Last Updated on April 9, 2023 by Jella Erhard
Best Comic Books & Graphic Novels With Stunning Art
These beautiful graphic novels and comic books would make a perfect fit on any art lover’s coffee table or wall. From Marvel through DC to indie comic books, our list has it all.
One of the best things about reading a comic or graphic novel is when we get to drool over some award-winning art while turning the pages. So, if you’re like me and always on a hunt for some quality art that you can feast your eyes on, then you’re in luck because these beauties do not only have gorgeous art but have unique stories, well-crafted characters and some of them were even named ‘the best comic books of all time’.
17| Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth
This gorgeous painted graphic novel is not just for fans but for those who are just starting out and getting to know this world and looking for an entertaining, gritty, and meaningful graphic novel. I would say it’s a graphic novel for adults but YA readers could also benefit from reading it especially if they enjoy stories about the dark side of the human mind.
This story is about Batman’s mental journey in the Arkham Asylum where he has to endure the personal hells of many of his sworn enemies, including the Joker, Scarecrow, Poison Ivy, Two-Face and a few others. He has to undergo this torture in order to save the innocents and retake the prison after the inmates of the Asylum have taken over Gotham’s dreaded detention center for the criminally insane on April Fools Day and demanded him in exchange for their hostages.
Writer: Grant Morrison
Artist: Dave McKean
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16| Paper Girls
Paper Girls became an instant favorite of mine and I think it’s one of the best comic books without any superheroes whatsoever. Brian K. Vaughan created yet another incredible weird and wonderful world with fierce female characters and time traveling aliens. It’s a kind of bizarre heightened reality where newspaper delivery girls might just save our planet.
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15| Rat Queens
If you’re into fantasy stories with strong and eccentric female characters Rat Queens will be your new favorite. Its first volume is titled ‘Sass & Sorcery’ which pretty much sums up what’s this graphic novel like.
Rat Queens is probably for mature readers but I’d say you can buy this to older YA readers as well. It has badass female leads who are humorous and adventurous. It also has incredible world building and a fun commentary.
In this gruesome story, we get to learn and grow with the heroine Maika who by the way has a literal monster inside of her. While Maika was taught all her life to be scared of this monster she learns to live with it and survive in the world that wants her to die. While the monster gives her great power it also makes her a target and feared by others.
While this comic is certainly entertaining and terribly pleasing to look at its glorious steampunk aesthetics, it’s also worth to mention that it nicely deals with the political and social issues powerful women face on a daily basis. Without a doubt, Monstress is one of the best comic books with a female lead you can find on the shelves.
Redland is a beautiful horror comic in which you’ll be thrown into the middle of a story with witches in a small town. While it’s a supernatural horror story it also tackles many current social issues like race, religion, and gender roles.
This is a true suspense comic which gets truly enjoyable with Del Rey’s stunning art.
12| The Complete Persepolis
Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis is probably one of the most well known and celebrated graphic novels ever and was chosen as one of the best indie comic books of all time by many of the biggest critics. It’s earnest, gripping, funny, heartwarming and heartbreaking and probably the only graphic novel that I’ve cried and laughed over multiple times.
Persepolis is Satrapi’s memoir of growing up (age six to fourteen) in Iran during the Islamic Revolution. We get to know her family and country and how they dealt with change during these difficult times. While its black and white comic stripes aren’t as eye-catchy as some other pieces on the shelves they’re none the less just as powerful.
11| Bitter Root
Bitter Root is an amazing Afrofuturistic comic set in 1920’s Harlem Rennaissance about a monster-hunting family. This comic has truly astonishing and one of a kind art and while it may seem like a simple adventure story at first it actually deals with important social issues such as racism and the importance of female empowerment.
Despite its serious underlying themes, it’s an entertaining and intriguing comic.
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10| Blood Realm
It’s a nicely done dark fantasy indie comic set in a dystopian world with monsters and sorcery. Its art is enchanting and creepy at the same time and the story is fresh and has its own mythology which makes this comic different from most of the other fantasy comics which use well-known mythology elements and characters.
Blood Realm will take you to an extraordinary journey with the Sisters of Silence (three supernatural beings) who must embark on a treacherous quest to stop a ruthless General from obtaining a sacred relic powerful enough to obliterate the last kingdom of men.
9| The Wicked + The Divine
This comic has such gorgeous art that could be enjoyed without the story. Thankfully, the story is just as engaging and fun as the artwork. The Wicked + The Divine is about twelve gods who every ninety years incarnate as humans and live as ultimate pop stars treated like real gods. Most of them are adored and some of them are hated and while they’re immortals they only have two years before they die.
If you love modern myth stories and don’t mind if it doesn’t really have any a big meaningful theme underlying the tale you’re probably going to enjoy this whimsical read.
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Bloodborne is a nightmarish fantasy graphic novel inspired by the critically-acclaimed Bloodborne horror video game. However, the story does differ from the game and the novel stands on its own. Even if you haven’t played or heard about the game you’re going to love this horror graphic novel.
The art is gorgeous and the story is straightforward. It’s about a nameless Hunter who embarks on a dangerous quest in search of Paleblood in an ancient city where horrific beasts stalk the shadows and the streets run slick with the blood of the damned.
It’s a stunningly beautiful magical story about a curmudgeonly loner in search of his lost love. Coda’s world is kind of a mixture of Mad Max, D&D, and The Lord of The Rings and other than its breathtaking art its story is just as beautifully told.
Jones’ Catwoman is the newest one and I completely fell in love with her work. While It’s connected to ‘Batman Vol 7: The Wedding’, it’s not necessary to read Batman to understand and enjoy this issue. However, it will make things clearer and easier to catch up on what’s happening.
After Selina moves from Gotham she has to deal with inner struggles, and one of DC’s darker villains. The artwork is stunning, moody, sexy and the writing was also done by Joëlle so it really brings the comic together.
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If you’re a Tim Burton or Neil Gaiman fan you’re going to love this beautiful dark and gothic indie graphic novel.
Alisik wakes up alone in the dark cemetery thinking she’s in the middle of a nightmare. Soon she realizes that she’s not dreaming and that she’s really dead but have no memory of how it happened.
Alisik finds herself trapped on Earth between Paradise and Hell while waiting for a decision to be made about her faith. Beautiful artwork with a charming story.
Alex Ross is a creative genius and a household name in comics and one of my favorite works of his is Marvels. These series served as lighthouses and helped shape a new way for Marvel and DC and their old characters. The stories of course amazingly written and the art will make you a fan of comics for life.
Have you ever wondered what it’s like to live in a world of superheroes? Pick this beauty up and start your journey.
It’s a modern fantasy comic book about Nina who is our badass heroine living in Los Angeles and knows a hidden magical world run by ruthless cabals. After a magic beast kidnaps her sister, Nina must confront her past and demons to get her sister back and reclaim her life.
2| Lady Mechanika
Lady Mechanika is a steampunk graphic novel haven to all ladies and girls. I absolutely fell in love after the first page… Well, I fell in love after I saw the cover but my love just grew after every single page I turned. I equally loved the amazing story and world-building, the inspiring main character, and the mindblowing art.
I think this is a perfect choice for those who enjoy adventure stories and haven’t really read many comics or graphic novels but want to get started.
The story is about a courageous but haunted heroine ‘Lady Mechanika’ who is the sole survivor of a mad scientist’s horrific experiments. Lady Mechanika got her nickname because of her mechanical limbs. She doesn’t remember her captivity or her former life but decides to become a private detective and solve cases the authorities couldn’t or wouldn’t. She investigates mysteries involving science and the supernatural while searching for her own identity.
Lady Mechanika’s world is built up in a fictionalized steampunk Victorian England filled with airships, monsters and at a time when magic clashed with new scientific inventions.
Every comic fan’s new favorite series; Saga. I picked up this comic because of the utterly gorgeous cover but ended up even more blown away by its content. Fiona Staples does such an amazing job, it’s so beautiful that every second page would deserve to be hung on someone’s wall. Although, the story written by Vaughan is just as impressive. It’s fresh, it’s fun, and it deals with so many issues in such an entertaining way that I have to read every new issue in one sitting.
This Eisner Award-winning space opera revived the independent comic book industry single-handedly and became an instant classic. It’s eccentric, and over the top while also a beautiful and heartwarming story about unconditional love and survival.
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Thank you for reading!