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Five For Friday #5: Alt-Comics
posted November 26, 2004
Name Five Excellent Trades of the Alternative Comics Era
by Dylan Horrocks
I Never Liked You
by Chester Brown
Jimmy Corrigan: Smartest Kid on Earth
by Chris Ware
by Gilbert Hernandez
Safe Area Gorazde
by Joe Sacco
The "Alternative Comics Era" is a nebulous thing, but here goes:
A Child's Life
by Phoebe Gloeckner
by Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell
by Dave McKean
Ethel and Ernest
by Raymond Briggs
(Of course, this list could easily be ten times as long.)
There's an Alternative Comics Era? Okay, whatever.
Here's my five:
by Dan Clowes. Some would choose the more structurally ambitious David Boring
, like we need another indie comic about a passive, hangdog loser and his problems with girls and his dad. Ghost World
is flawless on its own iconoclastic level, and has the additional distinction of some of the funniest dialogue in comics.
Jimmy Corrigan, The Smartest Kid on Earth
by Chris Ware. Speaking of comics about passive, hangdog et al., this is the one to beat. A deeply affecting story and a graphic tour de force
. When I read it for the first time, one two-page spread was so beautiful that I burst into tears. No joke.
One! Hundred! Demons!
by Lynda Barry. Lynda Barry operates outside the established parameters of alt-comics, and her work is sort of scooting around in its own private universe. Everyone knows that she's a masterful writer, but One Hundred Demons
is a lovely piece of art as well.
The Cartoon History of the Universe
by Larry Gonick. This series tends to get either ignored or dismissed by the comix intelligentsia. Although there are many things to love about it, Cartoon History
goes on my short list for one simple reason: I find myself referring to it more often than to any other history book.
Paul Auster's City of Glass
by Karasik and Mazzucchelli. Has anyone read the original novel? Whatever. This is a rare adaptation that stands on its own as a completely satisfying work, largely because it is, in a sense, about the adaptation process.