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Which Ten Comics Would You Save?

After 36 years of collecting comics, Jose Alaniz, a professor at the University of Washington, is donating his collection of 12 boxes of comics to the institution’s library. This will raise the eyebrows of many comic book fans for two reasons:

1: Only twelve boxes after over three decades? The man was selective.

2: Though almost every comic in the collection was being given the chop, Alaniz is saving ten comic books for himself.When hearing about something like this, it’s almost impossible not to wonder which comics you would save, if you had to make the same choice. For me, the idea of saving only ten comics from an entire collection is almost worse than getting rid of the whole thing. I keep thinking that I’d start by picking out a few, with the intention of whittling them down, and that would open the floodgates. So right away I’m starting with a cheat. I’m including full trades as ‘issues.’

1. Batgirl: Year One

This book has pretty much everything I want in a comic. Batmythos, fun, action, romance, great art, and a twisting, engaging story. Batgirl was the first super heroine I really loved, and I wouldn’t leave comics without her.

2-5. The first four trades of the Blue Beetle series.

“Shellshocked,” “Road Trip,” “Reach for the Stars” and “Endgame,” are the story of how Jaime Reyes became the new Blue Beetle. It’s a hero’s journey that’s sincere, touching, noble, and also incredibly funny. It’s compared to the Spider-Man series, because of the kid’s age, circumstances, and constant wisecracks. I think it’s better, though, because all of Jaime’s friends and family quickly become involved in his heroic efforts. What’s more, it’s a long, complicated story with many pieces – and each of those pieces come into play at the end. This is one of those books in which the creators tell you they have a ‘plan’ for the characters – and they’re telling the truth.

6-9. Batman: Gotham Knights #8-#11

These four issues of Gotham Knights tell the story of Hugo Strange getting too close to discovering Batman’s secret identity. Batman’s solution? Fake his own death and then hypnotize himself into thinking he’s just Bruce Wayne. Without telling anyone. This nutball storyline takes us on a tour of Batverse characters at their most confused.

10. Buffy the Vampire Slayer #5

“The Chain” is the issue I’d give to anyone who thinks that comics should just be dismissed as trivial. It contains no name Buffy characters, is not part of a bigger story, and has little-to-no quips. It’s just one girl thinking about stuff like self-sacrifice, community, subjective versus objective truth, and personal fulfillment. It’s probably one of the best issues of comics of all time, and I wouldn’t have to take it out of one of my boxes, because it’s never made it into one of them. I just have it out, all the time.

And that’s it. If I had to get rid of everything, which I don’t and I won’t, that is what I’d keep. That’s my ten.

What ten comics would you save?

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