If you don’t believe graphic novels can be as long and complicated as text-only novels, then you have much to learn of these robust comic books!
Since there’s no concrete difference between a graphic novel and a comic book, fans and authors treat both terms with respect. After all, some writers may pen a 200-page illustrated story and refer to it as a “comic” for no other reason than connecting it to the tales they grew up reading. Still, there’s no denying that some authors worked as hard as they could to put the word “novel,” into “graphic novel,” and we wanted to honor these ambitious titles that helped give the medium the admiration it deserves with their sheer size and density.
The following five graphic novels are some of the longest self-contained releases we could dig up. For the sake of fairness, we’ve excluded graphic novels that originally debuted in separate volumes or were previously serialized. Otherwise, we’d have to include comics like the Cerebus series that amassed a collective 6000+ pages during its 27 year run, and that just wouldn’t be fair.
5: Asterios Polyp
Comic Book fans may know David Mazzucchelli for his contributions to Daredevil: Born Again and Batman: Year One, so there was naturally a fair bit of hype for his first original graphic novel in 2009, Asterios Polyp. Not only was the book well received by critics, it also gave readers a lot of content to sink their teeth into.
This story of a middle-aged architect learning to find himself rests at a robust 334 pages.
4: Today Is The Last Day Of The Rest Of Your Life
Autobiographies have manifested themselves as a powerful genre among graphic novels, with books like Maus and Persepolis demonstrating to mainstream audiences the potential of storytelling in comics. Today Is The Last Day Of The Rest Of Your Life is one such memoir, and if you think its title is long, just wait until you see the actual book!
Detailing the tumultuous 1984 summer of the then 17 year old author Ulli Lust, Today Is The Last Day Of The Rest Of Your Life does not spare even the smallest of details in its 464 pages.
The works of author Craig Thompson are known for many things, not the least of which is their length. In fact, when Thompson’s novel Blankets was released in 2003, the claim that it could be “the single largest graphic novel ever published” was actually used as a selling point.
As an autobiographical story of an adolescent Thompson struggling with his faith (see what we mean about autobiographies?), Blankets was hailed by TIME magazine for “[setting] new bars for the medium not just in length, but breadth.” At 592 pages, we can’t say we disagree!
Anomaly boldly boasts that it is “the longest original full-color graphic novel ever published,” and… well, that claim depends on how you define “longest.” By total page count, Anomaly’s 378 pages obviously doesn’t exceed the previous two novels we’ve covered on this list. However, if we are to judge longest as largest, Anomaly’s place on the list is no question.
At over an arm’s length in width when opened, there’s no deny Anomaly is a big book. What’s more, thanks to an augmented reality companion app, the book’s pages literally come to life with accompanying voice-overs, music, animation, and even extended reading that elaborates on each character’s backstory. Anomaly is nothing if not ambitious, but at least it delivers on its lofty ideas.
Remember when we said Craig Thompson was known for his long graphic novels? That was our clue to let you know who would be behind our number 1 pick.
Mixing gritty realism with a dystopian fairy tale aesthetic, this story of two refugee child slaves has proven to be a difficult experience for many readers. While some critics have praised Habibi for its depth and complexity, others have scrutinized its excessive depiction of unfathomable brutality. Yet no matter what the critics say, there’s no denying the scope of Habibi‘s plot. At 672 pages, this is one graphic novel that you won’t be finishing in one sitting.