Whether they’re the works of individual creative geniusus or creative teams, these are the most visually stunning graphic novels, according to Reddit
With Marvel's recent endeavor to celebrate famous art movements via the Stormbreaker initiative, fans of comics and graphic novels are starting to feel as if artists are finally getting their due. Writers are still justly celebrated for the narrative they craft, but they're no longer viewed as the sole figurehead in the industry.
Because of the recent emphasis on artistic liberty, many readers have gone begun to reflect on the most stunning graphic novels ever released. Whether these "graphic novels" be original works from a sole creative force or a collection of a beloved storyline in mainstream comics, Redditors agree that the art is stupendous.
Kingdom Come has become one of the defining comics of the 1990s, and for good reason. It acts as a commentary on the nature of superhero stories during the decade by having the likes of Superman and Wonder Woman return to crime-fighting to stop the abuses of the new heroes who lack the strong morals of their predecessors.
Given the grandiosity of the story, it makes sense that "literally every panel is an artistic masterpiece," per the words of HrMaschine. Artist Alex Ross paints every picture with care and renders his realistic figures with an air of godlike authority while still showcasing their humanity.
Blacksad tells the story of the titular detective as he investigates the murder of famous actress Natalia Willford. Such straightforward noir might not be everyone's cup of tea, but even naysayers like ArtfulMegalodon believe that "the art is beyond compare."
Beyond the way that Juanjo Guarnido turns animals into stereotypical gangsters and detectives, the art stands out due to its embrace of painterly touches. Unlike Frank Miller's embrace of pure black and white with Sin City, Guarnido gives the series a fluid look with expressive figures and watercolor-esque textures. It lends to the throwback setting of the comic without feeling derivative.
"Stray Toasters by Bill Sienkiewicz" is one of several graphic novels ChickenInASuit listed as visually stunning. Unlike many of Sienkiewicz's more well known works, the story isn't about superheroes but instead revolves around a criminal psychologist and his investigation into a serial killer who only targets women.
While Sienkiewicz had already asserted himself as a distinct artist with his work on Daredevil: Love and War and Elektra: Assassin, Stray Toasters took his style to the next level. He allowed himself to play even more liberally with abstraction in his figure work, doubled down on his use of oil paint, and even flirted with collage, all of which worked to lend Stray Toasters an appropriate air of unease.
Based on an unproduced screenplay from the late 1960s, “Jim Henson's Tale of Sand” is among the most visually potent graphic novels ever produced, according to Blackfist01. It tells the story of a young man named Mac who winds up in a race across the expansive desert as he is chased by a man named Patch and various other creatures.
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 taps into the whimsical spirit of Henson's work, offering up a fantastical world that is bursting with color and imagination.
Given the way Frank Miller's comics have regressed in recent years, it can be easy to forget how impactful his early works were. Few illustrators could match the kineticism he lent to Daredevil and The Dark Knight Returns, but Sin City might be the best Frank Miller comic.
The opening chapter in the series, The Hard Goodbye focuses on the hitman Marv as he attempts to determine who killed Goldie while attempting to clear his own name for the murder. It's a bloody and brooding noir that, as Charlie-Bell put it is a "mastery of contrast between light and shadows." The fact that it's only in black and white helps exaggerate the bleak nature of the story, while also putting Miller's hulking figures on full display.
Some comic artists are always able to amaze readers. For scarwiz, the most visually stunning comics include "Anything by J H Williams III but Sandman Overture in particular" The graphic novel acts as a prequel to the popular Sandman comic series, and finds aspects of Dream attempt to stop the insanity of a star that threatens 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 trippiest book in the series. Every panel is littered with quirky objects and celestial forms, while the layout of the pages themselves never fail to amaze.
Moebius is one of comics most distinct creative icons, with an extensive bibliography that would make many artists weep. Yet none of his works are as consistently praised as The World of Edena which DrWindupBird called "the most beautiful graphic novel" ever created.
The initial story in The World of Edena series finds Stel and Atan stranded on a barren planet and traverse the wasteland in an old Citroën before they make it to a mysterious pyramid. Like many of Moebius's other works, The World of Edena is littered with lush locales and funky futuristic tech, though the artist does take a more minimalistic approach by adapting a clear line style.
According to FistsTornAsunder, "Die has astonishingly beautiful art." It's not hard to see why considering its Stephanie Hans breathing life to a dark and fantastical world inspired by RPGs (not unlike Stranger Things), thus making Die one of the best horror comics of the 2010s.
The plot of Die can be a bit difficult to follow due to the twists and turns the series takes, but it essentially follows a group of British adults who are sucked into icosahedron-shaped world they once visited as teenagers. Because the story is set in this bizarre landscape, Hans gets to run free with her painterly style and indulge in creating a number of settings ranging from the grimy trenches of World War One to the crystaline spires of a magical city.
Despite how little work he has done for the comic industry outside of the 1980s, David Mazzucchelli is often heralded as one of the best Daredevil comic book artists thanks to his work on Born Again. His greatest personal achievement however might be Asterios Polyp which jk1rbs claimed had "Some of the best use of color in a book I've 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 following the dissolution of his marriage. It's a rather open-ended story, one that is contrasted by Mazzucchelli's linear artwork which plays with the geometry of the human form occasionally abstracts it as far as possible.
The comic that put Alex Ross on the map, Marvels tells the story of the Marvel universe through the eyes of photographer Phil Sheldon. Spanning multiple decades, the books treat readers to such titanic events as the battle between Namor and the Human Torch, along with some of the bleaker aspects of the 616-universe, such as the persecution of mutants.
Given the Everyman focus of Marvels, it comes as no shock that Redditors such as Rosewhip314 "love the realistic art style of it all." Ross's style of painting is reminiscent of the work of Norman Rockwell, and is able to strike a contrast between the mundane and epic like no other.
Next: 10 Best Christmas Comics, According To Reddit
Connor Shelton is a recent college graduate and content list writer for Screen Rant. His experience includes writing reviews for Rock at Night and The Prog Report and editing features for the Truman Media Network. Having hacked away at the keyboard since 2020, Connor’s goals have been to discuss media in a critical manner that is fun and understandable for general audiences. His obsessions include Doctor Who, Hellboy, and anything related to Transformers. He’s also a passionate fan of the band Kansas and a poet.