The 15 Best Graphic Novels of All Time for Comic Lovers

If you’re anything like us, you’re a big fan of graphic novels, and you’ve probably wondered what the best graphic novels for all ages are. While the success of Batman, the X-Men, and the characters of the Marvel Cinematic Universe has all aided in the mainstreaming of comics, publishers haven’t done nearly enough to make the medium more accessible to newbies.

The introduction of the best graphic novels was a fantastic beginning. Readers are saved from having to seek down individual issues by collecting the full of a tale or storey arc into a volume. But, specifically, what should you read?

What if you’re not a fan of superheroes? We’ve put together a thorough list of some of the best graphic novels from the early 1980s to now, many of which are aimed at a more mature audience. Although Batman and Superman made the cut, there are lots of other choices that don’t include the caped crusaders in any way. All you have to do now is choose between the best graphic novels and becoming digital.

There are two sorts of best graphic novels for you to choose from. Many print comics have been supplanted by digital in the conventional sense, but it hasn’t prevented the trading of the best graphic novels, which have become increasingly valuable in recent years.

15 Best Graphic Novels and Comics of the Year

Here’s our list of the Best Graphic Novels and Comics, now that you know where to look for them.

The Walking Dead

best graphic novels

The pop-culture behemoth that dominated television ratings for years began as one of the Best Graphic Novels, debuting in 2003 and ending in mid-2019. The Walking Dead is a 193-issue comic book series that follows Rick Grimes, a small-town sheriff, as he leads a group of survivors in search of a safe haven after an outbreak forces the dead to rise and feast on the living.

Rick, his family, and a colourful cast of survivors rapidly find that the only thing more deadly than the dead are those who would do everything to live, making this one of the best graphic novels for all.

  • Story and art: Robert Kirkman, Charlie Adlard, Tony Moore
  • Publisher: Image Comics
  • Genre: Zombies, horror

Batman: The Killing Joke Deluxe

best graphic novels

Alan Moore, the writer of Watchmen, presents a frightening storey about the Dark Knight’s connection with his deadliest nemesis, the Joker. This is a bizarre tale of madness, severe violence, and introspection. The Joker tries to drive Commissioner Gordon mad in order to prove that any man can be pushed over his breaking point.

Gordon, unwilling to give up, fights to save his sanity with the assistance of Batman in a desperate attempt to defeat the lunatic. This narrative delves into some dark territory, providing a history for the Joker long before the smash Joaquin Phoenix picture, and setting the tone for the DC world for years to come.

  • Story and art: Alan Moore, Brian Bolland
  • Publisher: DC
  • Genre: Superhero, crime

Black Science: No Authority But Yourself

best graphic novels

Do you remember the TV show Sliders? Imagine what it may have been like if it had been made on a larger budget and for HBO. In this best graphic novels, Grant McKay has finally accomplished the impossible: he has understood Black Science and punched through the walls of reality.

What lies beyond the curtain, though, is anarchy. Grant and his crew are now stranded on an endless ocean of strange worlds and unfathomable evil regions. The only option is to move forward. The only question is how far they are willing to go and how much they can bear in order to get home.

  • Story and art: Rick Remender, Matteo Scalera, Dean White
  • Publisher: Image Comics
  • Genre: Sci-fi

Saga is the epic storey of a young family trying to find their place in the universe. When two warriors from opposing sides of a never-ending cosmic battle fall in love, they risk all to bring a fragile new life to an old cosmos that is deadly. Fantasy, science fiction, and humour have collided in a sultry, subversive adults-only comic that has already surpassed fifty issues and is on track to reach 100 by the end of the year, so look for it in best graphic novels or compendiums.

  • Story and art: Brian K. Vaughan, Fiona Staples
  • Publisher: Image Comics
  • Genre: Fantasy, Sci-fi

High Crimes

High Crimes

Every year, people die on Mount Everest. In Kathmandu, Zan Jensen works as a climbing guide for affluent visitors. She and her companion Haskell also work as high-altitude graverobbers, extorting money from the relatives of the countless dead bodies that litter the Himalayan heights.

However, when a body is discovered at the peak of Mount Everest with a jackpot of state secrets implanted in its skin, they are targeted by a government organisation hell-bent on retrieving the body — and destroying any witnesses.

  • Story and Art: Christopher Sebela, Ibrahim Moustafa
  • Publishers: Monkeybrain, Image Comics
  • Genre: Crime, thriller

Superman: Red Son

Superman: Red Son

The legend of Superman is well-known. He is born on Krypton and reared on a farm by his American parents before landing on Earth as a baby. The Superman: Red Son miniseries asks, “What if the ship carrying the newborn Superman landed in the Soviet Union?” It’s a fresh take on the Man of Steel’s birth tale.

Lex Luthor is a presidential candidate in this award-winning tale of Cold War paranoia, Batman wears a Russian hat with ear flaps, and the destiny of American capitalism hangs in the balance. While the Soviet Union provides an exciting backdrop, Red Son is more of a character study, delving into what these eternal heroes mean to us and as symbols.

  • Story and art: Mark Miller, Dave Johnson, Kilian Plunkett
  • Publisher: DC
  • Genre: Superhero, alt-history

American Vampire

American Vampire

Skinner Sweet and Pearl Jones are both one-of-a-kind performers. This series chronicles the lineage of a new, deadly species of vampire that can withstand sunlight through decades of American history, from the wild west to World War II to the space race and beyond.

Scott Snyder dives into vampire history while putting a contemporary adult-oriented twist on it. Stephen King co-wrote the first five issues of complex best graphic novels, and American Vampire seems ready to receive its last narrative arc in the near future, which horror lovers will appreciate.

  • Story and art: Scott Snyder, Rafael Albuquerque, various
  • Publisher: Vertigo
  • Genre: Vampire, horror

The Marvels

The Marvels

Heroes soar over the air, ready to face off against enemies that threaten their planet. Ordinary men and women, however, live in the shadow of these remarkable idols, who look at them with a mixture of dread, scepticism, jealousy, and adoration.

Marvels presents a detailed historical overview of Marvel comics’ entire history from the perspective of these regular individuals. This mini-series, which spans the Human Torch’s inception in 1939 through the terrifying arrival of Galactus and the heartbreaking murder of Gwen Stacy, is a must-read for fans of the Marvel world and its characters.

  • Story and art: Kurt Busiek, Alex Ross
  • Publisher: Marvel
  • Genre: Superhero

Fable: A Novel

Fables, the award-winning series by Bill Willingham, has 150 issues and many spin-offs. It investigates what happens when a powerful force conquers the countries of fairy tales, compelling the protagonists to relocate to modern-day New York.

As a result of their new fish-out-of-water position, the big bad wolf as sheriff and Snow White as mayor battle with real-world difficulties. Fables is a complicated narrative about relationships and opportunities that revolves around an interesting mystery of who and why conquered the realms of fairy tales.

  • Story and art: Bill Willingham, Mark Buckingham, various
  • Publisher: Vertigo
  • Genre: Fantasy, mystery

Chew Volume 1: Tasters Choice

Tony Chu is a policeman who is hiding something. A strange secret. Tony is Cibopathic, which means that anything he eats gives him psychic sensations. It means he’s a fantastic detective, as long as he doesn’t mind chewing on a murder victim’s body in order to find out whodunit and why. When Tony joins the FDA’s Special Crimes Division, he uncovers an out-of-this-world plot. It’s against the law to eat chicken. To find out why, you’ll have to read this long-running best graphic novels for yourself.

  • Story and art: John Layman, Rob Guillory
  • Publisher: Image Comics
  • Genre: Crime, comedy

Head Lopper

Head Lopper has grown to thirteen issues and counting, starting with a self-funded issue one and a crowdfunded issue two. The adventures of Viking warrior Norgal (Head Lopper), who is followed by the trash-talking severed head of Agatha the Blue Witch, are chronicled in this series.

They take jobs, kill creatures, and defeat evil as they travel across dark fantasy worlds. Head Lopper is a fantastic series because of its expressive art, which conveys the majority of the plot and emotion with very little language. Unlike typical monthly comics, Head Lopper is published quarterly in bigger issues, allowing Andrew MacLean, the author, to write lengthier battles, dark humour, and more comfortable endings to his stories.

  • Story and art: Andrew MacLean
  • Publisher: Image Comics
  • Genre: Fantasy, adventure

The Dark Knight Returns

Before Sin City, in the 1980s, Frank Miller relaunched the Dark Knight, ultimately throwing off the campy Adam West vibes and establishing Batman as the dark and gloomy figure we know and love. Bruce Wayne is pulled out of retirement ten years after hanging up the cowl to take on a new generation of criminals unlike anything Gotham has ever seen.

With a new female robin and a growing appetite for violence, Batman inadvertently incites some of his fiercest foes to action, prompting the government to enlist Superman to finally put a stop to the caped crusader. This limited-edition series has it all, and two sequels have been released, but the original is the best graphic novels of the group.

  • Story and art: Frank Miller
  • Publisher: DC
  • Genre: Superhero

Southern Bastards

Welcome to Craw County, Alabama, home of the state champion Runnin’ Rebs football team as well as the setting for this southern-fried mystery series. Southern Bastards chronicles the feud between Euless Boss, a former high school football coach turned crook, and Earl Tubb, an enraged elderly man. When Earl returns to his boyhood home, he quickly learns that the only way to live in a place like this is to carry a very large stick, and that pursuing justice is difficult when everyone is a jerk.

  • Story and art: Jason Aaron, Jason Latour, Chris Brunner
  • Publisher: Image Comics
  • Genre: Crime

East of West Volume 10

The Civil War never ended in this alternate history United States; instead, it divided the country into seven different nations, each spiralling towards a dismal future on the verge of disaster. One of the four horsemen, Death, a Clint Eastwood type, had a son with a human.

He eventually abandons his plan to end the world and devotes himself to a far more personal mission: vengeance. East of West is a mix western, half science fiction epic that is far from light reading, but it does provide distinct characters and a compelling universe that pulls you in and doesn’t let you go.

  • Story and art: Jonathan Hickman, Nick Dragotta
  • Publisher: Image Comics
  • Genre: Sci-fi, western

Preacher

Preacher

At first sight, Reverend Jesse Custer appears to be just another small-town preacher who has lost his religion. However, when he encounters proof that God exists, he embarks on a violent and raucous trek throughout the country in quest of answers. Preacher was one of the best graphic novels to come out of the 1990s, and it still stands up almost 25 years later. Part wacky road trip, part modern western, Preacher was one of the best comics to come out of the 1990s, and it still holds up nearly 25 years later.

  • Story and art: Garth Ennis, Steve Dillon
  • Publisher: Vertigo
  • Genre: Supernatural, thriller

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