Over at The Comics Reporter, Tom Spurgeon has listed the 50 Things Every Comics Collection Truly Needs, and he asks readers to respond. Since I'm a sucker for lists, I decided to play along. Below, in bold, are the ones on this list that I have, and the ones left plain are items that are not a part of my collection. I've also included some commentary along the way. If anything, this list has made me think about the way I collect comics, and it even reminded me of some items that I had and lost, or have and hadn't looked at in years.
Also, I don't agree that every item on this list is essential to any comics collection, and there are probably some important things missing, but I'll follow along with Tom's list without making too many suggestions of my own.
1. Something From The ACME Novelty Library
2. A Complete Run Of Arcade
3. Any Number Of Mini-Comics
4. At Least One Pogo Book From The 1950s
5. A Barnaby Collection
I have some Barnaby strips in some anthologies, but I don't have a whole collection devoted to this series.
6. Binky Brown and the Holy Virgin Mary
I've got a reprint of this, but not the original. I find it an interesting historical artifact in the same way that I find movies like The Groove Tube and Dynamite Chicken not as funny or edgy as they probably were when they first came out. However, I will acknowledge, if I had read Binky Brown when I was 13, I would have thought it was the greatest thing ever and that it spoke directly to me.
7. As Many Issues of RAW as You Can Place Your Hands On
I used to have some of these that I bought when they came out, before Maus had been collected. I don't know what happened to them.
8. A Little Stack of Archie Comics
I would revise this to "a BIG stack."
9. A Suite of Modern Literary Graphic Novels
This item covers way too many things that should be essential in a comics collection. Tom Spurgeon's list includes both autobiographical comics and literary graphic fiction. I'd split those two categories up, at least.
10. Several Tintin Albums
Had these when I was a kid. Like so many memorable items from my childhood, they were probably sold at a garage sale.
11. A Smattering Of Treasury Editions Or Similarly Oversized Books
I've got a ton of these, mainly the DC ones. I love these things.
12. Several Significant Runs of Alternative Comic Book Series
13. A Few Early Comic Strip Collections To Your Taste
I have a lot of Little Nemo and Krazy Kat for this one.
14. Several "Indy Comics" From Their Heyday
Since I was buying comics like crazy during the indy heyday of the 1980s, I've got a lot of stuff that qualifies here: a complete run of Chaykin's American Flagg!, a complete run of Nexus, lots of Mister X. I did have a big run of Cerebus when I was buying that off the stands, but I sold them all with the plan to buy the big collections, which I never did.
15. At Least One Comic Book From When You First Started Reading Comic Books
I have the comic that I think was the first comic I ever bought. I plan on blogging about that some time. I have, in fact, a lot of the actual comics that I bought as a kid. Many of them are falling apart, with the covers taped on or restapled or missing completely.
16. At Least One Comic That Failed to Finish The Way It Planned To
I do own a complete run of Big Numbers, which I bought when it first came out. Hell, I bought Sonic Disruptors when it first came out, but I don't have those issues anymore. Does Ultimate Hulk vs. Wolverine or Daredevil: Target count here?
Spurgeon also lists the DC series Thriller here. I have an extraordinary fondness for this series, and I regret it never got to live up to its potential.
17. Some Osamu Tezuka
18. The Entire Run Of At Least One Manga Series
I barely qualify for this one. I'm not much of a manga reader, and I have no real answer why.
19. One Or Two 1970s Doonesbury Collections
20. At Least One Saul Steinberg Hardcover
21. One Run of A Comic Strip That You Yourself Have Clipped
I clipped both the Spider-Man daily comic and the World's Greatest Super-Heroes strip back in the day. I don't know what happened to the notebooks in which I taped these comics.
22. A Selection of Comics That Interest You That You Can't Explain To Anyone Else
I think a big chunk of my collection fits here. Lots of Charlton Romance comics, a batch of Atlas/Seaboard titles, and some strange movie tie-ins from the 50s and 60s. I can, however, totally explain the large number of comics with gorillas on the cover, so I won't count that here.
23. At Least One Woodcut Novel
24. As Much Peanuts As You Can Stand
I could actually stand a lot more Peanuts than I have right now.
I was reading Maus when it was first being published in RAW. Volume 1 first came out when I was in college, and one of my teachers wrote a letter of recommendation for me in which he stated that he was grateful to me for exposing him to such new works. I took a lot of pride in that.
26. A Significant Sample of R. Crumb's Sketchbooks
I am not a Crumb fan, especially of the sketchbooks, but I understand their importance.
27. The original edition of Sick, Sick, Sick.
28. The Smithsonian Collection Of Newspaper Comics
Oh, man. I bought this giant book at the Smithsonian when I participated in Project Close-Up in 10th grade. I hauled this thing around Washington, DC for the entire week, and it barely fit into my suitcase for the trip home. I pored over this book for most of that year. This is still one of my prized possessions, but it doesn't fit anywhere very easily.
29. Several copies of MAD
I had a subscription to MAD for years when I was a kid. Again, garage sales.
30. A stack of Jack Kirby 1970s Comic Books
Yeah, I'm all over this one.
31. More than a few Stan Lee/Jack Kirby 1960s Marvel Comic Books
I used to have more of these than I do now.
32. A You're-Too-High-To-Tell Amount of Underground Comix
33. Some Calvin and Hobbes
34. Some Love and Rockets
All of it.
35. The Marvel Benefit Issue Of Coober Skeber
36. A Few Comics Not In Your Native Tongue
I have a bunch of German comics I got from an aunt who lives in Germany. Also, a few years ago, my wife went to Germany and brought back a bunch of American comics in German, as well as some European comics. My favorite: Jason Lutes's Berlin: City of Stones in German.
37. A Nice Stack of Jack Chick Comics
Several family car trips resulted in me picking up a bunch of these at rest-stops around the country. However, they all got thrown out over the years.
38. A Stack of Comics You Can Hand To Anybody's Kid
Spurgeon shows a copy of Richie Rich as an example for this. If you hand a kid Richie Rich today, that kid will one day be responsible for the next Wall Street/banking sector collapse. I guarantee it.
39. At Least A Few Alan Moore Comics
Lots and lots of these.
40. A Comic You Made Yourself
41. A Few Comics About Comics
42. A Run Of Yummy Fur
43. Some Frank Miller Comics
44. Several Lee/Ditko/Romita Amazing Spider-Man Comic Books
45. A Few Great Comics Short Stories
46. A Tijuana Bible
I would love to get my hands on some Tijuana Bibles. I have never seen these available outside of eBay.
47. Some Weirdo
48. An Array Of Comics In Various Non-Superhero Genres
This item is really well covered in my collection: westerns, romance, horror, sports, funny animal, humor, etc.
49. An Editorial Cartoonist's Collection or Two
50. A Few Collections From New Yorker Cartoonists