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Baker's Dozen

Dr. Manhattan: Jeffrey Lewis' Favourite Comics
Aug Stone , December 15th, 2015 10:22

Aug Stone talks to the NYC musician and comic book creator about bizarre autobiographies, superheroes and (SPOILER) a whole lot of Alan Moore, as he finishes his UK tour in support of new album, Manhattan

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Neil Gaiman - Sandman
It's one of the best comic series of all time. Some of the story arcs are just incredible. I really need to reread it, I haven't read it in a long time. I remember 'The Doll's House' being a particular great storyline; 'A Game Of You' is another really great one. Neil Gaiman is like a storyteller in a way that really hooks you in, like you're being told a story around a campfire. I wouldn't necessarily be interested in that sort of comic, it's not really my thing. In some ways the ideas are so hokey that when you try and describe them, they just sound stupid. But there's no getting around the quality of the writing, the way that he can create - in a few swift strokes - a character and situation that within two pages you'll be totally absorbed in whatever's going on. That's the kind of narrative craft that you don't really see in comics that much. And eventually, at a certain point within the series, the art finally got at a level where it could stand on its own next to the writing, depending on who was drawing it. If you like comic books in the early part of the century, in the '40s or whatever, everybody thought of comic books as total trash - they were badly written and badly drawn. And by the time you get to the '70s, nobody could any longer say that comics were badly drawn because you had Mœbius, you had Crumb, you had people that were treating comic illustration as an extremely advanced technical skill. But comic book writing really remains on the outside of that. Comic book art reached an inescapably high quality decades earlier than comic book writing did. And writing has still really lagged behind the artwork in that sense. Other than somebody like Alan Moore or Dan Clowes or Neil Gaiman, you really don't have anyone. You can count on one hand the great comic book writers, but of course there's probably hundreds of great comic book illustrators. So Sandman really stands out for the writing and for the imagination of it. In any curriculum of reading the greatest comics of all time, you would have to read Sandman.


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Rockin' Rom
Dec 15, 2015 11:32am

Great selections, eloquent descriptions. I haven't thought about Rom the Spaceknight in years, I must be a similar age to Lewis I guess, how I loved that comic.

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Jeff
Dec 15, 2015 7:46pm

The world of comics is extremely dense with amazing work, and has been for decades... but Alan Moore is one of those writers where, if somebody asked me about the single best author in the medium, it would be a no-brainer. Miracleman, Swamp Thing, and Watchmen alone... and that's ignoring a LOT. Those are my "big 3" from him.

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Ott
Dec 15, 2015 9:58pm

Very well written, great insights.

Do any of you know the book "Flicker's Fleas"? (http://www.amazon.com/Flickers-fleas-Ken-Struck/dp/B0006RXSA6)

I picked this up in early '00 in Tallinn Estonia, in a local comics shop. A completely bonkers story of a heroin addicted saxophone player, who has inherited a flea sircus. Wierdly delirious and a paranoid book.

I was just wondering if any of you has ever heard of it, or knows anything about it?

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Scott
Dec 16, 2015 12:39pm

Love Peepshow, one of my all-time favourite comics, great to see it mentioned here.

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Grimbo
Dec 17, 2015 7:32pm

In reply to Jeff:

Those are all fantastic, but I would add "From Hell" to that list. "Swamp Thing" is a gorgeous series, though.

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danlor
Apr 5, 2016 2:12pm

I'm always amazed at not finding these lists filled with 2000AD stuff, particularly Dredd. As far as I'm concerned Dredd is the best comics character ever made, and 2000AD by itself can easily compete, in terms of quality, with the entire American industry. It almost never gets a mention tho.

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