Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Ranking the Comics, Part 1

{Contiued, from this backpost, started originally on Jan 24, 2009}

The comics service I subscribe to, gocomics.com claims on their homepage that Calvin & Hobbes is the greatest comic strip ever. Normally I don't take corporate claims seriously, but comics are a serious business (to me).

What are the top possible comic strips? Again, to me (in no particular order):
  1. Calvin & Hobbes (1985-1995)
  2. Peanuts (1950-2000)
  3. Doonesbury (1970-current)
  4. Bloom County (1980-1989)
  5. The Far Side (1980-1995)
  6. Pogo (1948-1975)
  7. Krazy Kat (1913-1944)
  8. Dilbert (1989-current)
  9. Get Fuzzy (1999-current)
  10. Baby Blues (1990-current)
  11. Citizen Dog (1995-2001)
  12. Sherman's Lagoon (1991-current)
  13. Foxtrot (1988-current)
  14. Ernie/Piranha Club (1988-current)
  15. The K Chronicles (1996?-current)
  16. Frazz (2001-current)
  17. Life in Hell (1977-current)
  18. The Spirit (1940-1952)
  19. Rube Goldberg's machines (1914-1970?)
Note, there are some classic strips that others do include on all time best (e.g. Lil' Abner) which I don't mainly because I just don't like reading them. Moreover, there are many really good comics out there that I like but don't think belong on an all-time list (e.g. Boondocks, Liberty Meadows, Non Sequitur). Just to note, while it's too early to say, one comic that has a potential to be an all-time-great is Cul-De-Sac.

I judge based on 6 criteria: (1) art quality [AQ] (being drawn well gets high regard from me), (2) readability [R] (a ranking of narrative/storytelling ability; is the comic a pleasure to read), (3) creativity [C] (how much does the artist/writer do with his charcters - e.g. Garfield has moments of creativity but is basically a one-joke strip, but makes it a higher rank than Beetle Bailey); (4) humor [H] (some comics are very high ranking in major categories but just isn't funny, e.g. Boondocks); (5) intelligence [I] (does the writer assume the reader is smart, how smart do you need to be to grok the strip), (6) wisdom [W] (does the writer teach the reader? Many strips get zeros in this category, taking them out of 'best of all time' running, and the ones that are highest in this category make it to the best). A seventh criterion - consistency - is hard to rank individually, so I average it into the whole series (e.g. at one point Blondie may have been a real rib-tickler, now eh...)

The full ratings and rankings in a moment. This is what took me so long to finish, originally.

1 comment:

ptjew said...

Just when I thought I had too much time on my hands. Along comes another.