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The Best Stand-Alone & One Shot Comics Storylines 

Ranker Comics
1.3k votes 486 voters 52.2k views 18 items

List Rules Vote for your favorite one-shot and standalone comic book storylines.

In the modern age of comic books, over arching story lines and plots that stretch across multiple titles are all the rage. It can be impossible to find a jumping on point for a book that you’ve heard about or a series that’s been recommended to you. That’s why one-shot stories are such a cool thing. Usually taking place over the course of one issue, a one-shot tells a stand alone story that usually exists outside of the canon of the rest of the series. Although some times they can inform the mythology of the series and further the plot, they’re usually released to tell a singular story. We love the concept of the one-shot and decided to put together a list of our favorite one-shot comics, from massive titles, to independent heartfelt stories.

On this list of our favorite one-shot comics, we got a little loosey goosey with the concept of what a one-shot is (and to be fair, it seems like the comic industry plays pretty loosely with the concept themselves), we’ve covered everything from long form Batman comics to single issues of self released books. To be fair, the self released book on this list won an Eisner Award. We tried to include as many genres as we could, straying from the standard superhero books as much as possible, the only thing we didn’t include was Archie – but how can expect us to choose just one issue of Archie?

Vote up which one-shot comics you think are the best, and leave any suggestions about anything we missed in the comments. We’re always looking to read something new.
Batman: The Killing Joke... is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Stand-Alone & One Shot Comics Storylines
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Considered by most to be the definitive Joker storyline, The Killing Joke is an Alan Moore tour de force that follows the Joker's attempts to prove that all it takes is "one bad day" to drive a man crazy.
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Superman: Red Son is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Stand-Alone & One Shot Comics Storylines
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Red Son is a story penned by Mark Millar that asks "what if Superman had landed in Russia instead of America?" The answer is a gripping tale that ends in some true mind f**kery. 
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Arkham Asylum: A Serious... is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Stand-Alone & One Shot Comics Storylines
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A novel-length deconstruction of the Batman mythos may sound like a slog, but Grant Morrison and Dave McKean truly create a work of art in this masterful stand alone piece.
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For the Man Who Has Ever... is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Stand-Alone & One Shot Comics Storylines
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A comic that details what happens on Superman's birthday. Hint: it involves the ruler of an alien race imprisoning Supes while Batman, Robin, and Wonder Woman have to work together to set him free. Happy birthday!
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