With apologies to Charles W. Eliot, The DeBenedetto Classics are my attempt at creating a comics canon: a series of comics and comics creators that I consider “essential reads”. My disclaimer when starting this whole thing was that I’m hardly an expert. So is what I consider “canon” as important to others as it is to me? Is a discussion like this relevant in any way other than to spark debate? My answer to both of these questions is “probably not” but it was an interesting exercise and I got some great feedback from commentors. Here’s the final list, with comments.
Ah, yes! Comics’ bread and butter. It’s hard to imagine a comics conversation going very far without discussing these stories. Whether it be to aid discussions about how childish they are or how influential they are superhero comics are essential to any comics canon, and in my opinion any comics library.
Let me start by saying any and all comics by Jack Kirby or Grant Morrison are disqualified from making this volume of the Classics, due to their inclusion in earlier volumes. That said I’d suggest you go back to my earlier posts and add those stories to the list below as well.
Like any medium the original masters of the comics world have undoubtedly had their imitators, and in some cases stylistic or thematic descendants. While Kirby, Crumb, and Eisner may have been the original greats some modern creators have taken the reins to become the best in their respective areas. Without reading the works of these artists it’s difficult to get a grasp on contemporary sequential art, and the evolution of the medium.
With that evolution, however, have come some changes. The past masters were creators in every sense of the word, but it’s undeniable that their style is more recognizable for it’s artistic qualities rather than written. It’s important to note, then, that on today’s list of modern masters we have our first entry from someone who is strictly a writer.