DC Comic's 30 Essential Graphic Novels


The Graphic Novel Archive has let us know that DC Comics posted a list of its top trade paperbacks on the DC website - DC Comics' 30 Essential Graphic Novels.

UPDATE: DC Comics updated this list with a new Essential Graphic Novels catalog in 2013. See their new list of 25 Essential Graphic Novels at the link.

The list is as follows:

The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen Vol. 1 & Vol. 2
V For Vendetta
The Sandman Vol. 1: Preludes & Nocturnes
The Sandman: Endless Nights
Fables Vol 1: Legends In Exile
Superman For All Seasons
Superman: Birthright
Superman/Batman: Public Enemies
Batman: Arkham Asylum
Batman: The Long Halloween
Batman: Dark Victory
Batman: The Dark Knight Returns
Batman: The Dark Knight Strikes Again
Batman: Year One
Batman: Hush Vol. 1 & Vol. 2
Kingdom Come
Identity Crisis
JLA Vol. 1: New World Order
Green Lantern: Rebirth
Crisis On Infinite Earths
Transmetropolitan Vol. 1: Back On The Street
The Quitter
Hellblazer: Original Sins
Y: The Last Man Vol. 1: Unmanned
Kamikaze Kaito Jeanne
Sword Of The Dark Ones
Ex Machina Vol. 1: The First Hundred Days

Some observations:

* DC's tried to go across their imprints here; we've got representation from Vertigo, DC, and CMX. Wildstorm ends up the big loser with just the Ex Machina trade. It's highly surprising that The Authority didn't make this list.

* Looks like DC went for the cheap with this list -- Absolute Sandman is largely a better introduction to Sandman than just the paperback volume 1; ditto on Crisis on Infinite Earths.

* Endless Nights is something of a random choice; a good boook, but then there'd be room on the list for The Authority. Endless Nights does, however, contain a summary of all the other Sandman trades.

* As if Superman's deceptively simple origin wasn't convoluted enough, DC's three Superman trades here offer three different takes on the Man of Steel.

* There's a time lag to this list -- strange that the super-popular All-Star Superman isn't here instead of Superman/Batman; ditto Identity Crisis over Infinite Crisis (fears of being too continuity-heavy, perhaps) and JLA: New World Order over Justice League of America: The Tornado's Path (as if Meltzer's Justice League doesn't feel like the Big Seven to DC, either). Looks like nothing on this list newer than the past year or so.

* Green Lantern: Rebirth was a great story, but including Superman, Batman, and Green Lantern on this list instead of Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman is a controversial choice. I'd imagine this would have been a good time to plug Jodi Picoult's Wonder Woman trade. I'm curious how close Kevin Smith's Green Arrow was to making this list, too.

* That The Dark Knight Strikes Again made this list is a travesty. While Dark Knight Returns takes its rightful place, no way does Dark Knight Strikes Again deserve to be on this list. Note that the summary text for Strikes Again, even, is a description of Fables, as if no one could stomach explaining what Strikes Again is about.

* Stories we'd put on this list? Flash: The Return of Barry Allen, maybe. The New Teen Titans: The Judas Contract is another, maybe Legion of Super-Heroes: The Great Darkness Saga. The Death of Superman? What do you think?

Anyway, it's been on my mind lately to post my own top ten list of trade paperbacks, maybe separated by character. I'll think on it and follow up later.

(UPDATE: Don't miss our own list of the top trade paperbacks for: Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Green Lantern, the Justice League, the Legion of Super-Heroes, and DC's best books starring female heroes.)

Thanks for reading!

Comments ( 7 )

  1. I enjoyed The Quitter, but I believe Pride of Baghdad belongs on the list instead. Violent (and vile) though it may be (IMHO), I agree that Preacher also belongs. Better that than The Authority (again IMHO). And even for a Batman fan like me, there's WAY too much Batman listed. I'm glad to see some Morrison JLA included. Here's an idea: could somebody hack the list and add Flex Mentallo, just for fun?

  2. Animal Man, I think, is another one deserving of the list.

  3. Where's the Swamp Thing?!

  4. Yeap, Animal Man is missing!

  5. I agree that Dark Knight Strikes Again isn't good enough to be on this list. I've read 13 of them, and some of my faves include Long Halloween, For All Seasons, Birthright, Unmanned, Year One, Hush, and Identity Crisis.

    Strange that they left out New Frontier.

  6. Michael BrowningMarch 13, 2012

    Here's my list of Essential DC Graphic Novels:
    1. Watchmen
    2. Dark Knight Returns
    3. All-Star Superman
    4. Crisis on Infinite Earths
    5. Sandman Vol. 1: Preludes and Nocturnes
    6. Superman: Secret Origin
    7. Saga of the Swamp Thing Vol. 1
    8. Green Lantern Rebirth
    9. Flash: Blitz
    10. Morrison JLA Vol. 1
    11. Batman: The Long Halloween
    12. Batman Arkham Asylum
    13. Batman The Killing Joke
    14. Batman: Year One
    15. The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Vol. 1
    16. V For Vendetta
    17. Fables V.1 Legends in Exile
    18. Wonder Woman by George Perez V.1
    19. The Quitter
    20. Tiny Titans: Welcome to the Treehouse
    21: Flash: The Return of Barry Allen
    22. Identity Crisis
    23. Hellblazer: Original Sins
    24. Green Lantern/Green Arrow V.1
    25. Secret Six: Depths
    26. Batman and Robin V.1
    27. The Sandman Endless Nights
    28. Legion of Super-Heroes: The Great Darkness Saga
    29. New Teen Titans: The Judas Contract
    30. The Death of Superman

    That's just my personal list, as a TPB and HC collector for more than 20 years now.

    1. Michael, your list is absolutely perfect. I've never read The Quitter or Wonder Woman though.


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