Compiled by Phoebe Ayers, MLIS Day
We recently profiled the Silverfish staff and contributors to see what comics we're reading. The list reveals varied tastes that reflect the multiplicity of the comics world. We like webcomics, graphic novels, and newspaper comics, along with classic cartoonists. How to choose among them? Aaron Louie provides us a potential measure - his own Entertainment-Artistic Index. Read on to find out more.
- Thomas Nast The world's first real political cartoonist, Nast defined the genre and created many of the iconic portraits of numerous American icons -- Uncle Sam, Santa Claus, the elephant & the donkey -- that are still used today. His artistic abilities, coupled with biting commentary and satiric wit were unmatched by his contemporaries and will probably never be topped.
Little Nemo in Slumberland Playful, surreal, and heartbreakingly beautiful, "Little Nemo" recounts the episodic adventures of a boy in the landscape of his nightly dreams. In the last panel of every comic, Nemo is snatched from this alternate world and -- often rudely -- awakened. It's difficult to imagine how the artist, Winsor McCay, could draw a full page, full color comic like this every week...
Little Nemo in Slumberland
- Penny Arcade Gabe and Tycho, the main characters and avatars for the artist (Mike Krahulik) and writer (Jerry Holkins), pull no punches in their thrice-weekly portrayal of the video game industry and its effects on society. The comics really must be read alongside Holkins' surprisingly eloquent blog-like entries in which he muses about the topics and issues depicted in the comics.
- Applegeeks Although Applegeeks is often spare on plot, the quality of Mohammad Haque's artwork is unmatched in the world of webcomics. One does not need to own a Mac to enjoy the comic-book-style layout, inking, and coloring. Quite impressive for a semi-twice-weekly comic.
- David Horsey Blah blah blah Pulitzer Prize blah blah Honorary PhDs blah blah blah. David Horsey is the pinnacle of modern political cartooning, and stands high above the hordes of less talented and, frankly, awful contemporaries. Not only does his humor, intelligence, and wit outmatch that of most newspaper editors, he is more than capable as an artist.
I rate newspaper comics these days based on the percentage of times they make me laugh and on the quality of the artwork. So, I have created the Entertainment Index (LI) and the Artistic Index (AI) for your convenience. Each score is out of a maximum of 100. The comics below are ranked according to their net score (NS = EI + AI/2). As you can see from the ranking equation, I place more value on EI than on AI. This is because, when I'm drinking coffee in the morning, trying not to fall back asleep, I need happy feelings more than I need pretty pictures. Certain comics have a net negative score, such as Gasoline Alley (EI:-100, AI:80) and Cathy (EI:-100, AI:-100) and are not included in this list.
- - Get Fuzzy EI: 90, AI: 80, NS: 160
- - Opus/Outland/Bloom County EI: 80, AI: 70, NS: 115
- - Sherman's Lagooon EI: 90, AI: 30, NS: 105
- - Monty EI: 80, AI: 50, NS: 105
- - The Boondocks EI: 60, AI: 60, NS: 90
- - 9 Chickweed Lane EI: 40, AI: 70, NS: 75
- - Prince Valiant EI: 30, AI: 90, NS: 75
"Rapaces," by Dufax and Marini -- The flash intro is quite impressive, and once you are into the main page, definitely click on "rejouer l'ancienne intro" ("replay the old intro"). This is one of the coolest pieces of flash I've ever seen!
- "Sasmira," by Laurent Vicomte.
- Asterix -- Goscinny and Uderzo, and
- Tintin -- Hergé;, both of which are standard classics.
- "Batman: Year One" by Frank Miller
- "Y: the Last Man" series by Brian K. Vaughn, et. al.
- "The Amazing True Story of Teenage Single Mom" by Katherine Arnoldi
- Foxtrot by Bill Amend
- "Wild Act" by Rei Takada
- "Forbidden Dance" by Hinako Ashihara
My favorite comics/graphic novels are:
- Last Kiss
- Liberty Meadows
- Favorite comix:Leviathan, Sandman, the Wild Party
- Favorite anime: Vampire Princess Miyu, Tale of Genji (sans subtitles, which are awful), Akira (like everyone else).
- Newspaper strips: Sylvia
- horrible, guilty pleasures: Elfquest and Cerberus and Gloomcookie
Dykes to Watch out For
- Mutts, by Mcdonnell
- Zits, by Scott
- Ernie Pooks Comeek, by Barry
- and, of course, Unshelved
Just to name a couple favorites...
- Broderies by Marjane Satrapi
- Anything by Edward Gorey
- Jimmy Corrigan by Chris Ware
- One Hundred Demons by Lynda Barry
- Radio, an Illustrated Guide by Jessica Abel and Ira Glass
- Monsieur Jean by Philippe Dupuy et Charles Berberian
- Anthologies and showcases fromDrawn and Quarterly
- My New York Diary by Julie Doucet
- Guilty pleasure: Le Someil du Monstre by Enki Bilal