• Dauntless Durham of the U.S.A., Harry Hershfeld
  • Dick Tracy, Chester Gould
  • Dreams of the Rarebit Fiend, Winsor McCay
  • He Done Her Wrong, Milt Gross
  • Hey, Look!, Harvey Kurtzman
  • Krazy Kat, George Herriman
  • The Little Man with the Eyes, Crockett Johnson
  • Nancy, Ernie Bushmiller
  • Peanuts, Charles M. Schulz
  • Thimble Theatre, starring Popeye, E. C. Segar
  • ______________________________________________
    Eugenio Nittolo
    Writer, La Carotte
    Astérix the Gaul, René Goscinny & Albert Uderzo
    Your idea—it’s very funny.
    For Ralf König, I don’t know the English edition but I very much love Wie die Karnickel [Like Rabbits].
    Rick Norwood
    Editor, Comics Revue
    V for Vendetta, Alan Moore & David Lloyd
    It is hard, really hard, to limit my list to 10.
    How are you going to count the votes? For example, suppose you have one vote for Watchmen and one vote for “comic books written by Alan Moore.” If you combine them, you give prolific creators an advantage. If you don’t, then prolific creators have an extreme disadvantage, because their vote is split among so many different titles. It might be best to list the ten best comic creators of all time instead of the top ten comics.
    Another way to go would be this. Combine the votes of each creator to get a list of the top 100 creators, then next to each creator list just the title that got the most votes, and have a second round of voting.
    José-Luis Olivares
    Cartoonist, End of Eros, The Cannibal
    Uzumaki, Junji Ito
    Tim O’Neil
    Writer, The Hurting; contributing writer, PopMatters, The Comics Journal
    Louis Riel, Chester Brown
    Jim Ottaviani
    Scriptwriter, Feynman, T-Minus: Race to the Moon
    Spider-Man, Stan Lee & Steve Ditko
    Jason Overby
    Cartoonist, Jessica, Exploding Head Man
    Supermonster #7, Kevin Huizenga
    [About Supermonster #7] This was such a big one for me. It hit me pretty strongly at a time when I was really disillusioned with comics (what else is new). It was probably my introduction to mini-comics, crummy on the surface but secretly amazing. It’s a perfect Zen monologue where a guy is just walking around his neighborhood, taking in the random bits of data with all his senses. I bought the original art for the first page from Kevin years ago, and it’s the only piece of original art I own.
    Joshua Paddison
    Assistant Professor of American Studies, Indiana University
    L’Ascension du haut-mal [Epileptic], David B.
    Nick Patten
    Cartoonist, Unreachable Beasts
    Hellboy, Mike Mignola
    Marco Pellitteri
    Author, The Dragon and the Dazzle; contributing writer, The Comics Journal
    El Eternauta, Héctor Germán Oesterheld & Francisco Solano López
    Here are my titles. I focused on general works (series, etc.) or specific books, not specific story arcs or particular stories of long series. I have followed these criteria: 1) content relevance; 2) aesthetic relevance; 3) linguistic relevance; 4) historical relevance; 5) popularity relevance; 6) geographical distribution—and tried to ponder over in my mind.
    Michael Pemberton
    Professor of Writing and Linguistics, Georgia Southern University
    The Fantastic Four, Stan Lee & Jack Kirby
    Thanks for the opportunity to participate in your survey (I think). You have caused me to do some teeth-gnashing, hair-pulling, and head-banging in trying to limit my selections to a mere 10. I’ve managed to narrow down my list by deciding to include comics work that I felt was (a) brilliantly written, (b) skillfully drawn, and (c) either culturally significant or that had a dramatic impact on the comics field.
    Kai Pfeiffer
    Instructor, Kassel Art Academy; cartoonist, Realm; editor, Plaque
    From Hell, Alan Moore & Eddie Campbell
    This “canon” is an almost arbitrary choice from a much larger list of books that hit me just as hard (Krazy Kat, Jimmy Corrigan, Black Hole, The Fate of the Artist, Ici même [You Are There], Le Royaume [The Kingdom], Georges et Louis Romanciers [George and Louis, Novelists], Yume no q-saku…)
    Greetings from Berlin—love your blog, expressly for the highly opinionated content.
    Stephanie Piro
    Cartoonist, Fair Game, Six Chix
    Brenda Starr, Dale Messick
    I also used to love Rivets by George Sixta, and Dondi by Irwin Hasen in the papers as a kid. Just putting in a plug for two sort-of-forgotten strips.
    John Porcellino
    Cartoonist, King-Cat Comics and Stories, Perfect Example
    OMAC, Jack Kirby, with Mike Royer

    Joe Sharpnack
    Editorial Cartoonist, Iowa City Gazette
    The Political Cartoons, Tom Toles
    Scott Shaw!
    Co-creator, Captain Carrot & His Amazing Zoo Crew; cartoonist, Simpsons Comics
    The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers, Gilbert Shelton
    Mahendra Singh
    Cartoonist, The Adventures of Mr. Pyridine; illustrator, Lewis Carroll’s The Hunting of the Snark
    A Rake’s Progress, William Hogarth
    Ed Sizemore
    Writer, An Eddy of Thought; contributing writer, Comics Worth Reading
    A Drunken Dream, Moto Hagio
    Here is Top Ten Favorite Manga List. I’m not pretending it’s a best of this.
    Shannon Blake Skelton
    Contributing writer, The Journal of Popular Culture
    Y: The Last Man, Brian K. Vaughan & Pia Guerra
    Caroline Small
    Contributing writer, The Hooded Utilitarian; Treasurer, Executive Committee Small Press Expo
    Die Hure H, Katrin de Vries & Anke Feuchtenberger
    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…
    Kenneth Smith
    Cartoonist, Phantasmagoria; contributing writer, The Comics Journal
    Buck Rogers, Frank Frazetta
    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.
    Matthew J. Smith
    Associate Professor of Communication, Wittenberg University
    Palestine, Joe Sacco
    Michelle Smith
    Contributing writer, Manga Bookshelf, Manga Recon
    Hikaru no Go, Yumi Hotta and Takeshi Obata
    Shannon Smith
    Cartoonist, Addicted to Distraction
    Weirdo, R. Crumb
    -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?
    Nick Sousanis
    Instructor, Teachers College, Columbia University; writer, Spin, Weave, and Cut
    Paul Auster’s City of Glass, Paul Karasik & David Mazzucchelli
    Ryan Standfest
    Editor, Rotland Press
    Breakdowns, Art Spiegelman
    Rob Steen
    Illustrator, Flanimals, Elephantmen
    Conan the Barbarian, Roy Thomas & Barry Windsor-Smith
    Matteo Stefanelli
    Research Fellow, Media Studies, Università Cattolica di Milano; writer, Fumettologicamente
    Quadratino, Antonio Rubino
    Joshua Ray Stephens
    Cartoonist, The Moth or the Flame
    The Boulevard of Broken Dreams, Kim Deitch & Simon Deitch
    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.
    Mick Stevens
    Cartoonist, The New Yorker
    The Politics of Fear, Barry Blitt
    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.
    Tom Stiglich
    Editorial Cartoonist
    Mutts, Patrick McDonnell
    Tucker Stone
    Writer, The Factual Opinion; contributing writer, comiXology, The Comics Journal
    Domu, Katsuhiro Otomo
    Betsey Swardlick
    Cartoonist, Dilbert Stress Toy, Poor, Poor Angsty Hungarian
    The Desert Peach, Donna Barr
    Jeff Swenson
    Cartoonist, Swenson Funnies
    Skippy, Percy Crosby

    Matthew Tauber
    Writer, www.matttauber.blogspot.com
    The New Teen Titans, Marv Wolfman & George Pérez
    Ty Templeton
    Cartoonist, Stig’s Inferno; illustrator, Batman Adventures
    Batman, Denny O’Neil & Neal Adams
    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.
    Jason Thompson
    Author, Manga: The Complete Guide; co-creator & scriptwriter, King of RPGs;
    Meanwhile, Jason Shiga
    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”).
    Kelly Thompson
    Writer, 1979 Semi-Finalist; contributing writer, Comic Book Resources
    Lint, Chris Ware
    Matt Thorn
    Associate Professor, Faculty of Manga, Kyoto Seika University
    Happy Hooligan, Frederick Opper
    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.
    Tom Tirabosco
    Cartoonist, L’Émissiare [The Emissary], L’Oeil de la forêt [The Eye of the Forest]
    La Guerre d’Alan, Emmanuel Guibert
    Mark Tonra
    Cartoonist, James, Top of the World
    Polly and Her Pals, Cliff Sterrett
    Noel Tuazon
    Cartoonist, Obese Obsessor; co-creator & illustrator, This Is Where I Am
    Sandman Mystery Theatre, Matt Wagner, Steven T. Seagle, and Guy Davis

    The extended list of top vote-getters, ranked by number of votes received: