Level 4: What remains?

So what is level 4? The books I still need to read for the first time, plus a few that I feel merit a rereading and a possible reassessment. And as I read them, some may find a home on level 1, others level 2, some level 3. Several may take a few re-readings before they reach any level at all. I chose forty-five titles simply to have, for the time being, a total of 100 selections over four levels. But I’ll be adding and subtracting from level 4 for as long as I’m reading comics, and that’s going to be a long, long time.


“Pictopia” by Alan Moore, Don Simpson, Mike Kazaleh, Pete Poplaski, and Eric Vincent

Black Hole by Charles Burns

Boulevard of Broken Dreams by Kim Deitch

Buddha by Osamu Tezuka

“Caricature” by Dan Clowes

Cartoon History of the Universe by Larry Gonick

David Boring by Daniel Clowes

Epileptic, Volume 1 by David B.

Flies On The Ceiling by Jaime Hernandez

Flood by Eric Drooker

Ghost World by David Clowes

Harvey Kurtzman’s Jungle Book

It’s A Good Life If You Don’t Weaken by Seth

Krazy Kat by George Harriman

Lone Wolf and Cub by Kazuo Koike and Goseki Kojima

Los Tejanos by Jack Jackson

Louis Riel by Chester Brown

Madman’s Drum by Lynd Ward

Our Cancer Year by Harvey Pekar and Joyce Brabner

Palestine by Joe Sacco

Paul Auster’s City of Glass by Paul Karasik and David Mazzucchelli

Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi

Quimby the Mouse by Chris Ware

R. Crumb in Weirdo

Raw, edited by Art Spiegelman and Francoise Mouly

The Amphigorey Books by Edward Gorey

The EC Horror Books (Tales from the Crypt, Vault of Horror, Haunt of Fear), edited by Al Feldstein and Johnny Craig

The Fixer by Joe Sacco

The Idiots Abroad by Gilbert Shelton and Paul Mavrides

The Mishkin Saga by Kim Deitch and Simon Deitch

Stuck Rubber Baby by Howard Cruse

The War Comics (Two-Fisted Tales, Frontline Combat) of Harvey Kurtzman

Why I Hate Saturn by Kyle Baker

300 by Frank Miller

The Will Eisner Library (including The Name of the Game and Minor Miracles)

Fax From Sarajevo by Joe Kubert

Hicksville by Dylan Horrocks

Poison River by Gilbert Hernandez

Locas: A Love and Rockets Book by Jaime Hernandez

Sin City by Frank Miller

Cinder and Ashe by Gerry Conway and Jose Luis Garcia Lopez

Kafka: Give It Up! and other short stories, illustrated by Peter Kuper

The Hannah Story by Carol Tyler

U.S. Uncle Sam by Steve Darnell and Alex Ross

Shatter by Peter Gillis and Michael Saenz


No matter what the level, try to read as many titles as you can. Forget any debate, just read ’em. Gary Groth, Tom Spurgeon, Brett Warnock, Chris Staros, Andrew D. Arnold, Stephen Weiner, Jerry Weist, Mitchell Brown and R.C. Harvey, to name just a few respectable comics scholars, are not going to tell you I’m wrong. In fact, the informative, thoughtful essays and reviews I’ve read by these learned members of the comics community has helped shape these four columns trumpeting the best in comics literature. And I will be discussing in depth many of these artistic works in the pages of Comic Effect #42, due out during the Summer of 2005.



About The Author

Jim Kingman

Jim Kingman is a writer for Comics Bulletin