Much like Liam Neeson, I’m always making lists. If you’re familiar with Comic Book Herald, you know these are typically massive reading order lists, with a primary focus on Marvel comics (and some DC!).
The below list is a very different breed, and is instead a collection of all my favorite comics and graphic novels I have ever read. Every time I read a new comic book series, I add it to the list, and rank it among the substantial competition of all the best comics ever.
There are two essential notes I’d like to add before you get to the list.
1 – I do not claim to have read all the greatest comics of all time. I am literally one man (at best, a half animal, part party machine). This list is an evolving organism that will take new shape as I pick up new books. If you have a personal favorite you don’t see included here, I’d love to hear about it in the comments, on Twitter, via email, on the street, from a disembodied voice floating through my attic… you get the idea.
2 – I have read many more Marvel comics than I’ve yet included on this list. This is changing all the time as I re-read Marvel series as part of My Marvelous Year and subsequently rank the titles. Again, if you’re looking for your Marvel comics fixin’s, I’d also check out my favorite 100 stories from 1998 to 2015, or the top 25 Marvel trade collections from 1961 to 1998.
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Finally, the rankings you’ll see here are almost entirely comics I like a lot. The higher a comic is ranked, the more I like it. The only real blatant exception to this is Mark Millar and J.G. Jones’ “Wanted,” which is a comic I despise beyond words, and really only want to include in perpetual last place on this list to make a point. (The point? It stinks.)
Let the superlative headlines begin, and enjoy the comics!
Last Updated: March 14, 2023
Amazing list, really enoyed going and finding out about them all. I’m an artist and this is source supreme.
Only omission is Lone Sloane: Delirius by Philippe Druillet
Thanos Quest didn’t make the list? Is it not long enough?
Could be higher 🙂
It would be nice if there were any comments or explanation on why you thought these were the best comics of all time
Habitual Resistor says
The fact that you have Tom Kings Mister Miracle number 6, is an utter comic book blasphemy. Just for the fact that it is above many that are far better than that craptastic non-story. This list is a farce.
There seems to be a mistake with “The Department of Truth”, it’s listed at both position 86 and 241.
Or is it all a great conspiracy!
(It’s not. Thank you!)
Where’s Morrison’s Seven Soldiers?
Okay, I can understand why an American wouldn’t list European comics, but I’m surprised that V for Vendetta didn’t make the list. If you need some suggestions for European comics I can help out. I’ve been reading European comics for over 40 years.
Habitual Resistor says
You are 100% correct. Especially when talking about V for Vendetta. I mean, really? Not even on the list? And I am American. I am surprised he has From Hell here. Alan Moore is one of the greatest writers ever.
Here is mine top list with a lot of European and American comics:
1. Modesty Blaise by Jim Holdaway
2. Donald Duck by Carl Barks
3. Blueberry by Jean Giraud
4. Blake & Mortimer by Edgar P. Jacobs
5. Prince Valiant by Hal Foster
6. Tintin by Hergé
7. Asterix by Albert Uderzo
8. Spirou & Fantasio by Franquin
9. Lucky Luke by Morris
10. Mickey Mouse by Paul Murry
11. Calvin and Hobbes
12. Valerian by Mezieres
13. Garth by Frank Bellamy
14. Rip Kirby by Alex Raymond
15. Bernard Prince by Hermann
16. Johan and Peewit by Peyo
17. The Smurfs by Peyo
18. Benoît Brisefer by Peyo
19. Natacha by Walthery
20. Yoko Tsuno by Roger Leloup
20. Franka by Henk Kuijpers
21. The Phantom by Lee Falk
22. EC comics
23. Valhalla by Peter Madsen
24. Rejsen til Saturn by Claus Deleuran
25. Oumpah-Pah by Albert Uderzo
25. Tanguy et Laverdure by Albert Uderzo
26. Felix by Jan Lööf
27. Red Kelly by Hermann
28. Donald Duck/Mickey Mouse by Romano Scarpa
29. Bruno Brazil by William Vance
30. Gaston Lagaffe by Franquin
I like snowpiercer
Thanks for the list Dave, in 2019 I had checked the same list and I noticed that you have changed the list with many new comics, although for recent comics (like Tartarus for example) I would not add until they had a decent run and would leave heavy weights like Crisis from DC.
Question, How can we know that you have updated this list, I would be very interested on knowing for new additions.
David Warby says
Fantastic, eclectic list! I have a ton of catching up to do but you may also enjoy Unwritten and Crossover.
jacob jordan says
Bone was very likely the best crafted comic book with animated characters ever.
Marco Pozzi says
Very interesting list. This site is a real windfall for choosing what to read with my “Marvel Unlimited” subscription. Unfortunately, you didn’t read what is considered the best sci-fi comic ever written: “The Eternaut” by the Argentinian comic writers Oesterheld and Lopez.
No love for European comics? I see Blacksad and Valerian but where’s the rest?
I have HUGE respect for Marvel/DC/Image etc but once I got into European comics/bande dessinee I knew it was the superior artform. I’m even a hardcore Manga fan and European comics is better.
The Obscure Cities
(Anything from Heavy Metal Magazine)
These titles have more IMAGINATION than some of the best sci-fi/fantasy movies I’ve seen period! I can’t go back to the typical Batman/X-men shit after experiencing those masterpieces.
Nice list, Europeran comics are exactly what I was looking for.
For once I would love to see a list of American, UK and European Comics not including ANY DC/Marvel Comics.
So many amazing comics that are never talked about in the US (US Citizen) because majority only care about superhero and villain comics.
I mean there is some great DC/Marvel comics, but honestly would love to see a list for well written comics that don’t involve over the top violence or supernatural abilities.
That would be cool. If there’s not a list like that already, then make the list yourself and publish it somewhere on the internet, and tell others about it.
The “majority only care about superhero and villain comics” is true because it’s an escape. An escape from everyone’s hum-drum boring life. When one leads a hum-drum boring life, the last thing you want to do is read about someone else’s hum-drum boring life. They want *POW* and *BANG* and out of this world stories with bigger than life characters.
FYI, The 3rd top pick in this list was not DC or Marvel, and had no over the top violence or superhuman/villains. Just sayin’.