Heh. This has been sitting in my box for a while, and I’m going to take a quick shot. This will be off the top of my head, so apologies. And I’m going to limit to comics that were published primarily and originally in the UK. So - say - we’d get a British creator’s work for 2000AD but not their work for a US publisher.
(It’s one of the jokes that go around is that RUE BRITANNIA, arguably the most British comic published in the last ten years couldn’t get nominated for the British comic awards. But still - that’s the way I’ll be framing these)
Also worth noting my European Comics knowledge isn’t the best in the entire world. I’ll be talking about stuff I just dig.
The archetypal modern Brit-comic anthology. Around since the late 70s, and has all manner of great stuff by people you probably get in US comics. Random faves off the top of my head…
Any NEMESIS THE WARLOCK (Inc TORQUEMADA THE GOD) - any time anyone asks me what artist I want on a project, I always say “Kevin O’Neill. From the early 80s.” This is why. NEMESIS is what I gave to Fraction, by way to explain why Brit creators tend to be wired the way they are. This is what kids comics were in the UK.
ABC WARRIORS: THE BLACK HOLE - approximately 60% of how I write team books is entirely lifted from this.
BAD COMPANY - And the other 40% from this.
THE BALLAD OF HALO JONES
SHAKO - which I tributed lovingly in the first issue of ORIGIN II
SLAINE: THE HORNED GOD
And a lot more, obv. I haven’t even mentioned any DREDD, y’know?
Assorted other anthology-based stories I dig…
CHARLEY’S WAR - if you like Ennis, this is basically the Rosetta Stone. It’s the single biggest influence on my UBER as well.
HOOKJAW: Basically Shako, but even less ethical. Astounding.
Let’s move off that, as it’s easy to get hung up on the Brit anthology stuff, as it’s the pulp pop end, and that’s arguably similar to the US end of things. The sort of pick-up of 2000AD by the current wave of critics seems to remind me of the 90s love of Hong Kong action cinema, if you see what I mean.
I mean, if you’re looking for another tradition - the actual mainstream cultural thing - go look at WHEN THE WIND BLOWS and GEMMA BOVERY.
If you want to look at the British 80s indie underground, start with Eddie Campbell’s ALEC books, which have been collected in the enormous and essential ALEC: THE YEARS HAVE PANTS. Go onto stuff like ABE: WRONG FOR ALL THE RIGHT REASONS.
Oh - HUGO TATE, which is also just been put in a nice collection.
Paul Grist? You know Paul Grist? He’s published via IMAGE recently, but his background is here. KANE is fantastic, but JACK STAFF is wonderful too. Also his collaboration with Grant Morrison SAINT SWITHEN’S DAY is one of my favourite single issue things ever.
(And is probably going to be pastiched in THE WICKED + THE DIVINE at some point.)
Oh - LUTHER ARKWRIGHT is another founding text of what you’ll think of the 80s British invasion. I’ve ripped off the first volume several times.
And TANK GIRL, obv.
THE NAO OF BROWN - Ludicrously good looking.
THE PHOENIX - one of the best kids comics in the world, sez I.
SELF-MADE HERO are publishing really interesting work, and is worth browsing their entire catalogue. I’m always interested to see the adaption work they publish, and their THE MAN WHO LAUGHS by Hine/Stafford is a real tour de force.
NO BROW are also doing great and beautiful stuff. You can start anywhere, but the Luke Pearson stuff would be my suggestion.
Worth noting that while they’re both British publishers, not all their work is British.
Quick fire stuff!
Anything by LIZZ LUNNEY
Oh - and they’re bringing back STRANGEHAVEN which makes it a great time to catch up with its slow-slow-slow Prisoner in the North of England vibe. First comic I ever bought at a British Comic con, for the record.
Late addition! If you want a single volume overview of a lot of British talent from a lot of generations, NELSON is a great project. Basically an exquisite corpse story, passing between creators, telling the story of one woman’s life.
Okay - that’s longer than I wanted it to be, and not as long as I’d like. Sorry for all my faves I’ve missed, but this will get you going.
And as it’s so long, I’m going to boil all of Europe down to THE METABARONS and go and have more tea.
(Not that the Metabarons is actually created by French people, of course. TANKING-U PENDANTS.)