Comics Time Capsule

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Comics Time Capsule

Post by tony ingram on Sun Mar 02, 2014 5:51 pm

If you had to choose ten individual comics or TPBs to bury in a time capsule in order to represent our collective hobby for future generations in some post apocalyptic age, what would your picks be, and why?

I think I'd choose:

1) Watchmen (the ultimate deconstruction of the superhero genre)
2) Maus (a book which illustrates more than any other that comics can tackle any subject, and do it seriously and well)
3) Action Comics #1 (the comic which created the superhero genre)
4) Tintin in the Congo (as an example of social attitudes at the time)
5) Amazing Fantasy #15 (the first Spider-Man story, and in my personal opinion, the real beginning of Marvel Comics; yes, the FF came first, but Spidey really represents the Silver Age more than any other character)
6) The Ballad of Halo Jones (Alan Moore's underappreciated classic)
7) The Beano #1 ( to represent the wild, weird world of British humour comics)
8 ) Charley's War volume one (the best war comic ever written)
9) Alice in Sunderland (possibly the most innovative graphic novel I've ever read)
10) Any volume of The Perishers, the very best of newspaper strips

Anyone else?

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Re: Comics Time Capsule

Post by Lucy McGough on Mon Mar 03, 2014 8:07 am

My capsule assumes that your capsule has already been buried and later discovered, so I won't have any of the comics you've got. I don't want the good citizens of 3014, be they robots, clones or alien intelligences, to have any duplicates.

1.) Sandman. All of it. I love the way it blends fantasy, realism, myth and horror, and the long, subtle, intricate plotlines.
2.) One of the volumes of Grant Morrison's run on JLA.
3.) The first volume of Judge Dredd. It might be disturbingly familiar to the people (if people they be) of 3014. Also, it's one of the comics I actually have, so I can put my own copy in the capsule with a little note tucked inside the pages saying hello to the future.
4.) Batgirl: Silent Running, 'cos I like (that run of) Batgirl.
5.) A volume of Batwoman, 'cos she's a Jewish lesbian who's a woman, not a girl, and she kicks ass.
6.) JLA: The Obsidian Age. Great artwork; amazing story.
7.) All of the Blackest Night comics collected into one volume, 'cos I really like the whole concept of the emotional spectrum, and it has practically all of the DCU's characters in it.
8.) A volume of Justice League International, so that the people of the future have something to laugh at.
9.) A volume of Strontium Dog, because I have a soft spot for Johnny Alpha.
10.) V for Vendetta, in case that's how the future's turned out and they need a wake-up call.

I'm not giving the future The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. It'll just confuse them. And they ain't getting any of the Nu!52, apart from maybe Batwoman (have I mentioned she kicks ass?).

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Re: Comics Time Capsule

Post by tony ingram on Mon Mar 03, 2014 8:17 am

I'm not sure how I missed V for Vendetta. Maybe I should have included it instead of Halo Jones...

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Re: Comics Time Capsule

Post by Lucy McGough on Mon Mar 03, 2014 8:52 am

No, the future needs Halo Jones as well.

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Re: Comics Time Capsule

Post by Sam_Vimes on Thu Mar 06, 2014 2:49 pm

Assuming both of your capsules have already been found, I'd make one with:

1) Saga of the Swamp Thing. Glue all the books into one big book, I don't care, just don't leave any out. It's a masterpiece.
2) The Dark Knight Returns, because it's STILL the best Batman comic ever.
3)Batman: Year One, because it's the second best!
4) The first one or two of those Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles omnibuses (or whatever they're called) by Eastman and Laird. Sure, they COMPLETELY sold out, but their influence on comics, I think, is undeniable.
5) Daredevil Visionaries: Frank Miller. Both because they're amazing comics and, of course, because without them you couldn't really understand #4.
6 ) X-Men: The Dark Phoenix Saga. I debated between this and Days of Future Past, but I think this one's better.
7) Justice League: The New Frontier.
8) Kingdom Come. One of the most powerful and moving stories I've ever read, comics or otherwise.
9) The Spirit Archives, because you can't leave out Eisner! And yeah, I know there's a lot, but you can pretty much pick any of them and be confident in its quality.
10) Essential Spider-Man Volume 1. In my opinion, Stan Lee's finest work. And, again, you can't leave out STAN!


Last edited by Sam_Vimes on Fri Mar 07, 2014 2:00 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Comics Time Capsule

Post by tony ingram on Fri Mar 07, 2014 10:48 am

Essential Spider-Man. Huh. For some reason, when I compiled my list, it didn't occur to me that an Essential volume would be a better option than a single Spidey comic. I didn't really think that through, did I... Embarassed 

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Re: Comics Time Capsule

Post by Philip K Ditko on Mon Mar 10, 2014 7:11 pm

Plastic Man Archives #1 by Jack Cole
Marvel Visionaries: Steve Ditko
Viz Comic: The Big Hard One
Doctor Strange: A Separate Reality by Steve Englehart and Frank Brunner
Marvel Visionaries: Jack Kirby #1
Daredevil: Born Again by Frank Miller and David Mazzucchelli
Asterix the Gaul by Rene Goscinny and Albert Uderzo
Enigma by Peter Milligan and Duncan Fegredo
High Society (Cerebus phone book #2) by Dave Sim
Warlock by Jim Starlin: The Complete Collection

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Re: Comics Time Capsule

Post by tony ingram on Mon Mar 10, 2014 7:21 pm

Now that's actually a pretty good selection! Maybe a bit Marvel/superhero heavy, but some good stuff in there! Very Happy 

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Re: Comics Time Capsule

Post by Mbast1 on Mon Mar 10, 2014 10:06 pm

tony ingram wrote:9) Alice in Sunderland (possibly the most innovative graphic novel I've ever read)

I own it, but haven't gotten to it yet. I got it because of this review, if you haven't seen it:

http://gadsircomics.blogspot.com/2007/04/review-alice-in-sunderland-part-1.html&


I am still thinking about the actual topic, it's fascinating. Too many lists of these sorts come down to "Big 2" superhero things, and I'm glad this doesn't.

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Re: Comics Time Capsule

Post by Mbast1 on Mon Mar 10, 2014 10:09 pm

Sam_Vimes wrote:

2) The Dark Knight Returns, because it's STILL the best Batman comic ever.

Cool Kingdom Come. One of the most powerful and moving stories I've ever read, comics or otherwise.

I am not disputing your choices, but I have the same problem with these two as I do Watchmen. I just don't think you can really get them without having a background soaked in American superhero comics. So, in a time capsule, we might need to provide a ton more just so that people can really understand why these comics are good.
Or not, I can always be wrong.

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Re: Comics Time Capsule

Post by tony ingram on Tue Mar 11, 2014 7:17 am

Mbast1 wrote:
Sam_Vimes wrote:

2) The Dark Knight Returns, because it's STILL the best Batman comic ever.

Cool Kingdom Come. One of the most powerful and moving stories I've ever read, comics or otherwise.

I am not disputing your choices, but I have the same problem with these two as I do Watchmen. I just don't think you can really get them without having a background soaked in American superhero comics. So, in a time capsule, we might need to provide a ton more just so that people can really understand why these comics are good.
Or not, I can always be wrong.
I think that would indeed be a problem with Kingdom Come (it's deeply mired in decades of DC continuity) but not necessarily with DKR, which is mostly self explanatory as far as the backstory goes; yes, there are references to "Hal and Diana", but you don't actually need to know who they were in order to appreciate the story. And Watchmen, surely, is very much a standalone piece?

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Re: Comics Time Capsule

Post by Lucy McGough on Tue Mar 11, 2014 7:45 am

Watchmen is definitely capable of standing alone. It's more of a meditation on the human condition than 'just' a comic ('just' put in inverted commas so's not to offend your sensibilities, Tony). After all, Time magazine named it as one of the 100 best English language novels of all time.

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Re: Comics Time Capsule

Post by Mbast1 on Tue Mar 11, 2014 3:28 pm

tony ingram wrote:And Watchmen, surely, is very much a standalone piece?

and

Lucy McGough wrote:Watchmen is definitely capable of standing alone.

I just don't see it to be so. Watchmen is a deconstruction of decades of superhero comics. You CAN read it as a stand-alone, but I think it relies on the reader having a deep knowledge of superhero conventions, in order to show you something about them.
Moore talked about using a defunct superhero universe in his initial story idea, and about that having resonance. If you don't have that background, how would it resonate?
And, for Americans, this was sold originally in specialty shops. In the '80s those were not places casual readers went, especially not every month to get the new issue.
Again, I am not saying you can't read Watchmen as is, but I think for it to really work you need a certain background, which was expected of the initial readership.

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Re: Comics Time Capsule

Post by Sam_Vimes on Thu Mar 13, 2014 10:58 pm

Mbast1 wrote:
tony ingram wrote:And Watchmen, surely, is very much a standalone piece?

and

Lucy McGough wrote:Watchmen is definitely capable of standing alone.

I just don't see it to be so. Watchmen is a deconstruction of decades of superhero comics. You CAN read it as a stand-alone, but I think it relies on the reader having a deep knowledge of superhero conventions, in order to show you something about them.
Moore talked about using a defunct superhero universe in his initial story idea, and about that having resonance. If you don't have that background, how would it resonate?
And, for Americans, this was sold originally in specialty shops. In the '80s those were not places casual readers went, especially not every month to get the new issue.
Again, I am not saying you can't read Watchmen as is, but I think for it to really work you need a certain background, which was expected of the initial readership.

I absolutely agree with this. "Watchmen" is (of course) incredible, but a deconstruction doesn't really work unless you've already SEEN the constructs. And I suppose the same DOES goes for "Kingdom Come", but I'm not taking it off my list BECAUSE YOU GUYS CAN'T MAKE ME!!!

I wish I would've thought of Asterix, though...

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Re: Comics Time Capsule

Post by Lucy McGough on Fri Mar 14, 2014 9:27 am

You guys may have a point. Having read comics, it's hard to imagine what it would be like to not have read them, if you see what I mean. Wouldn't the other nine comics in the capsule be enough for the men/women/cyborgs/self-aware algorithms of the future to use as constructs?

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Re: Comics Time Capsule

Post by tony ingram on Fri Mar 14, 2014 9:50 am

Ah, but they're not all going to be superhero comics!

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Re: Comics Time Capsule

Post by Lucy McGough on Fri Mar 14, 2014 10:38 am

Lots of mine will be, and hopefully all of the capsules we bury will be found. It's your capsule that's light on superhero comics.

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Re: Comics Time Capsule

Post by Sam_Vimes on Fri Mar 14, 2014 2:53 pm

Yeah, get it together, Tony. We're trying to help the future people understand Watchmen, here!

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Re: Comics Time Capsule

Post by Mbast1 on Fri Mar 14, 2014 3:22 pm

Sam_Vimes wrote:Yeah, get it together, Tony. We're trying to help the future people understand Watchmen, here!
 
Interesting. Although, another thread entirely. If you were going to give someone who had never read a superhero comics Watchmen, what do you think they'd have to read to really get it?

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Re: Comics Time Capsule

Post by Mbast1 on Fri Mar 14, 2014 3:34 pm

Lucy McGough wrote:Having read comics, it's hard to imagine what it would be like to not have read them, if you see what I mean. Wouldn't the other nine comics in the capsule be enough for the men/women/cyborgs/self-aware algorithms of the future to use as constructs?

Possibly they would. A lot of the tropes Moore used/broke were fairly common, so it shouldn't take TOO many comics for people to get it.
But then, I was reading an article which said that people who didn't grow up with comics have trouble figuring out how to read many comics pages (apparent difficulty deciding how they art/panels convey the story including in what order to read), so I'm not sure I can tell what you "need".
And that's the problem, as you pointed out. I had a "discussion" with two comics writers on Twitter during which this came up and one of them insisted that there was no prior reading required for Watchmen, since the characters had never existed before #1. (And then pulled the worst argument from authority I've ever seen). That only makes sense, to my thinking, to someone who is already well-versed in superhero lore. For people without it, a lot of what Moore was doing won't register or make sense. I think.

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Re: Comics Time Capsule

Post by tony ingram on Fri Mar 14, 2014 4:06 pm

Mbast1 wrote:
Sam_Vimes wrote:Yeah, get it together, Tony. We're trying to help the future people understand Watchmen, here!
 
Interesting. Although, another thread entirely. If you were going to give someone who had never read a superhero comics Watchmen, what do you think they'd have to read to really get it?
Maybe some Golden Age JSA and Silver Age JLA stuff? I suspect that half a dozen issues of each would get the general idea across...

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