Just got word from Paul Gravett that his massive 1001 Comics You Must Read Before You Die is out in the UK, with the American edition to be released on 25 October and other national editions to follow.

Many will be familiar with this popular series covering everything from books to wine. The remarkable thing about the comics one is that it is the first convincing attempt to define an international canon for the art form. The book is of course skewed in favor of work available in English, but Paul has interpreted that limitation in the widest possible way, including an amazingly diverse and international field of comics from Töpffer to the present, including a fair amount never (or not yet) translated into English.

Individual national editions will make replacements, I’m told, which is really to the detriment of a remarkably coherentbook. Paul recruited 67 comics experts from all over the world, making it a wonderfully rich resource. And this is only enhanced by his decision to order the entries chronologically, adding an eye-opening historical dimension to the presentation. In addition to being a great reference, it’s thus also a short (” “) history of of world comics. I really encourage you to take a look at it.

Full disclosure: I was one of the 67, although my contribution is rather small. I wrote the entries on the Danish comics included: Storm P.’s Peter & Ping, Palle Nielsen’s Orpheus & Eurydice, Claus Deleuran’s Rejsen til Saturn, and Nikoline Werdelin’s Homo Metropolis, as well as (somewhat randomly) on Frank Miller’s Dark Knight Strikes Again (aka. DK2).

Check out Paul’s website for more information on the book, its contributors and the comics. He plans to update it regularly with reviews, interviews and supplementary material. For Danish readers, here’s a notice on it for which I provided some comments a couple of months ago.


  1. Yeah, I agree (even though I really dig the early Dredd stories), but such are the vagaries of commercial publishing. At least it has an illo from Charles Burns’ “Black Hole” on the back cover, and it’s still vastly preferable to the American cover.

  2. Sigh, it was too good to be true. The inhuman speed with which this book was assembled came at a price. Lots of errors and weird edits to be more specific.

    In my text on Claus Deleuran, for example, someone has snuck in an entirely confusing bit of misinformation, stating that his “Rejsen til Saturn” debuted in a leftist weekly called “Wing Magazine.” I have no idea where this came from — it certainly wasn’t in my text. As far as I know, Wings Magazine (with an ‘s’) was a American golden age comic book and, also, a Japanese shojo weekly.

    Deleuran’s masterpiece ran in Corsaren from 1976-77.

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