In that dream where you find the comic store with all the cool comics that don’t exist, these are the comics you would find there

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.

Now.

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.

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17 Responses to “In that dream where you find the comic store with all the cool comics that don’t exist, these are the comics you would find there”

  1. Dick Hyacinth Says:

    I thought this was going to be a list of things that were never made but should have been, like a Robert Crumb adaptation of the Andy Griffith Show, or the complete post-Calvin and Hobbes works of Bill Watterson.

    But if we’re talking about collections I’d like to see, how about a proper English language Jacques Tardi collection? Or a collection of David Mazzucchelli’s Rubber Blanket work?

  2. Jog Says:

    Good news on #15… I can’t wait!

  3. Jones, one of the Jones boys Says:

    Man, “the Secret” really works!

    Okay, universe, now give me a million dollars, and Julie Delpy’s phone number.

    I’m waiting.

  4. jbacardi Says:

    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.

    You have been misinformed.

  5. jbacardi Says:

    Oh, and while I’m at it:

    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.

    I’m not so sure about that. But then again, I don’t think Ellis has topped the one-two punch of Hellstorm and Druid, so what do I know.

  6. Tucker Stone Says:

    I’m loath to tell people to spend ebay money, but in the case of Bark’s Donald Duck, I don’t regret spending the 200 bucks it took for me to get three of those “Carl Barks Library” box sets. They’re massive and massively enjoyable. The black spot being the black & white, but still pretty off the chain. Since then, i’ve seen a couple of the boxes at random comics stores–worth checking out.

    Polly & her pals is another one that has some great out-of-print reprints, and those are relatively cheap to come by.

    I’m with you though–i’d be fine buying this stuff twice if it could get the Krazy Kat/Walt & Skeezix treatment.

  7. Katie Says:

    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?

    Considering the fairly poor job they did translating Barbucci and Canepa’s “Sky Doll” last year, I’m not going to hold my breath for them doing other translations. (Sky Doll might be current, but I’d LOVE a decent translation + a hardcover edition /w the extras book ‘Doll’s Factory’)

  8. Pedro Bouça Says:

    >
    > 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.
    >

    Some of the early stories (the ones written by recently-deceased european comics legend Yvan Delporte) were GREAT!

    >
    > 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?
    >

    I’m in Paris right now and say that it’s because french culture has A LOT
    more respect for comics as an art form as any other, except Japan MAYBE.

    Sadly, very few eurocomics have made it to the US. Even your list has only two books (Smurfs and Corto), while there are literally THOUSANDS of great comics unknown in the US. Cinebook is translating quite a few of them for the british market and they are avaliable on Previews. Get them!

    Best,
    Hunter (Pedro Bouça)

  9. yonan32 Says:

    how about the original black & white version of Tintin in Congo? the highly controversial comic was never available in US edition, if i’m not mistaken. to ignore Tintin in a comic list is sacrilege.

  10. Grant Says:

    I’ve been doing a similar, ongoing, list on my Livejournal for a few months now. Definitely agree with Marvelman, Carl Barks and Black Jack – I am so happy to hear that Vertical is releasing those! (See http://hipsterdad.livejournal.com/tag/reprint+this%21 for more.)

  11. Journalista - the news weblog of The Comics Journal » Blog Archive » Dec. 10, 2007: No naked buttcracks Says:

    […] Sixteen comics that Jones wishes were currently available in convenient English-language […]

  12. Dr Chaos Says:

    Gemstone just announced a book of Gottfredson Mickey Mouse dailies.

  13. DerikB Says:

    Wash Tubbs/Captain Easy is as good as the Smithsonian book indicates. I have one of the old NBM volumes.

    You can get a lot of digital copies of Polly and Her Pals from here:
    http://digitalfunnies.com/

  14. Jim Kosmicki Says:

    There have been English versions of the Smurfs published at various times over the years, including some by Dargaud when they tried to get into the US market. I occasionally find them in remainder bookstores, and they’re always cheap. They are decent kids comics, and you don’t have the annoying screechy voices of the cartoons.

    The one color volume of Polly & Her Pals from Kitchen Sink/REMco back in the early 90’s is great, and definitely calls for more. There was also a B&W reprint of some daily strips, but IIRC, the selection of strips to reprint wasn’t the best.

    The Captain Easy/Wash Tubbs was reprinted by Flying Buttress/NBM, and i’m hoping that the Dick Tracy/ Terry & the Pirates/Little Orphan Annie reprints do so well for IDW that they reprint these as well.

    and while the Boys Ranch reprint was great, it is hard to find and definitely due for another reprint. And what about the never-reprinted Simon & Kirby self-published stuff like Bullseye and Foxhole? (or even Kirby’s DC War stuff on The Losers?) As much Kirby as has been reprinted, there are still some definite gaps that still need to be filled.

  15. Lou Wysocki Says:

    I myself would like to see The Gumps reprinted…I’ll also go with Polly.

  16. Steve Lieber Says:

    For me, the big pie-in-the-sky project would be a complete English language edition of Alvar Mayor by Carlos Trillo and Enrique Breccia. So far, only three of the dozens of stories they did have seen print in English. I’d kill for more.

  17. Eric-Jon Rossel Waugh Says:

    Gladstone already printed the entire Barks collection at least twice: once in black-and-white, and again in color (with trading cards, even!). You can still order much of the latter series on Amazon, last I looked.

    I’m actually kind of burned out on Barks. He’s been reprinted so often and so encyclopedically that whenever he turns up again I can’t help but see it as filler. I guess it’s better than that glorpy-looking Egmont stuff.

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