There has been a plethora of comics that came out recently and with pop culture becoming extremely popular the last decade due to the mass comic adaptations to movies and series we sometimes tend to forget those comics that made history. Below we’ll try to list the best comics and graphic novels of all time.
“We gaze continually at the world and it grows dull in our perceptions. Yet seen from another’s vantage point, as if new, it may still take the breath away.”
Watchmen is as good as it gets. The only graphic novel to ever win a Hugo Award and appear on the list of Time’s magazine “the 100 best English-language novels from 1923 to the present”.
Forget all your stereotypes and everything that you knew about superheroes, their ethics, and role in society. In a reality where superheroes are portrayed as beings with real-life issues and with lack of any kind of superhero powers (with a single exception). If we could ever recommend a single graphic novel to anyone, this would have been it.
It is NEVER “only a dream”, John Constantine.
Have you ever felt like reading something light and breezy? Well, this is not it.
Neil Gaiman on the stirring wheel and Sam Kieth, Mike Dringenberg & Malcolm Jones III
Is the team behind what would eventually become one of all-time top-rated comics. Binding together myths, folklore and human indecency a group of occultists tries to capture Death in order to extort her for eternal life. They fail though and instead, they capture her little brother dream who they keep as a prisoner for 70 years until he breaks free and seeks revenge and his… tools back.
In his travels, Dream aka Morpheus encounters the likes of Lucifer, John Constantine and more that will keep your attention all the way. If we ever think of Vertigo and their portfolio this one is right at the top together with the next title in our list of best comics of all time.
“When a man carries an instrument of violence, he’ll always find the justification to use it. If we really want to escape this war, we have to stop bringing it with us.”
Written by Brian K. Vaughan, and designed by Fiona Staples, Saga is a combination of different genres. Magic meets Science. Future meets Epic and if it sounds a bit like Star Wars it’s because it was heavily inspired by it. People using magical powers while other use laser guns, rocket ships robots and much more. Never before all the above were so good combined in a novel. Saga rightfully takes its place at the best graphic novels ever written.
The story revolves around two lovers of opposing sides of a war and their efforts to protect their offspring from both sides that are trying to kill them. The story often is narrated by Hazel, their infant daughter.
“Guess that’s thirty-one pieces of silver you’ve got now, huh? Sleep well, Judas.”
Civil War is a Mark Millar and Steve McNiven miracle. Never before we’ve seen the likes of it within the Marvel universe and this is probably an understatement. Written in a seven-issue limited series but with a number of tie-ins, Civil War shook Marvel Universe to its core along with a lot of fans.
In a time of crisis after an accident that involved the death of children due to a fight between two superhero teams, the United States government found the perfect reason to pass a Superhero Registration Act making all people with superhuman powers illegal unless enrolled and thus work for the government.
With a tagline “Whose Side Are You On?”, Civil War follows the story of superheroes that signed the agreement, led by Tony Stark (Iron Man) and then hunted down heroes that didn’t agree with the Registration and formed a Resistance group led by Captain America.
Seeing the story from both sides takes it to another level and even though we are all rebels when it comes to our freedom we can’t help it but feel for Iron Man as well. And while we have become so connected with Captain America and following orders, following this one he was not something he could have done. It seems that there is indeed no one more ethos and honesty oriented character than him in Marvel by far. Cap quickly realizes that holding such power within their grasp the government can use it as a weapon against others not to mention that it feels like prosecution.
Civil War makes it to the list of best comics ever written because of the great story but also because of the real-life events that you can’t stop but feel while you are reading it.
“To die, it’s easy. But you have to struggle for life.”
A little more than 30 years since the day Art Spiegelman wrote the story of his family’s history through war, death and struggle and it still is (and probably will remain) one of the best-written top rated comics of all time. Maus is a Pulitzer-winning graphic memoir that in a very simplistic form depicts the story of how his family survived Nazi-occupied Germany, Auswitch concentration camp and their struggles of starting anew in America. Jews as mice and Nazis as cats it makes it sound so simple yet so enormously powerful. Maus is a story that everyone should read.
The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
“Bond believes we are his pawns. He thinks no-one observes his game. But I am No-One. I observe everything, and to play with Nemo is to play games with Destruction.”
The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen is not just another superhero comic story. Alan Moore made sure of it when he united heroes from literature books and pulp fiction in a story that was meant to change the way you think about familiar faces. Coming together to save the empire (Steampunk version of a Victorian England) heroes such as Wilhelmina “Mina” Harker from Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Captain Nemo from Jules Verne Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, Allan Quatermain from H. Rider Haggard’s 1885 novel King Solomon’s Mines, Dr. Henry Jekyll and Mr. Edward Hyde from Robert Louis Stevenson’s 1886 novel Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde and Dr. Griffin aka The Invisible Man from H. G. Wells’ 1897 science fiction novella The Invisible Man. At this point, I should also mention that there are some wonderful yet very brief cameos. “The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen” is not just a top comic but a literary masterpiece.
“It’s a lousy room in a lousy part of a lousy town.”
Sin City is Frank Miller’s masterpiece, admittedly he had plenty but this one is probably the one that made it to the top comics of all time. It’s dark, it’s filthy and it’s rewarding. After the murder of a girl named Goldie, Marv goes on a hunt (literally) for answers. Marv is a bulldozer of a man with a past as dark as night and a face with as many cuts as the people he has killed. Knowing Marv and his way of thinking, acting and avenging the death of Goldie will seriously make you reconsider what you knew about the underworld and thug life. Reading Sin City brings out something primitive and dark, but to be honest the art plays a tremendous role. The black and white panels made it a whole more dramatic than a colorful comic would be. Easily made the cut within the best comics ever written.
Batman: The Killing Joke
“All it takes is one bad day to reduce the sanest man alive to lunacy. That’s how far the world is from where I am. Just one bad day.”
Written by Alan Moore and illustrated by Brian Bolland this is by far one of our favorite Batman comics. What makes it so you ask? Joker. Joker, the ingenious DC villain that we all grew up with and loved.
Finally, in this origin story written by Moore, we get some sense of who Joker really is, how he became to be the one to torment Gotham for all these years. What makes it even more interesting is that his logic from Moore’s “The Killing Joke” might even seem somewhat true.
Within a society that steps on your back day in, day out and with all the craziness and madness that engulfs us, all we really need to snap is just one bad day.
V for Vendetta
“Remember, remember! The fifth of November, the gunpowder treason and plot; I know of no reason why the gunpowder treason should ever be forgot!”
Written by Alan Moore and illustrated by David Lloyd, V for Vendetta is set in a future England that has given itself over to fascism and I guess you could say that V, the hero of this story, is somewhat an Anarchist Batman of the era.
This is probably one of this graphic novel that after reading will change your life, your way of thinking and the way you look at the world. Answering the questions that the author is asking using as his medium V will make you see our world from a different point of view.
Do we control our lives? Are we free or imprisoned? Do we have to be within four walls to be actually prisoners?
V for Vendetta is a powerful story of resistance, freedom, and free-will teaching us that everyone is a hero and everyone can make a change making it one of the most influential graphic novels of our lifetime and easily one of the top graphic novels ever written.