Droid's Sequential Art Top 50

droid

Beast of Burden
Crossed



A warning before you go any further. This one is extreme. Its violent, obscene, mean spirited and nasty as fuck. In fact one of the reasons Im including it is that its one of a small handful of comics that has ever managed to shock me.

You've probably heard of Garth Ennis. He started his career alongside John McCrea with Troubles slice of life comedy strip Troubled Souls for Crisis in the early 90s. I met them around this time at a signing and got to hang out with them for a while and Ennis gave no inkling of the monster he would later become. First there was his excellent run on Hellblazer, then the controversial and silly Preacher with Steve Dillon (RIP), beloved of student contrarians everywhere. This was followed by some mainstream US work including a spell on the Punisher, and then came The Boys, which pumped up the ultra violence and sexual content and was recently subject to a superior TV adaptation. This brings us to 2008 and Crossed.

If you've ever seen or read anything about zombies, you know the score. Infectious disease turns people into killers and a hardy band attempts to survive in the awful new world. But crossed is different, its monsters are clever, maniacal and revel in committing the most appalling acts imaginable. The resulting work gives Ennis an excuse to rip genre conventions to shreds whilst breaking pretty much every taboo in the book. An exhilarating read despite the somewhat anodyne art, it hooks you in from the beginning, fills you with dread and then and leads you through a series of emotional chasms until you are thrown bodily into the pit.

Proceed with caution.

Read (Just the first one, the sequels aren't worth it except maybe Badlands 1-3): https://getcomics.info/other-comics/crossed-collection/
Buy: https://www.bookdepository.com/Crossed-v.-1-Garth-Ennis/9781592910908











 
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droid

Beast of Burden
I was about 13, they were judging an art competition Id entered and were stuck in Dublin for the night. Nice guys, very indulgent of a little twerp.
 

droid

Beast of Burden
The Walking Man



Jiro Taniguchi (RIP), was unusual amongst mangaka in being probably more popular in Europe than Japan, evidenced by his receipt of the French Chevalier of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. Most well known for his realist style and poetic depictions of the everyday, he began his career with various hard boiled action tales like Jiken’ya kagyō (Trouble Is My Business), and covered subjects like adventure and mountaineering (K, The Summit of the Gods, The Ice Wanderer) and historical drama (The Times of Botchan) and is most well known in Japan for the excellent Kodoku no gurume (The Solitary Gourmet) consisting of simple tales of a man eating alone at various real-world restaurants. Taniguchi is one of several prominent mangaka from the 70s and 80s who show a clear influence from Moebius' work, and Taniguchi went on to collaborate with the master with 1997 sci-fi tale Icaro.

The Walking man is Taniguchi's hymn of the mundane. Mostly wordless, each short story depicts a solivagant, a man going about his daily life in and around the city. He gets caught in a rainstorm, climbs a tree to rescue a child's toy, is startled by the sound of geese on the water, takes a shortcut through an alley, returns a shell to the sea. A serene, profound observer of the world, Taniguchi illustrates each episode with precise linework and masterful use of screentone - look at the sense of volume of the water in Swimming at night or the detail of the rooftops and vegetation in climbing a tree.

A beautiful and meditative work, imbued with poignancy by our current circumstances

Read (Left to right): https://drive.google.com/open?id=1EUDRTewNV-iuro0Fr2pIrLzwD6i9iDA3
Buy: http://www.ponentmon.com/comic-books-english/taniguchi/the-walking-manR/index.html








 
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droid

Beast of Burden
Nova 2



One of the greats of European comics, the Spanish master Luis Garcia Mozos began his career in the 60's working on British romance and westerns, where, along with Pepe Gonzalez and Jorge Longaron, created the choppy, economical and expressionistic Spanish Romance style which dominated British romance comics for the following two decades. In the late 60's Luis moved to London to work directly for British publishers where he hobnobbed with the likes of Paul McCartney and Mick Jagger, but America beckoned, and the Spanish invasion (highly influenced by Dino Battaglia and Alberto Breccia) revitalised the fortune of horror publisher Warren, with a dramatic realist style quite unlike anything the US had seen until that point - and I was first exposed to Mozos work via his short run on Vampirella during this period. From that point Luis produced a number of works in multiple genres, political, biographical, history whilst also finding time to hang out with Dali and co found a commune in Northern Spain.

Nova 2 is perhaps Mozos' most revolutionary work. The world's first existential comic strip, it starts life as a story set in the Sahara but as he was drawing the ninth page Mozos' heard the news that John Lennon had been shot and the project underwent a radical change of direction. The Sahara story abruptly stops and the first half of the strip becomes a meditation on hope and despair as a comic book artist by the name of Victor Ramos, driven to despair at the futility of a life spent drawing British Romance comics, artist buys a gun... and then attempts to kill himself, but there is deeper meaning here too, as Mozos says:

“There were two inspirations submerged in the script of Nova-2: Firstly the work of the Beat Generation, as well as the cultural phenomenon about which they wrote, specifically Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg (His poem "Howl" shocked me and changed my life because it generated the hippie movement in which I participated).On the other hand, returning to Barcelona from London, I joined the Marxist movement. The words of John Lennon; “The Dream Is Over" quoted in the book allude to my own experiences because the two movements for me, had failed. The character (based on myself) that sells the gun to “Victor” represents the end of my belief in the Marxist revolution, though these allusions may be difficult for the reader to understand."

In Nova2 the first half of the story describes the wanderings of a lonely, frustrated man guided by his subconscious In the second part we see the explanation of why Victor, my fiction, has that character. Victor was born the same day as Francisco Franco started the Spanish Civil War – a schizophrenic war that saw Spaniard pitted against Spaniard, even relatives on different sides facing each other.That's the explanation I built his character on – a schizophrenia diagnosed at the end of the story. The influence that the early years of childhood can have on later life was taken from an essay by Susan Sontag, who explained the importance of the mother in the formation of a child's psyche.”
The writing and plot are reminiscent of a Calvino short - and the art! After an opening section of detailed pen work the bulk of the book is rendered in rich, delicate swathes of graphite making it, even now, one of the most realistically drawn comics of all time. I encountered this purely by chance after picking up the June '82 issue of heavy metal in a secondhand shop when I was 11 or 12 and being totally blown away by the artwork. Of course, it was impossible to get Heavy Metal here, especially for a child, and it was many years later before I managed to track it down, presented here for your pleasure - though this is only part 1 - part 2 was serialised in Rambla and later collected in a Spanish volume.

Read: (The nova 2 folder is just the story and Ive left the heavy metals they came from in there as well for context): https://drive.google.com/open?id=1GiIJ3Pa5u94W7ZUBt6BlQVDVeaSHZy5i
Buy: Fat chance








 
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catalog

Active member
Nice one droid, thanks for supplying the scans. Will put this in the iPad later. The last shot of the guy, he looks familiar to me
 

droid

Beast of Burden
These are all great Droid thanks. The only one I don't want to read is Crossed cos it reminds me of the slightly adolescent ultraviolent stuff I used to imbibe through 2000AD. Fucking a wound seems somehow passé doesn't it? Lol

Found a blog on Luis Garcia which seems quite good:
http://theartofluisgarciamozos.blogspot.com/2010/05/art-of-luis-garcia-mozos.html?m=1
Yeah, I read crossed again there and it made me feel sick. It is slightly adolescent ultraviolent stuff, far worse than anything in 2000AD but also extremely grim and believable in its own way, like the road + 28 days later, very compulsive reading and genuinely shocking in its treatment of characters you become emotionally invested in, which is why I included it.
 
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droid

Beast of Burden
Master Race + Dirty Job



A couple of vintage shorts now, from 1955 & 1972 respectively. The first is widely regarded as one of the most important strips in comics history. Bernard Krigstein was a man out of time and place, a man who took comics seriously. If he'd born a couple of decades later he could have had a flourishing career in the 70's underground, but as it stands he is known for mostly minor work on early horror imprint EC. Predating marathon man by 20 years, master race is an 8 page strip depicting an encounter between a holocaust survivor and a Nazi. As well as being a remarkable story for a time when the Holocaust was not widely discussed in popular culture, the strip is also strikingly modern, and the 'slip' on the 2nd last page is a revolutionary moment, a cinematic slow-mo which extends the pivotal event of the story, highly unusual at the time. Hampered by bad scripts and the limitations of the genre (he had to campaign to get master race extended to 8 pages) its a shame that Krigstein didnt get more opportunities to express his ideas about comics.

My futile idea was that action in comics, as in any art, doesn't end with one person pounding another person in the jaw. There's also the action of emotion, psychology, character and idea. I yearned to have stories which dealt with more reality and people's feelings and thoughts . . . a kind of literary form, let's say even a Chekhovian form, where one could delve into real people and real feelings.
EDIT: Comic tropes just did a nice video about Bernard Krigstein and Master Race. Well worth a watch if you're interested in the language and structure of comics.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UvLKrhKcJ9I










The second selection comes courtesy of the great Alex Toth. Renowned for his work on Zorro, his dense, solid style and masterful use of shadow, Toth is lionised by many creators as one of the greatest comic artists of all time. Dirty Job is a four page strip from a 1972 issue of Our Army at War which displays his chiseled brushwork and ability to condense a story. The twist may seem passe now, but for an early 70s war comic it was nothing short of mindblowing.




 
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droid

Beast of Burden
Miracleman



Superman died in March 1982, murdered by a Northampton nerr do well, the crime reported in an obscure British anthology comic. The scene would be re-enacted many times over the years, but this initial execution contains within it the seeds of all others.

Miracleman is many things. The first deconstruction of the superhero mythos and the first gritty 'real' superhero story, the subject of multiple interlocking bitter legal, personal and ownership disputes that lasted decades, and of course a foretaste of much of Moore's later work, establishing many of his favourite themes - the reimagining of an obscure golden age hero, the sympathetic villain, the collision of the real and the myth & the evils of a cynical authority.

I was too young for warrior when miracleman was initially published, and it became very hard to get for years after that - I only got to read a friend's colorised eclipse copies the early 90's, after Id read watchmen, and even then I didn't see the entire story until years later, but it still had a huge impact on me. Its early work by Moore but its still highly compelling, economical storytelling, with beautifully early art by Gary Leach, followed by Alan Davies, John Totleben and Rick Veitch in descending order of quality. The climatic atrocity scene in london has stayed with me ever since, and reading back now its amazing how brilliantly and deftly Moore explodes the superhero fantasy and reveals the darkness at its heart, whilst also allowing a chink of light in with his partial vision of a superpowered utopia.

Mike Moran is our eponymous hero. The receiver of a magic word which bestows him and his sidekicks with incredible powers. Marvel at his adventures as he takes on Young Nastyman and other villains...

EDIT: There is an outrageously well researched and detailed history of miracleman in this long running series on moore's work and his relationship with morrison - well worth a read if you have the time: http://www.eruditorumpress.com/blog...war-in-albion-part-85-garry-leachs-marvelman/

Read:
(Ive included the Gaiman follow up and the lost Morrison interlude as well as the specials and extras): https://drive.google.com/open?id=1ScVXCUZ3a7RAsgQbLVvFp_-lpehy_L_N
Buy: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Miracleman-Book-1-Dream-Flying/dp/0785154620












 
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droid

Beast of Burden
Ping Pong




I struggled with this one as I wanted to include a sports manga, but I'm also a massive fan of Taiyo Matsumoto, and he's got several works I could include here. Matsumoto's first translated work was Tekkonkinkreet (later adapted as both anime & live action film), and it made a big splash, showcasing an artist of singular sensibilities, with line work that owes as much to US and UK indie auteurs as it does to traditional manga styles. Matsumoto's bittersweet stories tend to revolve around themes of childhood bonds, neglected or wayward children, conflict with imagined or real monsters and nostalgia/misplaced potential. In 92's Hanaotoko (my favourite Matsumoto) we explore the relationship between an eccentric baseball fan and his son, 2000's Gogo Monster features a schoolchild's battle with supernatural fantasies made real and 2010's Sunny revolves around the escapist adventures of the residents of a children's home. Eschewing the well established conventions of typical sports manga, Ping Pong (a story of childhood friends turned semi professional rivals) runs along similar lines and is marked by rich characterisation, humour, and deft and confident storytelling which fearlessly confounds both narrative and artistic conventions to achieve it aims.

Read (Right to left): https://drive.google.com/open?id=1pCEYhOxEV2LOhv9oP0bE19nMWrwniEhN
Buy (Its hard to find these days): https://www.amazon.co.uk/Ping-Pong-Vol-1/dp/197471165X

















 
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droid

Beast of Burden
Vagabond



Commencing in 1998, Vagabond was a departure for Takehiko Inoue, most famous for the mega hit basketball manga Slam Dunk. Based on Musashi a Japanese epic novel written by Eiji Yoshikawa, about the life and deeds of legendary Japanese swordsman Miyamoto Musashi, Inoue follows this legendary figure - inventor of the Niten Ichi-ryū (two swords style), author of the book of five rings and probably the most well known samurai in the popular imagination - through a series of biographical adventures. 82 million copies sold, and a rare example of popular taste coinciding with quality, which oozes through on every page. This book typifies almost everything I love about Japanese comics - there's no self consciousness about the medium we often get in even the most brilliant of Western comics. No irony, no effort to subvert or innovate or break convention, just a tale, masterfully told, with sumptuous naturalistic art, the beauty of which belies the ridiculous amount of technical skill and effort which has gone into every frame. The characters are fleshed out and real, the narrative jumps forward and back, diverts with a languorous confidence, expands to fill cracks then leaps into breathtaking, murderous fight sequences that last for dozens of pages, and often, just pauses to allow us to admire a view of the sea, the leaves on a forest floor, a quiet stream or a starlit sky.

An absolute masterpiece, I just hope he finishes it one day...

Read (Right to left): https://readvagabond.com/
Buy: https://www.viz.com/vagabond

























 
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woops

is not like other people
Perfect lockdown thread, especially for folks like myself not familiar with a lot of this material. Thank you.
yes, thanks to you droid, i was up til the small hours reading Crossed.

you're right that the first series has some disturbing moments but fortunately the second and third are so far over the top that they somehow acted as some kind of antidote and i didn't start feeling too sick. the constant cliffhanging is nicely addictive and i'm still experiencing a different kind of lockdown in the later series.
 

droid

Beast of Burden
Hard Boiled



This was my first encounter with Geoff Darrow, an American artist heavily influenced by Moebius (they collaborated on the excellent La Cité Feu) and possessing a mangaesque tendency towards ridiculously detailed artwork. There's been recurrent talk of a film adaptation of this, with Ben Wheatley currently in pole position for directorship, and in theory, the brand of mindless carnage served up here by Miller and Darrow would probably suit Hollywood. Set in a near future dystopian LA, the story (if you could call it that) follows the violently escalating misadventures of an unusually durable city tax collector. Miller had completed another near future American dystopia prior to this, 1990's Give me liberty and was exploring noir with Sin City around this time, and Hard Boiled is a kind of combination of both influences. A reticent, tough guy in a snow crash world, a kind of cyborg falling down. These originally came out in lovely large format books, all the better to highlight Darrow's beautiful and (at times) obscene pages featuring some of the most meticulously detailed and ridiculous violence ever seen in American comics.

Read: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1rZLVDfxMWgZ1XGQRlCxOACtiuxemqWFD
Buy: https://www.bookdepository.com/Hard-Boiled-8th-Printing-Frank-Miller/9781878574589










 
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