Recently I picked up the magazine The 100 Greatest Graphic Novels of All Time! magazine from Future Publishing. I thought it’d be interesting to go through the magazine and see which ones I’d read and which ones I needed to. The magazine was very well written with some really thoughtful commentary on the books presented within resulting in my “to read” list gaining quite a few additions.
While the magazine covered many great graphic novels – and indeed you’d need a slew of magazines to cover all the graphic novels that you should read in a lifetime – there were of course a few of my personal favourites left off. Thus, I thought I’d write up my own list.
Variant covers for comic book issues have been a staple of the industry for some time now. The first comic book to have a variant cover was 1986’s The Man of Steel #1. While there were technically variants before this, they were all due to small differences such as distributor logo. Man of Steel #1 was the first to receive variant artwork, which is what variants are mostly known for nowadays.
Variants played something of a not unsubstantial role in the “spectator boom” of comics in the 1990’s. There are a lot of pieces to the spectator boom puzzle which I won’t go into here, but if you’re interested you can read this great article by Michael McCallum on ComicBooked.com.
To give a brief history of the boom, people suddenly got the idea that buying a comic and holding on to it for 10, 20, or 50 years would eventually put their kids through university or pay off their house. Big firms such as the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times wrote articles about the possible future value of these once unpalatable items and so people started buying comics by the armful.
Recently I had let go of my first love; comic books. I had been reading comics pretty much continuously for 24 years, most of that with a monthly standing order at my local comic store. Comics were my favourite hobby, my addiction. When something is that big a part of your life for that long a time it is very hard to let go. However, I was not prepared to give up on the comic book medium completely. No, siree! If monthly comics were no longer practical, then I was going to do the next best thing; I was going to move to collected editions!
However, it was not just a quick switch. I had to prepare! Remember, this was a 24 year habit I was moving away from. Certain “i”s had to be crossed and “t”s needed to be dotted. Here’s what I did to ready myself for the big change.