The 100 Pages
April 16, 2018 6:57 AM   Subscribe

To assemble our list of 100, we assembled a brain trust of comics professionals, critics, historians, and journalists. Our criteria were as follows: A page had to have either changed the way creators approach making comics, or it had to expertly distill a change that had just begun. In some cases, there were multiple pages that could be used to represent a particular innovation; we’ve noted those instances. We didn’t necessarily pick the 100 best pages — there are many amazing specimens we didn’t include because they didn’t have a significant influence on the craft of comics. The 100 [American] Pages That Shaped Comics. (A few pages are NSFW)
posted by 1970s Antihero (24 comments total) 49 users marked this as a favorite
I realize everyone will have their opinion here, but Winsor McCay seems like an obvious and important omission. I know graphic artists now who return to his work for inspiration on framing and transition. His work was ground-breaking in so many ways.
posted by Silvery Fish at 7:34 AM on April 16 [7 favorites]

Windsor McCay is probably omitted because the list is focusing on comic books, not strips. Although, especially in McCay's case, the difference is academic, since most of his "strips" were full-page layouts. (Ditto for George Herriman).
posted by 1970s Antihero at 7:41 AM on April 16 [6 favorites]

Dan DeCarlo instead of Harry Lucey? Lucey really solidified the ultimate shape of the characters, and while DeCarlo's style eventually became the Archie "house" style, his deployment of it at Archie was in a great many ways just a variation on what Lucey had already done. (I highly recommend Bart Beatty's Twelve Cent Archie for a really great breakdown not only of that era of Archie comics more generally but also of the dynamics between the big three artists of the period--Lucey, DeCarlo, and Samm Schwartz--and how their styles played out in the pages of the books and shaped the kinds of stories that were told.)
posted by Fish Sauce at 9:35 AM on April 16 [1 favorite]

Every list like this will be controversial. And it’s a wonderful primer but seriously: no Mobius?
posted by asavage at 10:05 AM on April 16 [1 favorite]

Too much to read in one sitting - bookmarked for lots of later perusal!
posted by The Underpants Monster at 10:05 AM on April 16

The description is pretty inaccurate, and I was surprised by how mainstream their selections were. But I'd never heard of "Here" before, and was happy to learn about it.
posted by servoret at 10:07 AM on April 16

McGuire's "Here" has been the topic of a couple FPPs: in 2009 and 2015.
posted by ardgedee at 10:16 AM on April 16 [1 favorite]

Every time I see one of Will Eisner's early pages mixed in with his contemporaries it floors me anew how ahead of his time he was.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 10:23 AM on April 16 [3 favorites]

Holy crap I have read so many of these.
posted by egypturnash at 11:25 AM on April 16

No Krazy Kat strips? Seems a notable omission. At least it has Lynd Ward who I think gets forgotten from time to time.
posted by Ashwagandha at 12:06 PM on April 16

"And, this being comics, we had to get a little nitpicky: We’re only dealing with comics first published by North American publishing houses, and we’re not including newspaper comic strips, webcomics, or reprints thereof."
posted by egypturnash at 12:42 PM on April 16 [3 favorites]

If you are intrigued by these pages, many of the comics and creators featured can be found in the Smithsonian Book of Comic-Book Comics & the Yale Press Anthology of Graphic Fiction, Cartoons, and True Stories at super-low prices.

I never have and never will understand how Todd McFarlane got popular. What shit.

McGuire's "Here" has been the topic of a couple FPPs: in 2009 and 2015.
What quality FPPs those are! Whoever posted them must be super-smart & ultra-handsome!

posted by Alvy Ampersand at 1:19 PM on April 16

Comics Beat revealed today that Martin Luther King and the Montgomery Story was drawn by Sy Barry. Apparently no one had been able to confirm the artist until Barry was cornered at this weekend's Big Apple Comic Con.
posted by waninggibbon at 1:37 PM on April 16

My personal quibble would be that many of these are just pages from a famous comic, not individual pages that Changed Comics.

Also, ugh, it's creepy how many of these pages feature women being murdered or abused.
posted by zompist at 3:48 PM on April 16 [2 favorites]

My personal quibble would be that many of these are just pages from a famous comic, not individual pages that Changed Comics.

Pretty much this. To be honest, there were only about a dozen pages here that one could honestly say are milestones of any sort, and most of those are early on. The rest tend to build on what came before (especially the umpteen takes on what is, ultimately, stuff Kirby did years earlier.)

Other pages seem to be deemed to change things primarily for the dramatic plot point, and not really anything to do with the page as a whole.

Some really great art is featured, though, so it’s still worth a browse.
posted by Thorzdad at 6:25 PM on April 16 [1 favorite]

I am suprised at how american this list is.
posted by PinkMoose at 8:35 PM on April 16

This was one of the most entertaining things I've looked at in a long time. I was pleased by some of the more sideways choices, but all of them felt right. I read the descriptions and learned about the state of comics across many years, and thank you so much for posting!
posted by hippybear at 8:38 PM on April 16

Well, props for including Chaykin's amazing work on American Flagg, and that great Krigstein page, but man, seems like a lot of dross in this list. And I'll never understand the love for the Bissette/Totlben work on Swamp Thing (RIP Wrightson), that style was nothing Gene Colon wasn't doing a lot better years before. (But I was always more of an art fan than a writing fan.)
posted by Bron at 6:44 AM on April 17

I am suprised at how american this list is.

I'm not, given how they openly state, right there in black and white in the beginning of TFA, that one of the restrictions they're imposing on themselves is confining the list to 100 American pages. It even says so in the text of the link one clicks to get to the list.

I'd elaborate, but I'm off to complain about how the cup of coffee I ordered has coffee in it instead of tea.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 7:37 AM on April 17 [4 favorites]

I loved this, just finished it after starting it yesterday. Absolutely loved this look into various comics and I wish they had done 500 or something. Reading this both makes me want to go buy a bunch of old comics and make new ones of my own.
posted by GoblinHoney at 3:49 PM on April 17

Hey, Cerebus is Canadian, not American!!
posted by storybored at 9:59 PM on April 17

Next in the series: Trina Robbins on Wimmen's Comix.

A good article ruined by one line: "Whether or not the work of Crumb and his ilk was, indeed, misogynist is a matter of much debate and won’t be resolved here.". SERIOUSLY? Are you FUCKING KIDDING ME?
posted by 1970s Antihero at 10:18 AM on April 18 [1 favorite]

And here’s an article about Trina Robbins’ run on Wonder Woman.
posted by 1970s Antihero at 6:11 AM on April 19

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