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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

100 Must-Read Graphic Novels -- According to Eddie Campbell, "anyone who thinks there are more than a few dozen so-called 'graphic novels' worth reading is an idiot." Sorry, Eddie, I beg to differ. Here's my list of 100 Must-Read Graphic Novels. Funny part is, I limited most creators to two or three slots, or Eddie Campbell's oeuvre would have made up a good half-dozen all on their own, and the list would have been closer to 200.

100 - Little Nothings: The Curse of the Umbrella by Lewis Trondheim (NBM)

099 - Reid Fleming: Rogue to Riches by David Boswell (Deep Sea Comics)

098 - Real Stuff by Dennis Eichhorn et al (Swifty Morales Press)

097 - The Norm in Color by Michael Jantze (thenorm.com)

096 - Lost at Sea by Bryan Lee O'Malley (Drawn and Quarterly)

095 - Life's a Bitch: The Collected Bitchy Bitch by Roberta Gregory (Fantagraphics Books)

094 - Swallow Me Whole by Nate Powell (Top Shelf)

093 - Curses by Kevin Huizenga (Drawn and Quarterly)

092 - American Splendor: The Best of American Splendor by Harvey Pekar et al (Ballantine)

091 - War Stories by Garth Ennis et al (two volumes) (DC Comics)

090 - A Treasury of Victorian Murder: Abraham Lincoln by Rick Geary (NBM)

089 - Storeyville by Frank Santoro (Picturebox)

088 - All Star Superman by Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely (DC Comics)

087 - Spent by Joe Matt (Drawn and Quarterly)

086 - My War with Brian by Ted Rall (NBM)

085 - Mad Night by Richard Sala (Fantagraphics Books)

084 - Late Bloomer by Carol Tyler (Fantagraphics Books)

083 - The Collected Hutch Owen by Tom Hart (Top Shelf)

082 - God's Bosom and Other Stories by Jack Jackson (Fantagraphics Books)

081 - Fred the Clown by Roger Langridge (Fantagraphics Books)

080 - Amazing Spider-Man Omnibus by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko (Marvel)

079 - Ripple by Dave Cooper (Fantagraphics)

078 - Conan: Born on the Battlefield by Kurt Busiek and Greg Ruth (Dark Horse)

077 - City of Glass by Paul Auster, Paul Karasik and David Mazzucchelli (Harper Perennial)

076 - Bone One Volume Edition by Jeff Smith (Cartoon Books)

075 - Black Hole by Charles Burns (Pantheon)

074 - Daddy's Girl by By Debbie Drechsler (Fantagraphics Books)

073 - The Gypsy Lounge: Lunchtime Variety Criminals by Jasen Lex (Aweful Books)

072 - Marvel Boy by Grant Morrison and JG Jones (Marvel Comics)

071 - The Walking Man by Jiro Tanaguchi (Fanfare/Ponent Mon)

070 - Waterwise by Joel Orff (Alternative Comics)

069 - Red Eye, Black Eye by K. Thor Jensen (Alternative Comics)

068 - Good-Bye by Yosihiro Tatsumi (Drawn and Quarterly)

067 - Abandon the Old in Tokyo by Yoshiro Tatsumi (Drawn and Quarterly)

066 - The Push Man - by Yoshiro Tatsumi (Drawn and Quarterly)

065 - Shuck Unmasked by Rick Smith and Tania Menesse (Top Shelf)

064 - Paul Has A Summer Job by Michel Rabagliati (Drawn and Quarterly)

063 - Monkey vs. Robot by James Kochalka (Top Shelf)

062 - Hellboy by Mike Mignola (six volumes to date) (Dark Horse)

061 - Lost Girls by Alan Moore and Melinda Gebbie (Top Shelf)

060 - McSweeney's Quarterly Concern #13 edited by Chris Ware (McSweeney's)

059 - The Legend of Wild Man Fischer by Dennis Eichhorn and J.R. Williams (Top Shelf)

058 - The Fart Party by Julia Wertz (Atomic Books)

057 - Demo by Brian Wood and Becky Cloonan (DC/Vertigo)

056 - The Silver Surfer by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby (Marvel Comics)

055 - Jack Kirby's Fourth World Omnibus by Jack Kirby (four volumes) (DC Comics)

054 - Pizzeria Kamikaze by Etgar Keret and Asaf Hanuka (Alternative Comics)

053 - James Sturm's America by James Sturm (Drawn and Quarterly)

052 - Palestine by Joe Sacco (Fantagraphics Books)

051 - Strangehaven by Gary Spencer Millidge (three volumes to date) (Abiogenesis Press)

050 - The Outer Space Spirit by Will Eisner, Jules Feiffer and Wallace Wood (Kitchen Sink) (Out of print; stories available in The Spirit Archives Vol. 24 from DC Comics)

049 - Top Ten by Alan Moore, Zander Cannon and Gene Ha (two volumes) (America's Best Comics)

048 - The Placebo Man by Tomer Hanuka (Alternative Comics)

047 - We3 by Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely (DC/Vertigo)

046 - David Boring by Dan Clowes (Pantheon)

045 - Cages by Dave McKean (NBM)

044 - Bottomless Belly Button by Dash Shaw (Fantagraphics Books)

043 - Crecy by Warren Ellis and Raulo Caceres (Avatar Press)

042 - The Maakies by Tony Millionaire (Fantagraphics Books)

041 - The Book of Leviathan By Peter Blegvad (The Overlook Press)

040 - Fantastic Butterflies by James Kochalka (Alternative Comics)

039 - B. Krigstein Comics by Bernard Krigstein (Fantagraphics Books)

038 - Jay's Days: Rise and Fall of the Pasta Shop Lothario by Jason Marcy (Hairy Bald Guy Books)

037 - Gødland by Joe Casey and Tom Scioli (Image Comics)

036 - Scott Pilgrim by Bryan Lee O'Malley (four volumes to date) (Oni Press)

035 - The Filth by Grant Morrison and Chris Weston (DC/Vertigo)

034 - The Complete Calvin and Hobbes by Bill Watterson (Andrews McMeel)

033 - Watchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons (DC Comics)

032 - Marbles in My Underpants by Renee French (Oni Press)

031 - Catwoman Volumes One through Four by Ed Brubaker, Darwyn Cooke, et al (DC Comics)

030 - Bluesman by Rob Vollmar and Pablo Callejo (NBM)

029 - The Castaways by Rob Vollmar and Pablo Callejo (NBM)

028 - DC: The New Frontier by Darwyn Cooke (DC Comics)

027 - Mad Love by Paul Dini and Bruce Timm (DC Comics)

026 - The Journal Comic by Drew Weing (Self-published)

025 - 32 Stories by Adrian Tomine (Drawn and Quarterly)

024 - The Amazing Remarkable Monsieur Leotard by Eddie Campbell and Dan Best (First Second)

023 - It's A Good Life If You Don't Weaken by Seth (Drawn and Quarterly)

022 - Street Angel by Jim Rugg and Brian Maruca (SLG)

021 - Batman: Year One by Frank Miller and David Mazzucchelli (DC Comics)

020 - Daredevil: Born Again by Frank Miller and David Mazzucchelli (Marvel Comics)

019 - Criminal by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips (three volumes to date) (Marvel/Icon)

018 - Sleeper by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips (four volumes) (DC/Wildstorm)

017 - Fun Home by Alison Bechdel (Houghton Mifflin)

016 - The Complete Peanuts by Charles Schulz (Fantagraphics Books)

015 - King-Cat Classix by John Porcellino (Drawn and Quarterly)

014 - Locas by Jaime Hernandez (Fantagraphics Books)

013 - The Frank Book by Jim Woodring (Fantagraphics Books)

012 - The Ticking by Renée French (Top Shelf)

011 - Bob and Harv's Comics by Harvey Pekar and R. Crumb (4 Walls 8 Windows)

010 - Palomar by Gilbert Hernandez (Fantagraphics Books)

009 - Alec: How to be an Artist by Eddie Campbell (Top Shelf)

008 - Hey, Wait... by Jason (Fantagraphics Books)

007 - Ghost World by Dan Clowes (Fantagraphics Books)

006 - Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth by Chris Ware (Pantheon)

005 - American Elf: The Collected Sketchbook Diaries of James Kochalka (Top Shelf)

004 - Ice Haven by Dan Clowes (Pantheon)

003 - Louis Riel by Chester Brown (Drawn and Quarterly)

002 - Diary of a Teenage Girl by Phoebe Gloeckner (Frog LTD)

001 - From Hell by Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell (Top Shelf)

What do you think? Is Eddie Campbell right, or are there more than a few dozen graphic novels worth reading? I think every book on this list demands the attention of anyone that loves good comics and wants to know all the very best works the artform has to offer, and I think this list is just a beginning.

What's on your list?


Speaking of graphic novels, buy some cheap and with free shipping during the ADD Blog graphic novel sale!



Blogger Dick Hyacinth said...

I would imagine that Campbell might upbraid you for imposing a definition of "graphic novel" to which he does not subscribe upon his statement. I speak from experience here.

20 August, 2008 23:50  
Blogger Jarrett Duncan said...

Between Campbell's statement and your list, I think its obvious you are both using different defintions of 'graphic novel'.

I kind of remember Campbell not being a fan of the term 'graphic novel' in the first place, but maybe he holds a very precise definition of it for himself? Going through your list, the only way you could dismiss most of it from the argument is if one considered 'graphic novels' only as one wholes(like BLANKETS, and almost all of Campbell's own recent output) and not collected material.

Going down that route though brings about the same people who declare WATCHMEN not a graphic novel because it is actually a collection of twelve issues, which is just all kinds of sad. Kind of nitpicking/railing against popular definition...when even 'comics' is difficult to really nail down.

Or, I dunno, maybe Campbell has some ridiculously high standards.

21 August, 2008 00:26  
Blogger Jason Hissong said...

Ten off the top of my head, no particular order:

Mother, Come Home by Paul Hornschemeier

Epileptic by David B.

Finder: Talisman by Carla Speed McNeil

The Contract With God Trilogy by Will Eisner

Kabuki: Metamorphosis by David Mack

Orbiter by Warren Ellis and Colleen Doran

The Adventures of Luther Arkwright by Bryan Talbot

Berlin: City of Stones by Jason Lutes

Hicksville by Dylan Horrocks

Superspy by Matt Kindt

21 August, 2008 00:38  
Blogger LGP said...

Nice list. I'm ashamed of how many I haven't read (probably 90%), but was happy to see a few that I do love. Couldn't get to a hundred, and I probably stretched "graphic novel" too much, but, as always, you inspire me:


21 August, 2008 03:17  
Blogger Alan David Doane said...

Hey Jason,

Mother Come Home and Hicksville very nearly made the list, as a matter of fact.

Everybody else, I really was more using Eddie's statement as a jumping-off point than trying to set up an oppositional paradigm. I do think he's wrong, but not "evil wrong," just a little wrong, and probably down to semantics at that. His post made me want to see if I could create a list of 100 GNs I personally consider essential, and like I said in the post, I could easily make the list twice or three times as long if I unpacked it further to include other essential books by Moore, Kochalka, Crumb, Pekar, Clowes and Ware, and other creators at or near their skill-set.

21 August, 2008 03:38  
Blogger J.C. Glindmyer said...

How about:

A Contract with God by Will Eisner (should be at least in the top ten, I mean really...)
Maus by Art Spiegelman (ditto)Absolute Sandman Vol 1 by Neil Gaiman & others
The Poor Bastard by Joe Matt
Apex Treasury Best of Bijouu Funies-the best Underground Comix collection-EVER!
Pussey by Dan Clowes
EC Library Weird Science (the Russ Cochran books)
V for Vendetta by Alan Moore and David Lloyd
The Playboy by Chester Brown
Wonder Warthog and the Nerds of November by Gilbert Shelton (featuring the classic Wonder Warthog goes on Welfare!)

okay enough procrastinating- back to the order form.....

23 August, 2008 14:35  
Blogger Ed Howard said...

I've started my own list of Essential Comic Strips which will soon have annotations for each list entry. This list is limited to strips as the first in a series of such limited-focus canons, on the theory that a comics canon will only make sense if it maintains some divisions between publication formats and movements rather than lumping everything together in one place. Check it out, I'm looking for outside input as well.

17 September, 2008 13:37  
Blogger Jeremie said...

"Blankets", by Craig Thompson
"A Distant Neighborhood", by Jiro Taniguchi
"Maus", by Spiegelman
"A Drifting life", by Tatsumi
"Epilectic", by David B
"Ode to Kirihito", by Tezuka
"The man without talent", by Tsuge
"Gorazde", by Joe Sacco
All of those would definitely top my list.

And there is the obvious masterpiece by Oesterheld (by far the best of all) "El Eternauta". But I don't know whether this was translated in English.

10 February, 2010 07:05  

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