10 of the Most Visually Stunning Graphic Novels, According to Reddit

With Marvel’s recent attempt to celebrate famous art movements through the Stormbreaker initiative, comic book and graphic novel fans are starting to feel like artists are finally getting their due. Writers are still rightly celebrated for the fiction they create, but they’re no longer seen as the industry’s sole figurehead.


Due to the recent emphasis on artistic freedom, many readers have begun pondering the most jaw-dropping graphic novels ever published. Whether these “graphic novels” are original works from a single creative force or a compilation of a beloved storyline in mainstream comics, Redditors agree that the art is gorgeous.

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Kingdom come

Superman with the rest of the Justice League in Kingdom Come.

Kingdom come has become one of the defining comics of the ’90s, and for good reason. It acts as a commentary on the nature of superhero stories throughout the decade, returning the likes of Superman and Wonder Woman to crime-fighting to stop the abuses of new heroes who lack the strong morals of their predecessors.

Related: 10 best Alex Ross comics, according to Reddit

Given the grandeur of the story, it makes sense that “literally every cartoon is a masterpiece of art,” in HrMaschine’s words. Artist Alex Ross paints each image with care and makes his figures lifelike with an air of divine authority while still showing their humanity.

Blacksad

Blacksad walking down the street in comics

Blacksad tells the story of the titular detective as he investigates the murder of famous actress Natalia Willford. Such a simple noir may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but even naysayers like ArtfulMegalodon believe that “art is beyond compare.”

Beyond the way Juanjo Guarnido transforms animals into stereotypical gangsters and detectives, the art is notable for its embrace of painterly touches. Unlike Frank Miller’s embrace of pure black and white with City of sin, Guarnido gives the series a fluid look with expressive figures and watercolor textures. He lends himself to the comic’s throwback setting without feeling derivative.

Stray toaster

A child plays with a string in Stray Toasters

“Bill Sienkiewicz’s Stray Toasters” is one of several ChickenInASuit graphic novels listed as visually stunning. Unlike many of Sienkiewicz’s best-known works, the story is not about superheroes, but revolves around a criminal psychologist and his investigation into a serial killer who targets only women.

While Sienkiewicz had already established himself as a distinguished artist with his work Daredevil: love and war and Electra: Assassin, Stray toaster he took his style to the next level. He allowed himself to play even more freely with abstraction in his figure work, doubled down on his use of oil paint and even flirted with collage, which worked to lend Stray toaster an adequate air of discomfort.

Tale of sand

Tale of sand

Based on an unproduced screenplay from the late 1960s, “Jim Henson’s Tale of Sand” is among the most visually powerful graphic novels ever produced, according to Blackfist01. It tells the story of a young man named Mac who ends up in a run across the vast desert while being chased by a man named Patch and various other creatures.

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What makes Tale of sand such a visual treat is that it doesn’t attempt to replicate the minute details of Henson’s puppets and animatronics. Instead, artist Ramón K. Pérez draws on the whimsical spirit of Henson’s work, offering a fantasy world bursting with color and imagination.

Sin City: The Hard Goodbye

sin city the hard goodbye marv (1)

Given the way Frank Miller’s comics have regressed in recent years, it can be easy to forget the impact of his early work. Few illustrators could match the kineticism to which he lent himself Reckless and The Return of the Dark Knightbut City of sin might be Frank Miller’s best comic.

The opening chapter of the series, The hard goodbye focuses on hitman Marv as he attempts to determine who killed Goldie as he attempted to clear his own name for the murder. He’s a bloody, brooding noir that, as Charlie-Bell put it, is a “mastery of the contrast between light and dark.” The fact that it’s only black and white helps exaggerate the grim nature of the story, while also showcasing Miller’s huge figures.

Sandman Overture

Dream and his appearances from the Sandman Overture comics

Some cartoonists always manage to amaze the readers. For Scarwiz, the most visually stunning comics include “Anything by JH Williams III, but Sandman Overture in particular.” to engulf the entire universe in its flames.

While the best Sandman comics had always featured surrealist imagery, Sandman Overture takes the cake for being the wackiest book in the series. Each panel is littered with whimsical objects and celestial shapes, while the layout of the pages themselves never fails to impress.

The world of Edena

A man weeps under a tree in the world of Edena

Moebius is one of comics’ most distinctive creative icons, with a vast bibliography that would make many artists cry. Yet none of his work is as consistently praised as The world of Edena which DrWindupBird called “the coolest graphic novel” ever created.

Related: 10 Graphic Novels That Deserve To Be Movies

The initial story in The world of Edena The series finds Stel and Atan stranded on a barren planet and they traverse the wasteland in an old Citroën before reaching a mysterious pyramid. Like many other works by Moebius, The world of Edena it is littered with lush premises and funky futuristic technology, although the artist takes a more minimalist approach by adapting a clear line style.

Die

DIE comic

According to FistsTornAsunder, “Die has astonishingly beautiful art”. It’s not hard to see why considering Stephanie Hans bringing to life a dark and fantastic world inspired by RPGs (not unlike Stranger Things), thus making Die one of the best horror comics of the 2010s.

The plot of Die it can be a little difficult to follow due to the twists and turns of the series, but essentially it follows a group of British adults who get sucked into the icosahedron-shaped world they once visited as teenagers. Since the story is set in this bizarre landscape, Hans is able to run free with his painting style and dedicate himself to creating a variety of environments ranging from the dirty trenches of the First World War to the crystalline spiers of a magical city.

Asterios polyp

Asterios polyp

Despite the little work he has done for the comic industry outside of the 1980s, David Mazzucchelli is often regarded as one of the best Daredevil comic artists due to his work on Born again. His greatest personal achievement, however, may be Asterios polyp which according to jk1rbs had “Some of the best uses of color in a book I’ve ever seen.”

The graphic novel is something of a modern Greek tragedy, telling the story of Asterios Polyp as he tries to find a new life after the dissolution of his marriage. It’s a rather open story, contrasted by Mazzucchelli’s linear artwork which plays with the geometry of the human form occasionally abstracting it as much as possible.

Wonders

The comic that put Alex Ross on the map, Wonders tells the story of the Marvel universe through the eyes of photographer Phil Sheldon. Spanning multiple decades, the books treat readers to titanic events such as the battle between Namor and the Human Torch, along with some of the darker aspects of the 616 universe, such as the persecution of mutants.

Given the focus of Everyman’s Wonders, unsurprisingly, Redditors like Rosewhip314 “love the realistic art style of it all.” Ross’ painting style is reminiscent of the work of Norman Rockwell and is able to create a contrast between the mundane and the epic like no other.

Next: 10 Best Christmas Comics, According to Reddit

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