Monday, November 06, 2006

Best Ever Graphic Novels

Well, they aren't all novels, some people prefer to call them comics, or illustrated books, but whatever you want to call them, this list captures the best of the best.

This list is the distilled wisdom of the internet on the subject of the best graphic novel. It incorporates 6 "Top 100" lists, 7 different websites on the topic and 50 "Best Graphic Novel" Amazon lists. I assigned points for each of these, with more points for the more reliable. After totalling them up I ranked them and the results follow.

There is an interesting mixture here, but above all the quality is high. These are not comics for kids. Most of them are highly adult in nature, with important messages contained within.

The Top Ten Best Graphic Novels Ever v2

1st Watchmen
2nd Batman: The Dark Knight Returns
3rd Maus
4th Sandman
5th Bone
6th Sin City
7th Preacher
8th V for Vendetta
9th From Hell
10th Batman: Year One


11th League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
12th Marvels
13th Kingdom Come
14th Batman: The Killing Joke
15th Top Ten
16th Hellboy
17th Astro City
18th Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth
19th Lone Wolf and Cub
20th Batman: The Long Halloween


21st Daredevil: Born Again
22nd Squadron Supreme
23rd The Authority
24th Swamp Thing Vol. 1: Saga of the Swamp Thing
25th Blankets
26th Books of Magic
27th Planetary
28th Understanding Comics
29th X-Men: The Dark Phoenix Saga
30th Akira

31st - 40th

31st Batman: Arkham Asylum
32nd Green Lantern/Green Arrow
33rd New Teen Titans, The: The Judas Contract
34th Cages
35th Cerebus
36th Conan
37th Crisis on Infinite Earths
38th Daredevil Visionaries - Frank Miller
39th Superman: Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow
40th 300


41st Hellblazer
42nd 100 Bullets
43rd Miracleman
44th Starman: Sins of the Father
45th Animal Man (Animal Man, Book 1)
46th Daredevil: Guardian Devil
47th Invisibles
48th Strangers In Paradise: I Dream of You
49th Ultimates
50th Batman: Dark Victory


51st Earth X
52nd Elfquest
53rd Fables
54th Green Arrow: The Longbow Hunters
55th love & rockets
56th Safe Area Goražde
57th The Golden Age
58th Death
59th Doctor Strange and Doctor Doom: Triumph and Tormen
60th Eightball #23 (aka "The Death Ray")
61st Infinity Gauntlet
62nd JLA: Year One
63rd Palomar: The Heartbreak Soup Stories
64th Pedro and Me
65th Powers
66th Transmetropolitan
67th Ultimate Spider-Man Vol. 1: Power and Responsibility
68th American Flagg! Volume 1
69th Camelot 3000
70th Promethea
71st Spirit Archives
72nd Superman for All Seasons
73rd X-Men: God Loves, Man Kills
74th Ed the Happy Clown
75th Elektra Lives Again
76th Great Lakes Avengers
77th Invincible
78th Judge Dredd
79th Stuck Rubber Baby
80th The Coffin
81st X Men: E Is for Extinction
82nd Y: The Last Man
83rd Daredevil: Yellow
84th Ex Machina
85th Hawkworld
86th JSA: The Golden Age (Elseworlds)
87th Magnus: Robot Fighter Volume 1
88th Nick Fury
89th Palestine
90th Ronin
91st Torso
92nd We3
93rd Why I Hate Saturn
94th X-Men: Days of Future Past
95th 1602
96th Batman: Hush
97th Berlin: City of Stones by Jason Lutes
98th Deep Sleeper
99th Fax from Sarajevo
100th Frank

101st - 200th

101st Identity Crisis
102nd Lucifer
103rd Our Cancer Year
104th Sleeper Season 2
105th Solar, Man of the Atom: Alpha and Omega
106th StormWatch
107th The Sensational Spider-Man : Nothing Can Stop the
108th The Trial of Galactus (Fantastic Four)
109th The Walking Dead
110th Wanted
111th American Splendor
112th Banner (Hulk)
113th Batman: A Death in the Family
114th Batman: Black and White
115th Box Office Poison
116th Concrete
117th David Boring
118th Exiles
119th Legion: The Great Darkness Saga
120th Neil Gaimans Midnight Days
121st Runaways
122nd She-Hulk
123rd Signal to Noise
124th Uncle Sam
125th Alias
126th Avengers Forever
127th Captain America: The New Deal
128th Circles (Usagi Yojimbo, Book 6)
129th Daredevil Legends
130th Fantastic Four Visionaries - John Byrne, Vol. 1
131st JLA Vol. 1: New World Order
132nd Legion of Super-Heroes: The Great Darkness Saga
133rd Manhunter
134th Nausicaa of the Valley of Winds
135th Nightwing: A Night in Bludhaven
136th One! Hundred! Demons!
137th Origin (Origin of Wolverine)
138th Punisher: Born
139th Spider Man: Death of Gwen Stacy
140th Stray Bullets: Innocence of Nihilism
141st Superman: Birthright
142nd Superman: Red Son
143rd The Losers
144th The Power of Iron Man
145th Thor Visionaries Vol. 1: Walt Simonson
146th Wolverine
147th Wolverine: Enemy of the State
148th 1Sentry
149th A Small Killing
150th Arkham Asylum: Living Hell
151st Arrowsmith
152nd Astonishing XMen
153rd Atheist
154th Barry Ween Boy Genius
155th Batman & Superman Adventures: World's Finest
156th Batman Adventures: Dangerous Dames and Demons
157th Batman: Black & White, Volume Two
158th Batman: The Dark Knight Strikes Again
159th Batman: War on Crime
160th Black Panther by Christopher Priest
161st Blacksad 2
162nd Bloodhound
163rd Boris the Bear
164th Boulevard of Broken Dreams
165th Caper
166th Captain America: The Winter Soldier
167th Captain America: War and Remembrance
168th Cartoon History of the Universe III: From the Rise of Arabia to the Renaissance
169th Challengers of the Unknown
170th Daredevil: Wake Up
171st DC: The New Frontier
172nd Death of Captain Marvel
173rd District X
174th Doc Frankenstein
175th Elektra Assassin
176th Empire
177th Fairy Tales of Oscar Wilde Vol. 2
178th Fantastic Four: Unthinkable
179th Flash: The Return of Barry Allen
180th Fortune and Glory: A True Hollywood Comic Book Story
181st Ghost World
182nd Girls
183rd Gotham Central
184th Hammer of the Gods
185th Howard the Duck
186th JLA: Earth 2
187th JLA: The Obsidian Age
188th JLA: Tower of Babel
189th Keith Giffen's Justice League
190th Last Day in Vietnam
191st Lex Luthor: Man of Steel
192nd Locas
193rd Louis Riel
194th Marvel Team-Up
195th Mutant X
196th Nightwing: Year One
197th Operation: Galactic Storm
198th Peter David's Captain Marvel
199th Rex Mundi
200th Scurvy Dogs


Heres the rest, that got at least 2 points/votes

201st Shaolin Cowboy
202nd Space Ghost
203rd Spectacular Spider-man: The Child Within
204th Spider-Man/Human Torch
205th Squee's Big Giant Book of Unspeakable Horrors
206th Star Wars Tales
207th Startling Stories: Banner
208th Superman: Peace on Earth
209th Superman: Secret Identity
210th Superman:Exile
211th Supreme Power
212th Taskmaster
213th The Flash: Blitz
214th The Golem's Mighty Swing
215th The Mask
216th The Mighty Thor
217th The Name of the Game
218th The Originals
219th The Question
220th The Ring, the Arrow, and the Bat
221st The Tale of One Bad Rat
222nd The Tick
223rd Thor
224th Thunderbolts
225th Tilting at Windmills
226th To the Heart of the Storm
227th Ultra
228th Usaga Yojimba
229th Warts and All
230th Wildguard
231st X-Force Volume 1: New Beginning (X-Force)
232nd You Are Here
233rd Young Avengers
234th Young Justice
235th Aquaman: Time and Tide
236th Avengers: Ultron Unlimited
237th Avengers: Under Siege
238th Batman: Strange Apparitions
239th Black Canary/Oracle: Birds of Prey
240th Black Orchid
241st Enemy Ace: War Idyll
242nd Jinx: The Definitive Collection
243rd JLA: Rock of Ages
244th Justice League: A New Beginning
245th Marvel Superheroes Secret Wars
246th Punisher Vol 1
247th Road to Perdition
248th Robin: A Hero Reborn
249th Silver Surfer: Rebirth Of Thanos
250th Tarzan In Color collections
251st Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Collected Book V
252nd 30 Days of Night
253rd Astro Boy
254th Avengers: The Kree-Skrull War
255th Barefoot Gen by Keiji Nakazawa
256th Batman: A Lonely Place of Dying
257th Batman: Tales of the Demon
258th Blaze of Glory
259th Carnet de Voyage
260th Chosen
261st Crisis on Multiple Earths
262nd Daredevil Volume 4
263rd Doom Patrol: Crawling From the Wreckage
264th Essential Spiderman V.1
265th Fantastic Four: The Trial of Galactus
266th Fruits Basket, Vol. 9
267th Fullmetal Alchemist, Vol. 1, Fullmetal Alchemist Ser. Series #1
268th Goldfish
269th In the Shadow of No Towers
270th JLA: The Nail
271st JSA: Justice Be Done/Darkness Falls
272nd McSweeney's Quarterly Concern Issue #13
273rd Naruto, Vol. 7, Naruto Ser.
274th Owly
275th Punisher: Circle of Blood
276th Samurai Executioner
277th Spider-Man: Kraven's Last Hunt
278th The Death of Captain Marvel
279th The Goon
280th The Greatest XXXXX Stories Ever Told books.
281st The Kents - A western comic for the 21st century.
282nd Ultimate X-Men, Vol. 1
283rd Untold Legend of the Batman
284th Vagabond
285th Vampire Hunter D
286th Whiteout
287th World's Finest
288th Archie Americana Series: The Forties
289th Batman & Huntress
290th Batman/Green Arrow: The Poison Tomorrow
291st Batman: Anarky
292nd Batman: Collected Legends of the Dark Knight
293rd Batman: Gotham by Gaslight
294th Big Book of Urban Legends
295th Contract with God
296th DC/Marvel Crossover Classics
297th Green Lantern: Emerald Dawn
298th Green Lantern: Fear Itself
299th Green Lantern: Ganthet's Tale
300th Heart of Empire
301st Hercules: Full Circle
302nd Incredible Hulk: Ground Zero (Marvel comics)
303rd Julius Knipl, Real Estate Photographer
304th Las Mujeres Perdidas
305th Like a Velvet Glove in Cast Iron
306th Little Nemo in Slumberland collections
307th Marvel Masterpieces: Fantastic Four
308th Milk & Cheese
309th Nightwing: A Darker Shade of Justice
310th Obergeist: The Director's Cut
311th Oink: Heaven's Butcher
312th Poison River
313th Prince Valiant
314th Pulp Fiction: Mystery In Space
315th Queen & Country
316th Ranma 1/2
317th Slaine: The Horned God
318th Spider-Man: The Saga of the Alien Costume
319th Tale of One Bad Rat
320th War Idyll: Enemy Ace
321st Wolf in Shadow


Everything above this post represents the results of a later ranking (done in Nov 2006), everything below is done on the basis of information from 2005 or older.

The Latest analysis includes points from 5 different "Top 100" graphic novels articles, plus Harvey/Eisner award winners, plus points for mentions on 7 different graphic novel review websites. I have merged into this 50 current Amazon "Best/Great Graphic Novel/Comics" lists. This eclectic mixture should give a balanced view of the most popular/best graphic novels/comics/illustrated books ever.

Its not a perfect method, but it certainly does produce some interesting results and a list you cannot really go wrong with. These are fantastic reads and are ideal for convincing anyone that "comics are for kids" that they might not be right!

Monday, October 16, 2006

Wednesday, August 16, 2006


I wrote the following blog entries as a magazine article way back in June 2005, however the magazine never got off the ground, so I figured it was time to put the article out on my own.

I've read a lot of graphic novels since I wrote this down (I've now read 16 of the top 20, plus many others), plus newer, superb, GNs could have come out since I researched this article. If you think so, then please comment! I'd love to hear about a great book that I haven't heard of so far!

Background and Methodology

I’m writing this article because its one that I would like to have read.
Bizarrely, unlike board games (which sell much less), there is no reliable source on the web for ratings of graphic novels. So how do people find out the good ones? Hmm….well, they probably don’t, hence why DC and Marvel dominate the comic/graphic novels market. There is a conspiracy there, but I’m not going to go down that route. So how do you find out what the best stuff is without going and talking to some weird guy behind the till in a comics shop?

Well there is a book available titled “The 101 Best Graphic Novels”, but in this age of information why would you want to pay for something like that?! Plus having seen a couple of reviews of it on the web it is not too reliable anyway. So as an alternative, I have done the work for you and created a “Best Of” list which you can have for free!

The following Top Ten list was created using various sources found on the web, mostly a load of lists of "best Graphic Novels" (or “Graphic Novels you have to read”, etc) put up on Amazon. Having spent enough time on the web to put together a list of 50 reliable(ish) sources I reckon that I have enough to give a representative(ish) top twenty. So what I have done is give one vote to each graphic novel that these sources put in their own list. There is a chance that I have added a bias by the way I have selected the lists, but if you don't like the result work something else out yourself.

I have also played a little fast and loose with regards to the scoring. In some cases I have grouped all of a series under one heading (e.g. Preacher) and in the case of the big guys I have broken their entries down by book (Batman, Superman, Daredevil)

The Top Ten Best Graphic Novels Ever

These are the Graphic Novels that got the most votes in reverse order......

10. Sin City – the comic that the new film is based on – vicious film noir
9. Maus – Pulitzer prize winning story of the holocaust, with mice & cats
8. Kingdom Come – the world is ending and superheroes try to stop it
7. Preacher – Texan ex-vicar is given the power of God and kicks arse
6. League of Extraordinary Gentlemen – forget the dire film, enjoy this romp
5. From Hell – the quality graphic novel that inspired the film about the ripper
4. Sandman – Emotional complexity & story depth across a multipart series
3. V for Vendetta – Britain under a fascist regime & a vigilante freedom fighter
2. Watchmen – A grim and complex take on the absolute power of superheroes
1. Batman: Dark Knight Returns – An aging Batman returns to a dark future

I’ve got to say that this is a stunning list. I’ve read half of them and they are fabulous. All are highly recommended - you cannot lose with these.

Best Novels 11-20

Here are the near misses – the 11-20…… Batman: The Killing Joke, Jimmy Corrigan, Batman: Year One, Marvels, 100 Bullets, Daredevil: Born Again, Ghost World, Ronin, X-men Legends Volume 1 (Dark Phoenix), 300.

For me the big surprise is the absence of the uber-superhero, Superman from the top twenty, in fact on my list he comes in at a poor 52nd. Also there is little Manga in this list, possibly because my sources are almost all English-speaking (Lone Wolf & Cub came in 43rd).

Best Graphic Novel Authors

So, what about the authors? Who writes this amazing stuff? Well, I totalled the votes by author instead of by novel to see who are the best of the best…..

5. Mark Waid (Kingdom Come)
4. Neil Gaiman (Sandman, Hellblazer, Death)
3. Garth Ennis (Preacher, The Authority, Hellblazer, Punisher, Miracleman)
2. Frank Miller (Batman: DK Returns & Year One, Sin City, Ronin, 300…)
1. Alan Moore (Watchmen, V for Vendetta)

Alan Moore was the clear winner. As well as the superb Watchmen and V for Vendetta, he has also written From Hell, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Top Ten, Miracleman, Swamp Thing and Batman: Killing Joke, all of which featured highly in the top 50 graphic novels.

So, if you are looking to start into graphic novels, I’d recommend starting with Watchmen. From there dive into the top ten, or just read anything by Alan Moore or Frank Miller.

Other Possibilities

For those of you looking for something a little more eclectic, then try some of these: Blankets, Love & Rockets, The Invisibles, David Boring, Death, Perspolis, or Bone.

And for the superhero lovers: Infinity Gauntlet, Starman, The Authority, Batman: The Long Halloween or Daredevil: Yellow.