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.

Matthew Tauber
Writer, www.matttauber.blogspot.com

The New Teen Titans, Marv Wolfman & George Pérez

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Ty Templeton
Cartoonist, Stig’s Inferno; illustrator, Batman Adventures

Batman, Denny O’Neil & Neal Adams

COMMENTS

I decided that the best way to sum up a top ten (in no order of preference, since that would drive me to madness) was to list the creator (or team in the case of O’Neil and Adams) as a body of work, and then pick my favorite single issue to serve as an example of that artist. I hope that helps.

– Harvey Kurtzman’s complete work, focusing on MAD and the EC war books, and if I must bring it down to one story, it’s “Corpse on the Imjin,” from Frontline Combat.

– Jack Kirby’s complete body of work – but to reduce it to one single comic book series, it’s New Gods and down to one single issue it’s New Gods #7, “The Pact!”.

– Moebius – Arzach, the collected stories.

– Denny O’Neil/Neal Adams, their complete collaborative works (including Green Lantern/Green Arrow, Batman, and Superman vs. Muhammad Ali). If I must reduce it to one issue, it’s Batman #251 “The Joker’s Five Way Revenge.”

-Wally Wood’s body of work, focusing on EC and MAD magazine, and if I must narrow it down to a single story, I’ll pick “Superduperman” from the MAD comic book by Kurtzman and Wood.

– Alan Moore’s complete body of work, but pushing into just one choice, it’s Watchmen by Moore and Dave Gibbons.

Maus by Spiegelman.

– Will Eisner’s complete body of work, but reduced to one choice it’s his graphic novel, A Contract with God.

– Frank Miller’s work on Daredevil, Ronin, some of Sin City, and most of his work on Batman (except Spawn/Batman and DK2, which were dreadful). If I must give it just one issue as an example it’s Batman: The Dark Knight Returns #1.

– Walt Kelly’s Pogo. From the first Albert and Pogo comics, to the syndicated strip, Pogo was perfect from inception to end. To pick just one specific page is impossible.
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Jason Thompson
Author, Manga: The Complete Guide; co-creator & scriptwriter, King of RPGs;

Meanwhile, Jason Shiga

COMMENTS

Here are my choices of ten great comics. They’re all series that are either extremely well-crafted, very touching to me for personal reasons, or very powerful and cohesive in expressing the artist’s persona, which is the best thing that can be said about any work of art (at least, right alongside and perpetually struggling with the other great goal of “being entertaining to the reader”).
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Kelly Thompson
Writer, 1979 Semi-Finalist; contributing writer, Comic Book Resources

Lint, Chris Ware

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Matt Thorn
Associate Professor, Faculty of Manga, Kyoto Seika University

Happy Hooligan, Frederick Opper

COMMENTS

These are not my personal favorites, but rather ten comics I think are historically important, either because of their influence on later work, or because they were groundbreaking.

1) Master Flashgold’s Splendiferous Dream (Kinkin Sensei Eiga no Yume), by Harumachi Koikawa, 1775, Japan. Possibly the world’s first true graphic novel to reach a wide audience and turn a profit for its creator and publisher. Unlike most early European sequential art, the text is in incorporated within the image. Printed using the sophisticated woodblock technology of the day, this bestseller kicked off the entire genre of single-volume “kibyôshi” (“yellow covers”) and multi-volume “gôkan” (“combined volumes”) that remained hugely popular among merchant-class Japanese until moveable type pretty much killed the woodblock print.

2) The Story of Mr. Jabot (Histoire de M. Jabot), by Rodolphe Töpffer, 1833, Switzerland. Is there any doubt that popular Western sequential art pretty much begins with Töpffer? Sure, there are earlier examples of sequential art, but nothing came close to the popular success and impact of Töpffer’s works, which are still hilarious and inspiring today.

3) Happy Hooligan, by Fred Opper, 1900-1932, U.S.A.. I think it’s fair to say that Opper was the first to bring all the major elements of modern comics together, consistently, and make them the lingua franca of the newspaper funnies and early comic books. Speech balloons? Check. No distracting narration outside the panels? Check. Lines and other devices to illustrate motion, impact, and other “invisible” elements? Check. Whether or not you think the work has aged well is a matter of taste, I suppose.

4) Little Nemo in Slumberland” by Winsor McCay, 1905-1914, U.S.A.. McCay couldn’t write a coherent line of dialogue to save his life, but, oh, Prunella, could that guy draw some wicked stuff. He expanded the visual grammar of comics exponentially. A century later, it still makes for brilliant eye candy.

5) Terry and the Pirates, by Milton Caniff, 1934-1946, U.S.A.. The funnies grow up. And an artist stands up for creator rights.

6) Little Lulu, written by John Stanley, drawn by Stanley, Irving Tripp and Charles Hedinger, 1945-1959, U.S.A.. Stanley’s Little Lulu is probably the smartest, funniest, most carefully crafted children’s comic book ever created, with the possible exception of Carl Barks’ duck books. And Lulu was probably the ideal role model for postwar American girls. Compared to Lulu, almost every other comic created for children in the history of the medium seems like greasy kids’ stuff. At least until Jill Thompson gave us the “Scary Godmother.

7) Metropolis, by Osamu Tezuka, 1949, Japan. This, along with Tezuka’s “Lost World (1948) and The World to Come (Kitaru Beki SekaiA Contract With God in 1978. They were for kids, sure, but they had genuine, complex themes. Good and evil were not cut-and-dried. Characters died. Readers were moved. When the young Tezuka showed his work to one of the most influential children’s manga artists of the day, the man was so appalled he told Tezuka, “It’s your own business if you want to make this stuff, but I hope it doesn’t catch on.”

8) “Birth!” (“Tanjô!”), by Yumiko Ôshima, 1970, Japan. This profound and moving short story about a pregnant high-school girl struggling to decide whether or not to have an abortion took “girls” comics” to a whole new plane, and had an enormous influence on other young Japanese women cartoonists. Within a few short years, Japanese girls’ comics were transformed from an object of scorn to the cutting edge of the manga world.

9) Arzach, by Jean “Moebius” Giraud, 1975, France. Gorgeous detail! Psychedelic pterosaurs! Flopping penises! The sophistication and (dare I say) miss en scène of Moebius’ sci-fi vision continues to exert mind-boggling influence on creators working in a wide range of media, all over the world.

10) Watchmen, by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons, 1986-1987, U.S.A.. This is probably on most people’s lists, but I think it’s hard to overstate how brilliant this book is on so many levels. Too bad Warner Bros. chose the single most inappropriate director for the film. Who would look at Gibbons’ stoic, tic-tac-toe layouts and stifled characters and think, “Hey, let’s get the guy who directed 300 to do this!”? I would have gone with Wim Wenders.
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Tom Tirabosco
Cartoonist, L’Émissiare [The Emissary], L’Oeil de la forêt [The Eye of the Forest]

La Guerre d’Alan, Emmanuel Guibert

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Mark Tonra
Cartoonist, James, Top of the World

Polly and Her Pals, Cliff Sterrett

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Noel Tuazon
Cartoonist, Obese Obsessor; co-creator & illustrator, This Is Where I Am

Sandman Mystery Theatre, Matt Wagner, Steven T. Seagle, and Guy Davis