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Sean T. Collins on Top 100 With Rankings
posted December 1, 2004

Sean T. Collins
Greater New York

Hey Tom! Glad to see the big Top 100 of c20 up on the site, if only because I just love lists. With the caveat that most of the foreign-language and newspaper-strip choices are beyond my ken, I give you my thoughts.


* Amphigorey. I might have just gone with "The Gashlycrumb Tinies," but either way Gorey would probably be easy for folks to overlook, and he's one of those rare James Brown-like artists who singlehandedly invented a genre.

* Safe Area Gorazde instead of Palestine. To me this is a no-brainer, but I think the ongoing current-events value of Palestine sometimes gives it a higher profile than its more deserving successor.

* I Never Liked You instead of The Playboy. Again, a no-brainer if you ask me -- how I hate that "Li'l Chester" device! -- but the earlier book has its proponents, for some reason. But wait, how much of Louis Riel came out in the 20th Century? Now *there's* a tough decision to make!

* Akira. That's just a ballsy choice, but again, it pretty much invented a genre.

* Ranking Frank so high. I'm not sure that this *is* genius -- better than Jimmy Corrigan? -- but it's almost a symbolic act to get people to give credit where it's due, I think.

* Ranking Palomar so high. Of course, you didn't rank it high enough.

* Leaving Hicksville off. I know you're very fond of this book so this must have been painful, but I've just never understood the furor over this book. To me, it's just JLA/Avengers for the altcomix set, and the art isn't compelling enough to get me past the insider-info-heavy plotline.


* Hate. No.

* Graffiti Kitchen. As with Bagge, Campbell's work has left me mostly cold.

* Caricature. I'd have put David Boring, without question.

* I'm not really sure about this, since I haven't read either, but my guess is that most people would have chosen Buddha for Tezuka rather than Phoenix.

* No Black Hole. I know it was only, what, halfway finished by the end of the century, but still.

* No Dark Knight Returns. Yeah, yeah, yeah -- IT'S GREAT with a capital G.

* No Miller/Varley or Miller/Mazzuchelli generally.

* No Lee/Ditko.

* I could see an argument for Sandman. I'm not sure I myself would make it, but I could see it being made.

* Maybe even one for American Flagg!

* I'd probably put Uzumaki in there someplace.

* You know what? I think I'd have put Goodbye Chunky Rice in there too.

* And when did Skibber-Bee-Bye come out?

* Boulevard of Broken Dreams. That motherfucker can draw, but this story never held together for me the way the great graphic novels do. But maybe that's the point? The whole story has the feel of something be recounted by one of those just-this-side-of-crazy people Briscoe & Green will question about 15 minutes into any given episode of Law & Order. But I guess you're referring to just one of the story's installments, rather than the whole hobbled-together graphic novel. It may work better as a stand-alone work.

* "Minnie's 3rd Love." I'd have put all of A Child's Life. I look around for someone else with the combination of chops, candidness, innovation, and energy that Gloeckner has and pretty much all I can come up with is Crumb himself. Which is why...


* "Minnie's 3rd Love."

* From Hell and Watchmen. For what it's worth, I think Watchmen should be higher. Again, it invented a genre. Which I think From Hell might have done, too, but for its lack of a convenient "it's a grim and gritty realistic take on superheroes!"-type angle for legions of lesser talents to ape.

* Jimmy Corrigan at 36!?!?!?!

* Palomar. If you factor in Poison River and X and such, this has got to be in the top five.

* Peanuts. Which I guess indicates...


* Krazy Kat. At the risk of being branded a philistine, I just don't get it. I mean, *I get it* -- I can look at Herriman's stuff and see how brilliant it is -- but I don't connect with it on any level more visceral, emotional or spiritual than "ah, I can see that that is clever."

* Locas. At this point, I kinda do think that you had to be there with this. I realize I'm the minority viewpoint on this.

* This may be my unfamiliarity with the material speaking, but I'm not sure I agree with ranking so many quite-dated newspaper strips so high. I understand that I'm probably overprivileging certain values of traditional literature that modern-day graphic novels are better equipped to mirror than were the olde-time strips but which in reality are not in any way inherent to the form or necessary for success therein, but we are living in a
material world, etc.