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Five For Friday #5: Alt-Comics
posted November 26, 2004

Name Five Excellent Trades of the Alternative Comics Era

Hicksville by Dylan Horrocks
I Never Liked You by Chester Brown
Jimmy Corrigan: Smartest Kid on Earth by Chris Ware
Palomar by Gilbert Hernandez
Safe Area Gorazde by Joe Sacco


Colin Blanchette

The "Alternative Comics Era" is a nebulous thing, but here goes:

A Child's Life by Phoebe Gloeckner
From Hell by Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell
Cages by Dave McKean
Hey, Wait... by Jason
Ethel and Ernest by Raymond Briggs

(Of course, this list could easily be ten times as long.)


Shaenon Garrity

There's an Alternative Comics Era? Okay, whatever.

Here's my five:

Ghost World 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.