by | Feb 6, 2019 | Top List

Graphic novels blend the world of story telling with illustration like few other types of art or literature. This is my list of top 10 graphic novels. I have excluded mangas and superhero comics for the time being. (That might have to wait for another post.) I wanted to delve into the weirder world of graphic novels and present something that you haven’t read or maybe you have… but either way, these masterpieces are wonderful, different, striking, and totally worth a read.

My Favorite Thing is Monsters

by Emil Ferris

Set in Chicago in the 1960s, My Favorite Thing is Monsters is presented as the illustrated journal of Karen Reyes, who is investigating the death of her neighbor. Emil Ferris uses her love of old horror and monsters as inspiration throughout this work. After contracting the West Nile virus, Ferris became paralyzed from the waist down and lost control of her right hand. She used this amazing work of art to teach herself to draw again at an average rate of two pages a day on a spiral bound notebook.

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Blanc Naturals Tea Mint and Peach Product Packaging with Metallic Colors for Plant accents for 2019 Design Trends

Honour Among Punks

by Gary Reed & Guy Davis

Published between 1989 and 1991, Honour Among Punks by Gary Reed & Guy Davis takes the world of Sherlock Holmes, with the class system and values of Victorian England, to the 20th century. World War I had a smaller impact, and World War II never occurred. While Adolf Hitler died an old man, a group of punks attempt to solve gruesome, Jack the Ripper style murders in this alternate world.

Man with sunglasses and formal wear holding a mop with water drop and tree illustration showing Realism and Flat Design for 2019 Design Trends
Man with sunglasses and formal wear holding a mop with water drop and tree illustration showing Realism and Flat Design for 2019 Design Trends

Beards of our Forefathers

by David Malik!

Beards of our Forefathers is a collection of David Malki!’s (yes, the ! is a honored part of his name) web comic strip, Wondermark. Malki! takes illustrations and engravings from 19th century books and turns them into hilarious comic strips. He dives into the weird world of offended jellyfish, sheep who hate ballet, and chimpanzees who wear spectacles.

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Man in Black hoodie with a white stripe standing with hands in his pockets inside a room with the words "WHY NOT?" Repeated in Outline Typography as a 2019 Design Trend
3-Dimensional Typography Pop Art with 3D mountains, lips, hands, guitar, balloons and clouds for 2019 Design Trends

Transmetropolitan

by Warren Ellis

This cyberpunk, transhumanist comic book tells the story of the renegade gonzo journalist, Spider Jerusalem, who dedicated himself to fighting the abuse of power of two United States presidents. Transmetropolitan, a 90s comic, rings surprising true to this day. It will make your stomach turn and your brain melt.

World Class Amsterdam Website Home page with Word Class 1 Maxi Impact Typography for 2019 Design Trends
Man in Black hoodie with a white stripe standing with hands in his pockets inside a room with the words "WHY NOT?" Repeated in Outline Typography as a 2019 Design Trend
3-Dimensional Typography Pop Art with 3D mountains, lips, hands, guitar, balloons and clouds for 2019 Design Trends

Puke Force

by Brian Chippendale

Brian Chippendale’s graphic novel Puke Force is a dystopian, hilarious work of satire. He takes on the narcissism of social media, governmental propaganda, racism, and our culture of violence by confronting the right and left with equal brutally. His chaotic illustrations allow the characters to bicker and celebrate in full force. This is a masterpiece of lo-fi storytelling.

World Class Amsterdam Website Home page with Word Class 1 Maxi Impact Typography for 2019 Design Trends
Man in Black hoodie with a white stripe standing with hands in his pockets inside a room with the words "WHY NOT?" Repeated in Outline Typography as a 2019 Design Trend
3-Dimensional Typography Pop Art with 3D mountains, lips, hands, guitar, balloons and clouds for 2019 Design Trends

Love that Bunch

by Aline Kominsky-Crumb

Chronically the thoughts and desires of a woman coming of age in the 1960s, Aline Kominsky-Crumb created a pioneering work of feminist cartooning in Love that Bunch. She pours her darkest secrets and deepest insecurities in a work of self-destructive and grotesque humor confidently telling her story, her way.

The Encyclopedia of Early Earth

by Isabel Greenberg

Taking place before recorded history, this forgotten civilization thrived. The Encyclopedia of Early Earth by Isabel Greenberg, chronicles the explorations of a young man as he paddles from the North Pole to the South Pole to meet his true love. However, their ill-fated romance prevents them from ever making physical contact.

Why Art?

by Elenor Davis

Why Art? details the necessity of art by blending philosophy, humor, and emotion. The odds are stacked against those who pursue a career in the arts; however, for some that is the only path. Elenor Davis forces us to ask: Why art? Why seek it out? Why do we have an emotional response to it? Why does the world need it? Beginning as a guidebook, it morphs into a visual narrative that puts the future of humanity in the artist’s hands.

Here

by Richard McGuire

Here by Richard McGuire is a ground-breaking comic about a room and the events that have happened over the course of hundreds of thousands of years. The focus is placed on the ordinary and mundane. McGuire focuses on what has happened HERE. The interactive eBook version even allows the scenes to be shuffled and reshuffled leading to a new narrative that can weave together the dinosaurs and a child’s toy.

Persepolis

by Marjane Satrapi

Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi is a graphic autobiography depicting her childhood to adult years in Iran during and after the Islamic Revolution. This unforgettable portrait of her daily life during the overthrow of the Shah’s regime, the success of the Islamic Revolution, and the devastating effects of the war with Iraq, leaves the reader feeling, sometime more than they would care to.

BONUS!

Maus

by Art Spiegelman

The first graphic novel to win a Pulitzer Prize, Maus by Art Spiegelman depicts Spiegelman interviewing his father and his experience as a Polish Jew and Holocaust survivor. This postmodern masterpiece represents the Jews as mice, the Germans as cats, and the Poles as pigs. Guilt, racism, family, history, and anxieties permeate through this work classified as a memoir, fiction, autobiography, and history. This is a MUST READ!

Did I miss any great works? Do you agree or disagree with my list? Let’s debate in the comments.
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