Sporadic Sequential
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Masterpiece Theatre Presents: Punching and Panty Shots

Here's a compilation of all the suggestions everyone made for comics that could be considered literary, broken out into two categories: superheroes and manga. Thanks to everyone who shared their suggestions!

  • Animal Man
  • Astro City
  • The Dark Knight Returns
  • Doom Patrol
  • Hellboy
  • Invisibles
  • It’s a Bird…
  • Kabuki
  • Killing Joke
  • League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
  • New Frontier
  • Promethea
  • Sandman
  • Spider-Man: Kraven's Last Hunt
  • The Spirit
  • Squadron Supreme
  • Superman: Secret Identity
  • Swamp Thing
  • V for Vendetta
  • Watchman
  • 2001 Nights
  • Abandon the Old in Tokyo
  • Akira
  • Antique Bakery
  • Apollo's Song
  • Astro Boy
  • Banana Fish
  • Barefoot Gen
  • Basara
  • Buddha
  • Clover
  • Dragon Head
  • Emma
  • Flower of Life
  • Galaxy Express 999
  • Genshiken
  • Gerard and Jacques
  • Ghost in the Shell
  • The Heart of Thomas
  • Honey & Clover
  • Ichigenme
  • Lone Wolf and Cub
  • MW
  • Monster
  • Mushishi
  • Nana
  • Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind
  • Ode to Kirihito
  • Ohikkoshi
  • Paradise Kiss
  • Phoenix
  • Planetes
  • The Prime Minister's Secret Diplomacy
  • Sand Chronicles
  • Sexy Voice and Robo
  • Tanpenshu
  • The Times of Botchan
  • To Terra
  • Town of Evening Calm, Country of Cherry Blossoms
  • Uzumaki
  • Vagabond
  • Virtuoso di Amore
Some additional comments:

1. I listed everything that was suggested, even if I might personally quibble with a book's inclusion for whatever reason. For example, several suggestions on the superheroes list don't really strike me as superhero comics (e.g., Sandman, Invisibles, V for Vendetta, The Spirit) but I didn't want to get into that black hole of an argument over what constitutes a true superhero comic. And on the manga side, Monster strikes me as more akin to the type of suspense/thriller you'd pick up at an airport newsstand than anything with literary aspirations.

2. I purposely didn't define what I meant by "literature" or "literary merit," instead allowing everyone to name their picks based on their own understanding of what those criteria mean. Also, I'm lazy.

3. Yes, I was being somewhat sarcastic in my original post. My question was serious, but my examples were facetious (or at least the reasons for the examples). I do not consider Bleach an example of serious literature.

4. As far as I know, Bleach is not actually an allegory for various eras from Spain's history. But Tite Kubo does like to pepper the series with Spanish terms, so that's what inspired the joke.

5. People really like Osamu Tezuka's work, especially Buddha, which I believe received the most nominations of any comic. I think I'm going to have to give that series a second try.

6. As a result of this exercise, I now demand that Dirk Deppey further subcategorize his links under the following new headers: LITERARY POP COMICS and LITERARY MANGA.

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