Sixteen comics that I wish were currently available in convenient English language editions.
Some of these have been reprinted but are currently out of print. Some have never been translated into English. Some have been reprinted in bits and pieces, but never properly collected.
Three cheers for the current Golden Age. But I’m greedy and want a little more gold.
16. Museum of Terror, by Junji Ito
Dark Horse went through three volumes before puttering out, presumably due to poor sales. Maybe the re-release of Gyo and Uzumaki will spark a broader interest in Ito, although that probably won’t be enough to bring us the other umpteen volumes of this horror anthology.
15. Mickey Mouse, by Floyd Gottfriedson
The selection in the Smithsonian collection shows an incredible sense of dynamism and motion. Disney can be weird about its older material, so we probably won’t be seeing this collected any time soon.
14. Various Duck comics by Carl Barks
…this, on the other hand, is baffling. Everyone agrees these are all-time greats; kids and adults recognise and like the characters; the recent collection of Don Rosa’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern schtick was successful enough to merit a second volume; so what gives? The best Gladstone can manage is a feeble two-volume collection of stories, the pitch for which is that they inspired the cartoon Duck Tales??
13. Les Schtroumpfs /The Smurfs, by Peyo
Fairly puzzling that these aren’t widely available in English translation, given the popularity of the cartoon and figurines. I don’t even know whether the comics are any good, but I’d like to be able to see for myself.
12. The Jimmy Corrigan stuff that was in Acme Novelty Library but didn’t make it into the Jimmy Corrigan book, by Chris Ware
There was a lot of good stuff in those earlier issues of Acme that Ware didn’t put in the book, presumably to make room for that tedious flashback to ye olden days. It’s a real shame, because I preferred a lot of what was dropped, with its vicious black comedy and formal experimentation.
11. Polly and her pals, by Cliff Sterrett
A few years ago, just before the current strip-reprint boom, I was in a B.D. store in Paris. They had a complete collection of this strip, widely recognised as one of the greats. If the French can do it, why can’t Americans? Is this another jazz/Hollywood/Jerry Lewis thing?
10. The Demon, by Jack Kirby et al.
I’ve heard that this is some of the King’s weaker work, but weak Kirby is still miles ahead of most.
9. Boy’s Ranch, by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby
I actually own a copy of the hardcover collection Marvel released back in the (?) 80s. Despite the fact that (a) it sounds like a twink-on-twink porno and (b) I hate westerns, this is among my favourite of Kirby’s works. Pure comics.
8. Corto Maltese, by Hugo Pratt
Apparently, Heavy Metal was planning to release a new English translation of at least one volume, but that hasn’t happened yet. What are they waiting for?
7. Cerebus, by Dave Sim and Gerhard
Sim was way ahead of the curve in collecting his work for all the readers who didn’t happen to be reading in December of 1983 or whenever. But there’s a lot of material that didn’t make it into the phone books, particularly (a) the covers and (b) the extra material in the “Swords” collections. I won’t hold my breath, however, not when there’s all these other windmills for Sim to tilt at.
6. Wash Tubbs/Captain Easy, by Roy Crane
Maybe the reprints of this strip that I’ve read in the Smithsonian collection and elsewhere are misleading, and this isn’t an exciting, funny strip. Or maybe not.
5. Big Numbers, by Alan Moore and various artistic psychopaths
Even if there are only two issues and I’ve already read the first one.
4. Anything by Shintaro Kago
Amazing formalist mindfuckery. While you wait for official English translations, read some scanlations here.
Seriously, go read them.
3. Marvelman, by Alan Moore et al.
A no-brainer, even if parts of it haven’t aged well.
2. Flex Mentallo, by Grant Morrison, Frank Quitely et al.
The other no-brainer. I suspect that scarcity has inflated its reputation, and that Morrison and Quitely have done better work since, but even so.
1. More by Osamu Tezuka
By all accounts, the man produced approximately ten million pages of manga during his life. It’s excellent to have Astro Boy from Dark Horse, the one-volume works from Vertical, and Buddha and Phoenix, and BlackJack coming out again (yes!). But my Tezuka appetite is insatiable.
You can assume that everything else didn’t make it onto the list because (a) it sucks and (b) if you like it, then you suck too. Prove me wrong.