My 101 Favourite Anglo-American Narratives
(Soundtrack: The Clash — Sandinista!)

Inspired by the comments thread from a couple of days ago, the appearance of yet another lyrically-biased Greatest Comics List (Don’t get me wrong, it seems like a great list Tom, and I appreciate lyricism too–my love for Keats’ Odes & O’Hara’s “lunch poems” knows no bounds!–but still, lyricism is not storytelling–and neither, from what I’ve seen, is Krazy Kat!) and the fact that I’m too tired to do anything else!

In no particular order then:

1. The Blithedale Romance–Nathaniel Hawthorne

2. It’s A Wonderful Life–Frank Capra

3. Pierre; or, the Ambiguities–Herman Melville

4. Paradise Lost–John Milton

5. The Wings of the Dove–Henry James

6. The Pickwick Papers–Charles Dickens

7. Middlemarch–George Eliot

8. Red Harvest–Dashiell Hammett

9. The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp–Powell & Pressburger

10. Animal Man–Morrison, Truog, Grummett, Cullins

11. Portrait of Jennie(film, not the book!)–William Dieterle

12. Shadow of a Doubt–Alfred Hitchcock

13. “Hills Like White Elephants” — Ernest Hemingway

14. “The Gioconda Smile” — Aldous Huxley

15. Wuthering Heights–Emily Bronte + film (William Wyler)

16. Bleak House–Charles Dickens

17. Lost in Translation–Sophia Coppola

18. Stage Door–Gregory LaCava

19. Alice Adams–George Stevens

20. Moonrise–Frank Borzage

21. The Merry Marvel Metatext, 1961-c.1990–Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, Don Heck, Roy Thomas, Werner Roth, Gene Colan, Gerry Conway, Steve Englehart, Ross Andru, John Buscema, Mark Gruenwald, Roger Stern, Tom DeFalco, Peter David, and many, many friends (some of whom were more helpful than others…)

22. Little Dorrit–Charles Dickens

23. Dance Night–Dawn Powell

24. Of Time and the River–Thomas Wolfe

25. The Great Gatsby–F. Scott Fitzgerald

26. Minnie and Moskowitz–John Cassavettes

27. The Bitter Tea of General Yen–Frank Capra

28. Vertigo–Alfred Hitchcock

29. The Sun Also Rises–Ernest Hemingway

30. The Ambassadors–Henry James

31. Heart of Darkness–Joseph Conrad

32. Cane–Jean Toomer

33. Winesburg, Ohio–Sherwood Anderson

34. The Turn of the Screw–Henry James

35. The Confidence-Man: His Masquerade–Herman Melville

36. The Eve of St. Agnes–John Keats

37. The Filth–Grant Morrison and Chris Weston

38. Hamlet–William Shakespeare

39. The Portrait of a Lady–Henry James

40 “Young Goodman Brown”–Nathaniel Hawthorne

41. The Devil and Daniel Webster (film)–William Dieterle

42. Punch-Drunk Love–P.T.Anderson

43. The Marble Faun–Nathaniel Hawthorne

44. Goblin Market–Christina Rosetti

45. Modern Love–George Meredith

46. A Christmas Carol–Charles Dickens

47. Maud: A Monodrama–Alfred Tennyson

48. The Miracle Woman–Frank Capra

49. After Hours–Martin Scorsese

50. The Sacred Fount–Henry James

51. Turn, Magic Wheel–Dawn Powell

52. The Glass Key–Dashiell Hammett

53. The Maltese Falcon–Dashiell Hammett + film (John Huston)

54. Three Strangers–Jean Negulesco

55. Cerebus (up until the end of Melmoth–I have no information concerning the rest of it)–Dave Sim & Gerhard

56. The Long Goodbye–Raymond Chandler

57. Miss Lonelyhearts–Nathaneal West

58. The Moviegoer–Walker Percy

59. You Can’t Go Home Again–Thomas Wolfe

60. Meet John Doe–Frank Capra

61. Watchmen–Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons

62. Strange Cargo–Frank Borzage

63. Citizen Kane–Orson Welles

64. Juarez–William Dieterle

65. Native Son–Richard Wright

66. Little Women–Louisa May Alcott + film (Gilliam Armstrong)

67. Locas–Jaime Hernandez

68. Peanuts–Charles Schulz

69. Oracle Night–Paul Auster

70. Mildred Pierce–Michael Curtiz (not book!)

71. These Three–William Wyler

72. Woman Under the Influence–John Cassavettes

73. Georgia–Ulu Grosbard

74. Stella Dallas–King Vidor

75. Holiday–George Cukor

76. The Scarlet Letter–Nathaniel Hawthorne (not film–they all suck!)

77. I Know Where I’m Going–Powell & Pressburger

78. Show Boat–James Whale

79. The Strange Love of Martha Ivers–Lewis Milestone

80. What Maisie Knew–Henry James

81. Amours De Voyage-Arthur Clough

82. The Thin Man–Dashiell Hammett (not film! although it is fun…)

83. Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle–Alan Rudolph

84. Three Comrades–Frank Borzage

85. The Royal Tenenbaums–Wes Anderson

86. The Strawberry Blonde–Raoul Walsh

87. Great Expectations–Charles Dickens + film (Alfonso Cuaron)

88. The Long Night–Anatole Litvak

89. A Tale of Two Cities–Charles Dickens + film (1958;Ralph Thomas)

90. The King James Bible–“God’s Secretaries”

91. Sullivan’s Travels–Preston Struges

92. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind–Michel Gondry

93. “The Killers”–Ernest Hemingway + film (Robert Siodmak)

94. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn–Elia Kazan

95. The Roaring Twenties–Raoul Walsh

96. In a Lonely Place–Nicholas Ray

97. Love Letters–William Dieterle

98. Murder, My Sweet–Edward Dmytryk

99. My Man Godfrey–Gregory LaCava

100. Kings Row–Sam Wood

101. Mulholland Drive–David Lynch

Good Afternoon Friends!


  1. You’re a wonder, Dave. I’m happy to see you included Rosetti’s Goblin Market in your wide-reaching list.

    – Kevin Melrose

  2. which reminds me, Dave, that I don’t think I’ve nagged you about reading Swinburne lately, have I?

    It turns out he’s a DC character, showing up in a Winter’s Edge Vertigo special. I don’t want to post on my own blog to say only that, so I’m hiding it here for no good reason.


  3. please keep right on nagging Rose! I will get to Swinburne one of these days… I don’t rightly know why it hasn’t happened yet!


  4. non-English narratives?

    well, the only languages I’ve mastered are English and French, so that limits me. I can’t stand subtitles, and that’s a problem for me when I watch non-English/french films. Still, I was able to overlook that obstacle with Carl Dreyer… I love Renoir. I’ve been getting seriously into Leos Carax lately. Of course I’m fairly well acquainted with the nouvelle vague, but I can’t say that I like those films as much as the Hollywood melodramas they were riffing on…

    In terms of fiction–I like Rousseau, Candide, Sartre, Camus. I want to read Stendhal, but I haven’t done it yet… I love Dotoevsky, Goethe, Schlegel (or, rather, I love them in translation). I like Thomas Mann–but not as much as most people seem to. Kierkegaard’s “Seducer’s Diary” is a favourite–all of Either/Or is a masterpiece, although most of it can’t really be described as a narrative.

    There’s a lot of good stuff out there!


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