Thursday, January 25, 2018

Comics Literature
From Set to Sea by Drew Weing
     Recently assigned to review the magnificent The Vision by Tom King and Gabriel Hernandez Walta, I got to thinking about what could be considered literature in comics form.  If literature is "writings having excellence of form or expression and expressing ideas of permanent or universal interest" (according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary), then let us say that graphic literature does the same, but in the form of sequential art; not simply excellence of expression in the writing and the art, but also in the power of their synthesis to express those ideas of permanent or universal interest.
     So, this is a list of ten pieces of graphic literature.  By no means complete (shouldn't something from Crumb, Pekar, Hernandez or Morrison be here?  Doesn't Black Hole by Charles Burns deserve a spot? Was "Corpse on the Imjin" by Harvey Kurtzman perhaps the earliest example of graphic literature?  What about more work from other countries?), these are what I reckon to be the core titles of graphic literature, extraordinary works that have been, for the most part, culturally embraced.  The list is in chronological order.

Maus by Art Spiegelman
The Dark Knight Returns by Frank Miller
Watchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons
Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art by Scott McCloud
Ghost World by Daniel Clowes
Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth by Chris Ware
Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic by Allison Bechdel
American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang
The Arrival by Shaun Tan