Tuesday, April 10, 2018

My Top 50 Graphic Novels (or Graphic Novel-like Trade Paperback Collections) -- Updated and Expanded

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, after a few years it was definitely time to update and expand this list.

But, before we get to the actual list, let me head some of your questions off at the pass, so to speak.

Question #1: Why do you have both trade paperbacks and graphic novels on this list?

It's based on my personal understand of what constitutes a "graphic novel." I ignore the TBP moniker and break them into collected graphic novels, original graphic novels, and collections.

A collection is just that, a group of stories based on a book title or  character. A graphic novel or original graphic novel is a complete story designed to be a finished product, even if it's part of an ongoing series. An original graphic novel is written for the long format and hasn't been published as single issues, whereas a collected graphic novel was published originally as single issues or across several issues of an anthology.

Question #2: Why is _____________ not on this list ?

Based on my definitions above, I've had to leave out several of my favorite comics, among them:

Saga -- Because it's so dependent on it's cliffhanger storytelling, it's difficult to separate into standalone stories. When the full volume is completed, it will definitely be on my list as a collected set of TPBs. BTW, Y the Last Man almost didn't make the list for this very reason.

Paper Girls -- The same reason as Saga.

Grindhouse and Grindhouse: Drive In, Drive Out -- Because it is a series of stories, an anthology of two-issue stories, not a single volume of linked tales. What separates it from other story collections in the list, however (such as some of those by Eisner) is a central building, city block, or character tying the tales together.

If you're favorite book isn't on the list, it's most likely one of those two reasons.

Bring on the List!

Honorable Mentions:

My Favorite Thing Is Monsters
by Emil Ferris
Published by Fantagraphics

Astro City: Confessions
by Kurt Busiek and Brent Anderson
Published by Wildstorm (originally) /Vertigo (later) 


by Junji Ito
Published byShogakukan


The Top 50:

50. The House of Secrets Omnibus
by Steve Seagle and Teddy Kristiansen
Published by DC Comics

49. Demon Knights: Seven Against the Dark (Vol. 1)
by Paul Cornell and Diogenes Neves
Published by DC Comics


48. Sex Criminals, Vol. 1: One Weird Trick
by Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky
Published by Image Comics


47. The Umbrella Academy: Apocalypse Suite
by Gerard Way and Gabriel Ba
Published by Dark Horse


46. Locke & Key: Welcome to Lovecraft
by Joe Hill & Gabriel Rodriguez
Published by IDW


45. Mockingbird: I Can Explain/My Feminist Agenda (Vols. 1 and 2)
by Chelsea Cain and Kate Niemczyk
Published by Marvel Comics


44. The Starman Omnibus
by James Robinson and Tony Harris
Published by DC Comics


43. Southern Bastards: Here Was a Man (Vol. 1)
by Jason Aaron and Jason Latour
Published by Image Comics

42. The Wicked + The Divine: The Faust Act (Vol.1)
by Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie
Published by Image Comics

41. Uber (collected)
by Kieron Gillen, Caanan White, Gabriel Andrade. and Daniel Gete
Published by Avatar Press


40. Bitch Planet: Extraordinary Machine (Vol. 1)
by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Valentine De Landro
Published by Image Comics

39. Black Widow: The Finely Woven Thread (Vol. 1)
by  Nathan Edmondson and Phil Noto
Published by Marvel Comics

38. The Infinity Gauntlet
by Jim Starlin, George Perez and Ron Lim
Published by Marvel Comics


37. Ghost World
by Daniel Clowes
Published by Fantagraphics


36. Y the Last Man: Unmanned (Vol. 1)
by Brian K. Vaughan and Pia Guerra
Published by DC Comics 

35. Blankets
by Craig Thompson
Published by Top Shelf Productions

34. The New Frontier
by Darwyn Cooke
Published by DC Comics

33. Give Me Liberty
by Frank Miller and Dave Gibbons
Published by Dark Horse


32. The Golden Age
by James Robinson and Paul Smith
Published by DC Comics


31. The Fade Out (collected)
by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips
Published by Image Comics

30. The Lump
by Chris Wisnia
Published Salt Peter Press


29. Harpe
by Chad Crawford Kinkle and Adam Shaw
Published by Cave in Rock

28. Children of the Grave
by Tom Waltz and Casey Maloney
Published by IDW Publishing

27. Earth X
by Alex Ross and Jim Krueger
Published by Marvel Comics

26. Legion of Super-Heroes: The Greak Darkness Saga
by Paul Levitz and Keith Giffen
Published by DC Comics

25. I Am Legend
by Richard Matheson, adapted by Steven Niles and Elman Brown
Published by IDW Publishing

24. Sandman: Preludes and Nocturnes
by Neil Gaiman and Sam Keith
Published by DC Comics

23. Batman: The Killing Joke
by Alan Moore and Brian Bolland
Published by DC Comics


22. The Interman
by Jeff Parker
Published by Octopus


21. Crisis on Infinite Earths
by Marv Wolfman and George Perez
Published by DC Comics

20. Astro City: Life in the Big City
by Kurt Busiek and Brent Anderson
Published by Wildstorm(originally) / Vertigo (later)

19. Minor Miracles
by Will Eisner
Published by DC Comics

18. Fatale (collected)
by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips
Published by Image Comics

17. Punk Rock Jesus
by Sean Murphy
Published by Vertigo Comics

16. The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
by Alan Moore and Kevin O'Neill
Published by Vertigo Comics

15. Fables: Legends in Exile
by Bill Willingham and Lan Medina
Published by Vertigo Comics

14. Sin City: That Yellow Bastard
by Frank Miller
Published by Dark Horse Comics

13. The Dark Knight Returns
by Frank Miller
Published by DC Comics

12. The Building
by Will Eisner
Published by W. W. Norton & Company

11. Maus (Vols. 1-2)
by Art Spiegelman
Published by Pantheon

10. Watchmen
by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons
Published by DC Comics

9. V for Vendetta
by Alan Moore and David Lloyd
Published by Vertigo Comics


8. The Crusades
by Steve Seagle and Kelley Jones
Published by Vertigo Comics

7. From Hell
by Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell
Published by Top Shelf Productions

6. The Complete Bone
by Jeff Smith
Published by Cartoon Books

5. Sandman: A Doll's House
by Neil Gaiman and various artists
Published by Vertigo Comics

4. Squadron Supreme
by Mark Gruenwald and various artists
Published by Marvel Comics


3. X-Men: God Loves, Man Kills
by Chris Claremont and Brent Anderson
Published by Marvel Comics

2. A Contract with God and Other Tenement Stories
by Will Eisner
Published by W. W. Norton & Company

1. Camelot 3000
by Mike Barr and Brian Bolland
Published by DC Comics

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