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Return of the Knave
Drink It Black
Monday, 24 October 2005
Classic
What makes a comic classic?

It can't coast on the coat tails of some existing more established form as the chances are that there is no adaptation of Everyman or any attempt would fall short of what was required.

Of course a book can have a significance particular to its medium that makes a comics adaptation superfluous; it isn't the strength of the story or the way it is told that gives it its status.

So, staying within the medium, how can we recognize the classics of the form? Given the age of literary classics, are comics in their current from too recent for us to discern which are, or will be, classics? It isn't age alone that determines a classic or Dollman would automatically be accorded that honour.

I think, under a loose definition, that Eisner and Fine's creation does fit the bill. But here I am doing so without having read the stories but having considered the impact and the longevity of the series. Add in a level of expectation encouraged by the creators involved and it is easy to see how the title is applied. It carries more credence than Disney Entertainment labelling of every release, regardless of vintage or audience acceptance, as a 'classic' but sticklers may still want further proof.

I'm not even sure the best story or the earliest example qualify a work as being classic unless they have lasting resonance. A cartoonist may be revered but one would have to see a sample of their work to know whether it was classic. Perhaps.

Though I don't suppose we can brush off consensus in gauging a work's bid to be considered classic, picking sales figures or readership as the criterion seems also misplaced. It's more likely that the verve that was brought to Daredevil make it a classic, rather than the number of readers it had in its day.

Posted by berko_wills at 3:59 AM NZT
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