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Steve Block on Top 100 With Rankings
posted December 3, 2004

Steve Block
Via the Wires

I have to say I was worried that over half the list was created within the last quarter of the century in question. I appreciate that may mirror your area of expertise, and it certainly fits mine, but it concerns me none the less, and I'd certainly like to see people push the case for overlooked classics, especially from the turn of the century.

As for placings... I think Eisner's too low, From Hell is almost certainly too low and my gut feeling is that Watchman probably shouldn't be included. I'm not going to deny it's a great work, but I'm not sure it's in the top hundred great works of the 20th century. Jimmy Corrigan seems to me too high, and Eisner's Spirit way too low, I'd probably reverse those. Doonesbury always seems too deserving for me, I'd swap that for the glorious If... by Steve Bell which is definitely an omission worth correcting.

I'd have put all of Campbell's Alec stories in, rather than just Graffiti Kitchen. I think After The Snooter has that one beat, too, if I'm honest.

I'm young enough and not versed enough in US strips to think Calvin & Hobbes is a top 10 contender, and maybe when I look at the top 2 dream of it there. Although I'm at the start of the Peanuts and Krazy Kat voyage, and, by your reckoning, Peanuts in my reading lifetime isn't top 100, and given that's all I've read bar one Fanta collection so far.

But then, rethinking it, when you do these lists and number them, it opens you up to possibilities like Calvin & Hobbes and Prince Valiant at tied 49, sort of snapping at each other in some sort of yin yang as the pivots of the list.

Locas and Palomar seem a little low, and to be honest, I don't know how you put one above the other, it always seems to me that Jaime's strengths never drown out Beto's, and vice versa, I'd have to tie them. Probably tied tenth.

That Fantastic Four run seems way high, considering there's nothing superhero above it. I'm another to prerfer the Lee Ditko Spidey's, and I don't know what a definitive golden age run is, but it seems to me that should rank higher, although that's a bad base for an argument I'll grant you. I just always feel early Superman should trump every other superhero run, because otherwise there wouldn't be a ball to run with.

I think maybe, just maybe, you got Clowes and Thurber spot on. And that's part of why I think Jimmy Corrigan and Will Eisner need reversing, I think. Funny how Jar Of Fools never gets mentioned these days. That always makes me ponder Jimmy Corrigan. Never did get Bagge, or Crumb.

But then it's not my list. And if it was, there'd be Raymond Briggs with Ethel And Ernest and Posy Simmonds with Gemma Bovery and Glenn Dakin's Abe and Frank Hampson's Dan Dare and Grant Morrison's "St Swithin's Day" and J. Millar Watt's Pop and E H Shepherd and then people would accuse me of bias, and it'd be hard to miss, wouldn't it?

p.s. -- I'd like to point out to you and Robert Boyd that Eddie Campbell is in no way English. Scottish or British, aye, but never English. I think he might prefer Australian to that, but best you ask him. Of course, not that anyone ever said he was, but there was a hanging implication.

Tom Spurgeon Responds: Thank you for the great letter. My apologies to Mr. Campbell.