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.

Joe Sharpnack
Editorial Cartoonist, Iowa City Gazette

The Political Cartoons, Tom Toles

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Scott Shaw!
Co-creator, Captain Carrot & His Amazing Zoo Crew; cartoonist, Simpsons Comics

The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers, Gilbert Shelton

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Mahendra Singh
Cartoonist, The Adventures of Mr. Pyridine; illustrator, Lewis Carroll’s The Hunting of the Snark

A Rake’s Progress, William Hogarth

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Ed Sizemore
Writer, An Eddy of Thought; contributing writer, Comics Worth Reading

A Drunken Dream, Moto Hagio

COMMENTS

Here is Top Ten Favorite Manga List. I’m not pretending it’s a best of this.
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Shannon Blake Skelton
Contributing writer, The Journal of Popular Culture

Y: The Last Man, Brian K. Vaughan & Pia Guerra

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Caroline Small
Contributing writer, The Hooded Utilitarian; Treasurer, Executive Committee Small Press Expo

Die Hure H, Katrin de Vries & Anke Feuchtenberger

COMMENTS

I know I’m missing things that would be my favorites that I just haven’t read yet. LOL, How ‘bout eight?

I don’t feel I’ve read enough comics to confidently make a list, but these are comics that made me love and value comics enough to keep reading in search of new favorites that I will love even more…
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Kenneth Smith
Cartoonist, Phantasmagoria; contributing writer, The Comics Journal

Buck Rogers, Frank Frazetta

COMMENTS

Here goes, in no particular priority of preference, the strips or comics or books or collections that impressed me as totally perfect in their own kind (obviously not every issue of the EC SF comics qualifies, of course: to me these works will forever breathe the living presence and free spirit of their creators, half of them alas already passed on.) If you were to have asked me two or three months down the road, I would think of perhaps another four things I should have added but damned if I know what would then have to be dropped. So, merely alphabetically–these are (a) works out of the prime of their creators, (b) things I would foist without reservation on anyone who asked me what the hell has been going in comics that is in some way great, and (c) productions that raised my own preconceptions about what the hell is really possible to do in comics.

Now I have to send this off fast while the list is still naively composed and I haven’t had time to argue with myself about way too many great talents and superb works that are trying to elbow their way in.
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Matthew J. Smith
Associate Professor of Communication, Wittenberg University

Palestine, Joe Sacco

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Michelle Smith
Contributing writer, Manga Bookshelf, Manga Recon

Hikaru no Go, Yumi Hotta and Takeshi Obata

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Shannon Smith
Cartoonist, Addicted to Distraction

Weirdo, R. Crumb

COMMENTS

-Marvel’s Star Wars. Thinking mostly of the Roy Thomas/Howard Chaykin and the Archie Goodwin/Carmine Infantino books. Roughly issues 1 through 54.

The Invisibles. Grant Morrison and pretty much every artist that caught a check from Vertigo at that time.

Daredevil. Ann Nocenti and John Romita, Jr.

THB. Paul Pope.

-R. Crumb. In the spirit of breaking it down to specific works I’ll take his work in Weirdo.

American Splendor. Harvey Pekar. Again, to break it down to specific comics I’d say roughly the stuff collected in that Doubleday book The Life and Times of Harvey Pekar.

Green Arrow. Mike Grell. That would be issues 1 through 80 of that version plus the annuals, The Wonder Year and The Longbow Hunters. (Eddie Fryers was a great supporting character.)

The Maxx. Sam Kieth and Bill Messner-Loebs.

Marshal Law. Pat Mills and Kevin O’Neill.

Louis Riel. Chester Brown.

And can I get an 11th? I want to throw Peanuts in there but, really, isn’t that just a given? Shouldn’t Peanuts just be assumed in any best of anything comics related?
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Nick Sousanis
Instructor, Teachers College, Columbia University; writer, Spin, Weave, and Cut

Paul Auster’s City of Glass, Paul Karasik & David Mazzucchelli

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Ryan Standfest
Editor, Rotland Press

Breakdowns, Art Spiegelman

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Rob Steen
Illustrator, Flanimals, Elephantmen

Conan the Barbarian, Roy Thomas & Barry Windsor-Smith

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Matteo Stefanelli
Research Fellow, Media Studies, Università Cattolica di Milano; writer, Fumettologicamente

Quadratino, Antonio Rubino

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Joshua Ray Stephens
Cartoonist, The Moth or the Flame

The Boulevard of Broken Dreams, Kim Deitch & Simon Deitch

COMMENTS

This is a very difficult query, if taken seriously, which is my wont. I would like to write a little caveat:

First of all the reasons and criteria for judging the best anything quickly become manifold once one begins rooting around in the domain of those that inhabit the realm of “The Best.” So, that is already a major factor to consider.

Secondly, I am very well read in comics from their beginnings to now, in our country and internationally. However, I by no means consider myself an encompassing authority on the medium. I am aware of large gaps in my knowledge. And there are certain areas I have little to no interest in.

Thirdly, there are a number of works not on my list that I personally consider to be just as worthy, but I chose the final ten based on variety and potential controversy.

That being said, this is not merely a favorites list. I would call this “the best ten comics opuses out of what I have read.” These do tend to be my favorites, because I make a habit of seeking out and befriending work that I consider to be excellent and not which merely appeals to my ego. My main criteria for judging, in a field which, let’s face it, still has a long way to go before attaining the loftiest heights of art or literature, but which also has the potential to synthesize both, are these: 1) Is the work fertile? Does it activate the imagination? Does it challenge the reader? Does it grow beyond what is merely explicitly there? 2) Does the work have lasting value? Does it endure? Does it merit and reward multiple readings? 3) Does the work achieve formal excellence? In art and/or writing? Does it challenge the medium in one way or another?

Finally, I would like to point out that there are three works missing from my list which should be mentioned. The big three: Krazy Kat, Peanuts, and Pogo. I have no doubt that these are great examples of comics mastery. But first of all they are always mentioned and anyone in the field knows that they are worth seeking out. I presume one of the main points in asking for a list like this is to get a sense of what should be being read, but with it limited to ten I see no point in wasting three on works that are so universally lauded. And to be perfectly honest I don’t really consider myself on intimate enough terms with any of these three works to feel justified in ranking them in my top ten. I have read a mere smattering of all of them and have a long way to go before I know them fully.

P.S. I consider Moebius to be perhaps the greatest true artist in the comics field to date, but, based on the rules that I can’t choose an artist’s entire body of work, I can’t pick a single work of his that I honestly think is one of the best examples of comics. I just felt that had to be said, because Moebius is truly amazing.
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Mick Stevens
Cartoonist, The New Yorker

The Politics of Fear, Barry Blitt

COMMENTS

I’m not into comics that much, though I do like them in general. As far as people in my little corner of the cartoon universe, magazine cartoons, I do have many favorites, and way more than ten. Here’s a stab at narrowing the list to ten, though: Jack Ziegler, David Sipress, Victoria Roberts, Roz Chast, Barbara Smaller, Charles Barsotti, Drew Dernovich, Matt Diffee, P.C. Vey… That’s nine, and apologies to all my other faves not listed. I also really like Barry Blitt. He’s not, strictly speaking, a cartoonist, but he does do great ones in the form of his New Yorker cover art, in addition to being a terrific illustrator and watercolorist, in my estimation, so I’d like to make him my number ten.
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Tom Stiglich
Editorial Cartoonist

Mutts, Patrick McDonnell

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Tucker Stone
Writer, The Factual Opinion; contributing writer, comiXology, The Comics Journal

Domu, Katsuhiro Otomo

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Betsey Swardlick
Cartoonist, Dilbert Stress Toy, Poor, Poor Angsty Hungarian

The Desert Peach, Donna Barr

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Jeff Swenson
Cartoonist, Swenson Funnies

Skippy, Percy Crosby

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