The 50 Things That Every Comics Collection Truly Needs Meme

By | Sunday, September 28, 2008 3 comments
Tom Spurgeon posted a good list of "The 50 Things That Every Comics Collection Truly Needs" and, as a follow-up from Stephen Frug, how to play along at home. So, here's an abridged version of Tom's list with the following indicators applied...

Leave Plain = Things I don't have
Make Bold = Things I do have
Italics = I have some but probably not enough

Underline = I don't agree I need this

1. Something From The ACME Novelty Library
2. A Complete Run Of Arcade
3. Any Number Of Mini-Comics
4. At Least One Pogo Book From The 1950s
5. A Barnaby Collection
6. Binky Brown and the Holy Virgin Mary
7. As Many Issues of RAW as You Can Place Your Hands On
8. A Little Stack of Archie Comics
9. A Suite of Modern Literary Graphic Novels
10. Several Tintin Albums
11. A Smattering Of Treasury Editions Or Similarly Oversized Books
12. Several Significant Runs of Alternative Comic Book Series
13. A Few Early Comic Strip Collections To Your Taste
14. Several "Indy Comics" From Their Heyday
15. At Least One Comic Book From When You First Started Reading Comic Books
16. At Least One Comic That Failed to Finish The Way It Planned To
17. Some Osamu Tezuka
18. The Entire Run Of At Least One Manga Series
19. One Or Two 1970s Doonesbury Collections
20. At Least One Saul Steinberg Hardcover
21. One Run of A Comic Strip That You Yourself Have Clipped
22. A Selection of Comics That Interest You That You Can't Explain To Anyone Else
23. At Least One Woodcut Novel
24. As Much Peanuts As You Can Stand
25. Maus
26. A Significant Sample of R. Crumb's Sketchbooks
27. The original edition of Sick, Sick, Sick.
28. The Smithsonian Collection Of Newspaper Comics
29. Several copies of MAD
30. A stack of Jack Kirby 1970s Comic Books
31. More than a few Stan Lee/Jack Kirby 1960s Marvel Comic Books
32. A You're-Too-High-To-Tell Amount of Underground Comix
33. Some Calvin and Hobbes

34. Some Love and Rockets
35. The Marvel Benefit Issue Of Coober Skeber
36. A Few Comics Not In Your Native Tongue

37. A Nice Stack of Jack Chick Comics
38. A Stack of Comics You Can Hand To Anybody's Kid
39. At Least A Few Alan Moore Comics
40. A Comic You Made Yourself
41. A Few Comics About Comics
42. A Run Of Yummy Fur
43. Some Frank Miller Comics
44. Several Lee/Ditko/Romita Amazing Spider-Man Comic Books
45. A Few Great Comics Short Stories
46. A Tijuana Bible
47. Some Weirdo
48. An Array Of Comics In Various Non-Superhero Genres

49. An Editorial Cartoonist's Collection or Two
50. A Few Collections From New Yorker Cartoonists
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Anonymous said...

I'm really curious how you picked those three out of this (IMO) ridiculous (highly fanciful and subjective, at any rate) list.

You really think every proper comic book collection needs the other 47, then? But not those three...

Can't help with mashups, but THIS I am interested in. :)

It wasn't so much that the list should only have 47, just that I think there are better/more significant things to include than those three I disagree with.

I interpreted Tom's approach as "50 significant things you ought to have in your collection if you really are interested in the medium of sequential art." The three I disagreed with don't, to my mind, really fit that bill, certainly in lieu of other ideas. For example, there's no mention of Will Eisner in his list, who's work I think is quite important. I've seen others note that there's no mention of original art. No Carl Barks. No references to milestone stories like Detective Comics #27 or Fantastic Four #1. No historical references to anything prior to, say, 1920. Nothing at all about web comics. There's plenty of significant work out there -- more significant to my mind than at least some of what Tom's listed -- that I think are more "truly needed" in a decent collection.

Saul Steinberg was a good artist, but he contributed very little to sequential art, so any random collection of his work is going to include very little that could be considered comics.

A collection of newspaper strips you cut out yourself is useful, interesting and nostalgic, but it's almost impossible to go back and create (or re-create) such a collection of any significance if you don't already have one.

As far as foreign language comics, they're interesting but unless you happen to speak that foreign language, they are illegible. You can study the art, sure, but it's not even a reasonable representation of the story if you can't understand any of the wording being used. Besides, if the purpose is just to get a sense of how other cultures create comics, then the manga, Tintin, Alan Moore, and Osamu Tezuka listings fit that bill.

Anonymous said...

Excellent. Pretty good points, all.

"50 significant things you ought to have in your collection if you really are interested in the medium of sequential art" is a good way to describe this project, though the original list still seems kind of goofy to me. The examples you give of things which are more deserving of a spot on the list are great; or, at any rate, all of them seem sound to me. Eisner, certainly.