Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The Best American Comics (2008)

Best American Comics 2008.

All hail Lynda Barry! I've never been a huge fan of her work, but I have to say that her editing is impeccable. With any collection of this size there will be pieces I can't agree with, but over all this is a marvelous collection. Best one so far from the BAC series.

A few books I liked from the qualifying period appeared in the top-100 but didn't make the final cut. Some I think were mistakes (eg, The Blot) some I liked but won't fight over whether they were "better" (eg, Robot Dreams and Bookhunter which you must click on and go read RIGHT NOW), but none of which change the worth of the collection now sitting on the bed beside me.

Some highlights:

    Burden by Graham Annable: A good brother cleans up the bad brother's mess. But it doesn't mean how it sounds.

    The Thing About Madeline by Lilli Carré: A fine demonstration of existentialism that doesn't suck. That is, in fact, darn good.

    Seven Sacks by Eleanor Davis: It's hard to narrow down which pieces to choose as "highlights", but I really liked this weirdly metaphoric ferry story.

    The Saga of the Bloody Benders by Rick Geary: I've read some of Geary's Victorian murder tales before (two here), but this one is a cut above. Perhaps it's just because I don't already know about the Benders, but their story was genuinely intriguing and I need to find the book so I can read the whole thing.

    Will and Abe by Matt Groening: This was the funniest thing in the book, bar none. And it was written by Matt Groening! Who is never funny in print! Remarkable!

    Turtle, Keep it Steady! by Joseph Lambert: Best musical comic ever? Don't know. Haven't read anything that remotely competes, though.

    Berlin by Jason Lutes: No wonder everyone talks about Jason Lutes.

    Graveyard by Sarah Oleksyk: Generally, modern comics realism doesn't interest me. But what I've seen from Oleksyk so far reminds me of what it can be.

    George Sprott by Seth: I have a desire to like Seth more than I do. This was a huge help in meeting that goal. This look back at one man's life is nuanced and impressive and all I've heard Seth to be.

    American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang: Although I was disappointed with excerpt, I'm happy to have a chance to plug this book again.

Great collection. I'm sold on the new lead editors and am hoping for the best for Charles Burns's selection about ten months from now.

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