Friday, January 27, 2017

The 2011 International Best Comics Poll--Participant Lists Sh-Sw

The International Best Comics Poll was first published at The Hooded Utilitarian in August of 2011. The material remains available at that site. I conceived, organized, and edited the project. I'm cross-publishing my posts and the participant lists here for personal archival purposes. Links to essay contributions by other writers will go to saved versions of The Hooded Utilitarian pages on

The following lists were submitted in response to the question, "What are the ten comics works you consider your favorites, the best, or the most significant?" All lists have been edited for consistency, clarity, and to fix minor copy errors. Unranked lists are alphabetized by title. In instances where the vote varies somewhat with the Top 115 entry the vote was counted towards, an explanation of how the vote was counted appears below it.

In the case of divided votes, only works fitting the description that received multiple votes on their own received the benefit. For example, in Jessica Abel's list, she voted for The Post-Superhero comics of David Mazzucchelli. That vote was divided evenly between Asterios Polyp and Paul Auster's City of Glass because they fit that description and received multiple votes on their own. It was not in any way applied to the The Rubber Blanket Stories because that material did not receive multiple votes from other participants.

Joe Sharpnack
Editorial Cartoonist, Iowa City Gazette

Calvin and Hobbes, Bill Watterson
Doonesbury, Garry B. Trudeau
The Far Side, Gary Larson
Iron Man, various writers and artists
• The Political Cartoons, Jeff MacNelly
• The Political Cartoons, Pat Oliphant
• The Political Cartoons, Joe Sharpnack
• The Political Cartoons, Tom Toles
Reid Fleming, World’s Toughest Milkman, David Boswell
Spider-Man, various writers and artists
Counted as a 0.5 vote each for Spider-Man, Stan Lee & Steve Ditko, and The Spider-Man Stories, Stan Lee & John Romita

Scott Shaw!
Co-creator, Captain Carrot & His Amazing Zoo Crew; cartoonist, Simpsons Comics

• (1.) The Fantastic Four, Stan Lee & Jack Kirby, with Joe Sinnott, et al.
• (2.) The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers, Gilbert Shelton
• (3.) The Uncle $crooge Stories, Cark Barks
• (4.) Kona, Monarch of Monster Isle, Sam Glanzman
• (5.) The Little Lulu Stories, John Stanley, with Irving Tripp
• (6.) Tales Calculated To Drive You Bats, George Gladir & Orlando Busino
• (7.) The King’s Stilts, Dr. Seuss (Theodore Geisel)
• (8.) Hot Rod Monster T-Shirt and Decal Art, Ed “Big Daddy” Roth, Ed Newton, and Robert Williams
• (9.) Herbie, Richard E. Hughes & Ogden Whitney
• (10.) The Little Archie Stories, Bob Bolling

Mahendra Singh
Cartoonist, The Adventures of Mr. Pyridine; illustrator, Lewis Carroll’s The Hunting of the Snark

• The Arzach Stories, Jean “Moebius” Giraud
• The Codex Nutall, unknown Mixtec atelier
Le Garage hermétique [The Airtight Garage], Jean “Moebius” Giraud
Hamza-Namah, atelier of the Mughal Emperor Akbar
Idyl, Jeffrey Catherine Jones
Krazy Kat, George Herriman
Lone Sloane, Philippe Druillet
Le Mage acrylic [The Story of the Acrylic Magus and His Vibratory Perturbations], Serge Bihannic & Philippe Druillet
A Rake’s Progress, William Hogarth
Une Semaine de bonté [A Week of Kindness], Max Ernst

Ed Sizemore
Contributing writer,

• (1.) Pluto, Naoki Urasawa
• (2.) Tetsuwan Atomu [Astro Boy], Osamu Tezuka
• (3.) Yotsuba&!, Kiyohiko Azuma
• (4.) Kôkaku Kidôtai [Ghost in the Shell], Masamune Shirow
• (5.) Mushishi, Yuki Urushibara
• (6.) Aruku Hito [The Walking Man], Jiro Taniguchi
• (7.) A Drunken Dream and Other Stories, Moto Hagio
• (8.) Gekiga Hyôryû [A Drifting Life], Yoshihiro Tatsumi
• (9.) Kaze no Tani no Naushika [Nausicäa of the Valley of the Wind], Hayao Miyazaki
• (10.) Buddha, Osamu Tezuka


Here is Top Ten Favorite Manga List. I'm not pretending it's a best of this.

Shannon Blake Skelton
Contributing writer, The Journal of Popular Culture

• The Animal Man Stories, Grant Morrison & Chas Truog, with Doug Hazlewood
Batman: Year One, Frank Miller & David Mazzucchelli, with Richmond Lewis
A Contract with God and Other Tenement Stories, Will Eisner
Essex County Trilogy, Jeff Lemire
Ghost World, Daniel Clowes
MAD #1-27, Harvey Kurtzman & Will Elder, Wallace Wood, Jack Davis, et al.
Spider-Man, Stan Lee, et al.
Counted as a 0.5 vote each for Spider-Man, Stan Lee & Steve Ditko, and The Spider-Man Stories, Stan Lee & John Romita
• The Swamp Thing Stories, Alan Moore & Stephen R. Bissette, John Totleben, Rick Veitch, et al.
• The X-Men Stories, Chris Claremont, et al.
Counted as a 0.5 vote each for The X-Men Stories, Chris Claremont & John Byrne, with Terry Austin, and X-Men: God Loves, Man Kills, Chris Claremont & Brent Anderson
Y: The Last Man, Bryan K. Vaughn & Pia Guerra, with José Marzán, Jr.

Caroline Small
Contributing writer,; Treasurer, Executive Committee Small Press Expo

• The Autobiographical Comics, Aline Kominsky-Crumb
The Boulevard of Broken Dreams, Kim Deitch & Simon Deitch
Campo di babà [The Bun Field], Amanda Vähämäki
The Fate of the Artist, Eddie Campbell
Faune [Wildlife], Aristophane
Die Hure H Zieht Ihre Bahnen [W the Whore Makes Her Tracks], Katrin de Vries & Anke Feuchtenberger
Michelle, Jason Overby
The Passport, Saul Steinberg
Counted as a vote for Works, Saul Steinberg


I know I’m missing things that would be my favorites that I just haven’t read yet. LOL, How ‘bout eight?

I don’t feel I’ve read enough comics to confidently make a list, but these are comics that made me love and value comics enough to keep reading in search of new favorites that I will love even more…

Kenneth Smith
Cartoonist, Phantasmagoria; contributing writer, The Comics Journal

• The Arzach Stories, Jean “Moebius” Giraud
Bizarro, Dan Piraro
• The Famous Funnies [Buck Rogers] Cover Illustrations, Frank Frazetta
Calvin and Hobbes, Bill Watterson
Idyl, Jeffrey Catherine Jones
JIM and Other Collections, Jim Woodring
Counted as a 0.5 vote each for The Book of Jim and The Frank Stories
Krazy Kat, George Herriman
Pogo, Walt Kelly
Space Clusters, Arthur Byron Cover & Alex Niño
Weird Fantasy, Weird Science, Weird Science-Fantasy, and Incredible Science-Fiction, Wallace Wood, Al Williamson, et al.
Counted as a vote for The EC Comics Science-Fiction Stories, Al Feldstein & Wallace Wood, Al Williamson, Joe Orlando, et al.


Here goes, in no particular priority of preference, the strips or comics or books or collections that impressed me as totally perfect in their own kind (obviously not every issue of the EC SF comics qualifies, of course: to me these works will forever breathe the living presence and free spirit of their creators, half of them alas already passed on.) If you were to have asked me two or three months down the road, I would think of perhaps another four things I should have added but damned if I know what would then have to be dropped. So, merely alphabetically--these are (a) works out of the prime of their creators, (b) things I would foist without reservation on anyone who asked me what the hell has been going in comics that is in some way great, and (c) productions that raised my own preconceptions about what the hell is really possible to do in comics.

Now I have to send this off fast while the list is still naively composed and I haven't had time to argue with myself about way too many great talents and superb works that are trying to elbow their way in.

Matthew J. Smith
Associate Professor of Communication, Wittenberg University

• (1.) Maus: A Survivor’s Tale, Art Spiegelman
• (2.) Watchmen, Alan Moore & Dave Gibbons
• (3.) The Spirit, Will Eisner
• (4.) The Fantastic Four, Stan Lee & Jack Kirby, with Joe Sinnott, et al.
• (5.) MAD #1-27, Harvey Kurtzman & Will Elder, Wallace Wood, Jack Davis, et al.
• (6.) Fun Home, Alison Bechdel
• (7.) Hi no Tori [Phoenix], Osamu Tezuka
• (8.) Palestine, Joe Sacco
• (9.) Bone, Jeff Smith
• (10.) The Sandman, Neil Gaiman, et al.

Michelle Smith
Contributing writer,,

Basara, Yumi Tamura
Furûtsu Basaketto [Fruits Basket], Natsuki Takaya
Hikaru no Go, Yumi Hotta & Takeshi Obata
Mirai no Kioku [Future Lovers], Saika Kunieda
Nana, Ai Yazawa
Paradise Kiss, Ai Yazawa
Pluto: Urasawa x Tezuka, Naoki Urasawa
Seiyô Kottô Yôgashiten [Antique Bakery], Fumi Yoshinaga
Wild Adapter, Kazuya Minekura
Yotsuba&!, Kiyohiko Azuma

Shannon Smith
Cartoonist, Addicted to Distraction

American Splendor, Harvey Pekar, et al.
• The Daredevil Stories, Ann Nocenti & John Romita, Jr.
• The Green Arrow Stories, Mike Grell, et al.
The Invisibles, Grant Morrison & Steve Yeowell, Phil Jiminez, et al.
Louis Riel, Chester Brown
Marshal Law, Pat Mills & Kevin O’Neill
The Maxx, Sam Kieth & William Messner-Loebs
• The Star Wars Stories, Roy Thomas, Howard Chaykin, Archie Goodwin, Carmine Infantino, et al.
THB, Paul Pope
• The Weirdo Stories, R. Crumb


-Marvel's Star Wars. Thinking mostly of the Roy Thomas/Howard Chaykin and the Archie Goodwin/Carmine Infantino books. Roughly issues 1 through 54.

-The Invisibles. Grant Morrison and pretty much every artist that caught a check from Vertigo at that time.

-Daredevil. Ann Nocenti and John Romita, Jr.

-THB. Paul Pope.

-R. Crumb. In the spirit of breaking it down to specific works I'll take his work in Weirdo.

-American Splendor. Harvey Pekar. Again, to break it down to specific comics I'd say roughly the stuff collected in that Doubleday book The Life and Times of Harvey Pekar.

-Green Arrow. Mike Grell. That would be issues 1 through 80 of that version plus the annuals, The Wonder Year and The Longbow Hunters. (Eddie Fryers was a great supporting character.)

-The Maxx. Sam Kieth and Bill Messner-Loebs.

-Marshal Law. Pat Mills and Kevin O'Neill.

-Louis Riel. Chester Brown.

And can I get an 11th? I want to throw Peanuts in there but, really, isn't that just a given? Shouldn't Peanuts just be assumed in any best of anything comics related?

Nick Sousanis
Instructor, Teachers College, Columbia University; writer,

All-Star Superman, Grant Morrison & Frank Quitely
Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Frank Miller, with Klaus Janson & Lynn Varley
Cages, Dave McKean
The Dreamer, Will Eisner
From Hell, Alan Moore & Eddie Campbell
Maus: A Survivor’s Tale, Art Spiegelman
Paul Auster’s City of Glass, Paul Karasik & David Mazzucchelli
Understanding Comics, Scott McCloud
V for Vendetta, Alan Moore & David Lloyd
Watchmen, Alan Moore & Dave Gibbons

Ryan Standfest
Editor, Rotland Press

The Adventures of Phoebe Zeit-Geist, Michael O’Donaghue & Frank Springer
Breakdowns, Art Spiegelman
Eightball, Daniel Clowes
Counted as a 0.2 vote each for Caricature: Nine Stories, David Boring, The Death Ray, Ghost World, and Ice Haven.
Goodman Beaver, Harvey Kurtzman & Will Elder
Hey, Look!, Harvey Kurtzman
Humbug, Harvey Kurtzman, editor
Jungle Book, Harvey Kurtzman
MAD #1-27, Harvey Kurtzman & Will Elder, Wallace Wood, Jack Davis, et al.
The New Yorker Cartoons, Charles Addams
• The Playboy Cartoons, Gahan Wilson

Rob Steen
Illustrator, Flanimals, Elephantmen

• “Jenifer,” Bruce Jones & Bernie Wrightson
Laika, Nick Abadzis
The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Volume II, Alan Moore & Kevin O’Neill
Preacher, Garth Ennis & Steve Dillon
Pride of Baghdad, Brian K. Vaughan & Niko Henrichon
• “Red Nails,” Roy Thomas & Barry Windsor-Smith, after Robert E. Howard, and “Worms of the Earth,” Roy Thomas & Barry Windsor-Smith and Tim Conrad, after Robert E. Howard
Counted as a vote for The Conan the Barbarian Stories, Roy Thomas & Barry Windsor-Smith, with Sal Buscema, et al.
• The Silver Surfer Stories, Stan Lee & John Buscema, with Jack Kirby, et al.
Strange Embrace, David Hine
Stray Bullets, David Lapham

Matteo Stefanelli
Research Fellow, Media Studies, Università Cattolica di Milano; writer,

El Eternauta, Héctor Germán Oesterheld & Francisco Solano López
Le Garage hermétique [The Airtight Garage], Jean “Moebius” Giraud
Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth, Chris Ware
Krazy Kat, George Herriman
Little Nemo in Slumberland, Winsor McCay
Maus: A Survivor’s Tale, Art Spiegelman
Quadratino, Antonio Rubino
The Shakespeare Trilogy, Gianni De Luca
Tintin, Hergé
• The Uncle $crooge Stories, Carl Barks

Joshua Ray Stephens
Cartoonist, The Moth or the Flame

The Boulevard of Broken Dreams, Kim Deitch & Simon Deitch
The Death Ray, Daniel Clowes
Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth, Chris Ware
Kaze no Tani no Naushika [Nausicäa of the Valley of the Wind], Hayao Miyazaki
Little Nemo in Slumberland, Winsor McCay
Pinocchio, Winshluss
Salammbô, Philippe Druillet
Skibber Bee Bye, Ron Regé, Jr.
The Squirrel Machine, Hans Rickheit
Watchmen, Alan Moore & Dave Gibbons


This is a very difficult query, if taken seriously, which is my wont. I would like to write a little caveat:

First of all the reasons and criteria for judging the best anything quickly become manifold once one begins rooting around in the domain of those that inhabit the realm of “The Best.” So, that is already a major factor to consider.

Secondly, I am very well read in comics from their beginnings to now, in our country and internationally. However, I by no means consider myself an encompassing authority on the medium. I am aware of large gaps in my knowledge. And there are certain areas I have little to no interest in.

Thirdly, there are a number of works not on my list that I personally consider to be just as worthy, but I chose the final ten based on variety and potential controversy.

That being said, this is not merely a favorites list. I would call this “the best ten comics opuses out of what I have read.” These do tend to be my favorites, because I make a habit of seeking out and befriending work that I consider to be excellent and not which merely appeals to my ego. My main criteria for judging, in a field which, let’s face it, still has a long way to go before attaining the loftiest heights of art or literature, but which also has the potential to synthesize both, are these: 1) Is the work fertile? Does it activate the imagination? Does it challenge the reader? Does it grow beyond what is merely explicitly there? 2) Does the work have lasting value? Does it endure? Does it merit and reward multiple readings? 3) Does the work achieve formal excellence? In art and/or writing? Does it challenge the medium in one way or another?

Finally, I would like to point out that there are three works missing from my list which should be mentioned. The big three: Krazy Kat, Peanuts, and Pogo. I have no doubt that these are great examples of comics mastery. But first of all they are always mentioned and anyone in the field knows that they are worth seeking out. I presume one of the main points in asking for a list like this is to get a sense of what should be being read, but with it limited to ten I see no point in wasting three on works that are so universally lauded. And to be perfectly honest I don’t really consider myself on intimate enough terms with any of these three works to feel justified in ranking them in my top ten. I have read a mere smattering of all of them and have a long way to go before I know them fully.

P.S. I consider Moebius to be perhaps the greatest true artist in the comics field to date, but, based on the rules that I can’t choose an artist’s entire body of work, I can’t pick a single work of his that I honestly think is one of the best examples of comics. I just felt that had to be said, because Moebius is truly amazing.

Mick Stevens
Cartoonist, The New Yorker

• The Magazine Cartoons, Charles Barsotti
• The Magazine Cartoons and Illustrations, Barry Blitt
• The Magazine Cartoons, Roz Chast
• The Magazine Cartoons, Drew Dernavich
• The Magazine Cartoons, Matt Diffee
• The Magazine Cartoons, Victoria Roberts
• The Magazine Cartoons, David Sipress
• The Magazine Cartoons, Barbara Smaller
• The Magazine Cartoons, P.C. Vey
• The Magazine Cartoons, Jack Ziegler


I'm not into comics that much, though I do like them in general. As far as people in my little corner of the cartoon universe, magazine cartoons, I do have many favorites, and way more than ten. Here's a stab at narrowing the list to ten, though: Jack Ziegler, David Sipress, Victoria Roberts, Roz Chast, Barbara Smaller, Charles Barsotti, Drew Dernovich, Matt Diffee, P.C. Vey... That's nine, and apologies to all my other faves not listed. I also really like Barry Blitt. He's not, strictly speaking, a cartoonist, but he does do great ones in the form of his New Yorker cover art, in addition to being a terrific illustrator and watercolorist, in my estimation, so I'd like to make him my number ten.

Tom Stiglich
Editorial Cartoonist

• (1.) Peanuts, Charles M. Schulz
• (2.) The Far Side, Gary Larson
• (3.) Calvin and Hobbes, Bill Watterson
• (4.) The Editorial Cartoons, Michael Ramirez
• (5.) Non Sequitur, Wiley Miller
• (6.) The Editorial Cartoons, Jeff MacNelly
• (7.) Doonesbury, Garry B. Trudeau
• (8.) Krazy Kat, George Herriman
• (9.) Pogo, Walt Kelly
• (10.) Mutts, Patrick McDonnell

Tucker Stone
Writer,; contributing writer,, The Comics Journal

The ACME Novelty Library, Chris Ware
Counted as a 0.25 vote each for “Building Stories,” Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth, Quimby the Mouse, and Rusty Brown, including “Lint”.
Calvin and Hobbes, Bill Watterson
Daredevil: Born Again, Frank Miller & David Mazzucchelli
Domu: A Child’s Dream, Katsuhiro Otomo
Gasoline Alley, Frank King
Jimbo, Gary Panter
Kozure Ôkami [Lone Wolf and Cub], Kazuo Koike & Goseki Kojima
Krazy Kat, George Herriman
OMAC: One Man Army Corps, Jack Kirby, with Mike Royer
• The 2001: A Space Odyssey Stories, Jack Kirby, with Mike Royer

Betsey Swardlick
Cartoonist, Dilbert Stress Toy, Poor, Poor Angsty Hungarian

Corto Maltese, Hugo Pratt
The Desert Peach, Donna Barr
Doukyuusei, Nakamura Asumiko
Dykes to Watch Out For, Alison Bechdel
Gaston LaGaffe, André Franquin
• The Justice League International Stories, Keith Giffen, J. M. DeMatteis, et al.
Love and Rockets, Gilbert Hernandez & Jaime Hernandez
Counted as a 0.5 vote each for The Locas Stories, Jaime Hernandez, and The Palomar Stories, Gilbert Hernandez
Ore Wa Mada Honki Dashiteinai Dake [I’ll Give It My All… Tomorrow], Aono Shunju
• The Shade, the Changing Man Stories, Peter Milligan & Chris Bachalo
Tank Girl, Jamie Hewlett & Alan Martin

Jeff Swenson
Cartoonist, Swenson Funnies

• (1.) Thimble Theatre, starring Popeye, E. C. Segar
• (2.) Bloom County, Berkeley Breathed
• (3.) Jesus and Mo’, Anonymous (for obvious reasons)
• (4.) Reverend Fun, Anonymous
• (5.) Logicomix, Apostolos Doxiadis, Christos H. Papadimitriou, Alecos Papadatos, and Annie di Donna
• (6.) Hate!, Peter Bagge
Counted as a vote for The Bradleys and The Buddy Bradley Stories
• (7.) Battle Royale, Koushan Takami & Masayuki Taguchi
• (8.) Skippy, Percy Crosby
• (9.) The Jack T. Chick Cartoon Gospel Tracts, various artists (fun to read)
• (10.) Weird War Tales, Joe Orlando, et al., editors


The 2011 International Best Comics Poll Index

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