Tuesday, January 24, 2017

The 2011 International Best Comics Poll--Contributor Lists D-E

The International Best Comics Poll was first published at The Hooded Utilitarian in August of 2011. The material remains available at that site. I conceived, organized, and edited the project. I'm cross-publishing my posts and the participant lists here for personal archival purposes. Links to essay contributions by other writers will go to saved versions of The Hooded Utilitarian pages on www.archive.org.

The following lists were submitted in response to the question, "What are the ten comics works you consider your favorites, the best, or the most significant?" All lists have been edited for consistency, clarity, and to fix minor copy errors. Unranked lists are alphabetized by title. In instances where the vote varies somewhat with the Top 115 entry the vote was counted towards, an explanation of how the vote was counted appears below it.

In the case of divided votes, only works fitting the description that received multiple votes on their own received the benefit. For example, in Jessica Abel's list, she voted for The Post-Superhero comics of David Mazzucchelli. That vote was divided evenly between
Asterios Polyp and Paul Auster's City of Glass because they fit that description and received multiple votes on their own. It was not in any way applied to the The Rubber Blanket Stories because that material did not receive multiple votes from other participants.

Katherine Dacey
Writer, www.MangaCritic.com

The Arrival, Shaun Tan
Emma, Kaoru Mori
The Far Side, Gary Larson
Hi no Tori [Phoenix], Osamu Tezuka
Kaze no Tani no Naushika [Nausicäa of the Valley of the Wind], Hayao Miyazaki
• The New Yorker cartoons, Charles Addams
Peanuts, Charles M. Schulz
Persepolis, Marjane Satrapi
Satsuma Gishiden, Hiroshi Hirata
Swan, Kyoko Ariyoshi

Marco D’Angelo
Writer, www.SonoStorie.wordpress.com

Astérix le gaulois [Astérix the Gaul], René Goscinny & Albert Uderzo
Corto Maltese: Una balata del mare salato [The Ballad of the Salt Sea], Hugo Pratt
Daredevil: Born Again, Frank Miller & David Mazzucchelli
El Eternauta, Héctor Germán Oesterheld & Francisco Solano Lopéz
Flash Gordon, Alex Raymond
Ken Parker: Lily e il cacciatore [Lily and the Hunter], Giancarlo Berardi & Ivo Milazzo
Paperino e il vento del sud [Donald Duck and the Southern Wind], Giovan Battista Carpi
Tex Willer: Il figlio di Mephisto [Mephisto’s Son], Gianluigi Bonelli & Aurelio “Galep” Galleppini
Watchmen, Alan Moore & Dave Gibbons
X-Men: The Dark Phoenix Saga, Chris Claremont & John Byrne, with Terry Austin

Alexander Danner
Instructor, Emerson College; author, Character Design for Graphic Novels; contributing writer, www.ComixPedia.com

Buddha, Osamu Tezuka
Castle Waiting, Linda Medley
Le Chat du rabbin [The Rabbi’s Cat], Joann Sfar
Dicebox, Jenn Manley Lee
Dykes to Watch Out For, Alison Bechdel
Family Man, Dylan Meconis
Finder, Carla Speed McNeil
Hereville, Barry Deutsch
Pluto, Naoki Urasawa
Three Shadows, Cyril Pedrosa

Mike Dawson
Cartoonist, Gabagool!, Freddie & Me, and Ace-Face: The Mod with the Metal Arms

The ACME Novelty Library, Chris Ware, especially issues #17, 18, and 19
Counted as a 0.5 vote each for "Building Stories" and Rusty Brown, including “Lint”.
Hicksville, Dylan Horrocks
It’s a Good Life, If You Don’t Weaken, Seth
Love and Rockets, Gilbert Hernandez & Jaime Hernandez, especially “Flies on the Ceiling” and The Death of Speedy
Counted as a vote for The Locas Stories, Jaime Hernandez
Maus: A Survivor’s Tale, Art Spiegelman
My New York Diary, Julie Doucet
The Playboy and I Never Liked You, Chester Brown
Counted as a 0.5 vote for each work
The Poor Bastard, Joe Matt
Skyscrapers of the Midwest, Joshua Cotter
Spaniel Rage, Vanessa Davis

Kim Deitch
Cartoonist, The Search for Smilin’ Ed, The Boulevard of Broken Dreams, Alias the Cat

• (1.) The Book of Genesis Illustrated, R. Crumb
• (2.) Palestine, Joe Sacco
• (3.) Wimbledon Green, Seth
• (4.) Little Orphan Annie, Harold Gray
• (5.) The Donald Duck Stories, Carl Barks
• (6.) Dick Tracy, Chester Gould
• (7.) < Supermen!, Greg Sadowski, editor
• (8.) The Marvel Universe as drawn by Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, and Bill Everett
Counted as a 0.333 vote each for The Fantastic Four, Stan Lee & Jack Kirby, with Joe Sinnott, et al., Spider-Man, Stan Lee & Steve Ditko, and Thor, including “Tales of Asgard,” by Stan Lee & Jack Kirby, with Vince Colletta, et al.
• (9.) The Wolverton Bible, Basil Wolverton
• (10.) Cleveland, Harvey Pekar & Joseph Remnant
Counted as a vote for American Splendor, Harvey Pekar, with R. Crumb, et al.


This is in no particular order.

Genesis by Crumb would be number one.

Palestine by Joe Sacco might be number two, but then I haven’t read his newest book.

Wimbledon Green was awfully good.

I have not read it yet, but what I have seen so far of Harvey Pekar’s posthumous book
Cleveland, illustrated by Joseph Remnant, looks very promising.

Lots of other comic books by Crumb could be included. I think the strip "August 1976," by Nina Bunjevac, that recently ran in
Mineshaft magazine was quite excellent. I know I'm leaving out a ton of things.

Martin de la Iglesia
Contributing Writer, International Journal of Comic Art

Akira, Katsuhiro Otomo
Aruku Hito [The Walking Man], Jiro Taniguchi
Calvin and Hobbes, Bill Watterson
Dungeon [Donjon], Joann Sfar & Lewis Trondheim
Garfield, Jim Davis
Gaston Lagaffe, André Franquin
Die seltsamen Abenteuer der Ente Alfred Jodocus Kwak [The Extraordinary Adventures of the Duck Alfred Jodocus Kwak], Hermann van Veen, Harald Siepermann, and Hans Bacher
Subnormality, Winston Rowntree
Tintin, Hergé
Wir können ja Freunde bleiben [We Can Still Be Friends], Mawil

Camilla d’Errico
Cartoonist, Tanpopo, Helmetgirls

Bakuman., Tsugumi Ohba & Takeshi Obata
Blatta [Cockroach], Alberto Ponicelli
Hôrô Musuko [Wandering Son], Takako Shimura
Kobato., CLAMP
Natsume Yûjinchô [Natsume’s Book of Friends], Yuki Midorikawa
Sky Doll, Barbara Canepa & Alessandro Barbucci
Unknown Soldier, Joshua Dysart, et al.
The Walking Dead, Robert Kirkman & Tony Moore and Charles Adlard

Francis DiMenno
Director, Emily Williston Memorial Library and Museum; contributing writer, The Lemon Basket

Abbie an’ Slats, Al Capp & Raeburn Van Buren, with Elliot Caplin
The Complete Crumb Comics, Volumes 1-17, R. Crumb
Counted as a vote for The Counterculture-Era Stories, R. Crumb [see comments].
Dick Tracy, Chester Gould
Krazy Kat, George Herriman
Little Orphan Annie, Harold Gray
MAD #1-27, Harvey Kurtzman & Will Elder, Wallace Wood, Jack Davis, et al.
The Original Nexus, Mike Baron & Steve Rude
Pogo, Walt Kelly
Spider-Man, Stan Lee & Steve Ditko
Watchmen, Alan Moore & Dave Gibbons


If obliged to select only one [of The Complete Crumb editions], I would select Volume 6, "On the Crest of a Wave". If this is not suitable, than I would select Robert Crumb's body of work in Zap Comix.

Watchmen, A Brief Appreciation

I don't want to brag, but I spotted Alan Moore as a genius right around the time of "Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?" I showed that particular story to all my friends. You can ask them.

Watchmen was a signal accomplishment for its time, right up there with Frank Miller's Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Rônin, and Daredevil: Born Again. It still holds up well over 25 years later. It is still one of the few graphic novels with the density and complexity of a good novel.

Quite frankly, I've made this peculiar sub-genre of literature my field of study for over 40 years. (Yup, I'm that old.)
Watchmen is at or very near the top of the heap as far as I'm concerned.

Moore himself would probably tell you himself that he is thoroughly steeped in comics lore, and that he borrowed quite a few of the genre's tropes to tell his story. Harold Bloom called it "the anxiety of influence." It's not by any means a bad thing. Nearly all authors draw upon genre conventions of one kind or another to tell their stories. What really counts in the end is how they use those narrative conventions.

Watchmen will stand because it was one of the very first self-aware works of graphic art, and one of the very first graphic novels truly worthy of the name…

Alan David Doane
Publisher/editor, Comic Book Galaxy; writer, Trouble with Comics, The ADD Blog

American Elf, James Kolchalka
American Splendor, Harvey Pekar, et al.
Daredevil: Born Again, Frank Miller & David Mazzucchelli
Diary of a Teenage Girl, Phoebe Gloeckner
From Hell, Alan Moore & Eddie Campbell
Ice Haven, Daniel Clowes
• “Master Race,” Bernard Krigstein & Al Feldstein
The New Gods, Jack Kirby, with Mike Royer, et al.
Counted as a vote for The Fourth World Stories, Jack Kirby, with Mike Royer, et al.
Peanuts, Charles M. Schulz
Spider-Man, Stan Lee & Steve Ditko

Randy DuBurke
Cartoonist, Hunter’s Heart; illustrator, Malcolm X: A Graphic Biography, Yummy: The Last Days of a Southside Shorty

• (1.) Mort Cinder, Héctor Germán Oesterheld & Alberto Breccia
• (2.) Il collezionista [The Collector], Sergio Toppi
• (3.) Nova-2, Louis Garcia Mozos
• (4.) The Spirit, Will Eisner
• (5.) Chandler: Red Tide, Jim Steranko
• (6.) Master of Kung Fu, Doug Moench & Paul Gulacy
• (7.) Elektra: Assassin, Frank Miller & Bill Sienkiewicz
• (8.) Swamp Thing, Len Wein & Bernie Wrightson
• (9.) The Swamp Thing Stories, Alan Moore & Stephen R. Bissette, John Totleben, Rick Veitch, et al.
• (10.) Thriller, Robert Loren Fleming & Trevor von Eeden

Randy Duncan
Professor of Communication & Theatre Arts, Henderson State University

• (1.) The Fantastic Four, Stan Lee & Jack Kirby, with Joe Sinnott, et al.
• (2.) Calvin and Hobbes, Bill Watterson
• (3.) New York: The Big City, Will Eisner
• (4.) The Daredevil Stories, Frank Miller & Klaus Janson
• (5.) Blankets, Craig Thompson
• (6.) The Spider-Man Stories, Stan Lee & John Romita, with Jim Mooney, et al.
• (7.) The Conan the Barbarian Stories, Roy Thomas & John Buscema, with Ernie Chan (né Chua), et al.
• (8.) Cerebus, Dave Sim & Gerhard
• (9.) Asterios Polyp, David Mazzucchelli
• (10.) Concrete, Paul Chadwick


This list is not designed to impress anyone with my “good taste.” It is not meant to be a canon-building exercise based on an objective standard of quality. It is a very subjective list of work in comics form that has been (and, in most cases, continues to be) important to me.

Formalist that I am, sometimes I am responding to the intellectual experience of appreciating skillful, even innovative, use of the comics form (3, 4, 5, 8, 9).

In other instances it is an emotional experience of connecting with characters (2, 6, 7, 10).

A couple of the comics provide me with the sublime experience of being transported to fantastic worlds by the audacity of the concepts and the power of the artwork (1, 7).

Kathleen Dunley
Faculty Chair, English, ESL, Reading & Creative Writing, Rio Salado College

• (1.) It’s a Good Life, If You Don’t Weaken, Seth
• (2.) The ACME Novelty Library, Chris Ware
Counted as a vote for "Building Stories", Chris Ware [see comments]
• (3.) Paying For It, Chester Brown
• (4.) “Here,” Richard McGuire
• (5.) Little Nemo in Slumberland, Winsor McCay
• (6.) Gasoline Alley, Frank King
• (7.) Dykes to Watch Out For, Alison Bechdel
• (8.) Paper Rodeo, Fort Thunder Collective
• (9.) Promethea, Alan Moore & J. H. Williams III, with Mick Gray, et al.
• (10.) Bodyworlds, Dash Shaw


[About the vote for The ACME Novelty Library] If I have to narrow it, I’d say Volume 18 ["Building Stories"].

Paul Dwyer
Cartoonist, I Shot Roy!

Banks/Eubanks, Tom Hart
Cages, Dave McKean
Feiffer, Jules Feiffer
• “Here,”, Richard McGuire
Krazy Kat, George Herriman
Peanuts, Charles M. Schulz
Real Dreams: Photostories, Duane Michals
Une Semaine de bonté [A Week of Kindness], Max Ernst
What Am I Doing Here?, Abner Dean
Zippy the Pinhead, Bill Griffith

Joshua Dysart
Scriptwriter, Violent Messiahs, Unknown Soldier, Neil Young’s Greendale

• (1.) From Hell, Alan Moore & Eddie Campbell
• (2.) Wee Willie Winkie’s World, Lyonel Feininger
• (3.) Swamp Thing, Len Wein & Bernie Wrightson
• (4.) Zap Comix, R. Crumb, S. Clay Wilson, Robert Williams, Spain Rodriguez, Gilbert Shelton, Victor Moscoso, and Rick Griffin
Counted as a vote for The Counterculture-Era Stories, R. Crumb
• (5.) Little Nemo in Slumberland, Winsor McCay
• (6.) Cerebus, Dave Sim & Gerhard
• (7.) Dark Horse Presents, Randy Stradley, ed.
• (8.) The Silver Surfer Stories, Stan Lee & John Buscema, with Jack Kirby, et al., and The Silver Surfer graphic novel, Stan Lee & Jack Kirby
• (9.) RAW, Art Spiegelman & Françoise Mouly, eds.
Counted as a 0.125 vote each for: The Alack Sinner and Le Bar à Joe [Joe’s Bar] Stories, José Muñoz & Carlos Sampayo; The Autobiographical Stories, Aline Kominsky-Crumb; Ernie Pook’s Comeek and The RAW Stories, Lynda Barry; “Here,” Richard McGuire; The Jimbo Stories, Gary Panter; Maus: A Survivor’s Tale, Art Spiegelman; Quimby the Mouse, Chris Ware; The Weirdo-Era Stories, R. Crumb
• (10.) Concrete, Paul Chadwick


But I just can’t do ten. It’s driving me crazy…

Journey, William Messner-Loebs; (12.) Wasteland, John Ostrander & Del Close, et al.; (13.) The Tale of One Bad Rat, Bryan Talbot; (14.) The Spirit, Will Eisner; (15.) Love and Rockets, Gilbert Hernandez & Jaime Hernandez; (16.) American Flagg!, Howard Chaykin; (17.) Two-Fisted Tales, Harvey Kurtzman & Jack Davis, John Severin, Wallace Wood, et al.; (18.) Dalgoda, Jan Strnad & Dennis Fujitake; (19.) Krazy Kat, George Herriman; (20.) Luther Arkwright, Bryan Talbot; (21.) The Frank stories, Jim Woodring; (22.) Roarin’ Rick’s Rarebit Fiends, Rick Veitch; (23.) Bacchus, Eddie Campbell; (24.) Kozure Ôkami [Lone Wolf and Cub], Kazuo Koike & Goseki Kojima; (25.) Eightball, Daniel Clowes; (26.) MAD #1-27, Harvey Kurtzman & Will Elder, Wallace Wood, Jack Davis, et al.; (27.) Nexus, Mike Baron & Steve Rude, with Gary Martin, et al.

Joe Eisma
Illustrator, Existence 2.0/3.0, Morning Glories

Carnet de Voyage, Craig Thompson
Daytripper, Gabriel Bá & Fábio Moon
The Death of Captain Marvel, Jim Starlin
The Invisibles, Grant Morrison & Phil Jiminez
Local, Brian Wood & Ryan Kelly
Nijusseiki Shônen [20th Century Boys], Naoki Urasawa
Pluto, Naoki Urasawa
Stray Bullets, David Lapham
X-Men: God Loves, Man Kills, Chris Claremont & Brent Anderson
• The X-Men Stories, Chris Claremont & Paul Smith, with Bob Wiacek

Austin English
Cartoonist, Christina and Charles

Aruku Hito [The Walking Man], Jiro Taniguchi
• The Autobiographical Comics, Luc Leplae
Chimera, Lorenzo Mattotti
Vie et mort du héros triomphante [The Hero’s Life and Death Triumphant], Frédéric Coché
The Kin-der-Kids, Lyonel Feininger
Krazy Kat, George Herriman
Leben? oder Theater?: Ein Singespiel [Life? Or Theater?: A Singspiel], Charlotte Salomon
Der Palast [The Palace], Anke Feuchtenberger
White Boy, Garrett Price
• Works, Edward Gorey


Leben? oder Theater?: Ein Singspiel, by Charlotte Salomon. This work is usually talked about due to the tragic circumstances surrounding its creation and ultimate fate of its author. I remember seeing it before reading about Salomon's biography and was filled with inspiration for the way Salomon drew figures and poses as I struggled to find my own way to draw characters in a picture story. This is a singular work in so many ways: a long narrative drawn in a rich way that most long comic narratives would shy away from. There is also an intensity of emotion that you can't miss even before you know the situation the work was born into. So, for its sustained richness of images and unembarrassed emotional force, this work seems to tower above almost every other work of graphic narrative. Somehow its example has been ignored, perhaps because its too strong to grapple with.

Chimera by Lorenzo Mattotti. I enjoy looking at the neat panel borders in this comic, and then shifting my attention to the flurry of lines within those neat borders. I like to imagine the borders sketched out first, as little areas for Mattotti to pour out his heartbreaking work. I don't know if he comes at those panels unleashing a torrent of jagged lines or if he methodically applies each stroke in a systematic way. Either way, Mattotti's system is not just thrilling to read and digest, but enriching to anyone who attaches any value to the idea that one can express ones self through drawing.

Der Palast by Anke Feuchtenberger. Hard to narrow down one Feuchtenberger work for this list. As a reader, I prefer her W the Whore work. But this album is something of a perfect object: the long size of the book and the shape of the characters. The imagery is “personal” (who else could it have come from except for Feuchtenberger) but also communicates something that is not about unadulterated expression. As in many of my favorite works of art, the drawings are labored over not to achieve perfection, but to achieve shapes that convey a world of thought and feelings beyond the narrow scope of our brains. These drawings are for our hearts, all the parts of it.

Hero’s Life and Death Triumphant by Frédéric Coché. For the scale, the ambition, and for the heroic achievement, this work has to be on a ten best list, even if I find it somewhat lacking as a story. The overall punch of it is enough: page after page of gorgeous etched comics. Comics are always hard work, and the noble effort of this volume is always inspiring to me.

White Boy page by Garrett Price from the Smithsonian collection. Specifically, I'm talking about the page with the large bottom portion featuring a richly drawn sky. That single page seems to be a secret influence lurking over the ambitions of many a contemporary cartoonist: the simplicity of the figures combined with the devil-may-care attitude that went into the drawing of the landscape.

The Kin-der-Kids by Lyonel Feininger. I prefer it to Little Nemo by a long shot. I find it more interesting on a technical drawing level, and the shapes to be far more pleasing aesthetically. Most of all, it has the visual bravado of Nemo, but it happens to be full of beautiful writing and stories. A pity that it was out of print for so long, only to be reprinted to mass indifference.

Krazy Kat by George Herriman. My Krazy Kat collections will never be sold when I'm short on money or left behind when I move. I'll keep going back to them for my entire life. When I'm feeling down, they make me happy. When I want to see some imaginative drawings, I know there will always be something in them that I missed before. When I want to see everything that comics can be--a world totally with its own laws of language, design, and logic that is still more inviting than intimidating--Krazy Kat is what I always want to go to first. As a work of art that makes you feel alive as a human and as an artist, Krazy Kat is still my favorite.

The complete works of Edward Gorey. The last page in the last big Gorey collection is a heartbreak: a ruled page, awaiting detail. Gorey kept making books, and I can't think of a clunker. Together, they are full of all kinds of stories, all kinds of shapes and figures. The scope of Gorey's ideas and tones are so vast that I don't understand why he isn't talked about more in comics circles. Often, with someone of Gorey's caliber, I have the sinking suspicion that the work is “too good” to be engaged in comics terms. It has such a distance from the rest of the pack that it becomes to seem like a strange anomaly.

The Walking Man by Jiro Taniguchi. Hard to limit myself to one work of manga, but this one always leaps to mind first. I sometimes have the guilty feeling of liking Taniguchi more than Hergé, and this is the work that usually pushes me into that thinking (Hergé would have never let himself release a book this eccentric). I admire this book as an example of “perfect” comics drawing (more perfect to me than Jamie Hernandez), but it's the writing that gets it on the top ten list. An achingly calm story punctuated by moments of small action that feel monumental, this is a book that shows day-to-day life as not mundane but thrillingly odd.

The autobiographical comics of Luc Leplae. I look at a lot of comics, and I yearn for more like these. The figures are drawn in a unique style, and you can see Leplae’s brain trying to figure out the basics: Where should I put text? How many drawings on one page? I suspect that if he had been in contact with other cartoonists, his style would have become more refined, more readable. And that would have been fine--I like refined comics a lot. But I also like the thrilling originality of this work, and the energy that comes from it.

Jackie Estrada
Co-publisher, Exhibit A Press; administrator, The Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards

• The Donald Duck and Uncle $crooge Stories, Carl Barks
Ernie Pook’s Comeek, Lynda Barry
Krazy Kat, George Herriman
• The Little Lulu Stories, John Stanley, et al.
Little Nemo in Slumberland, Winsor McCay
MAD #1-27, Harvey Kurtzman & Will Elder, Wallace Wood, Jack Davis, et al.
Pogo, Walt Kelly
The Rocketeer, Dave Stevens
Sin City, Frank Miller
The Spirit, Will Eisner

Al Ewing
Scriptwriter, Zombo, 2000 AD

All-Star Superman, Grant Morrison & Frank Quitely
Bad Company, Peter Milligan & Brett Ewins, et al.
The Death Ray, Daniel Clowes
Flex Mentallo, Grant Morrison & Frank Quitely
Hark! A Vagrant, Kate Beaton
How to Be an Artist, Eddie Campbell
Counted as a vote for The Alec Stories, including The Fate of the Artist, Eddie Campbell
Judge Dredd, John Wagner & Carlos Ezquerra
A Life Force, Will Eisner
Nemesis the Warlock, Pat Mills & Kevin O’Neill
The New Gods, Jack Kirby, with Mike Royer, et al.
Counted as a vote for The Fourth World Stories, Jack Kirby, with Mike Royer, et al.

The 2011 International Best Comics Poll Index

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