic Novel," and the "Blade Runner" comics do not qualify.View article on one page
15THE TRUE LIVES OF THE FABULOUS KILLJOYS
It's hard to ignore a Cyberpunk work that has a companion electro-punk album by My Chemical Romance. Written by Gerard Way and Shaun Simon with art from Becky Cloonan, "The True Lives of The Famous Killjoys" focuses on a band of four ray gun wielding rogues trying to free Battery City from the bland oppressive grip of Better Living Industries. There's also Draculoids, who give you the choice of death or wearing a rubber mask that makes you see nightmare spiders. But don't forget about the BLI sex-robots that just want to love other sex-robots -- when they're not preparing for the arrival of the machine messiah, Destroya, of course.
"Killjoys" is just all over the place -- a lot of overdeveloped ideas with no cohesion. To assist you in this information overload, every issue ends with torn pages from BLI instruction manuals, providing necessary exposition for stuff you just read. Regardless, even if you're na MCR-H8R, you've got to give Gerard Way some props, as the music video for "Na Na Na (Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na)" by MCR/The Killjoys has Grant Morrison playing the primary antagonist.
Ben Templesmith's "Singularity 7" (2004), is a post-apocalyptic Cyberpunk horror story where nano machines are the form of the destroyer. Alien nanites infect one Bobby Hennigan, who improves the world with his nano-bots before razing it with them Bobby dubs himself "The Singularity," forcing humanity underground. Only two types of humanoids can now operate topside: "Gosiodos," man/machine hybrids who have bonded with The Singularity hive mind -- yet couldn't just be called "Singularities" for conceptual clarity -- and the more pragmatically named "Specials," who have special interactions with the nanites, bonding with them to gain powers.
"Singularity 7" falls into a common pitfall of basing a plot around nano machines: equating nanites to machine magic that can hand wave away all problems while simultaneously operating on an arcane set of rules. What kind of statement is being made about nano machines? Sure, there is limitless potential in them, succinctly demonstrated when they fix/destroy civilization in one issue. Additionally, nano machines can make human duplicates, but become Gosiodo when interacting with biological humans, provided that human isn't a Special, who for some reason assumes control over the nano machines. This all makes sense... because nano machines.
Paul Pope's "Heavy Liquid" (1999) may not be the most Cyberpunky entry on this list, but it certainly has more than enough elements for it to qualify. "Heavy Liquid" focuses on "S," which stands for Stooge, and his interactions with Heavy Liquid, a chrome cake batter-looking metal that has unique chemical properties. It's a bizarre sort of comic that throws you into the deep end of NYC, with "S" having to evade assassins wearing cubist masks and The Fork Tungs -- "The meanest, roughest, toughest girl gang in the five boroughs." This beautiful lunatic-noir adventure can only be told through Pope's ink-heavy minimalist style.
When properly refined, Heavy Liquid turns into a black milk, and when inserted into the body it gives the user a unique ultra-sensory and hyper dimensional awareness for about five minutes before giving the user an overall trip that sharpens the mind -- basically space drugs. Though art moguls seek Heavy Liquid for their own creative endeavors, "S" always makes sure to have enough of the mysterious substance squirrelled away to keep his trip going.
"Ronin" by Frank Miller is about a masterless samurai, known as Ronin, who was trapped by the demon Agat inside a magic blood-drinking katana. When the sword is shattered, Ronin is reborn into the Cyberpunk New York City of the 21st century, possessing the body of a cybernetic-using telekinetic autistic quadruple amputee named Billy. Sounds complicated, but it's basically "Samurai Jack," but with inbred cannibal subway hobos. Also, NYC has turned into one big race war, comprised of the "Blacks" (the least-offensive term used to describe the group), obligatory Nazis and The Leathers, who should be self explanatory except they have a leather-clad Black Nazi as their leader.
While "Ronin" is basically the first mainstream Cyberpunk comic, it hasn't aged well. Miller's character art is solid, with almost no sausage fingers whatsoever, but the action sequences can be hard to follow, with landscape shots being downright vague. Is future Manhattan billowing green smog? Or is it overgrown with foliage? Wait, the green blobs are houses? Other Cyberpunk comics tend to take advantage of their backgrounds, filling them as a means of world-building. "Ronin" however, has two chapters taking place in complete darkness.