In celebration of tbe Optic Nerve Issue 12 due out on August 17th, 2011, we’ve created a broad timeline for how we here at Pigeonholed started out our affair with the world of comics.
Archie comics have been around since the 1940s despite that we were reading them during the 90s as a nice little, “You’ve-been-good-at-the-grocery-store-today” treat. It’s not wonder that now we’ve developed ambiguous sexualities, enjoy the idea and act of threeways, and support staunch, die-hard feminist values.
2. Calvin and Hobbes
Running for approximately ten years, Bill Watterson put out Calvin and Hobbes comics in newspapers and compilations. Here at Pigeonholed, Calvin and Hobbes is some of the earliest reading material we can think of. Sweet rage and philosophy, you are a youngsters best friend.
3. Optic Nerve
It’s a jump, but what you read in your formative years very much dictates what you’ll read during adulthood. Optic Nerve was first self-published by Adrian Tomine in 1991. Stumbling across the Optic Nerve comics in a small comic shop somewhere was life changing. The list continues entirely because of the first time we turned the crisp pages of Issue One.
4. R. Crumb
Most notorious during the 1970s for many of his iconic cartoons, R. Crumb has remained a staple (perhaps the) in the comic world, putting out The Book of Genesis as recently even as 2009. Crumb can at times be a troubling, confusing read, sending the reader into a state of total disgust one moment and then into a state of utter delight the next. Crumb may represent the entire essence of the comic subculture; dark, conflicting, honest, creative, and progressive all at once.
Peter Bagge’s Hate was another life changer for us here at Pigeonholed. Since it’s inception in 1990 at Fantagraphics, Hate has maintained its image. Based on 20-something’s during the 1990s in Seattle, these kids are poor, drunk, high, and horny. Alienated, at ends, anti everything, and totally unmotivated, Hate is the pivotal depiction of 90s youth culture (and possibly, youth culture still).
6. Jessica Abel
Not specifically known for her series, Abel has created numerous works, including Life Sucks, Drawing Words & Writing Pictures, Soundtrack, La Perdida, Mirror, Window, Radio: An Illustrated Guide (which was a collaboration between herself and Ira Glass), and omnibus series Artbabe. A Chicago-born and raised comic artist, her work was our pivotal feminist seller in the world of comic books.
7. Dirty Plotte
Julie Doucet has been creating comics since 1987, Dirty Plotte reaching that far back. Dirty Plotte was hard to find, a French artist whose work is feminist by nature, Doucet will quickly become a staple in your comic collection. Edgy, raw, and often collage feeling, Doucet has a style entirely her own. Where else will you see a black cat with an enormous penis terrorizing a woman?
8. Love and Rockets
A leader during the alternative comics revolution of the 1980s, Jaime and Gilbert Hernandez’s Love and Rockets is still considered some of the most influential and culturally relevant comic art. Strongly related to sexuality and punk rock, Love and Rockets is worth looking into.
A Norwegian cartoonist, Jason is best known for a collection of books. Generally using a consistent protagonist who appears to be a dog, his characters are mostly animal based and his stories span decades, taking place all throughout history. Brief, vague, humorous, and often wordless, Jason’s comics have been paralleled to silent films and the short stories of Hemmingway.
10. Blue Pills
Frederik Peters autobiographical graphic novel Blue Pills tells the story of a man as he becomes involved in the lives of a mother and child who have AIDS. A love story unlike any other, it delves deep into the psyche, admits openly the defeat of trying to understand, and like most cheesy romances ends happily (but it is far from cheesy). An example of something rare, but all too common. Peters won the Premios La Cárcel de Papel in Spain for Best Foreign Comic for Blue Pills.
Marjane Satrapi’s autobiographical comic Persepolis was also developed into a full length feature film, and remained just as poignant. Iranian born French graphic novelist, Satrapi used Persepolis to depict her childhood and early adulthood growing up in Iran during and after the Islamic revolution. Persepolis covers it all, from the innocence of her youth to the stark realizations of her later life, to the trite concerns of adolescence versus a homeland in the midst of revolution, and ultimately into the notion of finding oneself, all seemingly to meet nicely in the end, as is often so with the human condition.
12. The Sword
After witnessing the slaughter of her family, the female protagonist in The Luna Brothers The Sword finds some special powers of her own. One of the only action-based comics we here at Pigeonholed actually enjoyed. A female lead had something to do with it. The Sword is gory, fast-paced, and incredibly unrealistic. Sometimes just what you need after an issue of Berlin.