Gene is an associate and friend of mine from my Houston days and with his and Joel West's help, we published the only true IF Fanzine in association with The Chain. Hopefully this will be a start of some interesting and though provoking articles by Gene.


The world of comics-by which I mean mainly strips, magazines, and graphic novels-is, like the physical world, made up of an assortment of elements. As in all other narrative media, often the elements take on forms that can be labeled, for a critic's convenience, "simple" or "complex." In most modern comics-criticism, or what passes for criticism these days, the overriding assumption is that "simple" means "anything that offers the reader instant unearned gratification," while that which is supposedly "complex" is "anything that forces the reader to earn his gratification," usually by learning some philosophy or perspective communicated by the author. It's a very Protestanty, work-ethic idea of criticism. Of course, no form of literature is really "work" in the true sense. As Oscar Wilde said. "All art is quite useless." From this standpoint, it can be asserted that art is at its most complex when its constituent elements are "playing" rather than "working." At play, the elements of narrative media often communicate far more than they do when attempting to convey a message. My take on the "simple/complex"dichotomy is that irrespective of whether the work is meant to entertain or educate, it is truly complex only when it's elements take on the complex interrelationships usually called "symbolism" in literary studies and "myth" in the wider sense of all cultural products.
The following list is my response to the recent lists of "100 things to love about comics." Since what I like best about comics is their mythic aspects, which can appear in any genre however fantastic or realistic, this is essentially a compendium of comics-mythology (though not by any means the "top" 100; I've no interest in that sort of gradation, and other entries could be easlily added on).It's also a trivia-list, but I'm less concerned with whether respondents can name what element appeared in what issue of what title as in whether anyone can venture a thought or two on what meaning, if any, the elements might have for them, or might've had for people that made the stories. The elements include characters, objects, quotes and story-lines, drawn from American, Japanese and European comics. If nothing else it should remind some of us of the quality that drew many fans to comics in the first place: The medium's perculiar genius for seting free the human imagination in some of its most unbridled forms.

1. Cider Sue and Jimson Weed
2. Lyla Lerrol
3. The building atop Killmotor Hill
4. Janus, Son of Domini
5. "the strength of a billion billion beings"
6. Dragon Fly, Silken Spider and Tiger Moth
7. Rock of Eternity
8, Prince Pagli and the Garden of Eden
9. Two-Edge
10. Peculia
11. Saturna, Simon Magus and the Troll King
12. The Purple Dimension
13. The mask of Sketch Paree
14. The Airtomb
15. Seshep
16. The Scissormen
17. Mr. Aqua
18. "techno-cosmic war"
19. Kallula
20. Dark Majistra
22. Lai Choi San
23. Netley
24. "gone, gone the form of man"
25. Princess Aura
26. Gorilla City
27. Delirius
28. Devil Woman
29. The Royal House of Agon
30. The Claw of Aelkhund
31. King Mob
32. Tonantzin Villasenor
33. Lily Stearn
34. Dr. Buck Riviera
35. The Ruby of Life
36. "I-I was born on Monday"
37. Toar's boss
38. The Singing Sword
39. The Prairie Witch
40. The Serpent Crown of Lemria
41. The Zamarons and their pipe organ
42. Our Man
43. Cardinal Roark
44. "and now-for my next trick"
45. Enoch and Myranah
46. The Legion of Legions
47. King Morpheus
48. "brain brain dead"
49. Pygar, last of the Ornithanthropes
50. The Wolf Gal
51. Ardina and the Master of Guile
52. Antoinette Burotte
53. The Former Miss Boopadop
54. The Lord of Limehouse
55. Tondeleyo's white rose
56. Chopin's 'Funeral March'
57. "A Match for Satan!"
58. Benten, Oyuki, Ran
59. K-metal and it's many descendants
60. The 24-Hour Man
61. Professor Snakelocks
62. "Heaven help me, I'm jealous of him"
63. Monster Island
64. The Endless
65. Nyarl-Amen
66. "a smile without mirth-rather, a smile of death!"
67. The Orb of Ra
68. Argo City
69. Desty Nova
70. Hath-Set
71. The Green Sorceress
72 Queen Azura of Femnaz
73. Gemworld
74. Malev-6
75. The Devil Puppet
76. The Celestial Madonna
77. Ixar and Optar
78. The red moon of Kaolla Su
79. The bricks of Coconino County
80. The Asp
81. "When the Seas Die"
82. Mega City One
83. "Darling."
84. The Ki-Moli plant 85. The Girth
86. Big Figure
87. The Bobwar
88. "From the Oven-It Rises!"
89. The Skull Cave
90. The Tiger Men of Mars
91. Mirth
92. Don Longjuan
93. "My game is wiffleball!"
94. Wolf Marie
95. "and Sleep-sleeps"
96. Gran'ma'pa
97. Shenron
98. The Brain Bats of Venus
99. Tetsuseiga and Tenseiga
100. The Incal

Gene would love to have feedback on this topic and so there will be a thread on the IF Forum which you can put you comments! Let's try to get some thought provoking conversations going on here! Please click the link below to go to the IF Forum and register..hey it's free!

100 Elements Comments