100 Best Comics of All Time

Top 100: 34–66

Usagi Yojimbo

Created by: Stan Sakai

Published by: Dark Horse, Fantagraphics

ISBN: 1569714134 (buy)

Pages: 256

Genre: Adventure, Drama, Folklore, Historical


Review Excerpt
One of Sakai's great talents is in his visual storytelling. His art flows naturally and his panel design is masterful. Some of the most beautiful pages are silent and filled with panels; each of these panels illustrates part of a picture-story that initially seems unrelated to the narrative intent but ends up providing context or mood for everything that is to follow. Sakai's art has a wonderful, lyrical quality to it and it's incredible that he's been able to maintain his more-than-twenty-five-year schedule of producing one chapter per month. He really is one of the best creators in the medium....
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Usagi Yojimbo by Stan Sakai
Perry Bible Fellowship

Created by: Nicholas Gurewitch

Published by: Dark Horse

ISBN: B005DI7NWC (buy)

Pages: 256

No Review Yet


Created by: GB Tran

Published by: Villard

ISBN: 0345508726 (buy)

Pages: 192

Genre: Memoir/Autobio, Non-Fiction


Review Excerpt
Beyond just the reading, Vietnamerica is a joy to page through. The illustrations are well-composed and the colours pitch perfectly with Tran's narrative chase across a fairly complex historical journey. I first encountered Tran in 2003 when I chanced upon the Xeric-awarded short-story Content. Not only was the story intriguing but his page compositions were inventive and well-designed. With Vietnamerica Tran continues to work to his strengths and the book has so many wonderful pages that any number are noteworthy representations of what a great creator can do with a page....
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Vietnamerica by GB Tran
Hopeless Savages: Ground Zero

Created by: Jen Van Meter, Christine Norrie, Bryan Lee O'Malley

Published by: Oni Press

ISBN: 1934964484 (buy)

Pages: 391

Genre: Absurd, Adventure, Espionage, Romance


Review Excerpt
Several characters remark on how OF COURSE IT'S ABOUT A BOY and how cliche and obvious that all is. Van Meter basically says "Screw that noise. I'm writing this thing about a boy and it's going to be awesome and it will make you wish you had your own story about a boy, so shut up forever." And she does—she does write an awesome story about a boy, about a girl, and about finding out that you're in love and that love can be this awesome, dangerous, rewarding beast of an abstract thing. Ground Zero makes me fall in love with love....
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Hopeless Savages: Ground Zero by Jen Van Meter, Bryan Lee O'Malley
Three Shadows

Created by: Cyril Pedrosa

Published by: First Second

ISBN: 159643239X (buy)

Pages: 272

Genre: Drama, Fantasy


Review Excerpt
Kids, from time to time, will die from terrible conditions that for-better-or-worse will give parents a good space of time in which to quietly go mad. Leukemia, cancer, some horrible incurable disease that causes the body to slowly shut down. It happens. And it's always distasteful. And Cyril Pedrosa made a comic about it. It's times like this that the term comic is grossly inadequate as a descriptor of what it hopes to describe....
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Three Shadows by GB Tran

Created by: Mike Mignola, John Arcudi, Guy Davis

Published by: Dark Horse

ISBN: 1593072880 (buy)

Pages: 1462 (roughly)

Genre: Adventure, Fantasy, Horror, Supernatural


Review Excerpt
BPRD remains one of my favourite books and Davis' art throughout sings in a way unheralded. That Arcudi should be the primary writer on this series and still not be celebrated as one of the Great Writers of adventure comics is astounding. Even the covers that Mignola regularly prepares are works of art. BPRD is an entirely worthwhile series (though I might recommend skipping volume 2, The Soul of Venice, and the other volumes that do not contribute to the storyline as a whole)....
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BPRD by Mike Mignola, John Arcudi, Guy Davis
Domu: A Child's Dream

Created by: Katsuhiro Otomo

Published by: Dark Horse

ISBN: 1569716110 (buy)

Pages: 240

No Review Yet

The Amazing Screw-On Head

Created by: Jeff Smith

Published by: Cartoon Books

ISBN: 188896314X (buy)

Pages: 1300

No Review Yet

Fun Home

Created by: Alison Bechdel

Published by: Houghton Mifflin

ISBN: 0618477942 (buy)

Pages: 232

Genre: Memoir/Autobio, Social Issues


Review Excerpt
Fun Home is a hard book. Grave tragedy hangs over the entire reading as a spectre. Bruce's death, possibly a suicide, is never far from narrative view. Bechdel returns to it over and again, approaching not just as the mortician (relevant to the funeral home atmosphere) but as coroner and detective as well. Fun Home is a hard book, but—filled with love and hate and glory and discontent and tragedy and hope—it's also a powerful one....
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Fun Home by Alison Bechdel
I Kill Giants

Created by: Joe Kelly, J.M. Ken Niimura

Published by: Image

ISBN: 1607060922 (buy)

Pages: 184

Genre: Drama, Fantasy


Review Excerpt
It's good to pick a book with vaulted expectations, set the book down finished an hour and a half later, and have those expectations met. In I Kill Giants' earliest chapters, I was not at all sure this would be the case. The pace felt abrupt and the characterizations suffered from something a little too adjacent to verisimilitude. The world Kelly circumnavigates seemed well-worn and overly familiar as it hadn't been long since I had the pleasure of reading Nate Powell's Swallow Me Whole. Still, by book's end, all my concerns had been well-enough answered by Kelly and Niimura's wonderful story-telling....
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I Kill Giants by Joe Kelly, J.M. Ken Niimura
A Bride's Story

Created by: Kaoru Mori

Published by: Yen Press

ISBN: 0316180998 (buy)

Pages: 192

Genre: Drama, Educational, Historical, Manga, Romance, Social Issues


Review Excerpt
I think Kaoru Mori's probably a bit insane. Her art is that detailed and beautiful. People like to talk about Craig Thompson's ornamentation in Habibi. I think he did some amazing stuff in there and I still think he comes of as lazy compared to what's on display in an average chapter of A Bride's Story (no offense, man!). Actually, I'm aware that many manga artists employ a team in order to meet their deadlines and I desperately hope that Mori does the same. For her sake. For the sake of other artist's egos. For the sake of my ego. I think that highly of her work here....
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A Bride's Story by Kaoru Mori
Scott Pilgrim

Created by: Bryan Lee O'Malley

Published by: Oni Press

ISBN: 1934964573 (buy)

Pages: 1208

No Review Yet

His Face All Red

Created by: Emily Carroll

Published at: His Face All Red

No Review Yet


Created by: Joe Sacco

Published by: Fantagraphics

ISBN: 156097432X (buy)

Pages: 288

No Review Yet

Daredevil (Bendis)

Created by: Brian Michael Bendis

Published by: Marvel

ISBN: 0785109269 (buy)

Pages: 1504

No Review Yet

Twin Spica

Created by: Kou Yaginuma

Published by: Vertical

ISBN: 1934287849 (buy)

Pages: 192

Genre: Drama, Manga, School, Science Fiction


Review Excerpt
Twin Spica is absolutely worth your time as a reader. It is honestly one of my favourite recently published series and I looked forward to every new volume. It gets me a bit teary-eyed almost every time, but in a way that feels satisfying—even if Yaginuma does seem to be suspiciously talented at drawing out an emotional response from readers....
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Twin Spica by Kou Yaginuma
Dinosaur Comics

Created by: Ryan North

Published at: Dinosaur Comics

No Review Yet

Sparks: An Urban Fairytale

Created by: Lawrence Marvit

Published by: SLG

ISBN: 0943151627 (buy)

Pages: 424

Genre: Drama, Fantasy, Romance


Review Excerpt
While Marvit, according to his website, seems to be duly occupied and keeping his artistic hand productive, Sparks seems to be the only graphic novel he will have produced. And really, due to the beautiful, lyrical quality of his work, this is a remarkable shame. Marvit, while displaying a very DIY kind of sensibility in Sparks' production, manages to create something that was very nearly (I'm hedging here) Best of Show in 2002. The creator shows an ability to put a heartfelt and worthwhile story together using clichés and thoroughly used tropes. Most story ideas are recycled over and again but the best authors recycle in ways that help they readers not mind the retread. In Sparks, Lawrence Marvit introduces himself as one of those authors....
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Sparks: An Urban Fairytale by Lawrence Marvit

Created by: Gerry Alanguilan

Published by: SLG

ISBN: 159362204X (buy)

Pages: 144

No Review Yet

The Dark Knight Returns

Created by: Frank Miller, Klaus Janson, Lynn Varley

Published by: Oni Press

ISBN: 1563893428 (buy)

Pages: 224

No Review Yet


Created by: Naoki Urasawa, Osamu Tezuka

Published by: VIZ Media

ISBN: 1421519186 (buy)

Pages: 1656

Genre: Adaptation, Manga, Science Fiction, Social Issues, Thriller, War


Review Excerpt
Pluto is only eight volumes long and is therefore much more tightly plotted than either Monster (18 vols.) or 20th Century Boys (22 vols. and a short sequel). It's a good read and gives the reader opportunity to think about a number of fascinating subjects, all while carrying on a murder mystery/thriller. For a series that (at its most basic and dumbed down) is a book about a series of robot fights, Urasawa wisely shows very little actual robot-on-robot combat. He knows what's interesting and fighting robots is not quite that. Pluto is an investigation of emergent technologies, an investigation of the toll of contemporary international policies, and an investigation of the nature of the soul....
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Pluto by Naoki Urasawa, Osamu Tezuka
Far Arden

Created by: Kevin Cannon

Published by: Top Shelf

ISBN: 1603090363 (buy)

Pages: 382

Genre: Adventure, Comedy


Review Excerpt
Far Arden is one of the best comics I've read in a while. Comedies are ridiculously difficult to pull off over the long haul. Generally, their shtick gets a little long in the tooth well before the halfway mark and the same would have held true for Far Arden had it not gradually developed into a compelling story with decently well-realized characters....
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Far Arden by Kevin Cannon
What a Wonderful World!

Created by: Inio Asano

Published by: VIZ Media

ISBN: 1421532212 (buy)

Pages: 418

Genre: Drama, Manga

Check out the Study Guide


Review Excerpt
Tonally, What a Wonderful World! hops around a bit from track to track. Sometimes vibrant, sometimes somber. Asano doesn't hit the reader over the head with any one message. Some might find what looks to be a mere collection of short stories to be a bit scattered, but by book's end I personally saw him driving everything toward a single goal—something that quietly turns in the face of what everything in the world is saying and demurely gives it the finger. (Asano's finale is not so raucous as the punk bands with which his story begins—those musicians have, after all, been cowed and brought to heel by oppressive structures of consumerist society.) In the end, he mimics Armstrong's own rejection of what is sensible to the eyes and proposes that rebellion is found in beauty and the careful tending of our relationships one with another....
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What a Wonderful World! by Inio Asano

Created by: Hergé

Published by: Little, Brown

ISBN: 0316359408 (buy)

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Created by: Art Spiegelman

Published by: Penguin Books

ISBN: 0141014083 (buy)

Pages: 296

No Review Yet

The Mighty Thor (Simonson)

Created by: Walt Simonson, Sal Buscema, Christine Scheele

Published by: Marvel

ISBN: 0785146334 (buy)

Pages: 1192

Genre: Religion/Myth, Super Heroes


Review Excerpt
Simonson also shows a wonderful knack for story beats. His narratives skip all over the place, with a page devoted to one character followed by two devoted to another followed by a half-page devoted to a third before returning to the first and then introducing a fourth. I'd say it was staggering to consider how he keeps so many narrative balls in the air while maintaining such a crisp story pace, but nowadays it seems like any number of worthwhile manga that hit American shores do the same. As well, Simonson seems happy to deliver several kick-ass moments per chapter—from charges against unbeatable foes to noble self-sacrifices to remembrances of those sacrifices to laugh-inducing come-uppances. Simonson the writer delivers....
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The Mighty Thor (Simonson) by Walt Simonson, Sal Buscema, Christine Scheele
Stray Bullets

Created by: David Lapham

Published by: El Capitan

ISBN: 0972714561 (buy)

No Review Yet

American Born Chinese

Created by: Gene Luen Yang

Published by: First Second

ISBN: 1596431520 (buy)

Pages: 240

Genre: Drama


Review Excerpt
While American Born Chinese is probably best appreciated by those who have felt the same feelings that Yang confronts through his protagonists, he is also careful to make his work accessible even to those of us who will never benefit from the privilege of that particular form of suffering. Yang's work here demands empathy and does so in colour and does so well....
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American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang
Saturn Apartments

Created by: Hisae Iwaoka

Published by: VIZ Media

ISBN: 1421533642 (buy)

Pages: 192

Genre: Drama, Manga, Science Fiction, Speculative Fiction


Review Excerpt
One of the charms of Saturn Apartments is its unique visual sense. Iwaoka employs a style of illustration uncommon in the manga I've yet encountered. Her character compositions sit far from what we may have come to expect from our Japanese comics, neither favouring the bold dynamism common in shonen nor the ephemeral willowiness often present in shojo. Iwaoka instead essays what I imagine would have to be some sort of indie manga. Her line is confident in its hesitance, a practiced stutter. In many cases, independent creators have more imagination than they have talent; this is decidedly not the case with Iwaoka's work. ...
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Saturn Apartments by Hisae Iwaoka
Good-bye, Chunky Rice

Created by: Craig Thompson

Published by: Top Shelf

ISBN: 0375714766 (buy)

Pages: 128

No Review Yet

Understanding Comics

Created by: Scott McCloud

Published by: William Morrow

ISBN: 006097625X (buy)

Pages: 296

No Review Yet

Yukiko's Spinach

Created by: Frédéric Boilet

Published by: Fanfare/Ponent Mon

ISBN: 8493309346 (buy)

Pages: 144

Genre: Erotic, Memoir/Autobio, Romance


Review Excerpt
With its rugged and frank sex scenes, Boilet's book will not be appropriate for some readers and may put off others. Personally, I did not find the book (for all its explicitness) erotic. Perhaps it was the documentary nature of the thing or its surreal first-person presence, but I felt that Yukiko's Spinach was more an anatomy of a relationship than a lush and purposed turn-on for those in search of a sensual thrill. It's a shame that French books have such a difficult time finding a market in the US. Boilet's work here is pretty phenomenal and along with Fanfare/Ponent Mon's other books in the Nouvelle Manga line, Yukiko's Spinach marks a worthy direction for comics and there's plenty to investigate for Americans who take interest in the medium and its forms....
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Yukiko's Spinach by Frédéric Boilet
I Killed Adolf Hitler

Created by: Jason

Published by: Fantagraphics

ISBN: 1560978287 (buy)

Pages: 48

Genre: Comedy, Drama


Review Excerpt
While not the most towering literary achievement I've ever encountered, I Killed Adolph Hitler was certainly worth my time (it only took a half hour to read) and Jason presents a terse, well-told, and well-managed story that is equal parts humourous, morbid, thoughtful, and touching. The book is a visual pleasure, as Jason's linework and colour choices are spot on. For a book about killing Adolf Hitler, I Killed Adolf Hitler does a pretty good job of being about finding out who it is that you love and then doing what is necessary to secure that relationship....
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I Killed Adolf Hitler by Jason

Good Ok Bad features reviews of comics, graphic novels, manga, et cetera using a rare and auspicious three-star rating system. Point systems are notoriously fiddly, so here it's been pared down to three simple possibilities:

3 Stars = Good
2 Stars = Ok
1 Star = Bad

I am Seth T. Hahne and these are my reviews.

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