Best Ranked Comic Books and Graphic Novels of All Time

Want to find the greatest comic book series? Check out our guide featuring must-read series like "Saga," "Sin City," and "The Walking Dead”.

greatest comic book series


Comic books, with their vibrant illustrations and immersive narratives, have held readers spellbound for generations.

But with countless series and publishers – Marvel, DC, Image, and more – churning out new stories every month, where do you even begin to discover the greatest comic book series?

This guide dives headfirst into the vast world of comic books, exploring iconic tales and hidden gems across diverse genres. We'll crack the code on what makes a series truly great, then embark on a journey through some of the most critically acclaimed and influential titles ever created. Whether you're a seasoned comic book aficionado or just starting your exploration, this guide equips you with the knowledge and recommendations to find your next favorite read.

The Quest for Greatness: Unveiling the Criteria

What makes a comic book series truly great? Preferences are subjective, of course, but several key ingredients elevate a series beyond mere entertainment. These are the cornerstones we'll consider when exploring the greatest comic book series:

  • Compelling Narratives: A great comic book series boasts engaging storylines that hook you from the first panel. This can encompass a wide range of genres, from superhero epics that shake the foundations of the universe to historical dramas that bring the past vividly to life, to heart-wrenching romances that tug at your emotions. The best narratives feature well-developed characters who drive the story forward, leaving you invested in their triumphs and tribulations.
  • Stunning Artwork: Comic books are a visual medium, after all, and the art plays a crucial role in immersing you in the story. Best comic book series showcases exceptional artwork that complements the narrative and pushes the boundaries of visual storytelling. This can encompass diverse artistic styles, from the detailed realism that makes you feel like you're standing beside the characters to the expressive lines that convey a character's emotions with a single glance.
  • Cultural Impact: Great comic book series often transcend the page and leave a lasting mark on popular culture. They can spark conversations about complex issues, inspire adaptations that take the story to a wider audience, and leave a significant fingerprint on the comic book industry itself.
  • Innovation: The greatest comic book series don't just follow established formulas. They break the mold, introduce fresh concepts that challenge your expectations, and redefine genres. These series become landmarks in comic book history, paving the way for future creators to push the boundaries even further.

Stay tuned as we delve into the hall of fame and explore some of the greatest comic book series that have cemented their place in comic book history!

Unveiling the Titans: Iconic Comic Book Runs and Graphic Novels

Now, let's step into the spotlight and explore some of the greatest comic book series that have earned their legendary status:

1. Watchmen (1986-1987) by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons:

The Watchmen

                                                       (Source: Vaultofculture)

 This groundbreaking miniseries shattered the mold of the superhero genre by deconstructing its traditional tropes. Watchmen doesn't shy away from exploring the darker side of heroism, presenting a world where costumed vigilantes are jaded and flawed. It raises thought-provoking questions about morality, the nature of power, and the consequences of unchecked vigilantism. With its complex narrative and stunning visuals by Dave Gibbons, Watchmen remains a landmark achievement in comic book storytelling and is considered one of the best comic books of all time.

2. Maus (1980-1991) by Art Spiegelman:


                                                     (Source: Selliliar)

This Pulitzer Prize-winning masterpiece uses a unique approach to depict one of history's darkest chapters. Spiegelman tells the story of the Holocaust through the eyes of mice representing Jews and cats symbolizing Nazis. Maus is a powerful and heartbreaking exploration of survival, loss, and the enduring power of the human spirit. The innovative use of anthropomorphic animals allows readers to connect with the characters on a deeper level, making the story's message all the more impactful and earning its place among the best comic book series.

3. The Sandman (1989-1996) by Neil Gaiman, Sam Keith, and various artists:

The Sandman

                                                    (Source: themarysue

Buckle up for a sprawling epic that explores the realm of dreams, myths, and the stories that shape our existence. The Sandman follows Dream, one of the Endless – powerful entities who embody fundamental concepts like Destiny and Death. Gaiman's masterful storytelling weaves together elements of fantasy, horror, and mythology, creating a truly captivating narrative. The series boasts a visually stunning style that varies with each artist, perfectly complementing the richness of the story.

4. Sin City (1991-2000) by Frank Miller:

Sin City

                                                     (Source: Darkhorse

This anthology series features a series of interconnected stories set in the Basin City, a corrupt and violent metropolis. Miller's stark black-and-white artwork, heavy use of shadows, and hard-boiled narration create a unique and immersive reading experience. Sin City is a masterclass in visual storytelling and a must-read for fans of crime fiction and noir aesthetics, solidifying its status as one of the best comic series of all time.

Beyond the Classics: Delving into the Depths

We've explored some iconic titles, but the world of comic books holds a wealth of incredible stories beyond the traditional superhero fare. Here, we'll delve into some of the greatest comic book series that showcase the genre's diversity and innovation:

1. Saga (2012-2018) by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples: 

Saga Comics

                                                   (Sources: goodreads

This critically acclaimed sci-fi/fantasy epic has garnered a passionate fanbase for its stunning artwork, diverse characters, and emotionally resonant storytelling. Saga takes place in a universe where two warring alien races are locked in a seemingly endless conflict. However, the story focuses on a young couple from opposite sides who fall in love and defy their warring cultures. Fiona Staples' artwork is a marvel in itself, blending vibrant colors with expressive character designs that bring the story to life. It's considered one of the best-written comic books of recent times.

2. Y: The Last Man (2002-2008) by Brian K. Vaughan and Pia Guerra:

Y: The Last Man

                                                     (Source: Nerdist)

This thought-provoking post-apocalyptic series explores the societal collapse that occurs after a mysterious plague wipes out every male mammal on Earth except one lone survivor, Yorick Brown. The story follows Yorick and his resourceful companion, Agent 355, as they navigate a changed world and search for answers to the plague's origin. Pia Guerra's art style perfectly complements the bleak yet hopeful tone of the narrative, making it one of the top comic book series to explore.

3. Ms. Marvel (2014-Present) by G. Willow Wilson and Various Artists: 

Ms. Marvel

                                             (Source: lessaccurategrandmother

This groundbreaking series shattered stereotypes and introduced a relatable young Muslim American heroine, Kamala Khan, to the Marvel Universe. Kamala discovers she possesses shapeshifting abilities and grapples with balancing her newfound powers with her everyday life as a teenager. Ms. Marvel is a powerful coming-of-age story that celebrates diversity and challenges traditional superhero narratives. The series features a rotating team of artists, each bringing a unique visual style that reflects Kamala's evolving perspective and has quickly become one of the best comic books of all time.

Now let's spotlight some game-changers that shook the foundation of comic book culture.

Pioneering Innovation and Influence: Groundbreaking Works

The greatest comic book series isn't just about captivating stories and stunning visuals. They also possess the power to innovate and leave a lasting impact on the industry. Let's spotlight some titles that redefined genres and paved the way for future creators:

1. V For Vendetta (1982-1985) by Alan Moore and David Lloyd: 

 V For Vendetta

                                                          (Source: fictionphile)

This dystopian political thriller paints a chilling portrait of a totalitarian future where a fascist government controls every aspect of life. Enter V, a masked vigilante who ignites a rebellion against the oppressive regime. V for Vendetta is a powerful exploration of themes like anarchy, freedom of expression, and the fight against oppression. David Lloyd's stark black-and-white artwork perfectly complements the gritty and subversive nature of the story, making it one of the best comic book series ever.

2. The Walking Dead (2003-Present) by Robert Kirkman and various artists: 

The Walking Dead

                                                       (Source: Comicbook

This character-driven phenomenon redefined the zombie genre for a new generation. The Walking Dead doesn't shy away from portraying the harsh realities of a world overrun by walkers. Instead, it focuses on the struggles of a group of survivors as they grapple with loss, violence, and the fight for survival. Robert Kirkman's gripping narrative keeps you on the edge of your seat, while the ever-changing roster of artists ensures a visually dynamic experience, earning its place among the best comic book series of all time.

3. Batman: Year One (1987) by Frank Miller and David Mazzucchelli: 

Batman: Year One

                                                          (Source: ciasalesk)

This stark and gritty miniseries redefined the Dark Knight for a modern audience. Year One serves as a definitive origin story for Batman, stripping away the campy elements of earlier iterations and showcasing a more brutal and determined Bruce Wayne. Frank Miller's writing delves deep into Bruce's psyche, exploring his motivations and the events that shaped him into Batman. David Mazzucchelli's artwork perfectly captures the dark and atmospheric tone of the story.

Feeling overwhelmed? Don't worry, the journey's just beginning. Here's how to keep the adventure going.

Also read: Exploring Different Comic Book Art Styles

A Universe of Comic Adventures: Dive Deeper Than This List

The world of comic books is boundless, ever-growing with hidden gems waiting to be unearthed. It's a realm that caters to all tastes, from adrenaline-pumping superhero sagas to intimate character explorations. Here's your launchpad for a deeper comic book odyssey:

  • Unleash the Power of the Web: The internet is a treasure chest overflowing with resources for comic fans. Websites like "Comic Book Herald" or "Dashtoon" offer recommendations, reviews, and discussions to fuel your exploration and help you find your next favorite series.
  • Explore Your Local Comic Shop: There's an undeniable magic in holding a physical comic and turning the crisp pages. Local comic shops offer curated selections and passionate staff who can recommend titles that align perfectly with your interests.
  • Embrace the Exploration: The true magic of comic books lies in the thrill of discovery. Don't be afraid to experiment with diverse genres and publishers. Dive into critically acclaimed works, but also venture into lesser-known territories. You might just uncover your new all-time favorite series!
  • Digital Doors to Comic Worlds: While physical comics hold a unique charm, the digital realm offers exciting avenues to explore comic book storytelling. Platforms like Dashtoon & Pixtoon boast vast libraries, allowing you to sample different series or catch up on ongoing storylines at your own pace.

Read: Creating your AI-Generated Comic Book

Dashtoon: A Community for Creators and Readers: For a more interactive digital experience, consider checking out Dashtoon. This platform focuses on independent creators and offers a diverse selection of comics across various genres. You might discover the next breakout star or find a hidden gem that perfectly aligns with your interests.

Ready to embark on your next comic book adventure? Head over to Dashtoon and explore the ever-expanding world of independent creators. Remember, the greatest comic book series is ultimately the one that resonates most deeply with you.