Warning: The following text may be upsetting to people suffering from Smurfophobia, intellectualis hipsteria or snobberia histericcus.
For all those of you misguided schlucks who called me a “hipster” and a “snob” – a particularly frequent occurrence on my Devin Townsend page - you must be now gasping in shock and realizing the folly of your confused ways as you see this post about comic-books. (Either that, or you're yawning.) After all, how many hipsters do you know who’d give comic-books the time of day? Write a whole page about them? Rank them? A Bob-Dylan-sniffing snob would never even admit to knowing what a comic-book is! Let alone talk about them in detail, as if he actually reads them (and those hipster snobs DO read them, because they have more skeletons in the closet than 89 Wooden Tigers). And they listen to ABBA. And they watch professional wrestling. They're full of shit.
They are not “graphic novels”. (I mean comic-books, not snobs. Obviously snobs aren’t graphic novels.) Only idiots call them that. That’s like calling a black person “African-American” (despite the fact that not all black people come from Africa, that some indigenous Africans are Arabs, and that most American blacks have never even been to Africa), but even dumber because comic-books don’t have “feelings” and won’t ever be upset by how you call them, not even if you refer to them as “infantile reading material for retards that don’t have either the attention-span or the intellectual capacity to move on to books”.
Am I a retard? You be the judge. Admittedly, there are arguments in favour of the FOR camp as well as the AGAINST camp.
To be totally honest though, I very rarely read comics these days – and when I do it’s on the computer, which doesn’t count, right? No…? It counts?... Whatever, I essentially abandoned them when I was around 14 and rarely looked back. For many years I barely touched one. But recently I have become a little nostalgic and have been looking back at the tons of stuff I used to collect and read back in the day when nose-picking was a way of life, not just a tissue-substitute. (None of my comics are booger-stained, thank you very much; I may be a messy person, but I always looked out for my comics. They were my babies; babies full of ladies with bare breasts but very few actual babies).
As a comic-book-obsessed kid, it was always ESSENTIAL to me that the drawing is excellent, or at least very decent, otherwise I wouldn’t go near a comic. The story was important, sure, but a good story with lousy illustrations? Forget it, I wasn’t interested. I’d much rather have superb drawing with a shitty story than vice versa, if given a choice between the two extremes. I was much like a little Nazi in that sense, totally into purity and perfection of the aesthetic side of things. (I was also a LOT pickier about women, even way back as when I was 8 or 9 and getting my first erections to nude ladies; I would never settle for an actress that wasn’t perfect.)
But before you start thinking I used to date Hollywood actresses when I was 8 (which I won’t deny or confirm), let me get back to comic-books. I decided to do this list for several reasons – because all complex and intelligent people nearly always do brilliant things for multiple reasons, right?
1. I thought it’d be fun to place nice-looking drawings on my blog, something I rarely get to do. (Picasso's ugly shit doesn't count as nice.)
2. Just out of curiosity, I checked out other such lists on the net, and realized immediately that other comic-book fans truly ARE retards. It’s usually Americans posting those “best-of” lists and Americans only focus on those dumb dumb dumb dumb superhero comics, which I had abandoned when I was 8. Yes, even as a little imbecile at the age of 8 I thought “screw this, Superman and Aquaman are way too dumb for me, I need to move on to something a little more interesting, less predictable and more classy”. While we’re on the subject, consider the fact that most comic-book-reading adults STILL focus just on superhero garbage, and aren’t even aware of the excellent stuff that’s out there. That's coz they're nerds and nerds never have good taste, in anything.
3. It gave me an opportunity to annoy fans of those cretinous American superhero comics.
4. It gave me an excuse to write about Smurfs.
The criteria used for judging visual quality: 1. Uniqueness. 2. Use of colour (if any). 3. Fluidity (don't know what else to call it, by I know what it means, hope you do as well). 4. Facial expressiveness i.e. ability to inject life into the characters.
25 Best Comic-Book Illustrators Of All Time
25. Don Lawrence - British
24. Pierre Culliford aka Peyo - Belgian
23. Vicente Segrelles - Spanish
22. Sergio Aragones - Spanish/American
|It's obvious that Mad Magazine snatched up the best American illustrators, and left the crap ones to Marvel & Co.|
By "shit" I mean the average ones. They are merely crap by this list's standards.
21. Albert Uderzo - French
20. Antonio Hernandez Palacios - Spanish
|Tony has a great style. Not particularly original - compared to most illustrators on this list at least - but great to watch. Pity he's such a Commie fuckhead.|
|His comics have beautiful colours, so publishing them in black&white is pretty much retarded.|
19. Jean Tabary - French
|Iznogoud is the original Ahmedinejad. His ancestor or long-lost twin brother?|
|Tabary had wonderful, fluid strokes, but it took him several years and a number of Iznogoud episodes to improve his style to this level.|
18. Fernando Fernandez - Spanish
|His style is vaguely reminiscent of Palacios - except with much more nudage.|
|Fernandez drew tits in all of his comics. Either he was a filthy old over-sexed man, or he knew what sells. Or both.|
17. Benito Jacovitti - Italian
|You can't draw a street hooker any better than this. You just can't. The same goes for sausages which are a trademark of his goofy comics.|
|His stuff looks great in colour, but works very well in black&white as well.|
16. Al Jaffee - American
|The only thing that annoyed me was that he was a left-wing putz. (A New York Jew, so small wonder.) Fortunately, Mad Magazine wasn't an overtly political publication so I didn't have to deal with his nonsense often.|
15. Jordi Bernet - Spanish
|Torpedo was a very fun comic-book, and looking back on it, I realize that the drawing is pretty damn good as well.|
|It's almost as if Crumb wrote this scene.|
The stories are far better than what one would normally expect from a gangster-type theme. Plenty of sex and violence, but mixed with black humour and unusual situations.
14. Mort Drucker - American
13. Alfonso Font - Spanish
|It's interesting that whereas in rock/pop/metal music the northern European countries are the clear-cut winners and the South is pretty much useless, but when it comes to comic-books, it was the opposite: Spain, Italy, and France lead the way.|
12. Alberto Breccia - Uruguayan/Argentinian
11. Robert Crumb - American
10. Hermann Huppen - Belgian
|I rarely read Hermann, but because I am anything if not TOTALLY OBJECTIVE and EMPIRICALLY CORRECT, I have included him because his brilliance is obvious.|
|Blood and excessive violence, every boy's dream.|
9. Floyd Gottfredson - American
|Floyd is generally recognized (i.e. not just by me) for doing the best Mickey Mouse comics, along with a few Italians such as Scarpa and especially De Vita. All the other American ones were basically average, and some outright shit.|
8. Richard Corben - American
|Corben's world is bombastic: full of large penises and even larger tits. Still, it never degenerated into cheap porn (not that I would have minded back in the day).|
|Mutant World, one of Corben's very best full-length stories. He is also well-known for his excellent short stories which have somewhat weaker illustrations.|
7. Roberto Raviola aka Magnus - Italian
6. Carl Barks - American
5. Julio Ribera - Spanish
|It's a safe bet that 99% of American comic-book nerds had never even heard of this comic. Too busy are they nurturing their latently gay urges by salivating over muscle-filled superhero nonsense.|
|Le Vagabond des Limbes (or Aster Blistok as it's known in ex-Yugoslavian countries) is one of the most bizarre and interesting comics ever made. The colouring is essential; the black&white versions look inferior.|
4. Winsor McCay - American
|One of the earliest comic-book illustrators is easily one of the very best. I think even the most aesthetically-challenged retard should be able to recognize the brilliance of these drawings without help.|
|These Little Nemo dailies are all from around the 1905-1914 period, if I'm not mistaken.|
|Yes, this is just a silly little comic-book, but might it be too "heavy" for your average Spiderman-obsessed Joe Shmoe? Possibly. I don't think those tards can handle any concept or story more complex than a morally superior, selfless hero dressed like a buffoon chasing bad guys across the globe. Superhero comics are the equivalent of rap music and Bon Jovi: trash for the masses.|
OK, I exaggerate a bit. Nothing, plant or animal, is nearly as vile as that shitty band.
3. Andre Franquin - French
|Can anyone draw a shark this well? Picasso, perhaps? Picasso's shark would look like an elephant that had gone on a forced diet.|
|When a simple caricature of a woman is this sexy, then you know you're looking at drawings made by a genius.|
2. Jean Giraud aka Moebius - French
1. Vjetropev - Serb
Inspired to read a good comic-book? How about one that I co-wrote:
Or perhaps you want to find out whether you're an imbecile by doing my "imbecile test"? Here it is: