Tom Spurgeon's Web site of comics news, reviews, interviews and commentary

May 12, 2016

Go, Look: Buzzfeed Getting Started With Comics List

Here. I never thought it was my specific mission to recruit new readers, but I know for a lot of people that read comics proselytizing on their behalf is a natural extension of their love for the medium.

imageThis one was interesting to me because it feels so, so limited to a certain kind of idiosyncratic-drama series expression. That's not a bad thing; I like those comics, too. Comics like that have a track record of pulling people into a habit of comics-shopping that's been very profitable for the industry. In the end, it just seems like one kind of comic to me and thus perhaps favors one kind of comics reader. In fact, it weren't for the Lumberjanes recommendation, you could have told me it was a list from 2009 or 1996 and I could have only argued that the specific choices made that not so.

One thing that comics has going for it is that there's so much material right now. In the US major categories can be talked about in terms of genre material like on this list, also superhero material, also newspaper strips, also arts-alternative works. Manga has an easy half-dozen recognizable types even within the relatively narrow range of what we get translated. There are dozens of hard-to-categorize efforts. I think this is wonderful.

When I was a kid, almost none of my friends had read a comic I hadn't physically placed in their hands. As an adult, most people I meet have read one comic or another, and usually have one about which they're enthusiastic. Persepolis, perhaps. Or Hark! A Vagrant. Or Death Note. I had drinks with someone in their 60s about two years ago on a wholly non-comics matter and when she asked after my day job she did a solid seven minutes on KAL's work in The Economist that could have introduced him at an awards dinner.

I only wonder if this were always so, at least on some level, or if it's a wholly modern development. Either way, it makes me happy. That doesn't mean I'm mad at anyone's list. As I mentioned, they comes out of love and enthusiasm and the way each person looks at authenticity or importance in an art form -- they are an answer to a question that has a dozen, two dozen, three dozen answers now. This is a good thing, because I was always terrible at tests.
posted 12:55 am PST | Permalink

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