The best comics of 2021: a meta list

Still looking for a last-minute Christmas present? How about a comic? Here’s what the Internet recommends. As always, whenever a title made a best-comics-of-2021 list, it received between 1 and 30 points depending on its rank or on the number of titles on such a list (full explanation here). Added up, this results in…


  1. Monsters by Barry Windsor-Smith (189 points)
  2. The Secret to Superhuman Strength by Alison Bechdel (169)
  3. Far Sector by N. K. Jemisin and Jamal Campbell (160)
  4. Wake by Rebecca Hall (135)
  5. Minharot (a.k.a. Tunnels) by Rutu Modan (128)
  6. The Many Deaths of Laila Starr by Ram V and Filipe Andrade (124)
  7. Run by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, L. Fury and Nate Powell (122)
  8. The Good Asian by Pornsak Pichetshote, Alexandre Tefenkgi and Lee Loughridge (116)
  9. The Girl from the Sea by Molly Knox Ostertag (99)
  10. Stone Fruit by Lee Lai (98)
  11. Chroniques de jeunesse (a.k.a. Factory Summers) by Guy Delisle (92)
  12. Gidarim (a.k.a. The Waiting) by Keum Suk Gendry-Kim (81)
  13. Nightwing by Tom Taylor and Bruno Redondo (80)
  14. Nubia by L. L. McKinney and Robyn Smith (77)
  15. In by Will McPhail (76)
  16. La bête (a.k.a. Marsupilami: The Beast) by Zidrou and Frank Pé (74)
  17. Crisis Zone by Simon Hanselmann (72)
  18. The Department of Truth by James Tynion IV and Martin Simmonds (70)
  19. Cyclopedia Exotica by Aminder Dhaliwal, tied with
    Lore Olympus by Rachel Smythe (67)
  20. Himawari House by Harmony Becker (63)
  21. Cheer Up by Crystal Frasier and Val Wise (61)
  22. Discipline by Dash Shaw (59)
  23. I Never Promised You A Rose Garden by Mannie Murphy (57)
  24. Chainsaw Man by Tatsuki Fujimoto, tied with
    Squad by Maggie Tokuda-Hall and Lisa Sterle (54)

Just outside of the top 25 we have the highest ranked (non-British) European comic, Les cahiers d’Esther (a.k.a. Esther’s Notebooks) by Riad Sattouf. However, some lists that I like to include each year (e.g. all the German lists) have not been published yet, so expect some changes to the ranking above.

UPDATE: and indeed, now that the ‘German votes’ are counted, a classic BD character has entered the list on #16. Further down the list we find the highest-ranking German comic, Lucky Luke: Zarter Schmelz by Ralf König, on #39. Apart from Chainsaw Man, two other notable manga last year were Dai Dark by Q Hayashida (#30) and, once again, Kimetsu no yaiba a.k.a. Demon Slayer by Koyoharu Gotōge (#36).

The following lists were evaluated: The Beat, Book Riot, Broken Frontier, CBC, Chicago Public Library, ComFor (German – part 1, part 2), Comicgate (German), Comickunst (German), DoomRocket, Forbes, GamesRadar+, Goodreads, Gosh (adult, kids), The Guardian (combined Rachel Cooke’s and James Smart’s articles), GWW, The Herald, IGN, The Irish Times, Kono manga ga sugoi via Anime News Network, Looper, Lotusland Comics, The Mary Sue, Nerdist, The New York Times, NPR, Oricon Top-Selling Manga in Japan by Series via Anime News Network, Polygon, Publishers Weekly, Screen Rant, Tagesspiegel (German), Variety, The Washington Post, YALSA.

One Comment on “The best comics of 2021: a meta list”

  1. […] of Shōgakukan and Harvey awards, highest-ranking manga in our 2020 and 2021 best-comics-of-the-year lists… But does it live up to the […]

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