The Cribsheet’s Essential Canon

September 29, 2008

Good news: Domingos Isabelinho has a new blog.  And, of course, it is essential reading.

For proof, just read this quote:

I have a confession to make: I have a problem with humor. I firmly believe that art’s purpose (apart from formalist concerns that must always be present) is to unveil some kind of truth. Humor, as Baudelaire said more than a century ago (1855) is satanical…

I find these gems of thought less important to argue, than just to accept and see what they do to me.  So today, a change of pace: no humor, no Satan, just truth.  And a generous collection of images, including Rutu Modan’s visual growth and the perfect formalism of some old French satirical art.

***

But if you read nothing else today, look at his canon of essential comics.

The most singular I’ve seen, perhaps, as it rejects what most comics readers and critics take as their birthright: comics as kids’ stuff.  So no Peanuts or Tintin, though Carl Barks makes an appearance.  But no junk culture, no nostalgia for their own sake.

Instead, Oesterheld, Deprez, Feuchtenberger, and Blegvad.  The list’s a fine collection of some of the best the medium has to offer, as well as a touchstone for people willing to trade the art’s liveliness for a little sophistication.  My favorite inclusion is Ana Hatherly, the Portuguese poet, whose O Escritor confounds all boundaries.  (For a sample, scroll down just a little here.)

Should I ever write my own canon (which must wait until I read some Aristophane, surely), I will no doubt liberally crib from Domingos’ list.

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