Tom Spurgeon created a list of The 50 Things That Every Comics Collection Truly Needs, and then it turned into a meme. I figured I’d participate.
Plain = Things I don’t have
Bold = Things I do have
1. Something From The ACME Novelty Library – Even for folks that’ve tracked down the collections that compile most of this material, many of the original issues are great fun (and some are unreprinted!).
2. A Complete Run Of Arcade
3. Any Number Of Mini-Comics – I was a fiend for mini-comics back in the day, and still have a box or two of them from the likes of Matt Feazel, Sean Bieri, and the rest of the Midwest/Motor City Comicon Crew.
4. At Least One Pogo Book From The 1950s
5. A Barnaby Collection
6. Binky Brown and the Holy Virgin Mary
7. As Many Issues of RAW as You Can Place Your Hands On – A great regret of mine.
8. A Little Stack of Archie Comics – I gave away 30 or 40 of these at one point, to family friends, and I tripped over another 3 dozen at my parents the other day. I swear these things reproduce…
9. A Suite of Modern Literary Graphic Novels - Heh.
10. Several Tintin Albums – A major oversight in my collection, I plan on picking up the forthcoming complete box set of Tintin in English from Little Brown in December.
11. A Smattering Of Treasury Editions Or Similarly Oversized Books – I don’t have a ton of oversized books, but I do love the ones I have.
12. Several Significant Runs of Alternative Comic Book Series – I like the issues of many of these better than the collections, but I’ve got a lot of collected material too.
13. A Few Early Comic Strip Collections To Your Taste- I’m not a big classic strips fan, but I do have a number of Windsor McKay books.
14. Several “Indy Comics” From Their Heyday – This one and 12 seem close, but sure, I’ve got these too.
15. At Least One Comic Book From When You First Started Reading Comic Books – Complete run of Transformers.
16. At Least One Comic That Failed to Finish The Way It Planned To - Rob Walton’s Ragmop.
17. Some Osamu Tezuka – Heh.
18. The Entire Run Of At Least One Manga Series - Also: heh. But if you’re reading this and need 5 in-print, short suggestions: Paradise Kiss (5 volumes), Offered (2 volumes), Dragonhead (10 Volumes), Antique Bakery (4 volumes), Tekkon Kinkreet (1 omnibus).
19. One Or Two 1970s Doonesbury Collections
20. At Least One Saul Steinberg Hardcover
21. One Run of A Comic Strip That You Yourself Have Clipped
22. A Selection of Comics That Interest You That You Can’t Explain To Anyone Else - Division Chief!
23. At Least One Woodcut Novel – I’ve got a great collection recently rleeased in Canada of 4 woodcut novels. Recommended.
24. As Much Peanuts As You Can Stand
25. Maus – My husband’s, actually.
26. A Significant Sample of R. Crumb’s Sketchbooks
27. The original edition of Sick, Sick, Sick.
28. The Smithsonian Collection Of Newspaper Comics
29. Several copies of MAD
30. A stack of Jack Kirby 1970s Comic Books
31. More than a few Stan Lee/Jack Kirby 1960s Marvel Comic Books
32. A You’re-Too-High-To-Tell Amount of Underground Comix
33. Some Calvin and Hobbes – I’d still like that ridiculous complete collection.
34. Some Love and Rockets – Luba and Palomar, though I might trade them in for the lovely new trade paperbacks.
35. The Marvel Benefit Issue Of Coober Skeber – This is awesome, check out the reprinted story in Ron Rege’s new release Against Pain.
36. A Few Comics Not In Your Native Tongue – 10 graphic albums en francais, 4 shelves of nihongo manga.
37. A Nice Stack of Jack Chick Comics
38. A Stack of Comics You Can Hand To Anybody’s Kid – Thank you, free comic book day.
39. At Least A Few Alan Moore Comics - Just a couple.
40. A Comic You Made Yourself – No, you can’t see it.
41. A Few Comics About Comics – The McCloud Ouevre is a good start…
42. A Run Of Yummy Fur
43. Some Frank Miller Comics – Probably too many.
44. Several Lee/Ditko/Romita Amazing Spider-Man Comic Books
45. A Few Great Comics Short Stories – Heh. Lots of anthologies in my house…
46. A Tijuana Bible – I wish the repro in the Fantagraphics Tijuana Bibles reprints wasn’t so poor, because I’ve seen some beautiful TB reproductions. Still, I do have a couple.
47. Some Weirdo
48. An Array Of Comics In Various Non-Superhero Genres – That’s actually mostly what I have?
49. An Editorial Cartoonist’s Collection or Two - Probably just 2, but I can’t recall.
50. A Few Collections From New Yorker Cartoonists
Notes: Working at The Beguiling, looking at this list there’s nothing I don’t have access too, nothing, which either speaks well of our store or to the barely-divergent venn diagram of Spurgeon’s tastes and our curatorial direction… Nevertheless, I don’t feel the need to grab runs of yummy fur, Arcade, Weirdo, or stacks of Lee/Kirby/Ditko books because they;re not going anywhere… But I’ve borrowed much of what’s above at one point or another, and some of the stuff I’m kind of embarassed about not having even a sample of (I really oughtta grab some Kurtzman Mad stuff…).
Part of Spurgeon’s list suggested people adapting it, removing and adding categories of their own. In that spirit, I’d like to recommend the following:
a. At least a few pre-Comics Code romance comics, or a collection of the same. This stuff is just amazing.
b. 5 different books about comics. I think it’s important to try and develop a deeper understanding of the medium and the material.
c. Own the same comic in two or more different languages. Compare! Contrast! Thrill to the better production values!
d. At least one sketchbook diary. Whether it’s Kochlka, Mo Willems, Jeff Brown, or someone you met at a con.
e. A good selection of wordless comics.