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Saturday, May 7, 2005

Free Comic Book Day Top 10

Today’s the Free Comic Book Day, at least in the US. While the following comic books weren’t free last time I checked, I still recommend them as my personal favorites:

  1. Eightball: Daniel Gillespie Clowes is truly the master of alternative comics. You might have heard of him as the genius behind the OK Ghost World movie. Along with Peter Bagge of Hate (also published by Fantagraphics), he made some of the most interesting 80s/ 90s comic books. Unfortunately, not many new Eightball comics are being released these days.
  2. Schizo: This alternative gem is not for the faint-of-heart; Ivan Brunetti takes you through his deep depression.
  3. Watchmen: Of course, there can’t be a comic book top ten without Alan Moore. He put super suits into a more adult setting, though this is still about, well, super suits. Almost every frame in Watchmen contains several layers of clever references. V for Vendetta is another classic by Alan Moore, but if you want to go for plain smart superhero fun, I suggest his vintage series 1963 where he lovingly takes on the early Marvel spirit (including ads and letter sections).
  4. Sin City: everybody’s talking about it now the movie’s out. If you wonder which book of the series to get, I suggest the original one with Marv, now played by Mickey Rourke.
  5. Bone: Jeff Smith has a beautiful smooth black-and-white style. Following three little white guys from Boneville into a fantasy adventure after they’re thrown out of their village (as far as I can recollect), this is the kind of “family” comic book everyone can enjoy.
  6. Hulk: Peter David (writer) and Dale Keown (penciller) were one of the best runs of this series.
  7. Self-Loathing Comics: Underground master Robert Crumb (also a great movie by Terry Zwigoff) draws some comics together with his wife (who can’t really draw well, I’m afraid; the rest is good though). Everything else by Crumb is worth reading too.
  8. Maison Ikkoku: This has got to be my favorite manga. Rumiko Takahashi (who’s also doing Ranma 1/2) created a romantic comedy set in a boarding house in Tokyo; student Yusaku Godai eternally tries to impress his love, boarding house manager Kyoko Otonashi, but the crazy people surrounding him (and Kyoko’s past) make this nearly impossible.
  9. Next-Men: John Byrne already reinvented Superman in the 80’s, and this time he took on some heros of his own. Very entertaining.
  10. Love & Rockets: I suggest Wigwam Bam, The Death of Speedy, and Flies on the Ceiling by Jaime Hernandez.


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