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Five For Friday #61—Snapshot III
posted January 27, 2006

Name Five Publications That Define Comics Right Now For You

1. Naruto, Masashi Kishimoto
2. Ganges, Kevin Huizenga
3. Infinity Crisis #4, DC Comics
4. Healing Hands, Derek Kirk Kim
5. Poor Sailor, Sammy Harkham

This category is now closed. Thank to all that participated.

Alan David Doane

1. Ganges - Is there anyone else who makes the exploration of the inherent possibilities of comic art look as breezy, entertaining and meaningful as Kevin Huizenga does?

2. The Science Fair - The fourth and final issue of Jasen Lex's experimental series is one of the most vital and alive pieces of autobiographical cartooning I've come across in a long time.

3. Acme Novelty Library - The litmus test for comic book literacy, apparently. Ware's gift for character depiction is unmatched.

4. All-Star Superman - It's nice to actually have a superhero title to look forward to again.

5. Schizo - The release of #4 is as significant a milestone for comics and for Ivan Brunetti as the Ice Haven issue of Eightball was for comics and Dan Clowes.

The greatest thing about these five titles is that there's not a one that couldn't be read, comprehended and enjoyed by any non-comics reader. It's extremely gratifying to see creators and publishers actually working to expand their audience through works that are accessible, alive and entertaining as hell. And not a one of them is overpriced.


Charles Hatfield

1. Acme Novelty Library and/or McSweeney's No. 13
(even though the McSweeney's is more than a year old: to me these publications confirm Ware's centrality to the field, and his increased status as designer/editor/strip scholar)

2. The Complete Peanuts
(one of the first of the recent batch of deluxe strip collections: a defining trend, for me, is the new antiquarian appreciation of vintage strips: see Maresca's Nemo volume, Walt & Skeezix, Krazy & Ignatz -- oops, cue Ware again! Not coincidentally, the current "Masters" exhibit features Herriman, King, and Schulz in abundance.)

3. Kramer's Ergot (the last couple: boutique approach, gallery sensibility, design-centric, narrative v. non-narrative work, sheer bountifulness, a gathering of young creators, happy chaos)

4. Mome #1 and #2
(in its clean, almost self-effacing design work by Jordan Crane, this is a contrast to the design orgy of Kramer's, and a rather more self-consciously "literary" positioning of alt comix: it defines a new sense of possibility when it comes to the literary reception of comics)

5. All-Star Superman
(Morrison & Quitely's detached take on the Superman mythos, very smart, goes down quick: symptomatic of high-end mainstream comics -- interesting that DC is producing so many books like this at the same time, all under the shadow of the new "Crisis")

BONUS: Any healthy shoujo manga franchise in translation


Chris Mautner

1. Kramer's Ergot
2. Seven Soldiers
3. Identity Crisis
4. FullMetal Alchemist
5. Fruits Basket


Dan Morris

1. Kramer's Ergot #6
2. Infinite Crisis #4
3. Naruto
4. All Star Superman #2
5. King Kat Comics and Stories #64


Dave Knott

* Six Hundred and Seventy Six Apparitions of Killofer
* Buddha - Osamu Tezuka
* Walt and Skeezix - Frank King
* Godland - Jose Casey & Tom Scioli
* The Comics Journal


David S. Carter

1. All Star Superman by Morrison & Quitely
2. Nextwave by Ellis & Immonen
3. Yotsuba&! by Kiyohiko Azuma
4. Infinite Crisis et al.
5. Super Spy Weekly by Matt Kindt


Christopher Duffy

1. Spiral Bound (representing complex longform comics unabashedly for kids and young adults)
2. Showcase presents: Jonah Hex (representing the wide variety of reprints available)
3. Blar by Drew Weing (representing nicely crafted mini-comics)
4. Raggedy Ann + Andy Comics (representing comics you can get on ebay that you would have had to suffer a convention for in the past)
5. Captain America by Ed Brubaker and pals (representing America)


Gary Esposito

1. Wimbledon Green, Seth
2. Acme Novelty Library #16, Chris Ware
3. Hellboy and various spinoffs, Mike Mignola & various
4. Marvel Masterworks Atlas Era Tales To Astonish Vol. 1, Early Marvel Bullpen
5. Daydreams and Nightmares, Winsor McCay


Jeff Lester

1. All-Star Superman #2, Morrison & Quitely
2. Schizo #4, Ivan Brunetti
3. Dragon Head Vol. 1, Mochizuki
4. That American Flagg collection that was announced well over a year ago, Chaykin
5. Gray Horses, Hope Larson


Jim Kingman

1. Infinite Crisis, DC Comics
2. Graphic Novels: Stories to Change Your Life, Paul Gravett
3. Alternative Comics: An Emerging Literature, Charles Hatfield
4. Fredric Wertham and the Critique of Mass Culture, Bart Beaty
5. Black Hole, Charles Burns


Andrew Mansell

1. Buddha, Osama Tezuka
2. Peanuts Vol 5, Charles Schulz
3. Jack Kirby Collector, TwoMorrows
4. Comics Revue, Manuscript Press
5. Babel, Ganges Fantagraphics


Sean T. Collins

1. All Star Superman -- Grant Morrison & Frank Quitely
2. Spider-Man: The Other: Evolve or Die -- various
3. Ganges -- Kevin Huizenga
4. She's From Away -- Hope Larson
5. Dragon Head -- Minetaro Mochizuki


Will Pfeifer

1. ALL-STAR SUPERMAN by Morrison and Quitely. The pure joy of superhero comics, all possibility and concepts so crazy you can't help but smile.

2. WIMBLEDON GREEN by Seth. The mania of collectors, filtered through Seth's nostalgic glasses. I suppose a more modern look at collecting would be more timely, but god it would be depressing. I prefer this.

3. ACME NOVELTY LIBRARY by Chris Ware. The peak of current comics, pushing the limits while acknowledging the past. Hope I'm still alive when Rusty's story finally ends decades from now.

4. THE COMICS JOURNAL LIBRARY: THE WRITERS. An amazing collection, mostly for how much things have changed since the glory days of Gerber, Conway, Claremont and the rest. Even Alan Moore seems amazingly different (He was only 30 at the time of the interview!) And the notorious Harlan Ellison interview lives up to the hype. Christ, what an ego! Quote: "I wrote a terrific 'Flying Nun'")

5. Any manga. I don't understand most of it, but it's not for me. It's for the kids, which is who comics used to be for in the first place. It's also what "comics" means to most of the world.