The following lists were submitted in response to the question, “What are the ten comics works you consider your favorites, the best, or the most significant?” All lists have been edited for consistency, clarity, and to fix minor copy errors. Unranked lists are alphabetized by title. In instances where the vote varies somewhat with the Top 115 entry the vote was counted towards, an explanation of how the vote was counted appears below it.

In the case of divided votes, only works fitting the description that received multiple votes on their own received the benefit. For example, in Jessica Abel’s list, she voted for The Post-Superhero comics of David Mazzucchelli. That vote was divided evenly between Asterios Polyp and Paul Auster’s City of Glass because they fit that description and received multiple votes on their own. It was not in any way applied to the The Rubber Blanket Stories because that material did not receive multiple votes from other participants.

Andrea Queirolo

Calvin and Hobbes, Bill Watterson

Editor, Conversazioni sul fumetto

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Casey Rae-Hunter
Contributing writer, The Hooded Utilitarian; Deputy Director, Future of Music Coalition

Ghost World, Daniel Clowes

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Ted Rall
Pulitzer-nominated editorial cartoonist; author, To Afghanistan and Back, 2024, Silk Road to Ruin

The Lascaux Cave Drawings

COMMENTS

The cave cartoons at Lascaux, France, because cartoons invented Art.

The obscene political cartoons about Roman officials found on walls at Pompeii, the oldest known editorial cartoons and bawdier than anything a newspaper would run today.

The postwar editorial cartoons of Bill Mauldin, roughly 1945-1955 (many are collected in the book Back Home), which are constructed using modern tropes and bravely call out American cultural hypocrisy.

Peanuts by Charles Schulz, the first truly modern comic strip, and consistently entertaining and philosophical.

The Far Side by Gary Larson, often forgotten today but still the most consistently funny comic I’ve read.

Jules Feiffer’s cartoons from 1955 to 1975-ish, which established the genre of alternative newspaper comics.

Life in Hell by Matt Groening, particularly the 1980s era that opened the field to new artistic approaches.

Fun Home by Alison Bechdel, the first graphic novel to fulfill the form’s potential as literature.

Weird War Tales comics of the 1970s not because they’re objectively great. I just love them. So trashy, so fun. I wish there was a reissue.

Tom the Dancing Bug by Ruben Bolling, the best syndicated cartoon in the U.S.

Honorable Mentions: Stephanie McMillan’s experimental environmental comics, Matt Bors’ editorial cartoons and graphic novel(s), Tom Tomorrow, Ward Sutton’s Onion satires.
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Martin Rebas
Cartoonist, Sömnlös [Sleepless], Ledsen

Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Frank Miller

COMMENTS

I went for a list of “coup de coeur” favorites; comics that I love, rather than trying for an objective list of best or most significant works (which would have looked very different). I wasn’t sure if the last vote should go to the Donald Duck comics of Carl Barks, or Krigstein’s “Master Race,” so instead, I threw Mark Millar’s Ultimates 2 in there, because I think it’s better than it gets credit for, and I had a hunch that Millar wouldn’t get many votes.

As someone who reads comics largely for the artwork and visual storytelling, there were lots of artists I wish I could have mentioned in the list — e.g. Dave McKean, Blutch, Mike Mignola, Moebius, Man Arenas — but none of their stories (that I have read) have really grabbed me. And while I actually prefer non-genre fiction and slice-of-life stories, I haven’t been able to find much of that in comics. Works like Asterios Polyp, From Hell, Cages, Blankets, Cinq mille kilomètres par seconde [5000 Kilometers Per Second], and Heute ist der letzte Tag vom Rest deines Lebens [Today Is the Last Day of the Rest of Your Life] get pretty close to what I’m looking for, but there’s something missing.

So far, Locas is the best I’ve found. I also had to include Yotsuba&! on my list — while its slice-of-life stories tend to the cute and innocent side, you have to respect a comic that spends a chapter showing a child trying to make pancakes, and makes it riveting.
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Charles Reece
Contributing writer, Amoeblog

Ici même [You Are There], Jean-Claude Forest & Jacques Tardi

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Hans Rickheit
Cartoonist, The Squirrel Machine, Ectopiary

Moonshadow, J. M. DeMatteis & Jon J Muth