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Thread: Comics that are closest to being good literature?

  1. #1
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    Comics that are closest to being good literature?

    Am I the only one who reads alternative comics on here? Comics have come a long these past couple decades, but are they close to being decent literature yet? Despite what they tell you, Watchmen and Maus are far from being the greatest comics.

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    I try to mix in a few comics along with the novels I usually read. I think that some of the best comics earn comparisons to traditional literature. They might not be at the level of the greatest novels or poems, but I think the medium has enough works of considerable merit that comics can be considered "decent literature."

  3. #3
    Alea iacta est. mortalterror's Avatar
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    1950 Tales From the Crypt by Al Feldstein
    1950 Two-Fisted Tales by Harvey Kurtzman
    1951 Frontline Combat by Harvey Kurtzman
    1954 Phoenix by Osamu Tezuka
    1955 Master Race by Bernard Krigstein and Al Feldstein
    1967 Corto Maltese: Ballad of the Salt Sea by Hugo Pratt
    1968 Mr. Natural by Robert Crumb
    1970 Lone Wolf and Cub by Kazuo Koike
    1972 Buddha by Osamu Tezuka
    1973 Barefoot Gen by Keiji Nakazawa
    1974 Heavy Metal by Moebius
    1976 American Splendor by Harvey Pekar
    1978 A Contract with God by Will Eisner
    1978 Batman: Strange Appartitions by Steve Englehart
    1982 Akira by Katsuhiro Otomo
    1982 Miracleman by Alan Moore
    1982 Love and Rockets by Gilbert and Jaime Hernandez
    1982 V For Vendetta by Alan Moore
    1982 Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind by Hayao Miyazaki
    1983 Saga of the Swamp Thing by Alan Moore
    1985 Appleseed by Masamune Shirow
    1986 Watchmen by Alan Moore
    1986 The Dark Knight Returns by Frank Miller
    1986 Maus by Art Spiegelman
    1987 Batman Year One by Frank Miller
    1989 Sandman by Neil Gaiman
    1989 Ghost In The Shell by Masamune Shirow
    1990 Battle Angel Alita by Yukito Kishiro
    1990 Berserk by Kentaro Miura
    1991 Wolverine: Weapon X by Barry Windsor-Smith
    1991 From Hell by Alan Moore
    1991 The Infinity Gauntlet by Jim Starlin
    1993 It Was the War of the Trenches by Jacques Tardi
    1994 The Invisibles by Grant Morrison
    1994 Marvels by Kurt Busiek
    1995 Preacher by Garth Ennis
    1996 Batman the Long Halloween by Jeph Loeb
    1996 Astro City by Kurt Busiek
    1998 Daredevil: Guardian Devil by Kevin Smith
    2002 Y: The Last Man by Brian K. Vaughn
    2002 The Ultimates by Mark Millar
    2002 Fables by Bill Willingham
    2003 The Walking Dead by Robert Kirkman
    2003 Superman: Red Son by Mark Millar
    2004 Punisher MAX by Garth Ennis
    2006 Civil War by Mark Millar
    2008 A Drifting Life by Yoshihiro Tatsumi
    2008 All Star Superman by Grant Morrison
    2012 Irredeemable by Mark Waid
    2013 Injustice: Gods Among Us Year One by Tom Taylor
    2013 Uber by Kieron Gillen
    2013 Age of Ultron by Brian Michael Bendis
    Last edited by mortalterror; 07-26-2015 at 04:54 PM.
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    Chris Ware's Jimmy Corrigan, the Smartest Kid on Earth is worth a look.

    I've read and enjoyed a lot of famous graphic novels, but found very few that have truly escaped their genre, or their market. I'm interested in what you mean by alternative comics. Any recommendations?

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    My favorites are Racines by Pierre Duba, Here by Richard McGuire, and Epileptic by David B. Racines is a french comic that never got a release in English, but it has no words. You can get it off Amazon.



    I also recommend My friend Dahmer by Derf Backderf. The author was one of Jeffrey Dahmer's only friends in high school, so its quite a valuable document on dahmer. For comic strips, I recommend Krazy Kat. Its considered the greatest comic strip of all time, was ranked the greatest comic of the 20th century by Comics journal. Only the sunday strips have been reprinted though, but the art is beautiful.

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    Thanks. Of the books you mentioned I had only previously heard of Richard McGuire's and always meant to check it out.

    Just had a browse on Amazon and looking at their 'Customers Who Bought This...' section I see there are a lot of more 'literary' comic books available. Unflattening by Nick Sousanis sounds like a very interesting book.

  7. #7
    Registered User UlyssesE's Avatar
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    Sandman by Neil Gaiman. So. Good.

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    Watcher by Night mtpspur's Avatar
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    The Spectre -John Ostander's run from the 1980s-goes into the morality of being judge, jury and executioner when you have Godlike powers and a mission to punish evil.

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    gustave dore

    I grew up reading comics, superman, flash etc. (That's nearly 50 years ago!) I had never thought of comics in terms of literature. I read them because i liked the sorylines and the artwork. My mother who herself was originally illiterate until my father taught her to read & write Urdu (and some English.) My mother was always disapproving of comics. She in fact disapproved of any fiction books for us children. She did not consider fiction as worthwhile compared to other school textbooks. But she did read fiction herself!

    My wife is the literacy expert and she gives me chapter and verse about how complex a task/skill is involved in reading/decoding comics. It was through comics that I developed a taste for scifi. My son is a very proficient reader but is not at all interested in comics. In fact he reads very little fiction although he has grown up seeing his parents devour books and I have been reading him bedtime stories for many years.
    Last edited by Munshie; 08-04-2015 at 12:53 PM.

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    Registered User FenwickS's Avatar
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    Taking a "Graphic Novel" course for my BA I was extremely pleased to be acquainted with David Mazzuchelli's "Asterios Polyp".
    I found it to be inspiring in many ways.
    "Without art, the crudeness of reality would make the world unbearable."- George Bernard Shaw

  11. #11
    Watcher by Night mtpspur's Avatar
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    After thinking about it a bit more--some other suggestions: Don Macgregor's Black Panther run published in Jungle Action; Doug Monech's Master of Kung Fu run, and Marv Wolfman's Tomb of Dracula run-at least the first half for certain -there was a slow decline towards the end but he pulled it out with issue 70 and wrapped it nicely (which lasted about a month -Marvel never lets any character go forever).

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