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So, for the curious, here is my list of the 10 greatest graphic novels of all time in no particular order:

  1. Maus by Art Spiegelman
  2. Fun Home by Alison Bechdel
  3. MW by Osamu Tezuka
  4. The Sculptor by Scott McCloud
  5. From Hell by Alan Moore & Eddie Campbell
  6. Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
  7. The Metabarons by Alejandro Jodorowsky & Juan Giménez
  8. Epileptic by David B
  9. Contract with God by Will Eisner
  10. The Adventures of Luthor Arkwright by Bryan Talbot

In forming the list, I have enforced the following rules:

  1. It has to be a narrative. An autobiographical narrative is fine, but is still must be some form of a story. Which means, for example, no Understanding Comics.
  2. It must be a story contained within a single book. I find it so hard to judge the overall value of something that extends over 6, 10, or 20 volumes — the quality of such a work can vary so much. Sadly, that is why there is only one manga on this list (MW).

I must admit that I am dissatisfied with the dearth of manga here. Probably means I should read more one-volume mangas. But I feel that this does give a nice variety of genres: one fantasy (The Sculptor), one drama (Contract with God), two horror (From Hell and MW), two science fiction (Metabarons and Luthor Arkwright), and, of course, four memoirs (Maus, Persepolis, Epileptic, and Fun Home), probably the most important graphic novel genre.

All of these works are powerful pieces that I feel define the medium and push it in some very powerful directions.