Thursday, September 25, 2008

My Comics Canon

It was February 24, 2004, 08:27 AM, on the Comics Journal Messboard. I'm not sure if this was the first time that I listed these comics there (probably not), but that's what I did in that particular occasion. If I remember correctly (unfortunately I didn't write a crib sheet at the time) I did previously post what I now call "my canon" because I was fed up with the accusation of not liking comics at all because I found children's comics (and I do like Carl Barks' oeuvre) somewhat wanting (melodrama and manichaeism in particular bother me plenty).
This is a different list because I added a few titles over the last years: My Canon:

Anon (Cantigas de Santa Maria de Alfonso X El Sabio)
Hans Holbein (Les Simulachres & Historiées Faces de la Mort)
Gilles Corrozet (Les Simulachres & Historiées Faces de la Mort)
Romeyn de Hooghe (The Siege and Liberation of Vienna in 1683)
Jacques Callot (Les misères et malheurs de la guerre)
William Hogarth (A Harlot’s Progress; Rake’s Progress)
Francisco de Goya (Los desastres de la guerra; Caprichos de Goya)
Katsushika Hokusai (Thirty-Six Views; One Hundred Views of Mt. Fuji)
Gustave Doré (Histoire de la Sainte Russie)
Gustave Henri Jossot (Le credo; Dressage)
Theophile Alexandre Steinlen (La vision de Hugo)
Frans Masereel (Mein Stundenbuch; Die Stadt)
Pablo Picasso (Songe et mensonge de Franco)
Charlotte Salomon (Leben? Oder Theater?)
Francis Bacon (Triptych May - June 1973)
Héctor Germán Oesterheld (Ernie Pike; Amapola Negra, Mort Cinder; El EternautaRandall, Loco Sexton)
Alberto Breccia (Ernie Pike; Mort Cinder; Un Tal Daneri; VersionesLa Gallina Degollada; Buscavidas)
Hugo Pratt (Ernie Pike)
Carlos Trillo (Un Tal Daneri; Buscavidas)
Solano Lopez (Amapola Negra, El Eternauta)
Arturo del Castillo (Randall, Loco Sexton)
Tony Weare (Matt Marriott)
James Edgar (Matt Marriott)
David Wright (Carol Day: Jack Slingsby)
Chago Armada (Sa-Lo-Mon)
Guido Buzzelli (Zil Zelub; I Labirinti; L’Agnone; Intirvista)
Philip Guston (Poor Richard)
Roy de Forest (Too The Far Canine Range And The Unexplored Territory Beyond Terrier Pass)
Nicholas Africano (The Scream, Struggling with him, He's afraid of loneliness)
Martin Vaughn-James (The Cage, The Park)
Yoshiharu Tsuge (Red Flowers; Oba’s Electroplate Factory; L’homme sans talent)
Ana Hatherly (O Escritor)
Fred (Le Petit Cirque; Le journal de Jules Renard lu par Fred)
Dino Buzzati (Poema a fumetti)
Tardi (La bascule à Charlot; C'était la guerre des tranchées; La veritable histoire du soldat inconnu)
Edmond Baudoin (Le portrait; Le premier voyage; Éloge de la poussière; Terrains vagues; Couma àco)
Richard McGuire (Here)
Andrzej Klimowski (The Depository: A Dream Book; The Secret)
Martin tom Dieck (hundert Ansichten der Speicherstadt; Monsieur Lingus; Territirroirs)
Fabrice Neaud (Journal (I); Journal (III))
Chester Brown (The Playboy; I Never Liked You)
Lynda Barry (The Freddie Stories; The Most Obvious Question; One! Hundred! Demons!)
Anke Feuchtenberger (Die Hure H; Die kleine Dame; Somnanbule)
Katrin de Vries (Die Hure H; Die kleine Dame)
Shannon Gerard (Unspent Love; Hung)
Debbie Drechsler (Daddy's GirlThe Summer of Love)
Kiriko Nananan (Blue)
Ben Katchor (Julius Knipl Real Estate Photographer;The Jew of New York)
Eric Lambé (Ophélie et les directeurs des ressources humaines; Alberto G.; La Pluie; Un voyage)
Stefano Ricci (Tufo)
Philippe de Pierpont (Alberto G.; Tufo; La Pluie; Un voyage)
Jiro Tanigushi (L’homme qui marche; Le journal de mon père)
John Porcellino (Sam; Perfect Example)
Sylvain Victor (Le Doute)
Vincent Fortemps (Cimes; La Digue; (Coulisse); Par les sillons)
Olivier Deprez (Le Chatêau)
Olivier Marboeuf (Une Ville, un Mardi)
Pierre Duba (L'Absente; Racines)
Dominique Goblet (Souvenir d’une journée parfaite; Faire semblant c’est mentir)
Andrea Bruno (Sabato Tregua)
Chris Ware (Jimmy Corrigan, The Smartest Kid on Earth; Acme Novelty Library # 18)
Barron Storey (The Adjustment of Sidney Deepscorn; Slidehouse)
Carl Barks (The Twenty Four Carat Moon; Valley of Tralla La; Back to Long Ago; A Financial Fable)
Yoshihiro Tatsumi (Goodbye and Other Stories; Kept)
Harvey Pekar (American Splendor # 4; American Splendor # 8)
Robert Crumb (American Splendor #4; American Splendor #8)
Jose Muñoz (Sudor Sudaca; Alack Sinner)
Carlos Sampayo (Sudor Sudaca; Alack Sinner)
Gary Panter (Daltokyo; Cola Madnes)
Art Spiegelman (Maus)
Carel Moiseiwitsch (This Is a True Story)
Federico del Barrio (El artefacto perverso; Lope de Aguirre, la conjura; Las memorias de amoros; La Orilla)
Elisa Gálvez (La Orilla)
Felipe Hernandez Cava (El artefacto perverso; Lope de Aguirre, la expiación; Lope de Aguirre, la conjura; Las memorias de Amoros; Soy mi sueño)
Pablo Auladell (Soy mi sueño)
Ricard Castells (Lope de Aguirre, la expiación)
Aristophane (Les Soeurs Zabîme; Conte démoniaque; Faune)
Montesol (Fin de semana)
Ramon de España (Fin de Semana)
Joe Sacco (Palestine; Safe Area Gorazde; The Fixer; Footnotes in Gaza)
Mattotti (Stigmate; Il rumore della brina)
Jorge Zentner (Il rumore della brina)
Claudio Piersanti (Stigmate)
Eddie Campbell (The King Canute Crowd; Graffiti Kitchen; Alec: How to Be an Artist; From Hell)
Alan Moore (From Hell)
Mat Brinkman (Teratoid Heights; Heads 44)
Yvan Alagbé (Dyaa; Nègres jaunes)
Thierry van Hasselt (Brutalis)
David B. (L’Ascension du Haut Mal)
Daniel Clowes (Ghost World; David Boring)
Peter Blegvad (The Book of Leviathan)
Blanchet (La nouvelle au pis)
Max (El prolongado sueño del Sr. T.; Nosotros somos los muertos; Bienvenidos al infierno)
Seth (Clyde Fans; It’s a Good Life if You Don’t Weaken)
Rutu Modan (Jamilti; Exit Wounds)
Pedro Nora (Mr. Burroughs)
David Soares (Mr. Burroughs)
Filipe Abranches (A Morte do Palhaço)
Marco Mendes (Diário Rasgado)
David Mazzucchelli (Big Man; Discovering America; Asterios Polyp)
Moebius (Cauchemar blanc)


Carol Day by David Wright (strip # 2963). In the last panel we can see a medium close-up of Adam Boone, a character "played" by Matt Marriott's co-creator, Tony Weare.


Michael Spence said...

I take it you aren't big on the Hernandez Brothers?

Isabelinho said...

Hi Michael, great to hear from you!...

You're right, I'm not.
However: I understand that they were as important in America as Edmond Baudoin was in France at the beginning of the eighties. They helped to build Fanta as an important alternative publishing house and I suppose that almost all American readers of alternative comics would include them in their own "canons."
My problem with Beto is that Magical Realism is far from being my cup of tea. Also: way back when I posted something in TCJ's Messboard stating their stories' soapiness. Another poster (I which I did write a crib sheet back then because I don't remember who) answered me with one of the greatest posts I've ever read demonstrating me how wrong I was.
Even so, they'll have to be my failed assignment.

rohang said...

I'm sorry to disturb such an old post, but I'm very curious: given your views on the expanded field, is there a reason that--for example--the self-portraits of Rembrandt do not qualify as a comic?

Isabelinho said...

Disturb at will...
That's a good question. I see no reason to exclude Rembrandt's self-portraits or Vermeer's genre scenes from the expanded field of comics. I can only think of two reasons to explain why I didn't include those above: 1) it didn't occur to me at the time; 2) and more likely, I chose things that aren't separated in space; things that are reunited on a wall like Francis Bacon's triptych or published in a book like Hokusai's 100 views.

Isabelinho said...

By the way, I think that the poster who explained to me why Love & Rockets isn't a soap was M. Campos.

david black said...

Are there any comics you include in this canon since you last updated it?

Isabelinho said...

Thanks for your comment, David!

To tell you the truth I can't remember when was the last time that I included a comic in my above list. The problem is that I read less and less comics these days. For instance,
this book is in my "to read" pile for ages (I still didn't buy Duba's lastest book). Ditto Here by Richard McGuire which I bet is great. There's also this one that I could include, I guess... Or the latest comics by Dominique Goblet...

nikay andrews said...

I know these aren't all the comics you consider to be masterpieces. What would the full list be?

Also,are there any non-English comics in your canon I could enjoy without learning another language?

Isabelinho said...

Hi nikai! Thanks for your interest!

A canon is a living thing, so, maybe you're right, but I haven't given many thoughts to the matter lately. This list is a few years old, but anytime I stumbled upon a book that impressed me enough I did put it in there too. From last year I surely would add Richard McGuire's great Here (with lush colors by Maëlle Doliveux) and Stefano Ricci's La storia dell'Orso. If you're wondering if I like a few mainstream comics that I didn't put in my list, the answer is, not really. That's exactly why this blog exists. 'Nuff said?

I'll answer your question with two words: Kim Thompson. He had a mainstream taste, but, since he spent his early comics reading years in Europe he had an European mainstream taste (so, no annoying superheroes for him). For years he tried to publish European comics, but foreign comics (all foreign comics) are box office poison in America. Even so he managed to publish a Tardi collection. I don't recommend Tardi's alimentary work, of course, but It Was the War of the Trenches is in there too. There's not much else, I'm afraid. There's an English edition of Aristophane's Les soeurs Zabîme; there are English editions of Anke Feuchtenberger's work (published by Bries, but out of print by now, I guess). You can also read the mute comics of Martin tom Dieck and Frans Masereel. There are two Rosetta anthologies with European short stories edited by yours truly. And that's about it...

Isabelinho said...

I just remembered one more European graphic novel published in English thanks to Kim Thompson: David B.'s Epileptic.

Isabelinho said...

Oh, and, speaking of which, Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi too, of course.

nikay andrews said...

What I meant was I thought that you've mentioned on occasions that you like comics that you didn't include in your canon post, like for example, your monthly stumblings column. You dedicated posts to artists like Geneviève Castrée, Alan Dunn,and Jochen Gerner. You also mentioned that you like Joost Swarte and Al columbia on your blog.

nikay andrews said...

Also, not trying to question your authority on great comics, but I was wondering you've read the comics of alternative artists that are considered to be great by credible critics. Here's a list of people I'm referring to and some of their major works:
Joyce Farmer(Special Exits)
Michael Deforge(The lose series, Very Casual, Ant colony)
Julie Doucet(My new York Diary, the Dirty Plotte series)
John Backderf(My friend Dahmer, Trashed)
Olivier Schrauwen(Arsene Schrauwen)
Zak Sally( Recidivist, Sammy the mouse)
John Hankiewicz(Asthma)
Matthew Thurber( 1-800-Mice, Info-maniacs)
Brian Chippendale(Ninja, Maggots, If'n'oof, puke force)
Megan Kelso(Artichoke Tales)
Ulli Lust (Today Is The Last Day Of The Rest Of Your Life)
Anything by Renee french
Dash Shaw(Botttomless Belly button, new school, bodyworld)

nikay andrews said...

I feel there's a lack of manga in your canon. That's understandable due to the lack of translations by the great alternative manga artists. What we mostly have are samples. I can recommend some alternative manga that been published in English and scanlated by fans.
Shigeru Mizuki(Nonnonba, Onwards towards our noble deaths, Showa:A istory of japan, his biography of Hitler is due to be published later this year)
Yuichi Yokoyama(Garden, New egineering, color egineering, Travel, World Map room)
Seiichi Hayashi(Red Colored Elergy, Gold Pollen and other stories, Flowering Habour)
Tadao Tsuge, yoshiharu's brother(Trash Market)
Oji Suzuki( A single match)
Susumu Katsumata( Red Snow)
Kazuichi Hanawa(Doing Time)
Ax: alternative manga anthology '
Imiri Sakabashira (The Box man)
Anything by Shintaro Kago
Suehiro MAruo(Rose Colored Monster, Shadow Star, the caterpillar, Mr. Arashi's Amazing Freak Show, Ultra gash inferno)
Daisuke Igarashi ( Hanashippanashi,Children of the sea)
Iou Kuroda(Nasu, Japan Tengu Party Illustrated,Sexy Voice and Robo)
Seiichirou Tokunan ( Human Clock)
Tetsuya Toyoda( Undercurrent, Googles)
Makoto Yukimura (Planetes, For Our Farewell Is Near)
Inio Asano ( Goodnight Punpun, Nijigahara Holograph, Solanin, Before Dawn and the End of The World)
Mizumaru Anzai (A Train at the End of Summer)
Kyoudai Nishioka (hell,God's child, journey to the end of the world, Sadness of the heart)
Yuki Urushibara (Mushshi, Filament

Isabelinho said...

It seems that I've misjudge you nikai, I'm sorry for that!

Alan Dunn is not there? I need to correct that, presto! Ditto Geneviève. As for Jochen Gerner, I need to think about it (too experimental, maybe?, see below). Al Columbia is interesting, but he doesn't fit. As for Joost Swarte, I like his single drawings, not his comics (see below my "underground" comment).

I read almost all of the alternative artists that you mention. Maybe not those exact books in some cases, though (I read Schrauwen's "barbe" book, not the one in your list, for instance - I can't, for the life of me, remember a thing now). Julie Doucet and Brian Chippendale are good examples. I read everything by them, but the latter is mostly form with no substance (the problem with lots of avant-garde work). I tend not to favor the underground, art brut, surreal, ha ha ha, approach, but maybe My New York Diary should be in my list above. Backderf's drawing style just puts me off. And so on and so forth...

As for your Japanese comics list I find it intriguing. Some I read and didn't like (Red Colored Elegy) others I found so so (Doing Time), others I never read, that's true. I intend to buy Tadao Tsuge's book very soon.

Isabelinho said...

Oh, I like Kiriko Nananan's work a lot! I also need to correct that!

nikay andrews said...

Why didn't you add Barroun Storey's Life after Black or The Marat/Sade Journals? Or Tatsumi's drifting life? Or Gary panter's Jimbo Trilogy?

nikay andrews said...

Any other artists you've feel that you've forgotten?

nikay andrews said...

Aren't you going to update your canon post?

Other artists featured in your monthly stumblings column are Tim Gaze and otto dix. You also did the entry for Otto Nuckel in the 1001 Comics You Must Read Before You Die guide.

Also, here's a collection of Tsuge short stories.
I believe chico, the marsh,and especially The Master of the Gensenkan deserve to be in your canon. From what I understand, its about as famous as ScrewStyle in japan, another entry you forgot to add in your canon.

Isabelinho said...

You know more about me than I do myself! Thank you for that nikai!

An update is indeed in order. Otto Dix's absence is a huge blunder. Nuckel's book is too melodramatic (I really like the visuals, but I also like Jack Kirby's visuals, so...). Thanks a lot for the Tsuge link and for your comments!

nikay andrews said...

Your list must include mizuki.