What is the best Graphic Novel ever written?

Mission31

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:) What is the answer to this question? Some people say "Batman: The Dark Knight Returns" and some people say "watchmen". I haven't read that many graphic novels(I have read the batman one mentioned above)but what do you think is the best graphic novel out there? :)
 

Talysia

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Hmm, well I might be biased, but my favourite would have to be The Dream Hunters, by Neil Gaiman and Yoshitaka Amano.

Welcome to the Chronicles, Mission31!:)
 

Alienweirdo

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Depends on what you are after in a graphic novel, like everything else in the world there isn't really a graphic novel out there that is definitely the best, even though the ones you mentioned are generally regarded as the best. I’ve found that some people turn there nose up at mainstream marvel and Dc, and others who wouldn’t touch underground stuff with a barge pole.

My personal Favourite is Batman: the Long Halloween, as its intelligently written, and its very stylised. It’s dark without being unnecessarily gruesome, and its fun to read without it being cliché.

I’m currently going through a Hellboy phase, loving the artwork and the storylines. Go for Seed of destruction or Wake the Devil if you decide to have a look.
 

Duchessprozac

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Both of those you mentioned at first are two of the best. Others are Maus, V For Vendetta and one of my personal favourites Sandman:A Game of You
 

Archimedes

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I know it's recently fallen into the realm of pop culture, but I still have to give my vote to Miller's Sin City series
 

gigantes

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i'll reprint what i mentioned in the other thread:

"maus" by art spiegelman
"bone" by jeff smith <--- this one in particular is perfect for this forums
"watchmen" by alan moore
"small favors" by colleen coover
the 17 "big books" by gahan wilson and company <--- superb RL stories drawn in the 'maus' style
"cartoon history of the universe" by larry gonick
"love & rockets" by the hernandez brothers <--- my personal fave
various frank miller stuff

not to mention all the superb european stuff, like asterix, lucky luke, stuff by moebius, manara, noe, ferocius, etc... often reprinted in "heavy metal" magazine.
 

Ragnar

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I'm a huge Alan Moore fan & my personal favourite is From Hell. I don't read as much graphic stuff as I once did but as far as I'm concerned, Moore is the master & From Hell has never been bettered... although V for Vendetta comes a very close second.
 

Culhwch

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I've only recently started in on graphic novels. The Sandman series is good, but a little uneven, I find. For mine, Watchmen is a little overrated, but that might have been the weight of expectation. The Dark Knight Returns had nothing on The Long Halloween, which I thought was fantastic - I'm hoping the Harvey Dent storyline is worked into Nolan's The Dark Knight. And I really liked Marvel 1602, until... well, that would ruin it. But for the most part it was good. I've a lot of readign to do before I can venture a 'greatest' nominee, though.

Oh, and just started in on Fables, which I'm really liking.
 

gigantes

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the problem with starting with marvel / DC as a reference point for great graphic novels is that you have to sift through a huge proportion of crap to get to anything good.

the best case scenerio for those companies is prolly when they get distribution rights for 'stars' in the field, such as with wilson's big book series.

the general superhero genre just doesn't seem to lend itself well to producing great work. you might have people pass through those factories on the way to creating really superior work, like with miller and moore perhaps, but those people generally don't seem to settle there. they seem to move right on to independent status sooner or later, joining a few other masters of the graphic novel who worked independent or worked with european publishing houses right from the beginning.
 

Nesacat

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I think it's very relative at least for me. Some of them have the most amazing art but not very good story lines while others tell a great tale but don't have such eye-catching art work.

I love Neil Gaiman's Dream Hunters which has both a good tale to tell and breathtaking art. Yoshitaka Amano's art for this book is like a dream in itself. It's watercolour mostly with colours bleeding and flowing into each other.

I also liked Gaiman's Marvel 1602, which takes several Marvel characters back to the England of 1602 and the reign of Elizabeth 1. Again it's got a good storyline, an interesting plot and wonderful art.

A firm favourite has to be Gaiman's Last Temptation with art work by Mike Zulli. The story line is an old one but the artwork is awesome. Black and white and very detailed; every panel is a treat.

I also liked Kingdom Come which sees Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman in the future. They are much older and the world has changed beyond all recognition. I thought it was very well done and you can imagine each of them being that way as they got older.

Red Son was an odd little book with Superman being born behind the Iron Curtain.

Some of the very first graphic novels I ever read properly or owned were the Sandman ones so they hold a special place in my heart. They pretty much opened the doors to that realm of books.

I also have a fondness for Frank Miller and Alan Moore's work and really like Watchmen, From Hell, V For Vendetta, League of Extraordinary Gentleman. I like Batman: The Dark Night Returns but didn't like the artwork. I much preferred Long Halloween.

I grew up reading both Asterix and Tintin so have collections of them both and they will always be firm favourites, though I suppose they are comics rather than graphic novels.

Am currently working my way through what I can find of Fables, Hellboy and Constantine in the stores here.
 

gigantes

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I grew up reading both Asterix and Tintin so have collections of them both and they will always be firm favourites, though I suppose they are comics rather than graphic novels.

i almost agreed with that idea, but then i realised that the main difference between asterix / tintin / lucky luke and the so-called 'serious stuff' is that the former stuff all places comedic value at roughly equal value with dramatic value.

thinking about that a little bit, i don't see any reason that those works can't therefore be called "graphic novels" either. they tell a long story, after all. isn't that the criteria, then- to tell a long story in graphic form? we know that the quality is certainly there.

anyway, getting back to your main point, another problem i have personally with the superhero genre is that i got burned out on it a long time ago. i don't doubt that the stuff you mention which i'm not familiar with isn't top-notch, but as analogy: if i went looking for great novels would i limit myself to only adventure dramas?

that's why i'd recommend to anyone looking for great graphic novels, particularly on the order of maus- don't get hung up on marvel / DC stuff. they produce a big volume in a fairly narrow genre. do a full survey of all the publishers to find the truly best stuff.

this would prolly be a good place to start:
List of award-winning graphic novels - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
 

Nesacat

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I do agree with you about Marvel/DC but this whole realm of comic books/graphic novels is really very new here.

For instance I only started seeing Sandman on the shelves about two years ago but I'd gotten them forever and a day ago. V For Vendetta and Sin City got here following the movies when the stores suddenly realised they could make some money here.

All the odd ones I've bought have been found when I travel and there's only so much space to bring them back with me then. This would include Frank Miller and Alan Moore and Moebius.

Admittedly things are improving especially with stores like Borders opening and having a section devoted to comics. The other stores are slowly catching on and in the last year a few specialist comic book stores have opened though those tend to stick with the tried and tested DC/Marvel stuff. I can't blame them since they do need a way to stay afloat and hopefully they'll start venturing out soon.
 

gigantes

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ah, good points.

maybe it's a little like the condescending attitudes that have prevailed in the literary industry against SF... it's taken decades to break them down and there's still a lot of work to be done.
 

Nesacat

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We probably have Hollywood to thank for a lot of it. Sometimes it can be useful. The movies started being made and the cash registers in the minds of the people running the big stores here started ringing. It's only really been in the last year or so that stores have started having comic book sections.

And Hollywood has helped the Science Fiction & Fantasy sections as well. You can almost see the bulbs lighting up over people's heads. They've got a ways to go towards understanding how to order the books but at least it's moving in the right direction. Eventually everyone will figure out that when books are trilogies it means you need 1, 2 and 3. It's NOT okay to have 1 and 3 or just 2. Same problem with comics.

Have been looking at Maus online and would definitely like to read it. Will see what I can find this weekend, otherwise there's always Amazon.
:p
 

Connavar

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When its comics. I would say Batman The Dark Knight Returns its the comic that made me a comic fan. The combo of the great art and the interesting story is hard to beat. Anothers that comes very close are Hellboy and Sin City.



The best manga is tied beteween Hajime No Ippo and Lone Wolf and Cub.
 

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