So Chris Sims - that most distinguished of comics luminaries - recently composed a list of Twenty-Five Things Every Comics Collection Truly Needs To Be Awesome.
Do I measure up? Let us see...
1. The Mod Gorilla Boss/Any Ape Criminal Comics - Jay and Silent Bob #3, in which everyone's favorite stoners team up with a fugitive ape. (Yes, I know this got ripped off for Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back... this is more awesome. And more is the pity we had Will Ferrel instead of Tommy Lee Jones playing the cop.
2. A Collection Of Stories From The Golden Age - The Collected Jack Kirby's Green Arrow. Featuring Green Arrows of the World!
3. At Least One Comic By Kyle Baker - The Bakers #1.
4. A Prose Novel About Comics - Batman: Knightfall by Dennis O'Neil. Perhaps the best novelization of a comic book series ever.
5. Something That Will Allow You To Sound Smart In Public - Neil Gaiman's The Sandman: Season of Mists. If I had a dollar for every person I was able to persuade that comics had intellectual merit using this book and it's use of mythology, literary references and just plain trope-defying awesomeness... well, I might have enough to buy myself a big coffee at Starbucks. But that ain't nothing.
6. A Comic That, If It Came To It, Could Block Shuriken, Blowdarts, And Most Medium Caliber Handgun Rounds - Craig Thompson's Blankets. Suitable not only as a heart shield but also as a blackjack in dealing with household intruders, cockroaches and investment bankers.
7. One, and Only One, Issue of Pizzazz - ... Okay. I don't have that. But I have every issue of Comic Foundry.
8. A Comic Written by a Rapper - ... dammit.
9. Jack Staff - I keep meaning to pick up the trade but... no, not yet.
10. A Story That Deals With a Serious Issue - The Complete Dennis O'Neil Green Lantern/Green Arrow HC. The first to do it and - arguably - the best.
11. Something Romantic - Amazing Spider-Man #49 (#490). You want a nice rebuttal to every argument against Peter and MJ being married? Here it is in one issue.
12. Cover Girl, by Andrew Cosby, Kevin Church and Mateus Santolouco - No, but that's because I find Kevin Church's web-comic to be unfunny. Why would I pay money for his work?
13. Something That Is Totally Awesome But That You Totally Do Not Understand - Genshiken. A lot of the specific jokes about Tokyo and Manga-cons go past me, but I get enough of the fandom humor and the character humor to like the comic.
14. Something That You Can Give To Someone Who Doesn’t Get It - Fables: Legends in Exile TP. You want to drive home the point that comics are not for kids and that comics are awesome? That is it.
15. A Comic That Was Ten Years Ahead of Its Time - The Starman Compendium Vol. 1.
16. Porn - Savage Sword of Conan Vol. 1-4. Let's be honest. This is how most men would live, were it possible for us to strut around in nothing but boots and our boxers, solving our conflicts with cunning and steel, slaying unidentifiable monsters and bedding a different nameless wench every night.
17. Something For The Kids - Amelia Rules! Best comic for kids and kids-at-heart on the market.
18. Print Collection of a Webcomic - I have various volumes of Order of the Stick, Dork Tower, The Devil's Panties and Penny Arcade.
19. A Story That Hits All Three (i.e. it touches your head and make you think, your heart for an emotional connection (and) your gut for the fist-pumping “**** yeah!” moment) - Pretty much the entirety of The Sinestro Corps War. The head moment came with the revelations regarding the emotional spectrum which, corny as it is, makes as much sense as the science behind rings that focus thought into solid energy. The heart moment came when Hal Jordan ordered his hometown to evacuate because he wasn't sure he would save them all... and to a person, the entire city elects to stay and hang green lights up in their windows. And the "*** yeah?" Guy Gardner and John Stewart pull a planet out of orbit to hit a bad-guy with.
20. A Run You Had To Hunt For - Hellblazer. Nuff said.
21. Showcase Presents Sugar & Spike - Okay. I don't own this one. Because I deal with enough cutesy for the sake of cutesy kids material at work.
22. A Comic Where Somebody Punches Hitler - No, but I do have Adventures of the Light Brigade - a comic series in which the elite of Britain's commando corps steal Hitler's testicle. Which - while not as manly as punching Hitler - is a heck of a lot more humiliating to everyone's least favorite Veggie painter.
23. Something That You Absolutely Love, Except For One Little Thing - The Adventures of Red Sonja - Volume II. As fine a collection of sword & sorcery as you will find anywhere. The one problem? It ends on a cliff-hanger, in the middle of a storyline. You have to get Vol. III to see the end. It's a minor thing if you're a fan and you were planning to get the whole series anyway... but it is somewhat annoying as there was something of a gap between the 2nd and 3rd volumes coming out.
24. Something That Might Not Be Very Good But God Damn It, It Means The World To You - Green Lantern #90. Yes, it's a rather generic "alcoholism is bad" comic with Kyle Rayner trying to help one of his friends deal with his problem... but it's also the book that got me into comics as an adult at the age of 19.
25. Something That You Absolutely Hate - As much as I know I'm opening myself up to so much criticism for saying this.... Vol. 10 of Y: The Last Man... the book that killed the series for me and yet, I still have the whole thing to keep it complete.
Final Tally: 19 out of 25 with no wiggle room on Hitler humiliation = punch in the face.