50 Things I Like About Comics

Inspired by the lists created by Jeff Lester at the Savage Critic and David Brothers at the 4th Letter (who were both awesome to see at the Comics Blogosphere Panel at the San Diego Con!), I thought I'd create my own list. There's no particular order to this other than the order in which I kept jotting them down until I’d reached fifty. Some limited explanations along the way, 'cuz you really just want the list don’t you?

1) Dick Grayson: My favorite mainstream DCU character.
2) Nightwing & Flamebird: The Kryptonian story that Clark tells Dick, the impetus for him selecting the name “Nightwing.”
3) Paul Pope: Anything he touches...
4) David Mack: Anything he touches...
5) Katherine “Kitty” Pride: My favorite X-Men character.
6) Alex Summers, aka: Havok: My second favorite X-Men character, playing second fiddle to the confident leadership of Scott, his portrayal in Peter David & Joe Quesada's run.
7) Automatic Kafka: Joe Casey & Ashley Wood doing industry meta-commentary, the ridiculously good fourth wall breaking last issue when they knew they were cancelled, would love to have this collected...
8) Flex Mentallo: Grant Morrison & Frank Quitely doing industry meta-commentary, the legal issues around this, that it will never be collected...
9) Tara Chace: Greg Rucka's opus, one of the most brilliantly crafted female characters of the Modern Age.
10) Kissing Chaos: One of my favorite ethereal "love stories" ever.
11) CBLDF: I don't like that we need this organization, but I love that we have it.
12) The Silver Age: The heyday of comics for me, the sheer zaniness, the plethora of characters and ideas, it felt limitless, crafted with sheer joy.
13) Nextwave: Agents of H.A.T.E.: If you haven't read it, I can't explain it. Buy it today.
14) Pete Wisdom by Paul Cornell: “And don’t call me sir, it’s… weirdly horny.”
15) Green Lantern: Reading this title as a kid growing up, Dave Gibbons art, the high concept of an interstellar police force with magic power rings…
16) Jim Starlin’s Dreadstar: Reading this title as a kid growing up, the cosmic scope, the diversity of characters, the tragedy and triumph…
17) SF Bay Area Retailers: Lee's Comics, Hijinx Comics, Comix Experience, The Isotope Lounge, Comic Relief, the best metropolitan area for comic retailing in the known universe.
18) The Blot by Tom Neely: Instantly cracked my list of favorite works of all time, a creator to watch.
19) Chris Bachalo on The Witching Hour: The imagination and thought that went into his pencils and page layouts, perfectly complimenting a story.
20) Theories & Defenses: Brian Wood's fictitious band from Local #3, with a brief cameo in The New York Four.
21) X-Factor #87 by Peter David & Joe Quesada: The perfect psychological look into a team of "heroes."
22) Joe Quesada drawing Black Widow Natasha Romanov:
“Got it, Red?”
23) Travis Charest on Wildcats: The team never looked more beautiful, powerful, and fragile.
24) Joe Casey on Wildcats:
The fluid understanding of the characters' evolving identities, the volume of ideas generated, from superhero, to noir thriller, to post-modern corporatization of the archetype.
25) The Watchmen Trailer: The way my heart pounds when I hear the Smashing Pumpkins song come up, things moving in slow motion, Zack Snyder, the way my friends all turned to me and asked "What the fuck is that?! I want to see it..."
26) Kal-El’s Origin in All Star Superman #1: The minimalist approach, the rapport with the audience, the ability to do it in one page, with eight panels, and just a handful of words.
27) Cyclops Revealing Optic Blast in Astonishing X-Men: “To me, my X-Men!”
28) Kitty Pryde & Colossus Hooking Up in Astonishing X-Men: Specifically, Kitty's monologue about the dust settling and seizing the moment.
29) Snowbird: Visually stunning, the cover of X-Men #121, being an Inuit Goddess, the first appearance of Alpha Flight.
30) Sunfire: Visually stunning, his story and connection to the X-Men mythos.
31) FF/Iron Man: Big in Japan: Zeb Wells & the late Seth Fisher, a perfect FF story that captures the fun imagination implicit in the title.
32) FF: Unstable Molecules: James Sturm & Guy Davis, a perfect FF story that captures the serious and familial nature implicit in the title, the perfect counterpoint to Big in Japan, the only two FF books I need to own.
33) Superspy by Matt Kindt: A brilliant work by a brilliant guy in a brilliant package.
34) Poor Sailor by Sammy Harkham:
This book is up there with Hemmingway for me, its ability to capture man's existential dilemma, the effectiveness of its simple prose, it's both heartbreaking and uplifting.
35) The Spectre #13 by J.M. DeMatteis & Ryan Sook:
One of the most beautiful single issues ever crafted.
36) Scalped by Jason Aaron & R.M. Guera: A modern masterpiece in the making, transcendent, something every American should read. This should be an HBO series, easily as good as The Sopranos, and more important.
37) Lucifer's Portrayal in Sandman:
Specifically, the scene of him quitting and giving the Key to Hell to Lord Morpheus.
38) The New Frontier: Exhiliration on paper.
39) Tangibility:
Being able to hold a comic, looking at it, feeling it, seeing a full bookshelf.
40) Release Parties: Taking our best cue from the music industry, these are drunken fun and break out of the normal industry confines.
41) Wasteland: Antony Johnston & Christopher Mitten.
42) The Killer by ASP: The best book from an important publisher, a perfect comic book.
43) Kirby’s Mister Miracle:
My favorite covers of all time, how Kirby's work for DC was a sign of changing times in the industry.
44) The Escapists:
One of the best comic books about comics books.
45) LOEG: Volumes 1 & 2
46) John Cassaday: Anything he touches...
47) Afrodisiac by Jim Rugg & Brian Maruca: Honestly, the only stories that actually make me laugh out loud, uncontrollably.
48) Planetary: Warren Ellis at the peak of his game, stunning visually, a love letter to the medium.
49) Joe Sacco:
The perfect blend of autobiography, documentary, and social relevance. Unafraid to chronicle difficult issues in geographic hot spots, should be devoured in college classrooms.
50) Dr. Thirteen: Architecture & Mortality: Wonderfully entertaining, brilliant industry commentary, lushly illustrated.


At 6:06 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

MAN, that is *so* not my list! I won't bother you with it, but you've inspired me to write down my own. Unfortunately I have no meetings today; making my list would be a MUCH more enjoyable way of spending the time than trying to pay attention.

At 8:11 AM, Blogger Justin Giampaoli said...

Go for it! I love seeing more of these lists pop up, even if I don't agree with some of the choices.


At 11:39 AM, Blogger Matt Clark said...

I'm thinking I might have to give one of these lists a go too. They seem to be quite revealing!

At 2:36 PM, Blogger Justin Giampaoli said...


Let me know when you do, would love to check it out! Also, I've been meaning to add a reciprocal link to Paradox Comics Group. I'll get on that...


At 7:01 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hunh. Funny. I can only think of 35 super-great things quickly. I could come up with 50 after some thought, but this will do.

1. Wayne Boring's pumped-up, brooding Superman. If Warner's really wants to "go dark," even with Superman, this should be the paradigm.
2. Lee & Kirby's Thor
3. Lee & Romita, Sr.'s Daredevil
4. Lee & Ditko's Spider-Man
5. Lee & Romita Sr.'s Spider-Man
6. Lee & Kirby's Fantastic Four
7. Starlin's Captain Marvel
8. Maxima
9. Steve Rude
10. Kingdom Come
11. TV and movie tie-ins. At their best they can give well-loved screen characters additional life and adventures.
12. The Phantom
13. Hawkman
14. Flash--Barry Allen, Infantino era
15. Adam Strange--Infantino/Gardner Fox
16. Captain Atom--the original, *real* Cap--Charlton and Steve Ditko-drawn
17. Grimjack
18. Badger
19. John Ostrander
20. Joe Kubert
21. Jack Kirby
22. Gødland
23. Al Williamson
24. Xenozoic Tales
25. Milton Caniff
26. Alan Moore's Supreme
27. Green Lantern--the Silver Age one, *sans* the GL Corps.
28. Adam Hughes' women
29. All Star Superman
30. John Romita, Jr.
31. The terrific guys at my LCS, Downtown Comics in Indianapolis
32. The Martian Manhunter
33. Shayera Thal
34. Russ Manning's Magnus, Robot Fighter
35. Russ Manning's Tarzan

At 8:53 AM, Blogger Justin Giampaoli said...

Great list! I'd probably add in your #3 to my list if I had to do it all over again.

At 12:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

And *I* forgot NEW FRONTIER!

At 12:33 PM, Blogger Matt Clark said...

My list is now up on the Paradox Comics Group blog. Let me know what you think! :)


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