This article originally appeared in Strangehaven issue #4, June 1996.
Maybe some of you have read about this curious thing called The Staros Report in the pages of Eddie Campbell’s Bacchus, or seen it on a recent Comic Journal‘s Hit List, or maybe haven’t heard of it at all. If you’ve already got yourself a copy then you can skip the remainder of this column.
The Staros Report is an annual magazine (in comic book format) which lists the most important and most entertaining current quality comics – at least in the opinion of its publisher, Chris Staros. This third issue lists 121 comics series which is almost guaranteed to contain choices which you absolutely agree with, absolutely disagree with, and some of which you haven’t even heard of. There seems to be two main aims – to stimulate debate and to alert you to top-notch titles you may have overlooked. mainly, the titles consist of relatively serious, experimental and ground breaking comics, including “revisionist” superhero stories like Watchmen and Dark Knight Returns.
If this sounds like a mere catalogue, it ain’t. Chris’ choices are illustrated by anecdotal notes and comments, giving the whole project a warm, personal touch. There’s also an indication of availability for each title, including ordering instructions where relevant. The book chooses to ignore humour comics as such, newspaper strips and classics like Krazy Kat or the acclaimed Lee/Kirby stories from the 60’s. Some of the other titles not included are as controversial as some which are – and that’s all part of the fun.
This year’s issue also contains an immensely enjoyable in-depth Eddie Campbell interview and an exhaustive four-page checklist of Eddie’s work. There’s also bibliographies of Alan Moore and Neil Gaiman, a Love and Rockets character index (over 250 entries!), industry addresses (including those of cartoonists), Chris’ thoughts on the comics industry in general and a letters section.
In addition to all that, there’s a twelve page autobiographical strip written by Chris and illustrated by Mike Hoffman with its own flip-cover, and a assortment of cartoons by various artists.
A total of 112 pages and full-colour covers makes this a package which any fan of the medium really shouldn’t pass over. I wholeheartedly recommend that you try to track down a copy for yourself.