Thursday, October 2, 2008

The things I have from "The 50 Things That Every Comics Collection Truly Needs" (via the Comics Reporter)

Last Sunday, Tom Spurgeon ran an article on his Comics Reporter website featuring his list of "the fifty things that every comics collection truly needs." It's an interesting list, with lots of illustrations and numerous suggestions and sub-suggestions within broad categories. I recommend checking it out here.

He also posted a suggestion from one Stephen Frug on how to play along with his list by sharing what your collection already includes. Tom Spurgeon has tweaked Frug's helpful visual shortcuts to yield the following code:

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

This seems easy enough to play along with, so here's my list as of today. Isaac, if you are so inclined, it would be interesting to see your list, too. Anyway, my list, with occasional notes:

1. Something From The ACME Novelty Library
2. A Complete Run Of Arcade (I have most, but not all)
3. Any Number Of Mini-Comics
4. At Least One Pogo Book From The 1950s
5. A Barnaby Collection (I don't own any myself, but I know where there's a copy at my wife’s parents' house)
6. Binky Brown and the Holy Virgin Mary
7. As Many Issues of RAW as You Can Place Your Hands On (alas, I passed on my one chance as a youth to buy a remaindered copy of Read Yourself Raw)
8. A Little Stack of Archie Comics (sorry, my only interest in Archie is when the ISB brings it up)
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 (Sad to say, I actually read the "Anatomy Lesson" issue of Swamp Thing from the spinner rack at an Eckerd Drugs when I was a kid--and I put it back, unpurchased, but fully read. That story haunted me like no other comic story I had ever read. A few years later, as Watchmen rolled out, I realized what I had let slip through my fingers. Ah, well; at least I still have my copy of Marvel Tails starring Peter Porker, the Spectacular Spider-Ham!)
16. At Least One Comic That Failed to Finish The Way It Planned To (If Eddie Campbell's Egomania counts, then I got one, at least)
17. Some Osamu Tezuka
18. The Entire Run Of At Least One Manga Series (Lone Wolf and Cub; Mai the Psychic Girl; Nausicaa of the Valley of Wind: all outstanding)
19. One Or Two 1970s Doonesbury Collections (again, the in-laws have some)
20. At Least One Saul Steinberg Hardcover
21. One Run of A Comic Strip That You Yourself Have Clipped (Art Spiegelman's In the Shadow of No Towers, from its original run in the Forward)
22. A Selection of Comics That Interest You That You Can't Explain To Anyone Else (it's my job to figure out how to explain what I find interesting, so I am having real trouble thinking of a suitable comic to fit this category)
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 (my in-laws probably have this one, as well)
28. The Smithsonian Collection Of Newspaper Comics (possibly the single best present I ever received as a child; thanks, Uncle Bill!)
29. Several copies of MAD
30. A stack of Jack Kirby 1970s Comic Books (in collected editions, at least)
31. More than a few Stan Lee/Jack Kirby 1960s Marvel Comic Books (ditto)
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 (I've seen it; I really don't think I need it. Seth's Vernacular Drawing suits me just fine for his superhero renderings)
36. A Few Comics Not In Your Native Tongue (I have a few of these, yes...)
37. A Nice Stack of Jack Chick Comics (I've seen enough not to be that interested, and not just because I have a friend who is a Rabbi Waxman)
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 (I've seen some; do I need to own them?)
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

What does this tell me? (a) My tastes overlap with Tom Spurgeon's to a rather high degree. (b) I can cut back on the comics a bit, probably.

Update: Upon further reflection, I have altered the replies for items 21 and 27 from their original state.


Isaac said...

I was already thinking about doing this; since you did, I will ... and I'll even propose a new category or two to replace the ones I don't think are necessary.

For example: "Early Comics by an Artist Who Went On to Greatness."

And: "As Much Lewis Trondheim as You Can Fit on Your Shelf."

And: "Some Original Art, Framed on the Wall."

And: "Bootlegs of Rarities."

And: "Something You Wanted for Years Before You Obtained It."

Dan said...

Make it 51 things....because a piece of original artwork that pertains to your favorite artist is mandatory for any serious collector. It has been a movement that has begun slowly but now seems to be gaining momentum. More & more (especially on Ebay), I see original comic book artist's works for sale. Good thinking with these 50 things!
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