Top 50 Graphic Novels: #20-16

You voted and now we continue our countdown of your votes for the top original graphic novels of all-time! These are graphic novels that were not serialized as comic books before they were released as graphic novels.


20. Marvel Graphic Novel #24 "Love and War" (1986)

Frank Miller returned to his classic Daredevil run with a graphic novel that allowed artist Bill Sienkiewicz to really cut loose on some striking visuals. The story involved the Kingpin's obsession with his wife, Vanessa, who was in a coma. The Kingpin orders the kidnapping of the wife of a prominent doctor so that he could blackmail the doctor into curing Vanessa. However, the henchman who was chosen to kidnap the doctor's wife (who is blind) is mentally breaking down. Daredevil saves the kidnapped woman while the crazed man gets even crazier...

It's a striking tale of obsession that, as you can see above, is decked out with some of Sienkiewicz's strongest art from the period.

19. My Friend Dahmer (2012)

Originally intended as a graphic novel, when he could not find any suitors, Derf Bergderf did the story as a 24-page comic book. There was enough interest then that he was able to complete the graphic novel. I think it counts for this list since it does not collect the one-shot comic book. It completely retells the story (a la Here, which I also included on this countdown).

In any event, the book is just what it says, a story of what it was like for Bergderf to be a casual acquaintance of Jeffrey Dahmer during high school, juxtaposed against what Bergderf later learned was going on in Dahmer's life...

It's a captivating tale that shows a rare outsider's view of someone like Dahmer, who committed his first murder two weeks after his high school graduation (which is the period in which Bergderf was friends with him).

18. Stuck Rubber Baby (1995)

A historic work, Stuck Rubber Baby came out in 1995, when a mainstream comic book company like DC Comics (through their Paradox Press imprint) doing a comic book about a gay man growing up in the 1950s and 1960s was not at all a typical state of affairs.

The fictional tale (based on Cruse's memories growing up gay in the South during that period) follows Toland Polk on a journey to discovery during a fascinating time in American history. Luckily, the story is ultimately a triumphant one of a now-out middle-age Polk looking back on his life. However, there certainly are some problems along the way...

Cruse mixes reality with fiction beautifully, giving Polk's story a strong resonance that makes it stand out.

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