When we grade comic books for resale quality we use terms like Mint, Near Mint, Fine and so on. Descriptions are necessary so we can quantify worth. These terms, however, cannot hope to reflect the actual story in question. We may judge a book by its cover in the Overstreet Price Guide, but there’s no guide for merit.
I’d like to demonstrate three types of comics I like to collect by themes of story quality. Instead of Mint or near mint I’d like to introduce you all to the Fine Art/Indie appeal books, books by talented creators telling quirky stories that stand out from the pack. These books I like to call “Stand Outs.” For example:
Beasts of Burden: Animal Rites, Evan Dorkin(W) Jill Thompson(A), Dark Horse
I know it’s talking animals and I know it’s a kids comic. Those facts are irrelevant considering how much fun, wonder and top=notch art goes into these stories. I’ll just come out and say it: Beasts of Burden is amazing work from two of the most unsung talents in the industry today.
The stories are weird: Dogs and a cat solve animal based paranormal activities, almost like T.A.P.S. but on four legs. The humor is gentle and all ages, but there is some damn spooky $%*@ in there. The watercolors of artist Jill Thompson are the stuff of legends, and a text book of “YES!” for any aspiring artists today. Continue reading